Woodland Education in Distinguished Academic Environment
England: Cambridge Steiner School is located on the edge of Cambridge, a city with a long distinguished history of academia and many highly educated parents. In fact, there are many schools in the surrounding area, which have grown up in response to this intellectual tradition. The Waldorf school’s approach, however, is different. Cambridge Steiner School is a small community school offering Parent and Child groups, 3 Kindergartens and a Primary school with approximately 100 children.
Cambridge Steiner School, like most Waldorf schools opened its doors not just overnight. It all began in 1987 with the vision of a group of parents, who founded a playgroup in a private living room. Through Waldorf workshops and regular lectures the group of interested parents increased steadily, which lead to the opening of a proper kindergarten in 1994.
Today the school runs a successful and popular woodland Kindergarten - one of the first woodland kindergarten initiatives in England. Children spend a morning each week in the woods exploring the magic of the woods and meadows of Fulbourn Fen, and are there right through the seasons, come rain or shine.
“There are endless possibilities for movement - the children can run, jump, roll, balance, climb," says one of the woodland teachers. “There are moments of quiet fascination when a child stands completely still, utterly absorbed in their own discovery. These moments can spark an interest in the world and an understanding of it that lasts a lifetime."
Each morning all kindergarten children, teachers and parents gather to greet the day with a song and a morning verse on the school patio. After this sharing the children move off to the kindergarten and parents to their work. The Primary School day begins with a child ringing the ‘Heart’ Bell hanging in the school’s central garden.
In the future the school wants to continue developing the outdoor work further into the Primary School, with weekly walks, gardening and biodynamic farming trips to Camphill’s Botton Village and Thornage Hall.