What do children do at our school?
In our school, children find time and space for an unhurried, playful childhood. They unfold as individuals and develop without pressure in a warm and nourishing environment. Secure in the home-like setting and reassuring rhythms of the day, they are free to explore the world around them.
Free play with simple natural materials brings the joy of discovery and the flowering of the imagination. With plenty of time for play, children can engage deeply and creatively in it, building up physical abilities, concentration and problem-solving skills. Children of different ages play together, learning from each other and discovering how to balance the needs of the individual and the group. Confidence, social skills and self-regulation develop with the calm and loving guidance of the teachers. Care and empathy shown by the adults gives the children a model for how to treat each other.
Alongside the play, the classrooms and garden are full of real work and artistic activity, following the seasonal rhythms of the year. Imitation, the young child’s natural way of learning, flourishes as the adults purposefully work and make things around them. Children thrive as they help make bread, wash dolls’ clothes, push heavy barrows in the garden or prepare the snack for sharing later.
Making apple juice in the autumn, churning butter in the summer or planting seeds in the spring, connects us to the natural world. The recurring cycle of work brings an unforced understanding of process and time. Using real tools develops skills, confidence and self-reliance.
Rhythm and pattern underpin the children’s day, with a healthy balance of child-led and adult-led times. Long periods of free play, outdoors and inside, alternate with times for being still and listening, singing and moving as a group, and a eating a sociable snack together. Each day has its own regular activity and once a week we enjoy eurythmy, a form of movement linked to sound which encourages harmonious development.
The children love the special crafts and preparations for our occasional festivals, the highlights of our seasonal rhythm.