Do you have a place available for my child?
Yes! We generally have spaces available in our Nursery. 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 Nursery?
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 (and 2-year olds from April 2024) are able to join our Nursery for (at least) 15 hours for free.
Can my child just attend for the pre-school years?
Of course! We welcome children as long as they are at least 2 years old and able to stay on their own, for however long up to the age of 5 years.
Do you offer education for school-age children?
No. Calder Valley Steiner School closed in July 2019. Following the closure of the School, the Valley Steiner Nursery offers education for children aged 2 to 5 years
In Steiner Waldorf schools, 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.
What is your stance on screen time, including 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 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 festivals do we celebrate?
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 community. You can read more about our main festivals and the magical ways we celebrate them here.
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 younger classes a sense of wonder, respect and reverence is central. In 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.