The core belief, which forms the crux of an anthroposophic education, focuses on how humans develop while protecting the sanctity of a fun, free and childhood. Antroposophy recommends practical work and focuses on ‘the processes of life rather than on learning outcomes.’
At Mini beee, we’re fascinated by psychology topics, and we love to learn more about the latest developments in our understanding of mental development.
In our blog posts, we’ve covered a number of different topics under this umbrella. These include everything from the benefits of independent play to the role of nature in childhood development and a guide to encouraging holistic play.
Another topic which we’ve previously explored is that of anthroposophic childcare. In an earlier blog post, we broke down what the philosophy involves and why it is important.
We wanted to dedicate some more time to learn about this fascinating philosophy. So, in this post, we’ll be outlining how you can incorporate anthroposophic childcare at home.
With these top tips on hand, you can successfully apply this brilliant practice to your home life.
A quick refresher
But, before we go into it, let’s start with a quick refresher on the definition of anthroposophic childcare.
Anthroposophic childcare is a new way of approaching early education.
What makes anthroposophic childcare unique is how it breaks down the education of a child (from birth up until their 21st birthday) into three key stages of development. These phases are:
1. The physical (from birth to 7 years old)
2. The imagination (7-14 years old)
3. The spirit (14-21 years old).
The International Association for Steiner / Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) paves the way in our understanding of anthroposophic childcare.
They have defined the core principles governing anthroposophic childcare as:
“An atmosphere of loving warmth and guidance that promotes joy, wonder, and reverence supports such healthy development.
What are the values of anthroposophic childcare?
The core belief, which forms the crux of an anthroposophic education, focuses on how humans develop while protecting the sanctity of a fun, free and childhood.
This philosophy recommends practical work (rather than strictly academic subjects) instead focuses on ‘the processes of life rather than on learning outcomes.’
This alternative way of educating your child can be undertaken in these key ways (as defined by the IASWECE):
Loving, supporting and accepting your child;
Helping your child to play independently;
Using simple toys and play materials;
Helping your child to explore the world around them, both in a physical and a social sense;
Using creative and artistic activities to teach your child;
Fostering your child’s imagination.
Another essential point to note is the attributes of the three stages. Each one has their specific value, which they bring to the individual’s development.
For example, during the Physical stage, the foundations are set for the rest of the individual’s development. During this stage, the child’s future wellbeing is determined, which makes it especially important to promote useful learning and a healthy sense of learning (including the development of physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills) during this stage.
Similarly, during the first phase of the ‘Physical stage,’ the child is at the peak of trust and reliance that they place on their parent. As a result, any caregiver supporting a child of this age will need to be particularly mindful of how best to foster this healthy and beneficial development. Furthermore, since imitation is such a fundamental mode of learning for young children, these caregivers need to understand how they can, personally, act as a source of learning for their child.
Applying anthroposophic child care to your home life
We’ve spoken about what anthroposophic childcare means and stands for, but how can these principles be utilised in day-to-day home life?
There are three main ways in which you can do this: dependability, creativity, and playfulness.
No doubt, as a parent, this will require some work on your part. Anthroposophic childcare is all about creating a loving environment where the child takes part in lots of creative and engaging activities. Although you’ll already have the first part covered, the second aspect will need a bit more planning.
In terms of daily life, this philosophy stresses that children value set rhythms and predictable routines. This way, children feel secure and can fully see the bonds that exist between their lives.
The great thing about anthroposophic childcare is that its core principles can be considered by a parent and applied to their particular home life in the way that best suits them. It encourages the parents, too, to be creative and have fun with their ideas. The focus here is not on manuals and strict guidebooks - it is all about fostering fun, creativity, and a child’s understanding of the world around them, in a far more personal way than that which academia alone can achieve.
Three examples of anthroposophic childcare at home
Below, you’ll find three examples of how anthroposophic childcare can be applied to a day at home with your child. Hopefully, these simple takeaways will help you see the beauty and simplicity of this forward-thinking philosophy.
Anthroposophic childcare is all about providing the child with opportunities for meaningful work, which is hands-on, practical and full of opportunities to learn. Gardening is a fantastic example of this. It allows the child to get creative, learn about the world around them, move, develop their sensory awareness, and develop across the board.
If you’re after more green-fingered tips, have a read of our Imaginative ways to transform your garden blog.
A nature hunt
With anthroposophic childcare, the focus of a session should always be about things other than specific academic learning outcomes. With a nature hunt, the child can explore, develop sensory awareness, and play with the natural, simple materials that they find around them. This is an excellent chance for them to develop their ability to explore the world around them.
For more inspiration, have a read of our blogs; there is no vacation destination like home and A how-to guide on creating your family nature trail.
An afternoon playing in the garden independently, with simple toys
This is such a simple activity, but it brings with it a vast range of benefits. This is a beautiful way to foster their creativity, imagination, and ability to play independently while also giving the child the chance to develop their practical skills and understanding.
Rather than putting the child in front of a screen or giving them a challenging at-home maths lesson, these examples of anthroposophic childcare prioritise the individual’s development and help them form their strong bonds to the natural world.
At Mini beee, we are keen advocates of childcare philosophies which value the natural world. We understand just how important play, creativity, and nature are to a child’s development. So, we create outdoor furnishings with this ethos at heart. Our products encourage a child to develop their sense of self. They unleash the full scope of their wonderful imagination, as we know that this is not only brilliant fun but amongst the best ways to encourage their development, too. Check out our online store.