Educational Framework

In the Steiner Early Years approach, we provide time and space for the natural, unforced development of key life skills which will help to build a strong base for social and emotional competence, literacy, and numeracy, by creating a warm and secure learning environment where the qualities of childhood are nurtured.

Steiner Early Years is based on gently guiding children through their education using their head, heart and hands to engage with and understand the world. This means they gain an intrinsic understanding of the world around them in a natural and holistic way.

We seek to take the whole needs of the child into account: physical, social, academic, emotional and spiritual. At Laurel Farm Kindergarten, our children are not introduced to formal reading, writing and numbers until they are ready, typically when they are 6-7 years old. Many educational studies support the notion that children gain great benefit from focusing on this play-based learning until they are 6-7 years old, when they are then developmentally ready. Creative work is the work of the children as they observe the world around them. Their world inside the Kindergarten is based on natural play, using natural materials.


We also provide a unique environment for the children to explore nature. We are based on a 7 acre smallholding with animals to feed and ponds, fields and a growing woodland to explore. This gives the children an exciting playground to observe the seasons and be aware we are all part of nature.

Mixed Age Range

Laurel Farm Kindergarten is unique in that it doesn’t separate the children into age groups and instead honours the advantages of having a mixed aged group. Young children arrive and look to the older ones for guidance, they observe them and learn from them. And the older children take on the responsibility of being a role model, they demonstrate kindness, fairness and positive behaviour.

Laurel Farm Kindergarten in particular honours the social and emotional stage that each child is at and nurtures their individual personalities. They are free to make their own discoveries and express their creativity. They are encouraged to contribute their ideas, which underpins how their education develops and helps them to become more confident and, gradually, more independent. They are empowered by the trust that is given to them and take pride and ownership in their education. As a result, children flourish here – naturally and intrinsically. Many children have attended the Kindergarten and have gone on to succeed in a variety of educational settings. Some children stay until they are 4 then move onto mainstream education, others stay until they are 6 and have shown that they are able to pick up the government curriculum very quickly.

The Statutory EYFS and Exemptions

What sets the Steiner Early Years Curriculum apart is that it is exempt from some areas of the numeracy and literacy guidelines of the EYFS. This means that children gain skills in language and mathematics through play-based learning as opposed to formal learning. Children are not expected to sit down and learn to write letters and numbers at such an early age but instead learn the art of language through song and storytelling, making up rhymes and being free to engage in conversation with each other. Children gain a representational understanding of maths by playing counting games and observing and discussing shapes in all forms.  

There is no exemption from the safeguarding and welfare requirements. View the exemptions here:Exemptions & Modifications


We recognise that children over 5 need a more challenging experience, including a programme of work appropriate to their age, (Key Stage 1 in other school settings).

In a Steiner school ‘formal education’ begins in Class 1. What we are providing in the kindergarten now has its own curriculum which shows progression from the EYFS, differentiation and expected outcomes for those children of statutory school age. We have a rationale of activities we provide for these children as well as a document which shows what we expect of the older children and what they will learn through the curriculum provided. The documents describing the curriculum for this age are kept in the kindergarten. Parents will be kept informed of their child’s developmental progress throughout their time in the kindergarten and can be assured of a smooth transition into school.