About the Willow Tree Kindergarten
We offer Steiner Education for 3 to 6 year olds, in St Werburghs, Bristol. We provide a small and intimate setting, with a caring atmosphere and a focus on learning through play. We enjoy a quiet and green location, and place an emphasis on outdoor activities.
We are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am till 12.30pm, during term time. Lunchtime cover is available between 12.30pm and 1.30pm Monday to Thursday - children bring their own packed lunch. Afternoon care is provided on some days until 3.30pm, where there is sufficient demand.
Please note that our term finishing times might vary from the above, this is a provisional timetable. Thank you.
What we do at Kindergarten
Our aim is to build a bridge between home and school by creating a safe, warm, loving environment. The Kindergarten curriculum is a balance between the artistic and the domestic. Each Kindergarten day has its own activity - such as baking or painting - but the overall structure of each day is the same. The strong rhythm of the days, and the repetition that each week brings, carries with it an in-built discipline. This creates a safe and secure environment for the children which enables more effective learning and reduces the needs for additional discipline. We also celebrate seasonal festivals drawing on different cultures, and spend lots of time outside, developing an awareness of the changing seasons and our natural environment. We use natural play materials, high quality pigment paints and crayons and we bake with organic wholefoods.
How we meet the requirements of the national Early Years Foundation Stage
The Willow Tree Kindergarten addresses all the six areas of learning in accordance with the EYFS. These are 1) Personal, Social and Emotional Development, 2) Communication, Language and Literacy, 3) Problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy, 4) Knowledge and Understanding of the World, 5) Physical development and 6) Creative development. The Willow Tree Kindergarten has applied for exemptions from those particular areas which we believe are in conflict with Steiner Waldorf early years education. More information about these exemptions is available from the Teacher, and in our Curriculum Policy.
Each child will be assigned a 'key person' from the teaching staff who will undertake sensitive observational assessments in order to plan to meet a child's individual needs.
In addition to following EYFS requirements, the Willow Tree Kindergarten also complies with all relevant employment law, anti-discriminatory legislation, health and safety legislation, data collection regulations and duty of care.
Attendance and Free Early Education Entitlement
Children who are 3 and 4 years of age are eligible for the FEEE grant from the term after their third birthday. The Kindergarten will claim the grant on the child's behalf and the parents will be billed for the extra amount of hours the child attends Kindergarten. Younger children (3 and 4) are not obliged to attend every morning. Parents can discuss their needs and those of their child with the teacher. Children over 5 years of age should attend for 21 hours of schooling per week, otherwise parents must sign a home school agreement to say they are taking some responsibility for their child's education. We strongly recommend each child in their final year at the Kindergarten attend five mornings per week and at least one afternoon.
Further Information on the Willow Tree and Steiner Education
The Willow Tree Kindergarten was set up in 2010 by a group of Parents and Teachers to meet a growing demand in Bristol for Steiner Waldorf Early Years Education. We also provide a very popular Parent and Child Group for parents and children under 3. We are registered as a new initiative with the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship. Based on the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner, we are part of a worldwide movement of schools seeking to provide an unhurried, joyful and creative learning environment.
In Steiner Waldorf early years settings, the emphasis is away from academic content and testing and towards learning through play. We believe that play is the serious work of childhood. Through play activity, the child is enabled to develop the skills and confidence necessary for successful lifelong learning. We recognise that children learn most successfully by imitation and activity, and so provide them with lots of opportunities to develop their intrinsic skills, capabilities and self-confidence.
In the Kindergarten, children make real things from real materials that have a useful application in the world they know. In this way, the children acquire the basis for social and academic skills at their own pace. Education at this stage is about instilling in children a genuine feeling of worth and a belief that they can succeed. Steiner Education addresses the whole child, head, heart and hands, and provides the best possible beginning for your child to grow to their full potential, in a way that protects the wonder and delight of early childhood.
During each stage of Steiner education, the framework of the curriculum allows each child to develop at his or her own pace. It is recognised that for each age the child has different emotional and intellectual needs. The Steiner Curriculum is uniquely designed to meet, support and encourage these needs as they unfold.