The way that children learn, explore and develop is absolutely fascinating - have you ever seen the speed at which a child grasps a new language? With that in mind, we dedicate this blog post to antroposophic childcare.
We’ve spoken a lot about different types of child care in our blog - for us, it’s a topic that intrigues us, both personally and professionally.
The way that children learn, explore and develop is absolutely fascinating - have you ever seen the speed at which a child grasps a new language? It’s unbelievable, especially when you compare it to the amount of time that an adult takes to learn a simple phrase!
With that in mind, we wanted to dedicate this blog post to exploring a recent childcare topic that has caught our attention.
Anthroposophic child care is not something that we had heard much about before. But, after a little bit of digging, we have unearthed some fascinating information about this philosophy, which we wanted to share with you.
So below, you’ll find a summary of our findings, in our quick guide to anthroposophic child care.
What is anthroposophic child care?
Anthroposophic child care breaks down the education and development of children into three key stages of development, from birth to adulthood. These can be understood as ‘The Physical’ stage (from birth to 7 years old), ‘The Imagination’ (7-14 years old), ‘The Spirit’ (14-21 years old). The Physical stage is believed to be particularly important, as it is at this point which the capacity of the child to develop into a happy and healthy adult is set.
According to the International Association for Steiner / Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE), anthroposophic child care can be defined as:
“An atmosphere of loving warmth and guidance that promotes joy, wonder, and reverence supports such healthy development.
“This education, based on an understanding of the development of human individuality, offers protection and respect for the dignity of childhood.”
The IASWECE defines the principles that exist within the core of this educational philosophy. This includes the following key characteristics:
- Showing the child love, support and acceptance.
- Providing opportunities for self-initiated play.
- Using simple toys and play materials.
- Encouraging a child’s active exploration of their physical and social environment.
- Teaching through artistic activities, which encourage the child’s imagination and creativity to develop.
- Practical work which places ‘the emphasis is on the processes of life rather than on learning outcomes.’
Anthroposophy was founded by Rudolf Steiner - an Austrian philosopher who established a philosophical approach to care, based on a link that he drew between the disciplines of science and spirituality.
Steiner then founded a school based on this line of thinking. The first school to teach in the way that Steiner established (which opened in 1919) was actually based in the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette factory. At this school, the children of the workers at the factory were taught. Today, the name Waldorf continues to be associated with this approach to education - as well as anthroposophic child care, you may also hear it referred to as Steiner or Waldorf Early Childhood Education.
Today, around 2,000 providers of early child care (based all over the world) incorporate this philosophy into their education.
What are the benefits of anthroposophic child care?
This approach to child care brings with it a brilliant range of benefits. Anthroposophic child care is designed to help a child develop in a healthy way, which builds strong relationships between the child and the people around them. It achieves this by helping the child to interact in social settings, and communicate with their peers, family and teachers.
Furthermore, this prioritisation and fostering of loving relationships, in which children feel supported and guided (without feeling like they are being hovered over) is a great way to encourage their development into confident, independent and happy adults.
Within this philosophy, children can explore the world around them, and experiment with their ideas, but still see the adults in their lives as role models to learn from and look up to.
How can I incorporate this philosophy at home?
- Be interested in what your child is doing, and support them as they explore.
- Give your child plenty of chances to play independently, using uncomplicated toys.
- Remember how important play is for the way that children learn.
- Surround your child with lots of engaging and dynamic sensory experiences.
- Get your child out and about, exploring the great outdoors.
- Encourage artistic activities that keep their imagination active.
- Strike up a balance between independent play, and playing along with them (while still allowing them to lead the activity).
At Mini beee, we strive to create products which fuel a child’s development, in a way that is not only highly effective, but is also healthy and super-enjoyable, too. It is this balance which forms the core of what we do, as we believe that this simple unison of play and education is the best way to help children find out more about the world around them.
If you want to foster the development of your child’s imagination and creativity, through a fun-filled exploration of the natural world, this principle is what our product range is all about. Check out our online shop to find out more about our eco-conscious range of children’s outdoor furniture.