Early Years Steiner Education
In Steiner Waldorf early years settings, the emphasis is away from academic content and testing and towards learning through play. Based on the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), we are part of a worldwide movement of schools seeking to provide an unhurried, joyful and creative learning environment that supports the child to grow and develop during the early years.
We believe that play is the serious work of childhood. Through playing, the child is enabled to develop the skills and confidence necessary for successful lifelong learning. We recognise that children learn most successfully through imitation and activity and so provide them with lots of opportunities to develop their intrinsic skills, capabilities and self-confidence.
Our aim is to build a bridge between home and school by creating a safe, warm, loving environment, with a curriculum that is a balance between the artistic and the domestic. Each Kindergarten day has its own activity - such as baking, painting, or cleaning - but the overall structure of each day is the same. The strong rhythm of the days and the repetition that each week brings carries with it an in-built discipline. This creates a safe and secure environment for the children, which enables more effective learning and reduces the needs for additional discipline.
We also celebrate seasonal festivals, drawn from different cultures, and spend lots of time outside to develop an awareness of the changing seasons and our natural environment. We use natural play materials, high quality pigment paints and crayons and we bake with organic wholefoods. All of which offer the children a sense of organic well being through the Steiner belief of “sense of life”. Click on the following link to read more about "Sense of Life."
In the Kindergarten, children make real things from real materials that have a useful application in the world they know. Through their work with real materials, they learn about integrity and reverence at a much deeper, more subtle level. In this way, the children acquire the basis for social and academic skills at their own pace.
Education in the early years of a child’s life is about instilling a genuine feeling of worth and a belief that they can succeed. Steiner Education addresses the whole child; head, heart and hands and provides the best possible beginning for your child to grow to their full potential in a way that protects the wonder and delight of early childhood.
During every stage of Steiner education, the framework of the curriculum allows each child to develop at his or her own pace. It is recognised that for each age the child has different emotional and intellectual needs and the curriculum is uniquely designed to meet, support and encourage these needs as they unfold.
EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE (EYFS)
The Willow Tree Kindergarten addresses all the seven areas of
learning and development in accordance with the EYFS.
Three of these are prime areas:
1) Communication and Language
2) Physical Development
3) Personal, Social and Emotional Development
In addition, we support four specific areas:
3) Understanding the World
4) Expressive Arts and Design
The Willow Tree Kindergarten has been granted exemptions from particular areas that we believe are in conflict with the principles of Steiner Waldorf early years education. Broadly, these include learning to read, writing letters and numbers and from using information technology. More information about these exemptions is available from the Teacher/Curriculum Policy.
Each child will be assigned a 'key person' from the teaching staff who will offer comfort and security as a secondary attachment figure and will make observational assessments in order to plan to meet a child's individual needs.
In addition to following the EYFS requirements, the Willow Tree Kindergarten also complies with employment law, anti-discriminatory legislation, health and safety legislation, data collection regulations and duty of care. Read the Willow Tree Policies.