Steiner Waldorf schools, where play is seen as central to learning and wellbeing have seen interest in their schools rise through the pandemic.
Bristol Steiner School have welcomed a new Head Teacher, Nicola Forder, following the departure of Ruth Glover at the end of the Autumn term.
A TIME FOR CHILDHOOD!
The recent push from both Ofsted’s Sir Michael Wilshaw regarding early formal education is misguided!
Research and experience across the world shows that allowing time for children to develop skills for life instead of ‘readiness for school’, is what is needed.
Steiner early childhood education and care provides a holistic approach enabling children from all backgrounds to develop essential skills such as speech, listening, physical and social in a nurturing and enabling play based environment supported by quality practitioners.
The later start to formal learning (6+ as is the case in Steiner Schools worldwide, and many countries where research and statistics show that children out-perform the UK where formal education begins at 4) lays the foundations for health, life-long learning and creativity. Parents are supported as partners in their child’s care and education, and the skills developed are secure, embedded and nurtured. Children enter school at 6+ motivated and excited about learning, having laid the foundations for formal literacy, numeracy and creativity and developed resilience and curiosity about the world and their place in it.
The main goals of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Care and Educations are to recognise and support each stage of child development by:
working with the child’s natural inclination to be active which develops resilience
using imitation, co-operation and example as educational tools rather than instruction and direction
supporting creative child-initiated play with open-ended materials enabling creativity and imagination to flourish
providing a good sensory experience in the nurturing and enabling environment
supporting the child’s personal, social and moral development, enabling them to know and love the world through awe and wonder
working with rhythm and repetition enabling the child to feel safe and secure
working in mixed age groups develops social skills such as good communication, care and empathy
protecting the child’s right to a healthy and appropriate childhood
You will find more information in the early years section and on the documents page of this website.
The announced closure of Aberdeen Waldorf School
The Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship regrets to hear of the announced planned closure for financial reasons of Aberdeen Waldorf School. We believe that AWS brought a much-valued diversity to schooling in the Aberdeen area & in Scotland generally alongside our other Scottish members. The SWSF has been aware of efforts by Aberdeen Waldorf School to enable wide & inclusive access to the Steiner Waldorf education. This has impacted on the school’s budget over the years & a recent critical inspection may have, in part, been a consequence of this. As contributors to a world-wide, collaboration of Steiner Waldorf educators, with approximately two thousand settings across the continents, it is a matter of sadness to lose a member school in this way. Our sympathies go to the colleagues, children & parents who will be losing a school that has provided a distinctive curriculum, opportunity for creative learning & a sense of community since it was first established in 1978.
Article Published in the Guardian 15th December 2013: “Free Schools: why the fight goes on” by Zoe Williams
In an unashamedly partisan article, attacking free schools in general, the writer has chosen to repeat unfounded allegations made in a brief BBC South West news report on the opening of the Steiner Academy Frome.
The writer quotes from a statement made by a local resident opposing the new Academy. The writer describes those remarks as “mild”. In the interest of making her more general point, she then goes on to make an explicit link between Rudolf Steiner (miss-spelt “Rudolph”) & Nazism. Apart from the anachronism (Steiner died in 1925, a point conceded by the speaker she quotes), this linkage hides the fact that the Waldorf School founded by Steiner was closed by the Nazis as being inimical to their aims, prohibition on the admission of pupils being introduced in 1936 (www.waldorfanswers.org). Furthermore, the writer ignored information in the public domain from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (steinerwaldorf.org), or similar organizations (www.ecswe.org). That these might be considered biased in favour of this form of education, is no defense when uncritical use is made of blogs & other sources in which there is extreme prejudice against everything Steiner Waldorf schools stand for. Andy Lewis, for example, is quoted without regard to the fact that he is an activist preparing a market for his book on the subject. Lewis has, by his own admission, never visited a Waldorf school. He, in turn, draws copiously from the writings of a minor USA-based academic & self-styled Anarchist historian, Peter Staudenmaier. Staudenmaier recently stated in a lecture, “I’m a person who makes copious use of insinuation and innuendo in polemical contexts. I’m a big fan of using those as a way of getting a point across.” He is also someone who has been found for the invention of references that suit his tendentious purpose.
The evidence of Steiner Waldorf schools in practice should quickly dispel any doubts that the schools represent anything other than a serious & thorough educational contribution to young people learning in an enlightened & humane environment. To the specific allegation that our international & multi-cultural schools are in some way informed by ideology of racial, or any other form of supremacy, an independent academic study conducted in Germany concluded the opposite. An empirical study by Christian Pfeiffer of Lower Saxony’s Criminological Research Institute (2007) concluded that 15-16 year old showed pupils in German Waldorf schools far less likely to respond with approval to stereotyping of any sort .
For more information – steinerwaldorf.org