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Alder Bridge School
Bridge House, Mill Lane, RG7 4JU, UK Padworth Nr Reading
+44 (0)118 971 4471


Alder Bridge School is the first Steiner-Waldorf School in the Thames Valley area of the UK. Our Kindergarten takes children from age three to six years, and our School offers education for children from age 6 to 11 (Steiner-Waldorf Classes 1 to 5).


The main School is situated in a peaceful rural location alongside the Kennet & Avon canal, yet only minutes from Reading by train or car (map). Our Kindergarten is on the same site. Our main site is also easily accessible from Newbury and Basingstoke.

Additionally we run Parent and Child sessions (for children from 0 years upwards) at our main School site and also at Christchurch Gardens in Reading and the United Reformed Church in Newbury.


If you would like further information about the School and its activities:

Fill in our on-line enquiry form;

Email the School;

Phone the School: 0118 971 4471 (voicemail outside school hours).


Summer Fayre

See pictures of our Summer Fayre.

May Day Festival

See pictures of our traditional May Day celebration.

UNICEF report on childhood in industrialised countries

A recent UNICEF report ranked the UK lowest for child well-being. However the top five countries all have education systems in which the children attend kindergarten until they are six, before moving to their main schooling, with curricula which have a high proportion of creative and outdoor activity. This is exactly what the Steiner Waldorf system of education at Alder Bridge School provides; an emphasis on creative development with skilled teachers who respect the gift of individuality.

Sign the E-Petition

Petition the Prime Minister to provide financial and other support to alternative education establishments (including Steiner-Waldorf Schools) and pupils.

Annual Reports and Accounts for 2005/6

Download the Trustees' Report and Account for the last financial year.

Bridgeways Magazine

Read the third edition of our newly termly magazine, with articles about Parent & Child Groups, Spring Festivals, a profile of Rachel McCrory, and the Class 3 Building Project. Also examples of our children's work, some festive recipes and crafts.

Ofsted Report

Alder Bridge was inspected in December 2005, and the inspectors are very positive about the standard of education at our School.

"Steiner Schools could hold lessons for State Education"

A study by the University of the West of England concludes that state schools could learn much from the innovative practices pioneered in Steiner-Waldorf Schools. These include the emphasis on developing the whole child; teaching languages from an early age; the artistic and creative approach to all areas of the curriculum including sciences and the collegiate approach to management which involves all teachers in a non-hierarchical structure.

Download the report:



Steiner-Waldorf Education in the Modern World

Alder Bridge School is a Steiner-Waldorf School, part of the largest network of independent schools in the world. There are 32 Steiner-Waldorf schools located in the United Kingdom and over 870 schools worldwide in countries including East and West Europe, USA, Africa Australia, Japan and India.

Each Steiner-Waldorf school has its own character but they share a highly structured curriculum that is applied flexibly to meet the needs of the children, based on a profound respect for the individuality of every child.

Steiner-Waldorf Schools have a unique teaching approach to education. The healthy development of the child is fostered through the head, heart and hands. The education of the child is largely the responsibility of the Class Teacher. The activities are appropriately structured to the age of the children ensuring that children are actively engaged in the education. There are healthy and natural developmental targets with careful consideration of each child's needs and the gifts that they bring. All Steiner-Waldorf Schools base their teaching on this well thought out methodology.

We recognise that each child has something special to bring to society. The broadly based curriculum ensures there is a subject in which every child can shine. The children understand that every child's input is of value and the class becomes an extremely cohesive and socially aware group.

Lord Young of Dartington

"My particular interest is in progressive schools and Steiner schools ... it could give us, speaking on parental choice - a much healthier diversity in the educational system of this country."

John Pearce

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Nottingham

"My experience at a Steiner school over the next nine years was to have a significant and positive effect on my life. I arrived ... as an anxious and shy boy, left at 19 years old feeling quite confident and no longer anxious but still rather shy."

"I am grateful for the education, I am now a more confident and tolerant person and my own experience is not unique, most of my class have held positions of great responsibility within industry, education and society generally."

