Cuan na Gaillimhe - A Steiner Education
Central to our infant day is a space where our children can immerse into what is most innate (and probably most important) to childhood: Play. A space that is big enough to move freely and that, through careful preparation, conveys a warm and joyful atmosphere.
To allow the children’s fantasy to unfold, we offer toys with as little details as possible and materials, readily found in nature. A stick can become a hiking stick, a kitchen accessory or a part of a building project. Acorns and pine cones find their place in the play-shop, the play-kitchen or the construction of little worlds. A handmade soft doll with minimal facial expressions can laugh or cry, sleep or be awake, just as the playing child intends.
In an increasingly virtual world, the engagement with natural materials becomes more and more important. The textural qualities of wool and wood, the weight of a stone, the experience of stacking and balancing branch logs, tying a rope or wheeling a cart, can’t be learned from a book or an electronic device, yet they are the basics of science and important triggers of healthy brain development.
In free play, the children have the chance to meet and interact on a very direct level. They learn to communicate, share, compromise and solve problems. The teachers are careful not to interfere or disturb the play. When teachers do request to join the play they play along to observe the children to find their needs in a non- intrusive way.