Steiner-Waldorf schools by nature have a strong interest in the environment and have had gardening as part of the curriculum for over 90 years. As an example, the 9-year olds work outdoors and learn hands-on about farming and weekly gardening lessons are introduced for 12, 13 and 14 year olds. As involvement with nature is part of our heritage, we have naturally gone for Green School status and, of course, we took most seriously our duty of stewardship to our previous natural site at Woodfields.
Nature is a key source of inspiration, and from Kindergarten children spend time every day, rain or shine, outside playing, on nature walks, exploring and discovering. As they grow older the children continually use nature as a source for ideas and scientific investigation.
Gardening becomes a subject on the Curriculum from class 6, and is particularly beneficial for children approaching puberty as amongst the psychological and physical changes taking place for each child it provides a stabilising, confidence inspiring, harmonising experience. They learn how to care for the soil, directly contribute to the production of the crops and gain an appreciation for nature.
Where term timetabling permits plants are grown in accordance with the biodynamic calendar. Biodynamics is a system of agriculture developed by Steiner to increase the quality of the soil and plants by working with and for nature – it is even used by supermarkets to select their wine as they recognise its beneficial effects!