Steiner schools have a unique and distinctive approach to educating children, aiming to enable each stage of growth to be fully and vividly enjoyed and experienced. They provide a balanced approach to the modern school curriculum. The academic, artistic and social aspects, or ‘head, heart & hands’, are treated as complementary facets of a single program of learning, allowing each to throw light on the others. This is implemented by using art as a practice, and language to develop the feelings, by nourishing the children with the rich heritage of wise folk tales, histories, fairy stories, poems, music and games that are part of our world civilisation. This creates the cultural atmosphere in which the children are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, nature study, geography, science, languages, music and other subjects.
Steiner designed a curriculum that is responsive to the developmental phases of childhood and the nurturing of the child’s imagination in a school environment. Steiner thought that schools should cater to the needs of the child rather than the demands of the government or economic forces, so he developed schools that encourage creativity and free-thinking. His teaching seeks to recognise the individuality of the child and through a balanced education, allows them to go into the world with confidence.
Steiner Education is a deeply insightful application of learning based on the Study of Humanity that helps develop consciousness of self and the surrounding world. Steiner’s perception that although external conditions in our time are changing as never before, the essential nature of humanity remains; in particular, the stages of human development through childhood follow a natural pattern unaffected by short term social change. The task of educators remains to prepare children for an unpredictable future by nurturing healthy development ‘from the inside’, to provide the right nourishment at each stage of physical, emotional and spiritual growth.
There is an international group of over 800 schools and 1200 kindergartens in many countries including Australia, Britain, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, China, Japan, Chile, U.S.A. and Canada. There are currently over 50 schools and Kindergartens throughout Australia, with 6 operating within the State system in Victoria. Although Steiner education has already stood the test of time, many believe it will show its full promise in the 21st century. The significance of its rapid growth around the world indicates that it may well be an education coming into its own because it fosters a thinking that is appropriate for our age. Steiner Education has become one of the largest independent educational movements in the world today.
Milkwood Steiner School is a member of Steiner Education Australia (SEA), the not for profit national association/peak body which represents over 40 Steiner schools and 10 Associate members throughout the states and territories of Australia. The SEA website is a valuable resource for curriculum information and has links and locations to all member Steiner Schools in Australia.