Steiner Waldorf Education

Steiner Waldorf schools have been in existence for almost 100 years. There are over 1,000 schools and 2,600 kindergartens world-wide and numbers are growing. In Britain and Ireland there are 36 schools and several early childhood centres that offer Steiner Waldorf early childhood education and care for children up to the age of seven years old.

Unique characteristics of Steiner Waldorf education include

  • Comprehensive all-through inclusive schools including pre-school, primary and secondary school years
  • Education designed to reach the whole child, physically, emotionally and spiritually as well as intellectually
  • An emphasis on the social life of the class and the relationship between the pupil and the teacher
  • A curriculum based on a deep knowledge of child development and what works best at different ages
  • A collegiate structure where teachers participate in the running of the school.

In the provision for children under seven you will find

  • A calm, home-like atmosphere where natural materials predominate
  • An regular unhurried rhythm to help children feel secure
  • Adults teaching through example, not verbal instructions
  • An emphasis on meaningful activities, including listening
  • Time and space for child-initiated play with open-ended toys, indoors and outdoors
  • Plenty of singing, movement, creativity and imagination.

Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was a thinker and a spiritual investigator who focused on bringing ideas into practice in many areas in addition to education, including special needs education, medicine, agriculture (bio-dynamics), architecture, social therapy, ethical finance, art, drama, movement and others. The system of thinking on which his ideas are based is known as anthroposophy.

The first school opened in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919 and in many countries in Europe and the wider world, the schools are state supported and accessible to all. In Britain, Steiner Waldorf schools have been part of the private sector for over 70 years. There are now two publicly funded Steiner Waldorf schools in Britain, one an Academy and one a Free School, with plans for more.

For more information about Steiner Waldorf education in Britain, go to Steiner Waldorf. This site also gives details of other training courses that are available. There is a parallel early childhood training that is based in London (information from Lynne Oldfield) and there is a teacher training course for teaching children aged 7 - 14, the North of England Steiner Teacher Training (info from NESTT) which, like this course, is based in the York school. For information about a course specialising in the care of children under three, Holistic Baby and Child Care (EYE) please go to Emerson.

For more information about Steiner Waldorf early childhood education and care internationally go to IASWECE

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