Moorland Waldorf School

Lantern walk – Martinmas

This Thursday 11th November will be our Martinmas festival where the children walk through the village with their candle-lit lanterns.

We will meet at the church in the village at 4.30pm. If you haven’t been to the church before, you get to it by driving past the school into the village centre and carry on until you cross the small bridge. You will see the Joan of Arc Hall, which has parking at the back, and the church is adjacent to it.

The children have been making lanterns in kindergarten and school but please feel free to bring your own from home with real candles please, rather than battery operated lanterns.

ECTE Moorland Waldorf School Hardship Fund

At the Eskdale Community Trust for Education, we have a dream, and that is that one day Waldorf Education will be free and accessible for all, but we cannot do this without help from others. As a first step in this direction, we are fundraising for our new Hardship Fund, dedicated to help parents who have found themselves in financial difficulty, due either to the impact of covid-19 or to other significant changes in their circumstances. We recently received a legacy of £1,000 from Mrs Joyce Gaynor and we will use this to start our Hardship Fund. Legacies like this are a vital part of our fundraising efforts and we are extremely grateful for this contribution.

Our target of £35,000 is ambitious. We believe that our existing school fees of £3,500 a year are currently the lowest of any Waldorf school in the country and this has been made possible through the hard work of teachers, volunteers, the support of the Esk Valley Camphill Community and the generosity of the families in our school and wider community, our alumni and our supporters. A hardship fund of £35,000 would allow ten children to attend our school free of charge, or many more children to attend at a subsidised rate.

We know times are hard for everyone at the moment. But if you have a connection to the Moorland Waldorf School (formerly known as Botton School), or a passion for Waldorf Education, or if you believe that Waldorf Education should be available to all, no matter what their financial circumstances, then please consider giving to our fund. Even a small donation will make a difference.

Please give here if you can. Fundraiser by Eskdale Community Trust For Education : ECTE Moorland Waldorf School Hardship Fund (

Thank you.

The Fundraising Team

Advent Fair 2021

Our Advent Fair will take place on Saturday 4th December from 11am until 4pm.

There will be our usual stalls of craft and Christmas gifts, activities for children including the puppet show plus delicious food and drinks.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Learning about the natural world

Over the last four years, Moorland Waldorf School has been developing an innovative nature studies curriculum, which we hope begins to equip our children for the profound reassessment of our relationship to the natural world that their generation will be called upon to make.

Our approach begins with developing in our children a moral relationship towards the natural world. We experience wonder at its magnificence and beauty, and the countless mysteries hidden within it. We learn respect for its intricacies, inter-relationships and symbioses that too often elude our human comprehension. And we practice reciprocity in our interactions with the natural world, ensuring we give back in the same of measure with which we take.

Treading lightly and respectfully into the natural world, we enter it with sharpened senses. This is the beginning of our scientific approach. Ours is not a science that dissects, analyses, and reduces the wonders around us. Instead, it endeavours to comprehend them in all their living complexity.

This year, the focus of our outdoor studies lessons will be a small “rewilding” project on the school grounds. Having fought with nature for years over a small piece of land prone to flooding, we have decided to allow it to be what it wants to be: a bio-diverse willow wetland. The children will help to create this exciting new habitat, and in the process they will learn invaluable lessons.

Bogs and marshes are not necessarily considered attractive landscapes, but they create a haven for insect life. Sometimes insects get a bad press, but their catastrophic decline in recent decades accounts for a parallel decline in our birdlife. By recreating a marshy landscape, we are returning this small piece of land to a state that much of the British Isles existed in before we drained it so extensively for agricultural purposes. By damming and flooding our little wetland, we are performing the function that our indigenous beavers would once have performed.

Throughout the year to come, we will weave our lessons with traditional folklore and indigenous stories. In this way, we both reconnect with and re-mythologise the extraordinary landscape we live in.

In everything we do, our aim is not to burden our children with the scale of the environmental crisis facing us, but instead to point them towards a path of healing.

Woolly Workshop

Half term craft activity

Come and try your hand at carding or spinning using a drop spindle.  Learn how to knit or have a go at felting.

Monday 25th October from 10.30 am until 12.30 pm.

Moorland Waldorf School, Botton Village (YO21 2NJ)

Suitable for adults and children of all ages.

Cost is £15 for an adult and one child. (Additional child £5).  This includes all materials and refreshments.

Stay and Play is back for the new term!

Please join us with you little ones this Friday 10th September for the first Stay and Play of the new term.

We welcome all young children from birth to six years. The session is from 10am until 12 noon and will cost £5.

We will meet in the kindergarten building through the playground at the top of the steps from the car park. The last part of the session will be spent outside so please bring suitable outdoor clothing and footwear including waterproofs and wellies.

Please call 01287 661206 or e-mail for more details.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Here come the summer holidays!

