Monday, September 3, 2012

Thoughts on Steiner/ Waldorf Education....




I really love Steiner education and the philosophy behind it. People often get Montessori and Steiner education confused, I guess as they are both alternatives to mainstream schooling. If you are unsure of the differences take a look here for a wonderful article that compares both (care of Megan's lovely blog: This Whole Family)


I always thought I would send my children to Montessori and I myself when to a Montessori preschool from the age of 3 to 5. I remember bits and pieces and from what Mum says we loved it. It was a loving and nurturing environment, however with an emphasis on independence. I still have the t-shirt (seriously) with "Help me to do it myself" written on the front. I vividly remember doing activities such as learning to tie shoe laces by tying them on a board and tracing letters and numbers over and over. Now I reflect on these tasks and think they were done 'out of context'. For example why not learn to tie a shoe just by doing my laces every morning and watching those around me and why not learn to write using my own handwriting and with some meaning given to what I am writing/ learning.

When I first heard about Steiner education I will be honest, my first thought was "but they don't teach the children to read until they are like 7 years old!" However the more books I have read, the more I understand the philosophy and the more I am exposed to our local school the more it makes such sense and the more I love it. My step daughters both go to a Steiner school and they are two delightful girls, with such a presence about them.  Abbie (and I) attend playgroup at our local Steiner school once a week - we sing, we watch a story be told , we dance in a ring, we wash our hands and we bake bread, we have indoor play (we breath in), we eat together and we have outdoor play (we breath out). It is our only weekly activity and we so much look forward to it. I don't believe that a young child needs a busy schedule :)


As a parent, Steiner education appeals to me for so many reasons. I love the emphasis on rhythm and the changing seasons. I love that the education focuses on the whole child - hand, heart and mind. I love the crafts and using natural materials given by the earth. I love that my children will have a childhood full of wonder and play, not ipads and explanations.* 

So I thought perhaps once a week or so I would write something Steiner related. I am even thinking a few guest posts from my very dear friend who is a Steiner teacher to provide some more insight into the young child.....it is fascinating, it really is.

Intrigued by Steiner

* And I love the dolls, oh do I love the dolls...

12 comments:

  1. I go to a Steiner playgroup with my two little girls (3yrs and 8 months) it is the highlight of my week and Miss 3 LOVES playgroup day. I would love to read more about Steiner. I too love the handwork and especially the dolls!

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  2. Oh those dolls :-) I love them too. I wish I went to a Steiner school! We went to Steiner playgroup which was beautiful. Having said all that my 3 boys went to a Montessori preschool and I loved that too- especially for my youngest who is a bit wild- the purposeful work really suited him. i think the purposeful play of Steiner suited my 2nd boy the most. Does that make sense? I'd love to read more on Steiner though because I'm so attracted to that philosophy...

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    1. Me too! Everything is just done with so much thought. Yes absolutely makes sense NIc.
      x

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  3. love the dolls too. just ordered a kit to make my first doll and can't wait for it to arrive. i am really drawn to the steiner philosophy but wish i knew a bit more about it. i am also drawn to montessori but i think steiner is a fair bit in front for me. any books that you would recommend as an introductory into the steiner world?

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    1. Oh how exciting Jo. What kit did you buy? Oh yes I have a whole shelf full! I shall perhaps make this my first post.....x

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    2. i bought this one from etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/96069655/kit-for-a-12-in-waldorf-doll.

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  4. I love the dolls too. I have one for Skye and one for Joy put away for a christmas present from Santa. I've always been drawn to Steiner over all other forms of education. Unfortunately, we didn't realise we had to book in at birth...and so our little ones will miss out :( But I try my best to provide a calm, simple and rhythmic life for them (I too do not believe in busy schedules!). I'm interested to hear more so that I can incorporate bits and pieces that I like into our home. x

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    1. That seems so silly doesn't it. I also think the price tag is very unfortunate - it should be accessible to everyone. We are lucky here as there are a few schools, one being a much more affordable option. Also the waiting lists are not that bad. I hope I can provide some little bits to inspire you :)

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  5. I love the dolls too! I am currently making one for Everly for Christmas - I did a doll-making course at a little Waldorf craft shop in the Adelaide hills, now I just need to finish the hair and sew a little dress. Did you hear about Steiner education before or after Abbie was born? I have found it to be very all-consuming, this transition into a more Steiner-inspired life, I find myself reading about it and thinking about it so much! I look forward to the day it becomes a little more 'natural' and easy, if that makes sense? I suppose with time... like anything that is life-altering.

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    1. How lovely...it is so special to make a doll for your child. I hope to see a picture on your blog once you are finished :)
      I had heard about it however just put it in the category of a little odd, although I had gone to Montessori which I guess was also a little alternative. It wasn't until my Abbie was about 3 months old that I was captivated by the dolls my step daughters brought one visit. This made me look into it further - the more I read, the more I liked. I also spent much of my time reading about it. I know what you mean - I felt like that at first, however now I feel like it is just part of our life. It is just the way we do things. LIke blessings before meals, no television (who has time!) and stories (most often) told by mama by candle light.

      You can read a little more about my introduction to Steiner here: http://thelittlegnomeshome.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/intrigued-by-steiner.html

      I hope that my posts will provide some inspiration and give some suggestions :)

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  6. I love this! So glad you're posting this series :) My dream is to send our children to our local Waldorf school, however, the only one we have here is SOOO expensive. I'm trying to figure out how to make it work, though!!!

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    1. So lovely to have you visit Rebekka. It is just so unnecessary that it should be so expensive. To me it just what a school should be like. I am sure you will find a way :)

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Thanks for your sharing your thoughts. I love hearing from you and will respond to any questions in the comments sections. Natalie

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