Learning Through Creative Doing

A central aim of Steiner education is to develop, harmonise and unite the faculties of thought, feeling and action in the child, so that the foundations may be laid for mental adaptability, initiative and moral strength in adult life. The child is seen to have physical, emotional and spiritual needs as well as intellectual ones. The teaching and curriculum together seek to nourish all these aspects.

 

Children’s learning flourishes in a calm, peaceful, predictable, familiar and unhurried environment that recognises the child’s sensory sensitivities. Young children need to experience the relevance of their world before they separate themselves from it and begin to analyse it in a detached way. Learning gains meaning by its relevance to life and should not be separated from the business of daily living.

WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Personal, Social & Emotional

Language & Literacy

 Mathematics  

Kinaesthetic & Understanding

Physical

Creative
Observation of each other; persisting in activity; respecting materials for sustainability; calming mood. Opportunity to learn child’s temperament through what and how paint. Attentive listening of accompanying story. Speak freely and listen to each other as a group;  share bleeding colours observations. Repeated patterns; shape; in two & three dimensions; use of space and symmetry; use ‘more/less/fewer’ during communal set up/tidying away; ‘add’, ‘take away’ vocabulary. Experiential observation of colour and texture in environment; ‘listen’ to inner language of colours effects and qualities within themselves. Fine motor skills (balance, dexterity, coordination) in controlling paint & brush. Time to practice sitting still.  Free from preciseness, experimentation & upcycle encouraged. Differentiation of colour & consistency. Stockmar enhance sensory & aesthetic appreciation.

 

COOKING

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
Contributing a vegetable; making soup collaboratively; sharing tasks. Sense of growing abilities: ‘Littles’ watching older ones use sharp knife, then become the ‘Bigs’ beginning to help and be role models to other and younger ones. Discussion of ingredients, taste, how grown. Talk about the domestic activities of life. Window into diversity: culture, food intolerances, preferences through interactions with their peers in conversation or actions. Extend vocabulary. Concepts such as counting, sequencing. addition and subtraction (or more or less), weight, measure, quantity, and shape are grasped in a practical manner as part of daily life.

An understanding of seasonal produce, nutrition, composting and preparing fresh food are developed experimentally. The children grow their own vegetables in the garden; compost; and feed the wildlife leftovers. Safe use of utensils.

Fine and gross motor skills: digging, planting, using peeler, grater, knife. The environment encourages a food culture that helps children enjoy healthy eating. Are aware of hygiene in hand washing and keeping clean.

Through soup making,  exploration of tastes, touch, smells, sight, ways of cooking vs raw, presentation.  Discover colour, texture, shape, form in three dimensions; as well as differentiation in varieties.

DRAWING

Personal, Social & Emotional Language & Literacy Mathematics Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical Creative
Involvement in and discussion of subjects. Recording; discussion of subject; emergent writing (mark making) Pattern, mark and number making; sorting crayons. Depiction of events; observation Pencil/Crayon control. Extension of imaginative ideas; descriptions of picture reporting of events.

HANDWORK

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
 Building confidence; challenge and achievement. harmonise his unfolding will and feeling life.  Design; problem-solving; discussion.  Counting, measuring, ordering, sequencing. Observation; uses; choice of design.  Manipulative skills; control of different materials. Fine motor skills through finger knitting, croquet, carding wool, and sewing Design; outcome; use of different natural materials. Help the young child to develop a healthy imagination

BAKING

Personal, Social & Emotional

Language & Literacy

 Mathematics  

Kinaesthetic & Understanding

Physical

Creative
Sharing & exchanging dough; contributing to the whole loaf, shared as a snack later. Recording and discussion of ingredients of bread mix; discussion of things made from dough. Weighing, measuring, counting, number work, shapes, fractions and quantity. Use and origin of ingredients; purpose of bread-making; outcome; operating equipment. Physical and manipulative skill. Repeated movements; Outcome; dialogue about what is made during kneading; creations and stories told about them.