Ray McDermot

Professor of Education. Stanford University

"As a student of education and as a parent with vested interests in the .happiness and fulfilment of my children, I believe that we need more Waldorf ideas in many of our schools. Waldorf brings both a gentleness and a thoughtful structure to early childhood education, and we need much more of this in both the inner city and in the high pressure schools that dominate more affluent districts."

Some well known individuals and families who have attended our schools worldwide: Helmut Kohl - Statesman, Harrison Ford - Actor, Russell Schweickart - NASA Astronaut, George Lucas - Producer of "Star Wars", Annie Lennox - pop singer, Paul Newman - Actor, Carly Simon - Singer, Mikhall Baryshnikov - Ballet dancer, Sandra Bullock - Actress, Lenny Kravitz - Rock musician.


Steiner-Waldorf early childhood group, for parents and carers with their children from birth to 4 years.

"I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the … impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil."

Rachel Carson

A Welcome to Parents

The Parent-Child Group provides a gentle step from home to kindergarten, a protected place where innocence and wonder are honoured and imagination nurtured. The group serves as a gateway to Steiner-Waldorf education in a setting similar to the kindergarten. Parents have an opportunity to meet other parents. They can share parenting experiences and challenges, ask questions, and learn more about the Steiner-Waldorf approach. The parents do most of the guiding and disciplining of their own children but the leader is always available to help or make suggestions. Each session is arranged with a balance of active, outgoing activities and quieter, more focused activities. The activities of the session and their order vary but they will be composed of the following themes :-

Play and Work Time

During the playtime, parents may participate in craft projects, as well as helping to prepare the snack and set the table. Our involvement in purposeful work deepens the children’s involvement, as they imitate us in their play. Homely surroundings and natural play materials aim to enhance the intrinsic imagination and creativity of the small child. During the craft activities there is an opportunity to join in conversation, while being aware of the children. A baking activity may be provided for the children to join in.


At the ringtime we form a circle to sing songs and say verses from everyday life as they relate to the seasons of the year. During ringtime parents participate with their children. The leader strives to be a worthy example as she guides the children in structured activity and free play. The children take it all in, whether they participate or not. In time, most children want to join in and be part of the activity.

Tidy Up Time

We start tidying up with a simple song and this work is mainly the responsibility of parents and leader. The children take part as they are able. Again, children learn best by imitation and love to help put the "horses in the barn" or the "dishes in the cupboard".

Snack Time

Before snack time we start with a hand washing song and all the parents and children are invited to wash their hands. Snack is time for sitting at a table sharing food and company. A candle is lit, a blessing sung and thanks given at the end of the meal. Snack provided is wholesome and organic and may include fruits, vegetables, rice cakes and bread.

Story Time

A simple, short, seasonal story is illustrated with puppets. The same story will often be told for a number of weeks so that it becomes familiar to the children. Children love repetition, and with each repetition the pictures and themes of the stories are strengthened and deepened in their imagination. This provides a strong foundation for the development of memory.

Outside Play (depending on venue)

Since the gardens and woods at Alder Bridge School are so inviting, we play in the garden or take a walk to the wood at every session. Children and parents should be dressed appropriately for the weather; waterproof clothes and wellies for wet weathers, sunscreen for the hot weather and hats for the children all year around.


The session finishes with the Goodbye Song which is both an affirmation of time together as well as a reminder of future meetings.

What is asked of You

During the session inside and outside you are expected to keep an eye out for your children. Please also be aware that some conversations are inappropriate for children. Loud verbal or any physical disciplining of your child is discouraged.

Once you have decided to join the group, please try to come on time and regularly. This is important for the children so that the group can become a familiar and secure place for them.

There are plenty of toys and materials, so please do not bring these from home.

We ask that children only eat at snack time. If your child needs to eat at other times, please mention this to the leader who will direct you to an appropriate place. This does not include feeding babies.

Please bring inside shoes or slippers for your child and yourself.

Steiner School Life

Families in the Parent-Child groups are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the community festival celebrations, craft, singing and study groups, and other events that take place at Alder Bridge Steiner-Waldorf School. Our school newsletter and flyers announcing upcoming events are distributed by group leaders.


