Here are a selection of testimonials from current and former parents of Iona School:
“As a family of academics, it is important for us that our children are independent thinkers, have long concentration spans and enjoy life-long learning. We sincerely hope that our children develop into happy, caring and responsible human beings. I already knew about Steiner/Waldorf education from growing up in Austria. Our daughter was in the local community nursery and school from a young age, but we realised that we wanted a Steiner/Waldorf and European educational approach for our son and found Iona Nursery and Kindergarten. We could see the way our son developed into a content, caring and confident person and moved our daughter to the Iona School in autumn 2011.
Since starting school in September, our daughter has become a happier person and with this our family life has improved considerably. She beams and does not need anymore as many plasters for injuries, due to being more balanced and one with nature. She has school friends who play games for their age group and do not need to behave like mini-adults. Like our daughter, her friends are creative, bright and happy. Academically, we are sure that a consistent logical approach in the main lessons helps to have long concentration spans which are one of the things standing out in Steiner education in comparison to state schools. It is fascinating to watch this in school performances, with theatre plays and songs lasting well beyond and with a higher quality to what we have experienced before.
Albert Einstein: The aim of education must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.
Overall, it seems that this education is able to bring up children who are happy, bright and resilient for life. We are now much happier that we know that our children will be able to deal with the challenges of life and to respond to them with grace, logic, heart and empathy.”
“Deciding to commit to being part of Iona School was easy once we heard some ex pupils say that the thing they remember about Iona School was that it gave them a real childhood. If I was convinced by that then seeing both my daughters go through the Nursery, Kindergarten and Main School has filled our family life with a greater appreciation of learning, both academically, emotionally and socially. They are able to question and debate with their peers and adults alike. They are stronger individuals for being given the space and respect to adapt and respond to various challenges in all aspects of classroom teaching and learning. As a family we all value and have great faith in the journey we have all undertaken and continually appreciate the wealth of knowledge and expertise that the teaching staff as a whole share so freely.”
“Iona was the only real choice of school for our son Gabriel. We wanted him to experience a learning and loving environment without any imposed pressure for teachers to meet targets and other government-driven criteria. Iona will nurture his love of learning, creativity, and wonder of the world around him. The fact that parents are also full members of the school community means that we all, in a way, are going through the school together. All schools should be like this”.
Steiner education really does do what it says, it reaches the essence of a child.
We feel the deep enthusiasm and love he has for the school will enable him to flourish academically as well as on a personal level. As parents the Iona has given us great support and has filled us with ease, happiness and confidence about our sons schooling.
We have learnt that Steiner education deeply instills great fundamental life skills within children that not only serves them with their education but also serves them for life.
Before starting the Iona our son went to a mainstream nursery for three years, within this time he was generally unhappy to go and quite unconfident and quiet when there. At home he generally liked a lot of entertaining and was quite demanding and needy. We now have a different child, who asks in the school holidays if he can go to school!
The best way for us to explain our sons transition from mainstream nursery to the Iona School was his first day when we asked him, “Did you like it?”, he replied “It’s the best place in the whole world, I loved it more than Nana Bic’s”. (Away from home, Nana Bic’s has always been his most favourite place to stay).
When asked what it is that we love most about the Iona School, we would say, we love the whole experience.
What the Iona School is doing for children and families is something exceptionally special and priceless; we highly recommend it to any parent.”
“My son has been at Iona School since joining the nursery at two and a half. Now he is almost ten. I see a real blossoming in all areas of my child’s life: emotional, physical, academic and to see how keen he is to get there every morning is enough to make me a very happy parent!”
