“The purpose of education is to enable the mind, to fire the imagination, to fortify the will, and to quicken the initiative for life.” -Rudolf Steiner 1861- 1925
WHAT IS A STEINER WALDORF SCHOOL?
The Steiner Waldorf approach is based on the work of the Austrian educational philosopher Rudolf Steiner, which offers a holistic and child-centred educational experience. Steiner methods seek to nurture ‘the hand, the head and the heart’ of every child.
In our daily practice we:
– Emphasize nature-based play and education, strengthening the child’s connection to nature
– Take account of the needs of the whole child (academic, physical, emotional and spiritual)
– Deliver the Irish curriculum, in a creative and integrated way
– Prioritizes age-appropriate learning, adapting its teaching methods to suit the
developmental stage of its pupils, as well as their experience of the world
– Honour and protect the wonder of childhood
– Encourage creativity and enquiry
– Create a genuine enjoyment of learning
There are now over 1,000 Steiner Schools and 1,600 Kindergartens worldwide. Many schools continue through to secondary level. In Ireland, there are over 10 Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens, 4 primary schools (3 of which are supported by the Department of Education) and 1 secondary school. Schools are often called Steiner Waldorf because the first school was founded in 1919 in the Waldorf Astoria factory in Stuttgart, Germany.
Our work as Steiner Waldorf teachers is to nurture the physical development of the young child, while cultivating the positive human values of compassion, reverence for life, respect, cooperation, love of nature and other people, interest in the world and social conscience, as well as developing cognitive, artistic, and practical skills.
Circle time and story-telling provide a foundation for language arts; rhythmic games, songs, and guided movement help children develop a relationship to space, numbers, and mathematics; exposure to the natural world provides the foundation for the life sciences; creative play lays the foundation for self-motivated learning and artistic activity fosters creative problem solving and the development of integrated life skills. In the Kindergarten, every day, the children help prepareing wholesome food for their lunch. This tactile learning about food promotes healthy eating and the interconnectedness between nature and themselves. It also improves children’s independence and involves every sense.
Moreover we want to help create a bridge between school and home, to bring together a harmonious meeting of the whole. With that aim in mind, we invite families to working days and Festivals during the school year. At these times, families have an opportunity to learn more about Steiner philosophy and get to know fellow community members better. Parents are often asked to help out with various tasks like laundry, DIY work, gardening, fundraising, etc. This is all done in the spirit of community building.
Steiner Waldorf educators are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and behaviouristic rewards to motivate learning and allows motivation to arise from within. Most of all, it helps engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning.