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Early Years at Edinburgh Steiner School

In Early Years at Edinburgh Steiner School the focus is on meaningful play and activity embedded in the cycle of seasons and festivals. The rhythm of daily life in the Playgroup (aged 2+) and Kindergarten (from 3.5 - 6 years old) is simple and unhurried without the notions of ‘achievement’,’ success’, or ‘failure’.

In this new short documentary film, the distinctive Steiner approach is visible, with young pupils watercolour painting, baking, climbing trees, sitting around a bonfire in the protected grounds inside a conservation area of Edinburgh. They are engaging in metalwork, beeswax modelling, listening to a puppet show.

Uniquely, Edinburgh Steiner School has long run a curriculum that has embraced a delayed start to formal learning. Children here start their school career aged 6 or 7. Before then, they learn in an environment that is simple and unhurried without the notions of ‘achievement’, ‘success’, or ‘failure’. Specialist teachers follow the internationally-recognized principles of the Steiner Waldorf curriculum, where education in the first six years is integrated.


Mathematical concepts, for example, are learnt throughout the daily activities. Baking bread or preparing soup from fresh vegetables, and setting the table, involves weighing, measuring, counting, number work and quantity. In watercolour painting, repeated patterns, shape and use of space are discovered. Drawing explores pattern, mark and number making, as well as sorting crayons. Sewing offers the child the experience of counting, measuring, ordering and sequencing. Woodwork lets them problem-solve, measure, count and use numbers in a variety of ways. Role play employs their curiosity and observation, where numbers are introduced in a variety of ways: Tidying enhances their skills in sorting, counting and sequencing.


They have the opportunity to pick edible fruit, feed the wildlife and soak up the natural child-friendly environment. Edinburgh Steiner School has been a Partner Provider of Early Learning & Childcare since 1991, and is part of the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme. They are offering individual family tours of the all-through school.


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