The Waldorf school Les Boutons d’Or is in Eguilles, a few kilometres from Aix en Provence.
There are over 3000 Waldorf schools throughout the world offering the curriculum and spirit of the Waldorf education to thousands of children. Les Boutons d’Or is one of 23 such schools in France.
“To welcome each child as a unique person, to build up a relationship of mutual respect and to allow each child to explore, to blossom and to value their own skills and potentials – that is the role of school. At least this is what the international movement of Steiner-Waldorf schools believes, which is in line with the thoughts and the actions of UNESCO in terms of education.” Frederico Mayo, General Director of UNESCO 1987-1999.
The History of our School
The story of our school began in 1981. In its very early days, the school moved from Luynes to Les Milles, on the outskirts of Aix en Provence. In 1989 the association which manages the school to this day was created by a group of motivated parents and a determined teacher. They also set up and opened the Early Childhood Section (jardin d’enfants).
In 2010, the elementary school opened and the school moved to its current location in Eguilles.
Today the school Les Boutons d’Or offers the first five classes of primary school: 2 groups in the early childhood programme (ages 2 ½ to 6) and two mixed aged classes in elementary (ages 6 to 11, equivalent to CP-CE1-CE2 and CM1-CM2 in the French system). The school offers small class sizes with a maximum of 20 children per class.
The Waldorf curriculum places great emphasis on creative activities for children. The teachers follow the rhythm of the developing children and guide them towards greater autonomy and a readiness for intellectual learning.
The early childhood section is two mixed aged groups and welcomes children aged 2 and a half to 6. In the early childhood section, the teacher creates a warm and welcoming environment where the focus is on sensory experiences, creative free play and exploring nature. Each week, the children knead bread, bake, sing, dance, garden and tell and listen to stories. Spending time as part of a group provides the children with the opportunity to learn about life in a community and how to respect each other. The children have lunch in the classroom with their teacher. Then, while the younger members of the class have a nap, the bigger children weave, card wool or model beeswax. The rhythms of the day, the week and the seasons are the basis of learning about time and space. The Waldorf curriculum recognises imitation as a key in the development of young children.
Elementary section (for children aged 6 - 11): the curriculum is the same as in traditional schools but the approach is different. The Waldorf approach ensures that all aspects of the child, including creativity, intellect, the spirit and the body are nurtured. Art in all its forms (drawing, painting, music) is at the heart of the curriculum, and this is particularly important at this age as children are sensitive to beauty. Eurhythmy, the art of movement and expressive dance which is specific to Waldorf schools, develops links with others, rhythm and an understanding of the body. English and German are offered from the first class (CP in the French system).
The parents of the Les Boutons d’Or school participate actively in the life of the school. They are at the heart of its administration (our school is an association), maintaining the buildings, organising events and charity events.
Many families in the school come from different countries. This offers the children an openness to the world. School life is sociable for the whole family. Mutual support, car-sharing and a sense of community are an active part of school life.
The school offers vegetarian lunches which are delivered by an organic caterer.