Riviera Zeit – Januar/Februar 2017

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Riviera Insider – January/February 2017

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The Riviera Times – 2015

Technology and early education: How much focus should schools be giving new technology?

By the time they start school, the majority of children are already confident using a tablet or smart phone in the home. But how important is the integration of technology and media in early education?

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The Riviera Times – 2013

« The Waldorf teaching method that we practice at the Waldorf Kindergarten seeks to support the development of creative intelligence as well as free and autonomous thinking of future adults, permitting young children to move and play freely and creatively, not giving them anything other than play materials that can be adapted by their imagination, allowing any possible experience, » says teacher Pascale Zembok.

Riviera Zeitung – 2013

Eigenständiges Denken fördern

Wer übrigens doch bereits an die spätere Karriere des Kindes denkt, wenn es gerade den Windeln entwachsen ist, findet vielleicht in einer Waldorf-Vorschule die Erfüllung – etwa in Beausoleil: «Unsere Unterrichtsmethode will die Entwicklung kreativer Intelligenz fördern ebenso wie freies, eigenständiges Denken, indem den Kindern erlaubt wird, sich zu frei zu bewegen und kreativ zu spielen – mit Material, das ihre Vorstellungskraft anregt und ihnen verschiedenste Erfahrungen ermglicht», erklärt die Leiterin Pascale Zembok.

The Riviera Times – Feb 2010

The Ecole Internationale Waldorf Steiner kindergarten in Beausoleil and Valbonne offer a healthy start to school life in a warm and caring ambiance that nurtures a love of learning. Unusual activities for both boys and girls include sewing, requiring concentration and accuracy.

The Riviera Times – 2009

From the window I can look out at the wooden playhouse, the flowers and the vegetable patch. I can here children singing, and smell the fresh bread baking in the kitchen. But I’m not at my grandma’s house. I’m actually visiting the Waldorf Steiner primary school in Beausoleil, which has it’s own unique approach to the way children should learn.

Paulie Van der Haïjden, a former speech therapist from Rotterdam, has been teaching at the school for two and a half years. She told me about what makes the school unusual: « Children live in a magical world: they are able to become different people and create their own reality. So, if a child is pretending to be a prince, we will address him as a prince, if he’s pretending to be a farmer, then we address him as a farmer. By not telling children how to act, we allow them to develop their personality and think independently »
Every day at the school has the same rhythm: « Each morning, we draw. When we’re done, we sing as we clear everything away. The children know what’s going to happen next, which gives them confidence and helps them feel secure. »

Although state certified the school does not use conventional testing; pupils are assessed to check that they are ready for intellectual learning. Children are not ‘taught’ reading and writing but the skills to learn. « Sometimes, teachers and parents in mainstream schools think that the children coming from here will need to catch up, but that’s just not fair. They have all the skills they need to read and write well, and within two to three months they will be at the same level as children who have done it before. It’s just a different way of learning. »
Despite hosting many international children, Waldorf Steiner is not officially a multilingual school: « French unites us, but we also use other languages, For example, we sing in English. This sensitises the childrens’ way of listening, meaning it will be much easier for them to learn a second or third language in later life. »

By exploring their environment, the pupils are able to learn in their own way: The school’s beautiful gardens allow the pupils to relate to the natural world: « We plant lots of flowers in the garden, and we let the children follow their entire life cycle. We plant the bulbs and watch them bloom. However, when the flowers have gone, we carry on learning. We watch the stem turn yellow, fade and dry out.The bulbs are then put away. » As well as plants, the children also grow their own food: « We bake bread every Monday using the grain that we planted in the garden. »
Working in this unusual place is clearly something that Paulie enjoys: « For me, this isn’t a job, it’s a gift. Every day beautiful, unusual things happen, as the rhythm of the day allows the children to be themselves. »

Stephanie Macwilliam