Our mission, which is at the heart of the movement of the Federation of French Steiner schools, and therefore at the ‘Waldorf Kindergarten’ in Beausoleil, is to uphold and guide the positive development of the child in accordance with respecting and encouraging their individuality.
The Steiner teaching method considers the child as a unique person and that their individual development and originality comes from their environmental and social experiences.
Our principal objective, therefore, is to accompany each child in the harmonious development of their individuality and cultivate (in an appropriate manner for their age) the faculties for the following:
-Their motor skills & self will
-Their emotional & psychological development
-Their cognitive skills & thought process
Historical methodology and origin
Our teaching method ‘Waldorf’, was named after a German entrepreneur who self-financed the creation of the first school of this type in 1919.
It was to be based on the anthropological studies of Steiner who studied, in particular, the general laws surrounding the evolution of man.
Today these laws are still enacted upon for the individual child as well as in collectively. The teachers are therefore responsible for its application and in adhering to the fundamental values of the teaching method of Waldorf Steiner. The general management of the school is shared amongst those that are engaged in order to encourage their responsibility and role in the school.
The teaching method itself is also an organ of control, which is based on transparency, dialogue and self-evaluation.
A weekly meeting is held with the team in order to bring together the diverse directions of this teaching technique. During this meeting various things take place such as; the organising of communal activities, shared observation of the children & pedagogical reflections.
VALUES AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES
Bilingualism is practiced from a very early age (3 to 6 years old), as part of the international environnement in which our school lives. The class takes place in French in the morning, whereas in English in the afternoon.
On the basis of precise observations of their needs and the free development of the child, we ensure to create an environment which is adapted to promote activity, empirical experience and leaning all of which are led by the child’s own initiative.
We observe that in the young child, all of the senses are open, all sensory activity is absorbed and that this helps to mould the child both internally and externally.
We give great importance in letting the child live with authentic sensory experiences; we believe that this offers the children the possibility to have confidence within themselves and a greater social comprehension. These are the building blocks for creating an autonomous child.
The child’s environment at school is therefore made up of natural materials such as cloth, wool, wood, bark and wooden planks which all become utensils of play.
We consider that a certain measure of protection from external factors is necessary for the healthy development of the young child; we believe that the child’s sensory development is today threatened by premature exposure to technology and virtual media which can inhibit the child’s fundamental needs.
Humanisation / Imitation
The child’s first response from their external perceptions is in imitation. Their capacity to imitate is their way of learning, which little by little fades away and changes into free impulse- their own imagination.
In order to uphold this primordial experience, which is ‘imitation ‘, the child must get inspiration from life and the influences that surround him. The voluntary education that we expose them to aids this process.
The direct and positive human contact that we/you give them has a huge impact and is fundamental in the educational development of the child.
We therefore avoid addressing any intellectual activity before school age and refuse all forms of experimental education, whether it’s authoritative or anti-authoritative.
The structure and social cohesion of the group is supported by the alternating rhythm of their activities, whether it’s in the course of the day, the week or the year according to its seasons.
This repetition gives structure to their time, helps the child find their baring and gives them a feeling of security.
Rhythm plays an important role, not only in their daily life, which gives them structure, but also in all of their vital processing and cognitive processing.
In leaving the child time to exercise repetition we permit them to develop teaching faculties, which firmly anchor them in their free will and which, they can use when the moment comes.
Freedom in playing
« All that we require later in life to exist seriously and all the seriousness that we take to work, all of this, stems from the work of your childhood play, the games that we all took seriously. » R. Steiner.
All of the aforementioned values, the child essentially develops in free play, of which we give them long periods. This is both educational and important, we cease to impose our rules and teaching philosophies and we leave the child to himself.
Play is a conduit to establish friendship in the group, to adapt themselves and to establish those, which are introverts and extroverts.
Finally, the child develops through play an essential faculty, which is creative imagination. The necessity to be creative, which is, after all, in the heart of human our human race, is established through childhood play and thus will therefore stay with us all of our lives.
Imagination gives us the force to go further than who we are and makes strong associations about who we will become.
Imagination liberates and opens up the future. Like in play, the child must adapt to the reality of the present with given conditions but bring propositions to change what it is.
Is not this metamorphosis of growing up which lights up and animates all our lives?
WALDORF KINDERGARTEN BEAUSOLEIL, 28 March 2011