“Our original intention wasn’t for our son to stay at Iona all the way up to age 11. We had ‘stumbled upon’ the nursery when he was 2, transferred to the kindergarten at 3, and by the time he was due to start at our local infant school we were hooked! There is something special that happens at this school that you simply wouldn’t find elsewhere…. We love the fact that the child’s early ‘green shoots’ of academic readiness at age 5 aren’t mistaken for true readiness, and that the children are given those precious extra years to play. Once formal tuition starts at ‘rising 7’, though, it is amazing what rapid progress the children make – because they are truly ready. Our son is now 9 and has more than caught up with his peers at other schools in terms of reading ability. He has a passion for books that has not been dimmed by any early experience of being pressurised to read, an innate understanding of numbers and mathematics, and he has been ‘rounded out’ by receiving skilled tuition in subjects that we wouldn’t necessarily have expected him to have a natural propensity for – e.g. drama, painting, music, and handwork . The school expects a lot of their pupils (contrary to some perceptions of Steiner education..), but they achieve this with a respect for the nature of the child and, importantly, the needs of the individual child. As parents we have found that the community of the school is friendly and supportive, and having children at Iona ( – our youngest child has now started at the school too!) has been a journey for all of us. We have probably benefited as much as our children have! We have learned so much during our time at the school, and are eternally grateful for the insights and experience that the staff have shared with us.”
“We have two children at the Iona School and as far as we are concerned there is no better place for them. (Why wasn’t it there when we were young!)
Their needs are so well met in every way; by the teachers; the educational philosophy; the kindness of all the staff; the warm, vibrant classrooms filled with all that they need.
Both of our children are supported in their own educational development, but also in their own personal development, helping them to become the fully rounded people that they are.
The community aspect of the school brings together staff, parents and pupils. This is most obvious perhaps on ‘land days’ and festivals – we really don’t like to miss them!”
“We have two sons in the Iona school, one in the nursery and one in the kindergarten. We are incredibly pleased with the holistic and nurturing environment for growth that the school provides for our children. In both the nursery and the kindergarten there are lots of beautiful natural objects, such as pine cones and wooden toys. Our eldest son is encouraged to find his own way through the gift of learning through play. It is wonderful to watch how he is developing confidence in himself and a strong ability to work cooperatively with other children. Thank you to all of the Iona school staff for providing such good quality of care and support.”
“We see the Iona School as an environment which allows our child to become herself, grow at a natural pace and truly learn to respect others. She progresses without being squeezed into a competitive mould. The school also manifests a true community spirit in which parents are invited to play a key role.”
“Our story begins with our child, lovingly raised, who started state school aged 4 years. Within about six weeks of starting we saw changes in him. He went from being a calm considerate boy to angry, depressed, hating school and quite clearly telling us that he didn’t want to go to this school. We listened…. and started our journey with Iona School. Within weeks we had our happy son back, and even now years later he tells us how the first school was silly to expect four years olds to enjoy reading! Our children love this school and quite often we hear them sing the songs they learn here, spontaneously, with real joy at the top of their voices. Really happy times.”
“I am always so pleased that we took the decision not to educate our children in mainstream school for their primary years. I always believed in Steiner education 100%. Even though we were not able to continue their education within the Steiner system, the start they had there has always helped them in mainstream school. I have often been asked by teachers ‘what is my secret?’ They are all nice, rounded, good at listening, helpful, kind and well-grounded kids. The ‘secret’ is Steiner schooling and its whole community!
Thank you Iona School for the care, support and education you gave our whole family.”
“I think the approach of the Iona School encourages children to develop better self control, good analytic skills and independent thinking. This has been supported by research from Oxford University that looked at ways of teaching children. My children have all subsequently done very well in manstream school.
I am very grateful for the education that my children received at Iona School and believe it gives children a fantastic foundation for life that stays with them always.”
“Post Graduate Steiner students are hard-working; self-aware and thus stable in their interests” quotes Professor Marie Harder
“I have come across Steiner students many times while a Professor at the University of Brighton, and always enjoyed their robustness and perseverance in their work. But now that I am working in China, I am actually acutely aware of the value of the special characteristics that Steiner students bring: grounded in themselves and thus robust to external drivers; hard-working; self-aware and thus stable in their interests; wanting to be of service to humanity generally. These are characteristics that allow students to get the utmost out of opportunities in China and research, and to contribute to both.”
Professor Marie Harder, Professor of Sustainable Waste Management, University of Brighton, and National China Thousand Talents Professor, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, China