* Seedlings Kindergarten - A Steiner Waldorf Pre-school *
The Story of Seedlings...
My name is Katie Harley and I became passionate about Steiner Education after working in a Steiner kindergarten in Brighton in my early twenties, where I discovered, in a warm and loving environment, a truly holistic way of caring for and educating young children.
As I discovered more about this unique form of education I became completely convinced that this is what children need in order to thrive and succeed in the world, and I decided to train as a Steiner Waldorf class teacher. At the same time I continued to work in Steiner kindergartens, developing my knowledge of the early years, both here in the UK as well as in Germany, where the Steiner Waldorf movement was originally founded.
When my own children were born I was determined that they too should benefit from the wonderful gifts that Steiner Education has to offer, so that their schooling, rather than moulding them to fit the status quo, would empower them to effect positive change in the world.
"Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility — these three forces are the very nerve
Having seen how my own children were flourishing in the Steiner Education system, and after years of experience working in Steiner kindergartens and running Steiner parent and child groups I decided to set up my own groups in North Norfolk, near where we lived. I began with Seedlings Parent and Child group in 2017, and from this Seedlings Kindergarten was born.
In 2020 I moved with my family to Norwich and eventually found it to be unsustainable to continue running Seedlings in North Norfolk, and so began thinking about relocating to Norwich. In Autumn 2022 I met Rachel Canavan, founder of Copperdot Studio in Trowse, and together we collaborated to establish a new home for Seedlings within the Copperdot community. I am now very excited to be embarking on a new chapter in the life of Seedlings Kindergarten, and am looking forward to what the future will bring.
The principles of Steiner Waldorf education...
Steiner Waldorf early childhood education is based on an understanding of the principles of child development as indicated by the educational philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, at the beginning of the twentieth century. Working with these principles kindergarten staff acknowledge that young children learn best by being actively involved in their surroundings, learning through 'doing', rather than through explanation and instruction. At Seedlings children are given the time and space for self-directed creative play, as well as many opportunities to learn by imitation from their teachers, through a variety of creative and domestic actives, in a warm and caring, home from home environment.
The Principles We Work With at Seedlings...
- We recognise each child as a unique individual
- We recognise and support each stage of child
- We work with the child’s natural inclination to be active
- We use imitation, co-operation and example as an
educational approach (rather than instruction and
- We support creative child initiated play with open-ended
- We support the development of numeracy and literacy
through everyday experiences
- We provide a nurturing sensory experience in an
- We support the child’s personal, social, emotional and
- We work with rhythm and repetition, enabling the child to
feel safe and secure
- We develop and enhance social interaction, encouraging
empathy and respect for each other
- We encourage children to know and love the world
through awe and wonder
- We support the development of the child in co-operation
with the parents
- We protect the child’s right to a healthy and appropriate
Staff at Seedlings -
Seedlings is a small group of up to twelve children with two members of staff. Katie Harley is the kindergarten teacher and a kindergarten assistant works alongside Katie to support her with day to day tasks.
Katie - Kindergarten Teacher
Katie Harley graduated with a BA Honours Degree in Humanities in 1990 and went on to train as a Steiner Waldorf Class Teacher, qualifying in 1998. Katie has worked with children in Steiner Waldorf early childhood settings for over 15 years, and completed the Level 5 Steiner Waldorf Early Years Childcare Qualification in July 2022. After living in Germany for six years where she worked as a Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher, Katie was inspired to set up her own kindergarten at her parents farm in North Norfolk. Katie also has experience of working with older children, teaching handwork (art and craft) to 7 - 16 year olds at the Norwich Steiner School. Katie has three teenage children, all of whom have been Steiner educated, and she lives with her family in Norwich. In 2023 Seedlings Kindergarten moved from it's rural location in North Norfolk to the village of Trowse, just south of Norwich.
Seedlings Kindergarten has benefited from the help of a number of kind and caring assistants over the years, often young people keen to gain experience in Steiner Waldorf education, or older people who have had the experience of raising their own children. Seedlings is currently recruiting for an assistant to work alongside Katie in 2023 and beyond. To apply for this role please send us a message via the contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!