Intro to Steiner Education

Steiner education is a child-centered education that seeks to nurture ‘the hand, the head and the heart’ of every child. It is a holistic, child-centered pedagogy that:

  • is multi-denominational, democratic and committed to cultural diversity and social equality;
  • emphasises nature-based play and education, strengthening the child’s connection to nature;
  • develops a love of learning and an enthusiasm for school;
  • sees artistic activity and the development of the imagination as integral to learning;
  • takes account of the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual;
  • deliver the Irish curriculum, but in a creative and integrated way
  • prioritises age-appropriate learning, adapting its teaching methods to suit the developmental stage of its pupils, as well as their experience of the world.

Source: Pearse O Shiel, Chairman of Lifeways Ireland (2011)

A school day will include:

  • An activity, (in Junior and Senior Infants this may include for example baking, soup making, cleaning, singing, drama, construction or painting, as young children learn by doing). In the older years this may include music, drama, painting, handwork, activity and movement games)
  • Outdoor play in the beautiful wildlife – rain or shine.
  • A key feature of the school day is the Main Lesson, a daily session where a topic is explored for up to four weeks, carefully chosen to resonate with your child’s age and stage of development. This allows a deep understanding to be achieved and gives the child a sense of achievement and purpose.
  • Language skills are very important in a Steiner school. Irish and English will be integrated into the day so that your child will reach a level of competency that will equip them for any secondary school that parents may choose. Steiner education encourages exposure to many languages during the primary school cycle.
  • All schools in the Irish state are required to study religion. A Steiner School incorporates this into the daily activities and is multi-denominational, so that many religions and cultures are experienced fully leading to a healthy understanding and respect for others.
  • The Irish Primary School curriculum is covered in an unhurried yet deeply rewarding way that suits each child’s stage of development.
  • Parental involvement broadens the educational experience for the children.
  • Teachers and students remain together for a number of years ensuring a deep understanding of each child’s needs.

 I have completed 12 years of Steiner Education in Austria and I can honestly say that it has been one of the most personally as well as academically enriching experiences of my life. The School curriculum incorporates not only academic, artistic, linguistic, scientific subjects but it also incorporates social and cultural learning.

– Natalie Houghnon, Student at NUIG

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