In this secure and intimate environment, the children learn about themselves and their world. Their days are filled with artistic and practical work , imaginative play and fairy tales, puppetry and music, circle games and healthy outdoor play.
Toys are made from nature’s gifts: wood, sea shells, stones, pine cones, lamb’s wool. The simpler the toys the more active can the children’s imagination be – the ground is better prepared for a fertile mind.
Every child imitates his or her teacher and deeply absorbs the environment. Unconscious imitation is the dominant mode of learning for the pre-school child – this is the child’s natural way of learning. Therefore, great care is taken to provide a welcoming environment that is warm and beautiful, and where quality rather than quantity is the keyword.
Teachers try to ensure that actions seen by the child are permeated with logic and purpose. In this way, rather than with words, the child’s whole being is imbued with order and harmony, developing in him or her a sense of security.
Co-ordination and well-developed senses are essential for intellectual development. Children of this age wish to test their senses, particularly the sense of balance and movement. They love to be on a see-saw, a narrow ledge or up a tree. Wooden toys have been especially designed to enhance a natural sense for form and touch.
Hands need to be creatively occupied. Nimble fingers tie, twist, braid and model. Watercolour paintings and modelling in beeswax are group activities which enrich and educate. Music becomes both doing and listening. Rhythm is experienced in eurythmy, in games and in the whole ordering of the day. Singing plays a central part in the life of the child.
Formal intellectual schooling is purposely excluded as this is considered to be inappropriate for this stage of the child’s development.
“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”
“For every one step that you take in the pursuit of higher knowledge, take three steps in the perfection of your own character.”
“Activities demanding manual and bodily skill, such as knitting, leads to the enhancement of the faculty of judgement.”