Here come the summer holidays …… and as always, the end of term is a busy time for us here at Moorland Waldorf and especially this year, when we’ve been trying to pack in more than ever to make up for lost time during the winter lockdown.  
The children have spent a lot of time in the great outdoors, with opportunities for all ages to enjoy – and learn from – the wonderful surroundings we have here in Danby Dale and further afield on the moors and the coast.   Local geography has been one of the themes for our main class this term, so the children have been out and about to learn more about the geography and wildlife of our area.  They’ve walked, camped and whittled their way through the last weeks of term. 
The younger children in kindergarten don’t miss out.  They’ve walked to the ‘magical’ woods and lake at the back of the dale, visited a local farm (where the horse, Cracker, is the regular recipient of our school scrap bucket) and run on the beach at Sandsend.  
We have to thank our hard-working teachers, assistants and volunteers for making these trips possible and thank the children for making them all such fun.  
Sadly, we say goodbye to some of our older children at the end of term.  They move on to different destinations,  locally, in the county, and in one case abroad.  We send them on their way with our love and wish them the very best in their next educational adventures. 

What is form drawing?

Moorland Waldorf School and Kindergarten in Botton Village is an independent primary school which offers Steiner Waldorf education.  This alternative to mainstream education is one the fastest growing educational movements in the world, with over 1,000 schools in 64 countries, and 1,857 kindergartens (nurseries) in more than 70 countries.  

Our philosophy is very much centred on the happiness, wellbeing and all-round educational progress of the individual child.   There is a strong emphasis on the arts, languages and music although all national curriculum subjects are to be found in our curriculum.  

Some subjects are unique to Steiner Waldorf. Form drawing is one of them. This is a subject that you would see on a timetable in every Steiner Waldorf School from classes 1-5 and Moorland Waldorf School is no exception. But what is form drawing?

Form drawing consists essentially of freehand drawing of non-representational forms. It was entirely new when introduced in the first Waldorf school in 1919. Today it is still new, in the sense that we are still discovering fresh aspects of it, and different applications.

When you look at form drawings – the rhythmically repeated patterns, reflections, rotations, geometric figures and intricate interlaced designs, such as Celtic knots- you are seeing an outcome on the page.  It looks beautiful and can be quite impressive, but what is far more important, yet what it is impossible to see, is just how much the process of creating these forms furthers a child’s development.

 In fact, form drawing is all about the process and not the product.  It is the act of drawing that educates, not the result. 

The weekly form drawing lesson begins with whole body movements.  We walk and run the shapes.  We trace them in the air, using large arm movements.  Once the child begins to draw the pattern or shape, they are learning how to translate the large three-dimensional experience into a much smaller, two-dimensional form on paper.  Observing a form minutely, understanding how it is drawn, identifying patterns and recreating it requires many skills beyond those of observation, orientation and the fine motor skills of the fingers. 

Each experience of form drawing adds to a child’s knowledge and skills, increases independence and confidence in their own abilities. Identifying patterns is a particularly transferable skill and gives a good visual foundation for mathematics. Form drawings which have been mastered are revisited as the pupils are challenged to reverse them or draw the negative space. Tasks like this demand huge flexibility of thought, increasing cognitive abilities especially problem solving. 

Form drawing is also used as a barometer to observe how a child is feeling within their learning journey and their stage of development. By observing how a child approaches the task and the effort they are able to maintain throughout, the teacher can learn a lot about the child, their sense of self and feelings, in a way which is not expressed during other lessons or even in conversation with the child.  Form drawing can affect mood deeply.  The forms can be uplifting or calming.  They can help to overcome anxiety or stress and promote wellbeing.  As such it has been an extremely beneficial therapy for the children during the recent challenging times. 

May Pole Dancing!

We will have our usual Stay and Play session of seasonal activities this Friday from 10am- 12pm. And we invite you to join us for maypole dancing at 11.30am! This session is for children from birth to six years old. Healthy snack included. The Moorland Waldorf School is located at the Village College, Botton Village, YO21 2NJ.

Our Big News!

Moorland Waldorf School and Kindergarten has reopened!  

After another long period in lockdown, in which children were once again taught from home, isolated from their classmates and teachers, and many parents faced the challenge of doing the day job and at the same time helping to support their children’s learning, everyone is relishing the chance for a bit more normality – and routine – in their lives.  The teachers are really looking forwards to being with their pupils again and we’re sure the children will be pleased to see them too. 

While restrictions continue, we do our best to keep the children’s experience of school as close as possible to our usual ways of working.  There are inevitably some changes – but lots of time outdoors and plenty of fresh air can only be a good thing! – and most of these changes are things that parents will be more aware of than the children.

In the first days back, we’ve celebrated World Book Day and the power and positivity of books, which have been a lifeline for so many during periods of lockdown.  The children have risen to the occasion with some brilliant costumes and ideas.

We have several bits of other good news for our ‘new start’.

First this new website, which has been developed over the last months. We worked with a former pupil of Botton School, Ryan Joiner, on the design and content of the site. His knowledge of both the school and the area have been invaluable in helping to create what we think is a really beautiful online environment.  We love the new look, especially the logo which, with its nurturing mother sheep, tells a story about both our school and our location.  We hope you’ll find the site useful and interesting and welcome all feedback on content and how we might best use it.

We’re very proud of our small school and believe that we have a great deal to offer in the region.  So, from now on, we’ll be using social media more to promote Moorland Waldorf and let people know we’re here and what we have to offer local families.  Please do follow us on Facebook and Instagram and share with others. 

As we come out of lockdown into a world where we can do more all together again, watch out for new Moorland Waldorf initiatives.  We want to be part of our wider community – and we’re keen to know any ideas that you may have to help us do that.