What are the best surroundings for the young child, for efficient learning and well-being? Though the child under three is mobile, and very much in the world, they are still in a very different stage of consciousness than adults or even older children. Protecting the senses from overstimulation and helping the child to keep their 'dream-like' consciousness, is of immense value at this age. It does not mean to under-stimulate them, but by keeping the home environment gentle and calm, and a safe place to be in, we encourage them to seek the world out as they are ready. This gives the child time to focus on their current learning task without being overwhelmed by an overload of sensory impressions.  We also allow for interest in simple things to develop, and we foster their ability to awaken their own interest in something, rather than needing entertainment. 

For indoors, think of the colour of the walls, the quality, the texture and smell of objects that surround the child. Are the objects beautiful? Do they inspire one to touch them and play with them? Are the rooms spacious or de-cluttered enough for the child to be able to play freely? Are the objects and toys versatile in their use, or neutral enough to be many things?   

If you can, avoid unnecessary noise and stimulation of machines, loud music and television, even if the child isn't watching it. 

The world of nature can be endlessly fascinating for a young child. Leaves, grasses and sticks, chestnuts, pinecones, nuts and seeds, earth, sand, air, wind, sun and shade, rain, snow, and, of course, puddles and mud, are wonderful tried and true playthings of childhood. Being in nature is a wonderful environment for a child.

See The baby's surroundings

The negative effects of media 

Creating rhythm and rituals

Toys and the importance of play

Giving choices and reasoning

Discipline and speaking to the child

How to make decisions


Creating a Steiner Playgroup - Kim Billington

The Plug-in Drug- Parenting before TV - Marie Winn

Feeding the chickens 

by Hans Adolf Hornemann

Sewing by Harry Roseland

My shadow 

by Jessie Wilcox-Smith