The final year of Kindergarten
The Steiner Waldorf ethos is to provide an extended childhood, where children have the opportunity to embed the basic skills (physical, emotional, social and cognitive), and develop lifelong learning habits which enable them to become enthusiastic, imaginative, resilient, creative and eager to learn students. They learn through practical, hands-on everyday experiences and opportunities which arise naturally in child-led play, social interaction and teacher-led activity.
Steiner kindergartens include a broad age range, and children remain within the ‘kindergarten phase’ (the first phase of childhood) until they are 6. The curriculum for their last year in kindergarten takes account of the National Curriculum for this age group, and is differentiated from the curriculum for the younger children. Previously modelled behaviour is now expected, the children receive new responsibilities, opportunities and privileges, and the teachers support the emergence of thinking skills. The teacher adopts a different approach with the rising 6 year olds, which relies more on direct instruction and less on imitation. By means of this curriculum, skills are embedded in order to facilitate a gentle transition to the formal learning stage which we believe takes place in the child’s 7th year.