Training and Courses / Features

How to be a Steiner parent

By bristol247, Thursday Feb 25, 2016

Parents often question the current educational approach on stressful tests, exams and technology. A radical alternative is offered by the Steiner educational system – offered at Bristol Steiner School, “where education is a journey, not a race.”

A free course to explain how Steiner education works, and the importance of parental collaboration, is being offered to current and prospective Steiner parents. Devised and taught by Alexander Gifford, a writer and director and Steiner parent, who also trained and taught as a Steiner teacher.

They may already have children in Steiner school or simply want to know more about Steiner’s educational philosophy. It’s also for prospective parents or anyone looking to become a better parent.

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The course is being run, in seven two hour sessions, by Alexander Gifford, a writer and director and Steiner parent, who also trained and taught as a Steiner teacher. He created the course to help parents understand how Steiner education works and how they can be involved. Steiner schooling offers an alternative to mainstream education based around different stages of development and parents are expected to collaborate with this nurturing approach.

While 4 year olds are now to be taught programming skills Steiner education is focused on the power of play and natural child development, free from technology. Parents are encouraged to restrict their children’s exposure to TV, computer and smart phones. 

Steiner’s visionary insights led him to believe that a child’s energy was adversely affected by modern educational methods. He developed his system of teaching following WW1 in the hope that it would develop adults that valued peace and cooperation to help avoid future wars. 

Class sizes are much smaller. The curriculum in Kindergarten is designed to make children feel safe and confident in their environment. Their weekly timetable includes domestic, arts and crafts activities such as sewing, bread making, weaving and woodwork. The academic year follows a regular rhythm of celebrations and festivals based on Christian spirituality. 

Steiner education encourages working with natural materials, daily outdoor activities and sharing class resources, such as art materials, to encourage socialisation. Subjects are often taught by engaging a child’s creative imagination and by exploring nature. Reading is only introduced after the children reach seven years of age. Children are taught to look at natural forms to discover the letters of the alphabet, to make the shapes with their own bodies and with materials. Learning is embodied rather than taught by rote.

This is based on Steiner principles of imitating, activating and doing. From 7 to 14 years old children will have just one teacher for their class. This is designed to help them develop a trusting relationship with authority and create social harmony in the class.

The children’s friendships and parental support networks in the Steiner system are very supportive. Steiner education is a partnership project between parents and teachers. The purpose of course is to build community of parents. These creative, collaborative workshops will offer insights into Steiner’s system including his views of the development of the child’s consciousness and of bringing out the individual potential of each individual child. Dates to be confirmed.

You can register your interest in attending this course on


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