Steiner Waldorf preschooling costing £8.5k to be offered free to parents living in Scotland Its nature playground is situated within a protected Conservation Area in Merchiston. The child-friendly architecture creates open, canted spaces fostering imaginative play and social interaction. Uniquely, it has long run a curriculum that has embraced children beginning formal learning at age 6. And now, access to this Early Years setting, with fees of up to £8,455 will be offered free to parents looking for a Steiner Waldorf education for their 3-5 year-olds for around 30 hours a week.
Edinburgh Steiner School is the first fee-paying school in Edinburgh and the Lothians to commit to the Government’s Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) scheme, by which funded preschool provision almost doubles to 1,140 hours a year this August.
The Edinburgh Steiner School is a small independent school for up to 360 pupils aged 2 - 18 years, which has been offering the internationally recognised Steiner Waldorf curriculum in Edinburgh for over 80 years.
Its four Kindergartens of up to 16 children per group, in partnership with the City Council, currently offer 3 and 4 year old children 600 hours per year of funded childcare, delivered as a £5.31/hour grant. The funding comes direct to the school from the Council. Families are then charged a top up fee, to cover the short fall between the funding and the cost of running the school. This scheme will only be available until the end of June.
Early Years education has a high profile in Steiner-Waldorf schools, offering an important alternative to mainstream Preschool–P2 education. Children here transition into the school after their sixth birthday. Before then, they learn in an environment where the teaching of English, Maths, the Sciences, are integrated rather than subject-based: through cooking vegetable soup with ingredients from the garden, watercolour painting, wood- and metal work; where every day is a waterproofs day, immersed in the seasons; where play is recognised as being the true work of childhood.
A central aim of this approach is to develop, harmonise and unite the faculties of thought, feeling, and physical literacy in the child, based on principles of child development, so that the foundations may be laid for mental adaptability, initiative and moral strength in their future school career.
The emphasis is on creating an environment which fosters imaginative play and social interaction. Children have the opportunity to take part in domestic and craft activities inside, and in gardening and woodwork outside.
This high quality provision is reflected in the Early Years tuition fees, ranging from £256 - £705/month, run on a not-for-profit basis. The City Council funding of £5.31 per hour, per child, will not cover this total.
“Today it is widely recognised that the first seven years of life are of the utmost importance for the development of the healthy adult,” says Michael Palmer, Chair of the Board of Trustees, continuing: “We know that not all families who wish to join the school community have equal means to be able to do so. Offering 1,140 hours ELC-funded places to eligible young children in Scotland is just one of the ways we endeavour to widen access, providing an inclusive educational experience for the children."
To learn more, visit: edsteiner.org/e-y