Steiner (also known as Waldorf) education was developed by Rudolf Steiner around 1919. It is a method of education that aims to educate the whole child, often referred to as educating the head, the heart and the hands. Fundamental to Steiner education is age-appropriate developmental pedagogy, which forms the basis of lessons that are delivered in a way which respects the child’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development with a focus on cooperation not competition.
The Steiner method provides a holistic learning environment that cherishes childhood and aims to develop a student’s artistic, intellectual and practical skills in an integrated manner. Rudolf Steiner advocated for children to be provided with an education that would respect and encourage the child’s autonomy. The cultivation of a child’s imagination and creativity is a key focus as is respect for nature. In early childhood in particular, Steiner believed that children learn best by being immersed in an environment, and focused on experiential learning, allowing children to learn by example, experience and reflection all the while providing ample opportunities for imaginative play and participation in daily tasks, such as cooking and chores.
Home educators who follow the Steiner approach typically include a lot of artistic pursuits: arts and crafts, dancing, drama, plays and handwork. Exploring and observing nature, and having a rhythm to each day is also often a key component. The use of natural materials, such as beeswax crayons and wooden toys is popular. Parents who follow a Steiner approach for their home education may have differing views on the use of technology, as Steiner education encourages a great focus on the social and natural environment in the earlier years, where children learn from other people and their own direct experiences.
Steiner Education Australia now provides homeschooling specific curriculum for registered home educators around Australia, that is recognised nationally by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. https://www.steinereducation.edu.au/home-schooling-curriculum/