A LOVE OF LEARNING THAT LASTS A LIFETIME
There are now more than 1,000 Steiner schools and 1,600 kindergartens worldwide. Many schools continue through to secondary level. In Ireland, there are currently at least 10 Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens, seven primary schools (three of which are supported by the Department of Education) and one secondary school. Schools are often called Steiner Waldorf because the first school was opened in 1919 in the Waldorf Astoria factory in Stuttgart, Germany.
The Waldorf educational approach, as delivered by Dublin Steiner School, addresses three key needs. Those are to ensure that children have:
- The confidence and communication skills to hold themselves in the world
- The creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to make a social contribution
- The conscience, ethical judgement and understanding to live sustainably in our natural environment
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 to engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning.
In our daily practice we:
- Emphasise 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 our academic curriculum, in a creative and integrated way
- Prioritise 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
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
Festivals are an important part of the Waldorf school calendar. The academic year at Dublin Steiner School is anchored by a rhythm of celebrations which mark the passage of the seasons.
These run from the Harvest Festival in September - when families gather to share food and hear the story of Michael and the dragon - to the Midsummer Festival at the end of June. Through the year each child will also make, light and carry a lantern for the Lantern Festival; take their place in the Spiral Walk to mark the strength of community through dark winter days; and celebrate the new spring with songs and dancing on May Day.
Year on year, these festivals become cherished traditions for both students and their families. As children progress through the school, they take on bigger roles in the festivals, with each new year becoming an exciting rite of passage.