 

WOODWORK / METALWORK

Personal, Social & Emotional

Language & Literacy

 Mathematics  

Kinaesthetic & Understanding

Physical

Creative
 Building and mending toys; adult input; discussion of ideas; helping peers. Research and design of project. Problem solving; measuring; counting; construction. Purpose of, how and why tools work; working with different mediums. Development of manipulative skills in use of tools and equipment; control. 3D construction from various natural materials.

 

 

STORYTELLING

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
Concentration, quiet contemplation; notice & construct relationships; conflict resolving. Vocabulary & word recognition; grammar; sound & listening; pronunciation; Positional language; sequencing; time. Imaginative picture building; concepts; data collection Sitting still; activating the inner will. Divergent thinking.

BEESWAX MODELLING

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
Potential of the hands; sensory; will-building; focus; therapeutic. Recording and discussion of malleability. Shape; form; formless. Effects of pressure and temperature; pliability and mold-ability; translucent quality; ecological (reusable). Fine motor skills: move, mould, manipulation; hand strength; sensitive/ capable muscles; warms hands. 3D structures; stimulates invention.

 

ROLE PLAY

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
Social interaction; conflict resolution; respect for each other. Increasing vocabulary in imaginary situations; sequencing; and memory development. Curiosity and observation; use of number in variety of ways. Personal events; understanding of world around them. Building constructions with large and small objects to assist role play. Observation; use of  imitation; use of  imagination to extend  roles; uses of different materials.

TIDYING UP

Personal, Social & Emotional  Language & Literacy  Mathematics  Kinaesthetic & Understanding Physical   Creative
 Following instructions; respect and care of environment; helping others. Motivation; sequencing; choosing correct containers and places. Sorting, counting, sequencing. Care of environment; knowledge of correct place and where objects belong. Arrangement and manipulation of small and large materials. Initiative, sticking to task. Concentration.

 

 

 

Steiner schools adopt the same approach to Early Years education as most European countries where children start formal learning during their seventh year. This approach is born out of a desire to protect young children from the anxieties caused by a rush to meet early intellectual attainment targets.

 

The carefully structured environment is designed to foster personal and social learning. During these years we teach by example, and learning is integrated rather than subject based.

 

The educational aspects of this philosophy spring from an understanding of three seven year cycles of development: from birth to seven; from seven to fourteen; and from fourteen to twenty-one. At each stage, the education is designed to work with the unfolding abilities and changing needs of the child. These stages connect with the development of the human qualities of thinking, feeling and willing. In the first phase, the active or will aspect predominates, in the second, the affective or feeling aspect is dominant, and in the third, the cognitive or thinking aspect comes to the fore (hand, heart, head).

Steiner Waldorf education uses only the highest grade art and craft materials such as Caran d’ache and Stockmar for their uncompromised quality and production in adherence to high pedagogical, artistic, social, and environmental standards; but most importantly for their nurturing of the young child’s senses.

Children can experience an interconnected world when we encourage them to see and participate 

in a whole process from start to finish: threshing the wheat; grinding the kernels with a mill to

make flour; adding each ingredient of dough; taking in the tactile kneading and shaping process;

the sensory aroma as it bakes; and tasting the finished loaf, breaking bread with peers. 

Children mirror for us what we have presented to them as it emerges in their actions and 

play. When they observe the perseverance of an adult completing a mundane task with as 

much reverence and pleasure as the tasks we do enjoy, it imparts the work ethic that all

jobs can be done to a high standard; any job can be a job well done.

We are a rare example of an education which emphasis sustainability and the belief in self-reliance: growing vegetables from seed and watching life grow; harvesting the produce and preparing it as sustenance for all at snack; and then cleaning, washing up, and composting or feeding the crumbs to the wildlife visiting the gardens.  Harmony is created when we care for ourselves, others and our environment responsibly.