The Motueka Steiner School and farm is a not-for-profit, social enterprise owned by its community. We operate playgroups, kindergarten, primary school and a farm. We are a diverse group of families, teachers, staff, farmers and volunteers, who strive to foster and uphold the integrity of childhood, community, and farming.
We deliver holistic education that focuses on child development, engages the whole family, connects children to nature and fosters personal uniqueness. We value creativity over conformity, imagination over predictability, and critical thinking over standardised testing. These goals and values are at the heart of Waldorf Education and our work on the farm.
We are developing a biodynamic farm as a learning environment, a source of organic food, a place for nature, and an example of restorative agriculture. The farm is a fantastic teaching resource for all children and their families, and strengthens the connection between farming, people, food and the natural world.
The farm offers many land-based outdoor classroom opportunities for students. Practical hands-on activities are being developed that are age appropiate and give rise to diverse learning opportunities. Outdoor classroom activities include; gardening, compost making, animal care, beekeeping, tool making, woodwork, working with wool, cooking, clay and wax modelling, building, managing fruit trees, working with fire, metal work and weaving.
Dr Rudolf Steiner (1961-25) was an Austrian philosopher and social reformer who developed Waldorf Education in 1919 and biodynamic farming in 1924. His ideas and methods have been further developed, tested and proven for almost 100 years. Awareness and understanding of holistic education and sustainable agriculture have grown in that time and we are growing to meet the increasing demand.
Our kindergarten opened in 1984, and the primary school opened in 2002. The kindergarten is mostly state funded but the school is independant and self funded. School tuition fees are intentionally low to enable local families to attend. The extra money needed is raised by donations and fundraising. The whole school community take the responsibility to raise the funds and resources needed so all can attend.
The school community are working toward relocating the school and kindergarten onto the farm. The new campus will be designed and built to reflect our values. The aim is to have beautiful buildings that inspire learning and demonstrate respect for the environment. Where possible they will be hand crafted from natural materials such as timber, clay and straw. We are using the Living Building Challenge as our reference so the entire project has a net positive impact on the environment. Some key aspects are the use of natural on-site materials, placing 20% of the farm into nature reserve, restoring the soils to capture carbon and increase fertility, increasing biodiversity, generating electric power on-site, treating and using wastewater on-site, and avoiding toxic products and materials. We are creating a permanent home for Waldorf education and biodynamic farming in the Nelson-Tasman region, a home to be proud of.
The school is co-educational and non-denominational. We follow and engage with the latest research in child development and learning. We are open to all families who are willing to engage with our curriculum and methods. Click here to learn more about Waldorf education.
Motueka Steiner School does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin in its admission policies or in the conduct of educational, recreational, athletic or scholarship programs. See Equity Statement.