The Small School where Art supports Children’s Mental Health

Last Saturday, Alder Bridge School opened its doors to visitors. They came by appointment only and were carefully guided round the classrooms according to social distancing rules but the atmosphere was a festive one where teachers shared their enthusiasm for the beautiful work the children had been able to produce during lockdown and on those precious occasions where classes had been able to come together in the classroom.

The School Hall was awash with brightly coloured paintings, , knitting, crochet and embroidered bags. There were model houses made from lollipop sticks, tiny villages and forts crafted from clay and straw and exquisitely finished ‘main-lesson’ books produced by the older pupils depicting the intricate workings of the human pulmonary system: heart, lungs and the beautiful weaving of veins, arteries and organs that keep us alive and active in the world.

Despite the struggles everyone has undergone because of Covid, last week’s Open Day was an event of celebration. Teachers were able to share with enquirers and visitors their enthusiasm for the art of teaching. They were able to show how each class experiences a daily ‘Main lesson’ of two hours where the children sing together, recite poetry, play recorders, take part in rhythmic movement exercises as well as paint and draw, all this centred around the development of core skills in Literacy and Mathematics. Alder Bridge is a small, ‘family school’ so there are many opportunities to offer care and attention that can meet the needs of each individual child.

After months of having to learn through computer screens, there is real joy and enthusiasm for simply being back in the classroom. Concerns have been expressed nation-wide about the state of children’s mental health after the rigors of lockdown. It’s clear to the teachers that the Waldorf curriculum they work with offers a really effective therapy to meet this need. An approach to learning that integrates the arts, the academic and the practical on a daily basis provides a sure way for helping children reintegrate socially and emotionally.

Last Saturday’s Open Morning was voted such a success that the school has decided to run a follow-up event on Saturday 15th May. If you would like to find out more about what goes on in the classrooms and meet the teachers and learn about the Waldorf Steiner approach to learning, you can make an advance booking on the school’s website at:

You can get further information by contacting Lucia Dimarco, at or the Main School on 0118 071 4471

Alder Bridge Steiner-Waldorf School, Bridge House, Mill Lane, Padworth, Reading RG7 4JU

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