Waldorf Education has been established in the UK for over 75 years. The United Kingdom includes kindergartens (settings) in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (North and some South). There are around 36 schools with kindergartens, and together with the independent kindergartens, Daycare settings, woodland groups, childminders, parent and child groups and new initiatives, reach around 2000 children and their families.
Almost all 3 and 4 year olds have government subsidised places, and there are now 4 Free schools called Steiner Academies which are fully state funded for children from rising 5.
Training. There are two Steiner Waldorf early childhood training courses which carry a Diploma at Level 5 and are fully government recognised within England. Both these courses meet the IASWECE guidelines for trainers. A newly established course specialises in the child between birth and three, as well as deepening an understanding of the Pikler approach to respectful care. It carries a government recognised qualification for Childcare at level 3.
Support for kindergartens and schools. In order to use the name Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf in relation to education, settings and projects need to register with the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) which is the overarching charity providing support and guidance. An advisory service is provided for teachers, and settings and schools are inspected by an inspectorate which has an understanding of Steiner Waldorf pedagogy and structure.
Looking back. In the 40’s, a group of kindergarten teachers established what is now the Steiner Waldorf Early Years Group (SWEYG) made up of early childhood teachers, carers, teacher trainers and advisors.
Janni Nicol, Waldorf kindergarten teacher, early childhood representative of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, and Board member of IASWECE, produces and edits the journal KINDLING (for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood).