Kavida Rei shares how Steiner schools gave her two boys a well-rounded education, including creativity and practical skills, as well as academic subjects.
Wanting to avoid state education for my children I assumed that the only option available to me was home-schooling, which I wasn’t entirely sure I had the patience for. I wanted to match my alternative approach to life with the right kind of learning environment for my kids that would nurture their whole being, instead of programming them. When my first son turned two we were invited to view the Kings Langley Steiner school and I immediately knew that I’d discovered the answer, especially when I found myself in the magical kindergarten, with its natural textures and peaceful and harmonious ambience.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was a philosopher and innovative academic. He created a unique and truly holistic curriculum which mirrors and supports the natural development of the whole child, focusing equally on all four aspects of the human being – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual. Because of this, Steiner students develop tremendous self-motivation and compassion for others. There is no competitive academic pressure, and the school avoids testing of any kind, up until GCSEs and A levels, which the kids sit a year later than those in state schools. If a child is falling behind in any way, the more proficient in the class are encouraged to help those struggling, and this reinforces the children’s natural abilities without damaging their self-esteem. Kids make their own text books up till GCSEs, so beautifully illustrated that I’ve kept all the books my boys made.
One of the most unique aspects of the Steiner school is that for the first eight years the children are taught by the same class teacher who guides them lovingly through to the upper school. With only one class per year, the school has a real family feel. It’s certainly an inspiring community to become a part of. Music and art are a huge part of school life – all the children study painting and drawing, learn to read music and play and sing, and all this to a high standard. They arrive at the end of their school years with a love and appreciation of the arts that stays with them through life. As well as a thorough grounding in the standard subjects, both genders are taught cookery, wood and metal work, gardening and farming.
If you are worried that this type of education is not academic enough for your offspring, rest assured that the final exam results are stunning! The teachers are highly committed to providing the most rounded education for the children and a very high proportion of the students go on to good universities and stellar careers in science, academia and the arts.
My oldest son achieved 3 A’s in his A levels and went on to Leeds University to study history of art and is now a professional DJ, composer and event organiser. My youngest is halfway through his A levels now and is aiming for 3 A stars, the highest marks achievable. Having abhorred school myself I could never have imagined that kids could be content and happy throughout their entire school life, but both my boys are true advocates of the school and say they wouldn’t consider another kind of education for their own children. That says it all, really. And guess what my youngest wants to study at Uni? Politics and economics! This is after being raised with no television or newspapers at home. Being a Tantric, hippy-chick I’ve no interest in politics or economics myself. Well, I guess kids have to rebel somehow…
Tantric goddess, teacher, healer, author and musician