Do you have a place available for my child?
Yes! We generally have spaces available in all of our classes, thanks to our small class sizes and flexibility. Get in touch to find out more, to arrange a trial day or to come and take a look around.
Can I use my ‘universal entitlement’ free childcare hours in the Kindergarten?
Yes! Children are welcome to use part or all of their entitlement with us for up to 30 hours per week. This means all 3-4 year olds are able to join our Kindergarten for (at least) 15 hours for free.
Can my child just attend for the pre-school years?
Of course! We welcome children at any stage, for however long you wish to stay. There is no requirement when joining our Kindergarten to remain in the school – although, of course, we hope that you might end up wanting to!
When do pupils begin formal learning?
Pupils start formal learning (i.e. writing, reading and numeracy) in Class 1 at the age of 6 an approach that is the norm in many European countries and supported by a significant body of research. Children learn academic skills more easily once they have had the opportunity to fully develop speech, co-ordination, social and emotional skills during the pre-school years in Kindergarten.
Do you have exams? How do you know that students are making progress?
Each teacher stays with the same group of students for up to eight years, getting to know each child, and forming a clear picture of their individual learning and development. We use formative and on-going assessment, reducing the need for the frequent and stressful testing and exams. Teachers and parents work closely together in order to build a picture of each child that helps everyone to understand and support their development, without creating anxiety for the child.
How do students perform academically? What are their prospects long-term?
A number of UK Steiner schools offer a small range of GCSE’s and A-levels or recognised equivalents. Results are well above the national average and pupils are able to go on to higher education and a huge variety of career paths. Our students develop strong independent learning skills, motivation and creativity that helps them follow their dreams to find careers and success in adult life.
What is your stance on television, tablets and ICT?
We know that no child or family exists in a bubble, and a familiarity with technology is an essential part of a rounded and complete education. There is growing evidence, however, that too much ‘screen time’ is detrimental to children (and adults!), and so we simply encourage families to be mindful about the role it plays in their life. We support families in keeping their children safe online, and offer no-judgement help with any issues relating to social media, internet access and cyber bullying concerns.
Computers are generally not used by students until secondary age in Steiner schools, when they very quickly master the necessary skills. Many past Steiner students have gone on to build successful careers in the computer, film and TV industries.
How do children adjust when they transfer in to the school from a mainstream setting?
Most children settle very quickly, thanks to our small classes, nurturing environment and skilled, experienced teaching team. The Steiner curriculum is extensive and it can sometimes take a little time to adjust to this, but our teachers often report seeing new children lighting up at the possibility of actually enjoying school and learning for the very first time.
How is the children’s behaviour managed?
We know that children learn best when they feel secure and know what to expect. A warm, well-structured environment gives them essential support in finding out about the world and themselves in an age-appropriate way.
All Steiner schools have Behaviour Management Policies which state clearly their approach to discipline which is neither rigid in the traditional sense nor free in the progressive sense. You can see ours here. We also have robust anti-bullying policies in place and take any bullying very seriously.
What provision is made for pupils with different or additional learning needs?
We believe a child’s lack of skills in one area – whether cognitive, emotional or physical – is often balanced by strengths in another. Our teachers work to bring the child into balance offering a differentiated approach in the classroom to meet the full range of all our students’ abilities. Our structured, calm classroom environments are especially supportive for individuals on the Autistic spectrum or with attention and listening difficulties. Our school team includes experienced several SEN specialists who support the class and subject teachers as required, as well as liaising with local authority and NHS specialists when appropriate.
What are the school festivals?
Festivals, both seasonal and those adapted from our local culture, play an important part in the school calendar and our educational approach. Stories, crafts, songs and activities are themed seasonally and in correspondence with the festivals throughout the year, and the events provide an opportunity for participation and celebration by the whole school community. You can read more about our main school festivals and the magical ways we celebrate them here.
What place does sport have in the curriculum?
Games and sports are an integral part of social and cultural life in our school. Competition has its place as the children get older, and many schools may prepare and enter teams in a range of sports competitions, including basketball, hockey, tennis and cricket.
Who was Rudolf Steiner, and what is anthroposophy?
Dr. Rudolf Steiner was born in what is now Croatia in 1861. He wrote and lectured on a wide range of contemporary issues including architecture, medicine, philosophy, science, economics and social reform as well as education. Steiner-Waldorf schools, biodynamic agriculture and a variety of therapeutic and curative initiatives are amongst the most well-known practical applications of his work. Steiner education often forms a part of the mainstream education system in many European countries such as Finland and Germany.
Steiner’s school of thought is known as Anthroposophy, literally, ‘human wisdom’, or ‘knowledge of the human being’. Steiner maintained that the spiritual world could, by means of conscientious inner development, be investigated empirically in the same way that natural science can investigate the physical world and so contribute to the understanding of child development.
Do Steiner schools teach religion?
In most schools there is a regular religious education lesson in which the aim is to cultivate a moral mood towards the world and our fellow human beings. In our younger classes a sense of wonder, respect and reverence is central. In our older classes the focus is on the phenomena of idealism, striving and the over-coming of adversity. Story material from all sources, including a broad range of folk and religious traditions, together with the biographies of inspiring individuals is used to teach these topics.
What is eurythmy?
Eurythmy is an art, like modern dance or sculpture. It’s a traditional Steiner form of movement where gestures relate to the sounds and rhythms of speech, music and emotions. It helps to develop imagination, concentration, self-discipline, spatial-awareness and sensitivity to others, and lessons follow the themes of the curriculum, exploring topics such as rhyme, meter, story, and shapes.