The SWSF shares many of the concerns highlighted in Stephen Moss’s research commissioned by the National Trust.
An active engagement with the natural world is an important aspect of Steiner Waldorf education.
In Steiner early years settings the young child is given every opportunity to play outside, to explore and make use of natural materials and to experience the outdoor as a familiar environment, full of wonder and possibility.
Throughout the primary school years teachers will look for opportunities to link classroom learning to the outside environment. The study of house building and farming at age nine may involve the making of clay bricks or the hands-on experience of farming techniques. Chemistry lessons at age 12 may involve the building of kilns to make charcoal or lime; physics lessons may involve green-wood turning or practical engineering solutions that take children out of the classroom and into the natural world.
At the same time a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world is fostered from pre-school all the way to adolescence. This is supported by the use of stories that draw on the world of plants and animals, the celebration of seasonal festivals and a curriculum that includes botany, geology and animal study .
At secondary level there is an approach to natural sciences that emphasises the need for observation and direct experience rather than simply an abstract knowledge of prevailing theories. A sense of the moral responsibility we have towards the natural world is cultivated.
Steiner schools engage their parents in critical debate on issues such as play and screen entertainment, encouraging them to give their children wide opportunities to get active out of doors.