There is a family contribution, currently £3 per session, which is invoiced in advance for half a term (no refunds for sessions you are unable to attend). This system secures your family a place in the group. At our Reading and Newbury venues it is also possible to pay just for the sessions you attend, at £3.50 per session, invoiced at the end of each half term. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact the school office to arrange a time for you to visit for a taster session. There will be no charge for this first visit.

For more information see:

Christchurch Gardens (Reading) Parent & Child Group

Alder Bridge Parent & Child Group

Newbury Parent & Child Group

or contact Alder Bridge School (0118 971 4471) or email:

Tuition Fees



Fees (per term except Parent & Child Groups)

0 - 2½

Parent & Child Groups

£3.50 per family per session, or £3.00 if paid in advance for each half term.

3 - 6 Alder Bridge & Christchurch Gardens Kindergartens
3 mornings per week
4 mornings per week
5 mornings per week
See below for charges for Afternoon sessions.


Class 1

£1,115 (no afternoons included)
£1,230 from Jan 08 (1 afternoon per week included)


Class 2

£1,360 (2 afternoons per week included)


Class 3

£1,490 (3 afternoons per week included)


Class 4

£1,625 (4 afternoons per week included)

10/11 Class 5 £1,745 (5 afternoons per week included)

Family Reduction

Families with two or more children attending the School or Kindergartens will have the following discounts applied to their total fee bill:

  2 children 8%
  3 children 18%
  4 children 25%
  5 children 30%

Please note:

  • All tuition fees are payable in advance on or before the first day of each term or by monthly standing order. A 10% surcharge will be levied for late payment. Standing order forms are available from the School office.

  • The scale of fees shown above includes the charge for materials.

  • The Kindergarten fees include the cost of the mid morning snack.

  • Tuition fees are not refunded in the event of absence through illness.

  • If a child joins the School or Kindergarten part way through a term fees will be charged pro rata, at the rate of one twelfth the full term's fees for each week attended.

Notice Period

At least one full term’s notice (in writing to the School office) is required that a pupil is to be withdrawn from the School, Kindergartens or Nursery, or the number of kindergarten days attended are to be reduced. Where inadequate notice is given, a full term’s tuition fees will be payable in lieu. Notice must be received on or before the first day of the term at the end of which the child will be leaving.

Registration Fee and Deposit

Registration fee payable on receipt of formal application for admission to join the Kindergarten or School (non-refundable)

The School reserves the right to charge a deposit.

£30 per child

Other Charges (subject to availability)

Afternoon Sessions (for Kindergarten and School children) £120 per afternoon per term.

Curative Eurythmy,
Bothmer Gym,
Art Therapy:

£15.00 per session

Charges for class trips, school photographs etc. are invoiced separately.

School Doctor

Where the pupil has been referred to the School Doctor by the school there may be a charge. Private appointments for pupils or parents are also possible. These can be booked through the School office with a consultation fee payable to the School.

Financial Assistance

Full details of the School's policy on concession are contained in the "Financial Policy" document obtainable from the School office.

Tuition fees are set at a level to cover the School's day-to-day expenditure. This does not cover expenditure for major repair work or new school facilities.

The School is planning for further growth and development. We therefore ask parents to consider making additional contributions to our Development Fund. As a registered charity, such gifts can be made to the School in a number of different ways that enable tax to be reclaimed. This increases the value of your gift at no extra cost to you.

Details of how to make gifts to the School can be obtained from the Bursar.

Legal Notice

By your child(ren) attending Alder Bridge School you are deemed to have accepted these fees and the associated terms and conditions.

Articles about Alder Bridge School

Reading Chronicle Innovative school praised for its unique teaching techniques

Articles about Steiner-Waldorf Education

The Guardian

Why aren't those kids in class?

Steiner schools have been criticised for their far-out teaching techniques. But, says Lucy Mangan, after spending a day with some of their happy, confident pupils, it's easy to see why they have so many devoted fans.

BBC Steiner schools 'could help all'
The Guardian State schools 'could learn from Steiner principles'
The Independent Steiner schools get backing to run academy
Daily Mail Schools that shun tests may come into the fold

primary schools in Padworth Nr Reading, secondary schools in Padworth Nr Reading, schools in Padworth Nr Reading

Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)