The theme of the early childhood years is the world is good. The Orana Steiner School Early Childhood Program endeavours to lay the foundation for physical health and vitality, for wonder and an interest in the world, for the inner readiness to learn and discover the world through personal experiences, for the ability to have meaningful relationships.
Transition from home to Orana
Transition from home is made with love and care by providing a homelike atmosphere in the rooms. The educators believe in the importance of a healthy partnership with parents and caregivers and acknowledge that parents are their child’s first teacher.
The children are encouraged to learn by imitation and habit, through repeatedly doing tasks that have been intentionally placed before them and allowing them to digest their experiences in a largely unconscious way. In practice, teaching is by example and is integrated and holistic rather than subject based.
The nature of this experiential learning encourages the children to be self motivated, showing them to come to know the world in a most age-appropriate way.
Good habits of behaviour that are cultivated in the early years become the foundation for learning in the Primary School years and beyond.
Direct experiential learning
The focus of the program is to encourage children in direct experiential learning that fosters the young child’s physical development, speech and oral language development, mental abilities and attitude towards learning. The programme follows a rhythmical, harmonious and secure daily routine. Emphasis is given to regular patterns and rhythms of activities both within the day and over each week. A cyclical pattern is reflected in themes of work related to the seasons of the year and the festivals.
Play is recognised as a serious and vital activity through which the children’s powers of creativity, imagination and initiative are cultivated. Little children learn through play, approaching it in entirely individual ways and out of their unique experiences of the world in which they live. The environment is ordered, clean, natural and organic and is set up in a way to safeguard healthy play. Using open-ended play materials the child enables to be confidently and safely immersed in the activity, freely finding their way into play which arises from imitation and an intrinsic motivation, and is carried by their own will and their engagement with others.
The child’s self-directed play is balanced by the teacher-directed artistic activities such as Circle Time (movement and gesture through Eurhythmy, rhythmic games, signing, verses, poetry, stories and speech), Story Time (storytelling and puppetry), beeswax modelling, handwork, drawing and painting. These activities occur in a meaningful and authentic context where the children are required to
concentrate on the tasks at hand and they reflect the concerns, interest and development stages of the child.
Develop Social Awareness
The teachers aim to enrich the children’s oral language and to provide opportunities for them to develop social awareness through encouraging respectful interactions. They also help the children develop their senses and motor movement towards gaining autonomy and independence in all they do. The children are involved daily in domestic activities such as cooking and baking, gardening, laundry and cleaning, creating and caring for the materials in the room. These activities are adjusted to the needs and capabilities of the children.
Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations (2011) and the Education and Care Services National Law Act (2010), following an assessment by our Regulatory Authority, ACT Government Education and Training Directorate, Children’s Policy and Regulation Unit, Orana Steiner School Preschool and Kindergarten has been issued an overall rating of Exceeding the National Quality Standard.