A unique feature of the Tamar Valley Steiner School is its "thoughtful and quick growth" that filled a distinct need in a community, the head of Steiner Education Australia believes.
Steiner Education Australia chief executive Virginia Moller visited the St Leonards site for the first time on August 5 and 6 to visit with teachers and pupils and gauge the impact the school has for its community.
Ms Moller said the school "filled a need" in the community and played a vital role in the national and global network of Steiner schools across the country.
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Steiner education is celebrating 100 years globally but has only been in Australia since 1957. The first-ever Steiner School was opened in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1919.
Ms Moller said the biggest misconception about Steiner education was that it was "play instead of learning" but that could not be further from the truth.
"Creative play is one of the cornerstones of the early years for Steiner education but we base it in a foundation of scaffolding skills," she said.
Ms Moller said Steiner education was very structured and was based around a whole-person approach to learning.
"Play prepares them [pupils] for learning, it's (our values) not play instead of learning."
Steiner schools have experienced a significant upswing in inquiries and enrolments in the past few years and Ms Moller said this was a lot to do with the uncertainty facing the jobs market.
"Parents are looking for a strong alternative, they are looking for somewhere that will foster the skills of the future that we know kids will need - those things like resilience, creativity and original thought," Ms Moller said.
Tamar Valley Steiner School principal Annie Ball said they had experienced a significant number of inquiries, even in the past two years, and from a different cohort than they expected.
"When we first began, we would get a lot of inquiries about our playgroup and early learning options," she said.
"But now, more than ever, we're experiencing a lot of demand for grades 3 and 4."
Steiner education values a more open way of learning but that's not at the expense of structure, depth and rigour, Ms Moller said.
Also, Steiner education does not loathe technology, it just chooses the best time to introduce it.
"We are not against technology but we don't introduce it deliberately until the later grade years, after we have established other skills, such as original thought and creativity," she said.
Tamar Valley Steiner School is the only Steiner school in Northern Tasmania and at this stage only offers primary school education.
It has plans to expand in the future when it relocates to its permanent site across two lots on St Leonards Road.
The school is awaiting funding from its peak funding authority to allow it to undertake the move, after submitting a development application to the City of Launceston Council last year.
The Steiner School has purchased the property, as well as vacant land at 376-376 St Leonards Road for the school.
The only other Steiner school in Tasmania is Tarremah, in Huntingfield, in the state's south and has classes for all grades from kindergarten to secondary classes.
Ms Moller said while Steiner had experienced significant growth, there were no plans at this stage to open more schools in Tasmania.
"While we always love to think about more schools, there are no more in the pipeline at this stage," she said.
Steiner education is based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who was an Austrian academic, philosopher, artist and visionary who advocated for a child-centred approach to education.
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