Meet Our Early Years Department
The work of teachers in a Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten is inspired by the wisdom and contemporary relevance of Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy and prepares children for the changing modern world. It is grounded in a specialist 3-year Steiner Waldorf Early Years Training Course. All those in the Early Years sector must have an accredited ‘full and relevant’ qualification recognised by SSSC or Education Scotland. Our experienced Early Years Practitioners hold both qualifications.
Thereafter, continuing professional development for teachers is offered within the School by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) – the membership organisation for all the Steiner schools and independent Steiner Early Years settings in the UK and Ireland – through attendance at conferences and courses on child development, as well at workshops for other subjects including first aid, health & safety, food hygiene, equal opportunities, child protection and additional needs.
Each of our four Kindergarten leaders have a well-established professional and personal connection with the School. Tess (above left), Dawn, Hannah and Aki (above third-fifth left) collectively bring over 30 years of service at Edinburgh Steiner School to their roles. Each have chosen a Steiner education for their own children.
Celina first joined the School as a pupil, after she was adopted. She found the environment so enriching, she was keen to return to the education as a career.
Celina is now in her sixth year at the School, as the Seedlings Assistant as well as looking after the children in Early Years After School Club.
Appleseed Seedlings Leader
Parent & Child Leader
Yifat brings almost twenty years of experience leading groups of parents with young children. Following a Bachelor of Education in Special Education, Waldorf Early Childhood training and Spatial Dynamics training, she lead a home program of Waldorf-inspired Nursery and Parent & Toddler groups in the USA for twelve years, before joining the Steiner Waldorf School, Pine Hill, in this role. Moving to Edinburgh, her family joined the School, where she has been leading P&T since 2018.
Early Year Pupil Support / Child Protection Coordinator
Charlotte Willson, brings over ten years of experience to this role, joining first as Parent & Child Leader in 2006, before starting in Kindergarten, where she worked first as an Assistant and then a Teacher, for twelve years. Her own children, now graduates, attended the School. For the last six years, Charlotte is part of the School’s Pupil Wellbeing Department as the Early Years Pupil Support Coordinator and Early Years Child Protection Officer.
Trustee - Early Years
The Early Years Department is represented on the Board of Trustees by Corinna Tebbutt, a former Kindergarten Teacher in the School for twenty years, and a former member of the College of Teachers, Management Team and Finance Group, liaising with Edinburgh Council as a Partner Provider. Her four children were Steiner educated; and she has two grandchildren in the School. Now working in the Third Sector, Corinna became a Trustee in 2019.
Janni Nicol – SWSF Early Childhood Coordinator
Janni Nichol works for the Executive of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship with the overview of Birth – 7 year old provision in the UK. Steiner-educated herself, Janni qualified as a kindergarten teacher. In 1989 she started a parent and child group which grew into the present Cambridge Steiner School where she was the founder Kindergarten teacher. She was instrumental in starting the SW Foundation Degree in EC Studies, and teaches on the Steiner Waldorf Early Years training courses.
Following the international Steiner Waldorf model, what makes the Steiner Waldorf approach to early childhood education distinctive is the particular attention given by the teachers to the ensuing principles:
We are non-doctrinal, non-sectarian, with a strong connection to the cycle of the seasons. Our festivals have a Christian orientation, with a focus on marking the cycle of the year. Edinburgh Steiner School is an an international and multicultural community and we often have children who commemorate other festivals related to different religions and cultures, fostering a natural reverence for the world.
There are now over 2,000 Kindergartens in some 80 countries, on every habitable continent. It is still the largest, and fastest growing, educational movement globally. While the children will have matured, the ethos remains the same.