Steiner Kindergarten (3-7yrs)
Steiner education is about engaging the child’s ‘head, heart and hand’
All children learn at their own pace, develop a love of learning and develop as a community of ‘do-ers’. We seek to encourage this unhurried approach. Creative work is the work of the small child as they observe the world around them. Their world in the Kindergarten is based on natural play, using natural materials.
We seek to take the whole needs of the child into account: physical, social, academic, emotional and spiritual. The day and week has a natural rhythm and use repetition to deepen a feeling of security. Activities include puppet plays and story telling, creative craft, cooking, baking, sewing, building and making. Many craft materials are found on the farm and local area. Children are not introduced to formal reading, writing and numbers until they are ready, typically when they are 6-7 years old. The foundations are laid in kindergarten so children are ripe and keen to learn this in Class 1.
Laurel Farm provides a unique environment for children to explore outside with its own secure garden designed for the children. We are based on a 7 acre smallholding with animals to feed and ponds, fields and a growing woodland to explore. This gives the children an exciting playground to observe the seasons and be aware we are all part of nature.
In the Steiner Early Years approach, we provide time and space for the natural, unforced development of key life skills which will help to build a strong base for social and emotional competence, literacy, and numeracy, by creating a warm and secure learning environment where the qualities of childhood are nurtured.
Rhythm and Repetition
Steiner education recognises rhythm as an educational principle of key importance, and a strong framework of rhythm, routine and repetition is employed, particularly in the early years. Rhythms provide reassurance and security for children and helps them to understand the past, present and future: it is a healthy way to start to find their place in the world. Repetition plays a key role in establishing continuity, and it assists in the development of memory.
Play & Imitation
Free creative play strengthens the imagination, and repeated research studies have shown that children who are encouraged to enjoy creative play tend to show more empathy towards others and to display less aggression. They are more likely to have the capacity to see things from the perspective of the other, and demonstrate fewer signs of anxiety, distress or fatigue. In Steiner early childhood education, children are allowed to learn through investigation, exploration and discovery, encouraging them to become inventive and adaptable.
Another duty of the early childhood teacher is to provide the presence of a “working adult” – someone whom the children can freely imitate. A role model worthy of imitation.
A combination of practical and artistic activities is undertaken in the company of the children, designed to encourage skills such as concentration, perseverance and independent activity. Children are fascinated by adult activity, and it is certainly a great responsibility to be worthy of a young child’s imitation.
The environment created in Steiner early childhood education promotes the development of competent talking and listening, enhancing the child’s ability to use words with confidence. Children are encouraged to speak freely, and learn to listen to others. There is an overriding concentration on the oral tradition, and many wonderful stories are related. A well-told story creates an appreciation for the human voice and the beauty and rhythms of language. This assists in the development of a strong and rich imagination, and helps to extend the vocabulary and develop a good memory
Festivals and Celebration
Festivals are celebrated with the children so as to nourish body, soul and spirit. Although the Steiner curriculum is non-denominational, many Christian festivals are observed, and the children love the activities and preparations involved, such as finding seasonal materials, baking, making lanterns or other simple craft work activities. Festivals from other cultures are also marked and celebrated in many Steiner schools. Certain festivals will be celebrated after the kindergarten hours (and throughout the session) to which parent will be invited too in order to create a sense of community for the children.