Last Thursday, I attended 2 talks. Both were very different forums but coming away from each I had the sense that we are very fortunate to be providing such a healthy education and are in the flow of where modern education is heading.
A presentation on the Early Years Learning Framework which must be adopted by schools receiving government funding, covers how children aged 0-5yrs should be “educated” in schools. The framework document is called Belonging, Being and Becoming. Fortunately, so much of what is being introduced is already being done in our early years at Steiner schools. We don’t need to make many changes to meet the requirements of the framework. One example: It is recommended that children experience “natural environments which may include plants, trees, edible gardens, sand, rocks, mud, water and other elements from nature” because “these spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.”
“Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn. In these ways play can promote positive dispositions towards learning. Children’s immersion in their play illustrates how play enables them to simply enjoy being.”
A slideshow of schools that are examples of this featured Steiner schools, a lot but not exclusively. If you are interested in the framework, you can download it here.
The second presentation was by Florian Osswald, an experienced Steiner educator from Switzerland. He presented a range of images, anecdotes and insights in answer to various questions but the overarching picture that emerged was the importance of perseverance. He highlighted that with the ability to overcome obstacles without giving up hope or giving in to what is easy, safe or cynical, children can develop into healthy adults and live life with confidence.
Please download & read: 01/08/2011 Silver Leaves Edition 253