Brief History of The Iona School
The Iona School is founded on the educational ideas and spiritual world-view of the philosopher and educator, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). The first school based on Rudolf Steiner’s indications was founded in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. This was in response to a request to provide education for children of the workers of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory – hence the name Steiner Waldorf. The school has grown and developed over the years and is a member of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF). The Fellowship organizes regular conferences throughout the year.
The Iona School was founded in Nottingham in 1985. After spending its first year in temporary accommodation, the school moved to its present site.
We are a primary school with a Kindergarten and three combined classes. The Iona School follows the Steiner Waldorf system for naming classes.
The corresponding National Curriculum names for the classes in the school are:
National Curriculum equivalent is Nursery, Reception and Year 1
National Curriculum equivalent is Year 2 and 3
National Curriculum equivalent is Year 4 and 5
National Curriculum equivalent is Year 6 and 7
What is a Steiner Waldorf School?
Integral to Steiner Waldorf education is its view of each child as a unique spiritual individual developing through evolving phases of childhood towards an adulthood in which the individual spirit can find full freedom of expression. Every step in the child’s education may be seen as geared to this end. As the growing child comes to meet more of the world around him, s/he gradually harnesses the capacities of willing, feeling and thinking which are there inside him or her. The unfolding of these faculties is intimately bound up with the child’s physical, emotional and spiritual development, and Steiner Waldorf education strives to harmonize these steps. The school years work with three broad developmental stages, and in a large school these may be sketched in approximately 7 year intervals: within the first 7 years the child will attend Nursery and Kindergarten. From 7 years to puberty at around 14 the child is part of the lower school – the Class Teacher time. Then inside the 7 years between 14 and 21 the child completes the upper school and according to the individual teenager may go onto further education at college or another establishment. Currently Iona School provides education to cover the years from Kindergarten to Class 5/6. During these three periods, one can distinguish distinct differences in the child’s relationship to the world and consciousness of his or her self. It is readily apparent in the baby and toddler how an instinctive imitation of the world around them develops their faculties of walking, speaking and thinking. The Nursery and Kindergarten curriculum consciously seeks to build on this natural developmental process. This faculty of imitation extends far beyond the mere copying of physical actions. The young child senses the moral quality of each adult in each deed, and on this builds early awareness of the feeling for goodness in the world. This is an essential foundation for every individual growing into the contemporary world – a foundation easily eroded by pressure for early academic training. It is only in the second seven-year period, when the physical body of the child is well established, that formal education begins. This is the class teacher period, and here, moving from imitation, the guiding principle is now imagination. In these years particularly the teacher can appeal to the child’s sense of beauty, drama and the artistic. The child gradually develops an objective awareness of the world around, also his own imaginative soul life develops. He or she is able to explore artistically, colorfully and dramatically all that is presented during the school day. Within this broad outline of development, common to every child, the child matures as an individual. The Steiner Waldorf curriculum – unique to this education – is built around these natural stages of child development. Each teacher works sensitively and creatively with the curriculum to meet both the general needs of the children and the particular needs of the individuals in the class.