13 Jun 2009
On 13th June 2009 a group of MSA members from the East and West Midlands gathered at the Iona School in Nottingham for the MSA Regional event. The Iona School follows the Steiner approach to education and the attendees were interested to find out where the approaches are similar and in what ways they differ.
Richard Moore, one of the founder members of the Iona School which opened 24 years ago, spoke about the history of Steiner education and how the approach is used to teach and encourage development in children from the age of around three up to eleven.
After the initial introduction and discussion, everyone was presented with a piece of wet paper on a board, pots of red, blue and yellow watercolour paints, a brush and water pot. After hearing a verse spoken by Rob, a teacher at the school and parent of a former pupil, the creative juices flowed – as did the paint which took on a life of its own due to the paper being wet, merging to create green, orange and purple patches which continued to change as the paint and paper dried. Once all the paper was covered, Rob explained how this technique was used with children in the kindergarten and how it was developed and changed for the older children in the school to complement their lessons.
After lunch we were shown round the school which is set in 2 acres of land – a wonderful outside space with features like a living willow house and an amphitheatre. There was also time to visit the Steiner kindergarten room and discover the similarities and differences with the Montessori setting.
The next session looked at storytelling – another important part of the Steiner day where the teacher tells a story by heart using no props or book. This method of story telling encourages a child’s imagination and can really bring the story to life.
It was a fascinating day for everyone and thanks go to the MSA Regional Chairs for Region 6 (Rachel Woodburn) and Region 5 (Raju Surelia) for organising it and to Richard Moore and his colleagues at the Iona School for being such welcoming and interesting hosts.