Our School

Dublin Steiner School is an independent kindergarten and growing primary school that adapts the traditional teaching methods of Rudolf Steiner to the unique urban Dublin landscape.

Our Kindergarten programs bring young children into contact with nature within our school’s urban garden, and provides beautiful classrooms where they can explore and play together imaginatively. Our aim is to provide gentle, beautiful child-centered spaces as peaceful sanctuaries in the busy city. In our home-like setting, the rhythm of the day is balanced between lively and quiet activities that reflect the child’s need for active play, meaningful social interaction and quiet attentive focus.

Our growing Primary School program provides an educational experience that meets the needs of each student in a developmentally appropriate manner- integrating critical thinking, emotional intelligence and the arts. We are proud and delighted to have our first ever 1st class this school year, in addition to our two  kindergarten classes.

We believe in creating a nurturing and inspiring environment for our students to discover themselves and their potential. At our school, parents, teachers and students all commit to becoming part of  a larger community dedicated to fostering independent thinking, creative learning and adept collaborating.

Dublin Steiner School was originally named Saoirse Waldorf School, signifying the freedom that the Steiner tradition promotes in play and arts based learning.

We are a proud member of the Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association.

Steiner Waldorf Education

“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.

Pre-Kindergarten

Ages 3-4yrs

Our Pre-Kindergarten group provides children with a nurturing and creative environment, structured around daily and seasonal rhythms, in which they are given the freedom and confidence which gently prepares them for the more structured environment of Kindergarten.

We keep daily activities as simple as possible, as this is often the child’s first experience of life outside of the home. We teach practical, everyday skills such as dressing and washing and food preparation, and each school day is filled with opportunities for play and physical activity. Developing a relationship with the natural world is a central element of Steiner education, and our Pre-Kindergarten children spend time each day in the school’s garden.

The Pre-Kindergarten runs five days a week from 9:00 am to 1pm.

This is a one year programme and is partially funded by the ECCE scheme.

Kindergarten

Ages 4-6

The Steiner educational philosophy is formed around the idea that children learn best by doing, and so our Kindergarten class involves plenty of active participation: children chop vegetables for snack time, knead dough to bake their own bread, and help teachers tidy and clean their classroom.

One of the key principles of Steiner education is that Kindergarten classes contain a mix of ages. This allows younger children to learn from the older ones.  They become aware of many of the things they will be able to do when they are older, following them at first unconsciously, then anticipating, such as lighting the candle at snack time, which they will be able to do “when I’m big”.  Older children, meanwhile, learn from helping the younger ones. They become confident in being able to do things for themselves, as well as being able to help smaller children with practical tasks, which helps them to develop lifelong capacities of patience, compassion and leadership.

We provide a comfortable and nurturing setting, and a day that is structured around a gentle rhythm of unhurried activities and quiet time. Children are engaged in craft and regular movement, both inside the class and out in the garden, which brings to the day a balance of different kinds of physical and mental activity. The classroom environment is carefully considered with a strong emphasis on natural and handmade materials for toys and furnishings.

A typical morning involves greeting, free play periods, tidying, circle time, storytelling, outdoor play, rest, snack time, and a creative activity such as craft, baking or painting. The children develop their fine motor skills through learning to sew, felt and clay and beeswax modeling.

The celebration of seasonal festivals lies in the heart of a Steiner Kindergarten providing the children with a healthy and secure rhythm to their year, full of seasonal songs, games and crafts.

Our classes are mixed-age groups of four to six year old children and runs five days a week from 9am -1:00pm.  

Kindergarten is a two year programme with partial funding from the ECCE scheme.

Primary School

Ages 6-12

(please note: Our School will be enrolling Class 1 and Class 2 in September 2018. With subsequent years added yearly)

By the time children reach the age of 6 clear changes in their development indicate their readiness for formal learning; they naturally become more independent, and more mature in their temperaments, communication skills and memory. The Steiner approach believes that children of this age are receptive to learning more abstract intellectual activities and as such, will learn naturally and rapidly, quickly reaching the same standards as their peers in more traditional national schools. This ease of achievement will imbue a sense of confidence and love of learning that will carry the child through many years of education.  

A key feature of the school day is the “Main Lesson” where a subject is explored for a period of 2 hrs per day in blocks of four weeks. The subject is taught from various perspectives through a considered balance of artistic, practical, intellectual and physical activities––such as felting, sewing, wax modeling, crochet, finger knitting, origami––thus engaging the head, heart and the hands of each child. This approach encourages a deeper understanding of the subject and gives the children a greater sense of focus and purpose in what they are learning.

In Class 1, reading and writing are taught in a way that is centered around the creative imagination of each child. Children learn through stories, drawing, painting and music. We cover key subjects like English, Math, Irish, Music, Woodwork, Eurythmy, Movements, Form Drawing, Art and Handwork. There are also frequent field trips to The Ark, Dublin’s Cultural Centre for Children, which is a mere fifteen minute walk from the school!

In following years, children are introduced to new subject areas, such as History, Geography, Science and Botany, while familiar ones are deepened through the gradual addition of greater complexity year by year.

The Primary School classes also follow the rhythm of the year and is filled with seasonal songs and games.

Class sessions run five days a week from 9am -1:15pm.