“Essentially, there is no education other than self-education, whatever the level may be. This is recognized in its full depth within Anthroposophy, which has conscious knowledge through spiritual investigation of repeated Earth lives. Every education is self-education, and as teachers we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education. We have to provide the most favorable conditions where, through our agency, children can educate themselves according to their own destinies. This is the attitude that teachers should have toward children, and such an attitude can be developed only through an ever-growing awareness of this fact.” ~Rudolf Steiner, The Child’s Changing Consciousness.
Each day, the children spend much time involved in creative, dramatic play. Around the room are large baskets filled with wooden blocks, cut logs, pieces of cloth of various sizes and colors, plain wooden toys, and child-sized pots, pans, and dishes. The children use these simple props to create their own stories, dramas, adventures, and games.
There is also a daily story time when the children sit in a circle, and, in the oral tradition, the teacher tells from memory—rather than reads—a fairy tale or folktale. On special days, there may be a puppet or marionette show, again depicting a traditional story, presented by the teacher. Every day, the children have a period of free play in the schoolyard or on the playground.
In our centre, this outdoor playtime takes place regardless of the weather, so it often involves the putting on and taking off of sweaters, raincoats, hats, and boots. T he children, directed by their teacher, also work in the school garden.
Walks in nature are also part of the daily schedule.
On most days, the children also do an artistic activity. They draw with thick crayons, do simple color exercises with watercolor paints, or model a small figure out of colored beeswax. At various times in the course of the day, typically when the children are engaged in free play, the teacher does simple housekeeping and cooking tasks. She chops vegetables and cooks a soup for the morning snack, kneads dough and bakes bread, waters the plants in the room, makes a decorative display of flowers, or sews a button on a shirt. The children are free to simply watch the teacher, continue with their own play, or work with her, imitating her actions. When she is making bread, for example, some of the children will take a turn mixing and kneading the dough.
At the end of the day is a general cleanup in which all the children participate. With the teacher guiding, the children sweep and mop the floor with their little brooms and mops, dust the windowsills, wash and dry the dishes, and put everything in its proper place so that the room is ready for another day. Often the teacher and children sing a song or recite a favorite verse as they work.