Steiner education (also known as Waldorf) is focused on self-directed learning and is based on children's interests.
The Steiner philosophy encourages self-motivated learning that supports and encourages problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and social skills.
When learning is self-directed, children's motivation doesn't come from rewards; instead they are engaged because they find it satisfying.
Steiner learning resources are simple and low-tech to stimulate curiosity and creativity. These include weaving materials, crayons, painting, puppets, natural fibres and natural timber.
The Montessori approach focuses on practical play and sensory work.
Resources encourage matching, sequencing, numbers and letters for tracing, cutting, writing and drawing. Materials are specially designed to help children learn through repetition and self-correction.
The aim is to develop independent practical life skills and to build their gross and fine motor control and hand-eye coordination. These include pouring cups, puzzles, stacking towers, imbucare boxes and tracing boards.
STEM / STEAM
Whilst STEM represents science, technology, engineering and maths; “STEAM” represents STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, music and visual arts.
The main difference between STEM and STEAM is STEM explicitly focuses on scientific concepts where as STEAM investigates those same concepts, but does this through inquiry and problem-based learning methods used in the creative process.
STEAM materials challenge the preconceptions that learning areas are separate, and moves past the “I’m good at maths and science, so I’m not creative” way of thinking.
Toys, materials and resources are engaging, multifaceted and inclusive; with diversity of representation and thought. These include ball runs, memory cards, coding toys, math squares, geometric sequencing blocks (such as tangrams) and building blocks (such as magnetic tiles and lego).