What can early years practitioners learn from Steiner kindergartens?
What is distinctive about Steiner kindergarten teachers’ ways of getting to know children?
As demands for accountability in Early Years settings continue to grow, external pressure to assess children and to measure their progress can disrupt the development of informal and intimate relationships between teachers and children.
The contributors to this book, who include both experienced Steiner educators and early childhood experts from other backgrounds, have worked together to explore and understand what is distinctive about Steiner kindergarten practice. They present a variety of perspectives on the ways in which kindergarten teachers’ practices, values and beliefs can help children to find and construct their own identities, through play and through engagement in the life of their community.
The authors explore key aspects of Steiner kindergarten practice, including caring for the physical environment, establishing rhythms and routines for children’s activity, and providing times and spaces in which teachers and children can get to know each other. By meeting with children and teachers, through rich accounts of day to day life in kindergartens and through accounts of the values and principles which inform their practice, readers will be encouraged to question and reflect on their own approaches to observation and assessment.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: ways of knowing children Rod Parker-Rees 2. Looking inside the kindergarten: the apple press Mary Jane Drummond with Sarah Rees, Janet Klaar, Karen Fielding and Janet Parsons 3. Mixed age structure, the family model and the developing child Sally Jenkinson 4. How the Steiner kindergarten environment helps adults and children to get to know each other Rod Parker-Rees and Sarah Rees 5. Imagination in Steiner early years: practices and potential purposes Sue Waite and Sarah Rees 6. Doing is learning: the domestic arts and artistic activities Janni Nicol 7. Carolyn’s voice John Burnett 8. The work of the teacher: key themes and absences Mary Jane Drummond 8. Reading the book of the child: the Steiner teacher’s inner work and its relationship to child observation Sally Jenkinson 9. "Hello, Billy the gnome!" When life is not weighed or scored Trevor Mepham
Rod Parker-Rees is Coordinator of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Plymouth, UK.