Probably the most appropriate overall statement on what is unique about Steiner education is to be found in the stated goals of the schooling: “to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives”.
The aim of Steiner schooling is to educate the whole child, “head, heart and hands”. The curriculum is as broad as time will allow, and balances academics subjects with artistic and practical activities. Steiner teachers are dedicated to creating a genuine love of learning within each child. By freely using arts and activities in the service of teaching academics, an internal motivation to learn is developed in the students.
Some distinctive features of Steiner education include the following:
Academics are de-emphasized in the early years of schooling. there is no academic content in the Steiner Kindergarten experience (i.e. pre Class 1, although there is a good deal of cultivation of pre-academic skills).
During the primary school years the students have a class teacher who stays with the same class (where possible).
Certain activities are central at Steiner schools: art, music, gardening and foreign languages, to name a few. In the younger grades, all subjects are introduced through artistic mediums, because it means more to the children than lecturing and rote learning. All children learn to play recorder and to knit.