Holistic Baby and Child Care (EYE)

Course Availability: Part Time

 Dates for the next cohort of this very popular course will be announced in early 2017. Please register your interest on this page to receive updates.

Join us on this groundbreaking new course based on Steiner Waldorf with the Pikler approach to child development, play and care with a birth to three emphasis.

This new Baby and Child Care qualification which synthesises Steiner Waldorf international Birth to Three training guidelines, the Pikler approach, contemporary child development and Early Years Foundation Stage requirements, is being launched in September 2015. Led by Dorothy Marlen and certified by Crossfields Institute and the awarding body CACHE, the qualification has been designed to meet the requirements of the government’s new criteria for Early Years Educator (Level 3) Qualifications for carers of children from birth to five, released in July 2013, whilst uniquely offering a birth to three emphasis.



"It is crucial that we bring the fullest awareness, love and respect into our care of the very young child"  Dorothy Marlen, Early Childhood Consultant and Trainer

Introduction to the Baby and Child Care course

Trainings that open up new levels of consciousness and respectful care for children up to five - childcare for the 21st century. 

The programme will cover the development and care of children up to five years old, with an emphasis on the crucial first three years. The training will provide depth of understanding and a practical foundation for those wishing to work as Steiner parent and child group leaders, child-minders, play group leaders, parenting course leaders and carers of children up to three years old. The training provides a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification for those wishing to care for children up to five years old in both Steiner and mainstream nurseries and kindergartens.



" The course is empowering and enables the role modelling of best practice. Far more fulfilling that the label of "Level 3" may suggest. The tutors are incredibly professional, warm enabling encouraging and persistant to see you through completing all the requirements. The breadth of the course is wonderful and covers all the relevant information." Jo Pearce, graduating student 2017


How is this training different from other Early Years trainings?

As well as fully meeting the criteria required by DfE standards for Early Years Educator qualifications, the training uniquely provides:

  • An integrated and detailed understanding of the development and respectful care of  children under three
  • An in depth understanding of how to enable natural and full gross and fine motor development
  • An emphasis on the principles and practice of creating care environments that encourage play from birth to five, as this is the way children predominantly learn
  • Hands-on experience in practical and artistic skills, including singing, storytelling, simple puppetry, celebration of festivals and how to create a calm, imitation-rich environment
  • “Home from home” and outdoor models of childcare
  • A journey in self-development that will confer skills and confidence for caring for children, as well as supporting parents in parent and child groups, parent and baby groups and in other forms of parent support


"I was looking for a course where I would gain a deeper knowledge about children and their development and also where I get an hands on experience. I gained a lot in this course . I learnt about Pikler and free movement, care moments and respect for babies. I experienced the Waldorf environment, which to me is very rich, warm and caring. I learnt a lot about crafts"
Johanna Hierzberger, graduating student 2017


If you are a childminder….

This training will provide you with confidence and practical skills to care for young children.  There will be an emphasis on the care of children from birth to three. You will gain confidence to create “home from home” and outdoor settings which respect the young child’s need for warm relationships, a calm and rhythmical day and lots of play. It will give you tools for working with and supporting parents. You will gain an early years level 3 qualification.


‘Good to have the opportunity to think about things from a different perspective, challenging assumptions about what we did with our babies e.g. sitting comes after crawling’ 


If you are a carer in a nursery or

day-care setting….

In Steiner schools, Steiner nurseries and Steiner kindergartens, the Holistic Baby and Child Care training will provide you with the skills and confidence to care for pre-kindergarten children (up to three years old) in a range of “home from home” and outdoor play settings. This is not a Steiner Early Childhood Studies training for Steiner kindergarten teachers, which is offered in London and York at level 4 and 5 (see www.steinerwaldorf.co.uk and www.neswec.org.uk). However, in the UK Steiner movement it will give you a particular and unique specialism in caring for children from birth to three, and in supporting parents.

In mainstream nurseries and day-care settings this Level 3 qualification will provide the necessary training required to care for children from birth to five. The advantage of this qualification is that you will bring to your setting a coherent body of awareness and skills based on Steiner pedagogy and the Pikler approach which will enhance your professional work.


 ‘Fascinating and insightful.'


If you are a parent and child group leader…

As well as preparing you to work as a parent and child/baby group leader in Steiner and mainstream settings, the Level 3 qualification will give you the breadth and depth of skills and confidence to care for young children and support parents in Steiner and mainstream settings, if you so wish.


"Working with the Steiner principles in parent and child groups was always rewarding for its gentle and natural rhythms.  Bringing the Pikler approach to the work has created a whole new atmosphere."  Rachel Tapping - Sunbeams Parent & Child Groups

What does the Holistic Baby and Child Care training include?

Caring for young children and supporting parents requires many skills – a thorough understanding of child development and respectful practical care; confidence in a variety of artistic, craft-making and home-making activities; observational and self-reflective abilities; a capacity for working sensitively with parents and other professionals, and a clear understanding of EYFS, effective child assessment and working with statutory requirements. The units will weave together to provide a firm foundation for continued personal and professional growth and development. Themes covered include:

  • An introduction to the life and legacy of  the philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner, including his profound understanding of the nature of the human being, and the many enduring practical endeavours that have been born from his insights that one finds in different cultures across the world
  • An overview of Steiner Waldorf child development up to 21 years
  • An in-depth introduction to Rudolf Steiner’s view of child development for the first seven years, with an emphasis on the first three years
  • An in-depth introduction to the Pikler approach from Hungary, providing practical knowledge and skills for respectfully caring for children up to three and the natural unfolding of gross and fine motor skills
  • Practical skills including how to plan for play, how to set up indoor and outdoor environments, storytelling, puppetry and activities of all kinds for different ages, especially the under 3’s.
  • Comparative child development studies and contemporary educational issues
  • Preparation for working with statutory legislation, regulations and inspections
  • A journey of self-development, including how to be a good role model for children to imitate and how to deliver quality and respectful individual and group care in a variety of circumstances
  • Observation and assessment skills
  • Preparation for working with parents in parent and child and other situations
  • Preparation for working as a childminder


"A heartfelt thank-you for creating a truly holistic course, demonstrated in its content, teaching and social realms. The breadth of the curriculum has educated me across the hwol range of skills required for working with children from birth to three; understanding the EYFS, experiencing the warming 'heart of care' and exploring the spiritual life of the young child. The course really focussed on nurturing my professionalism and self-development (a life-long gift!). You, your core tutors and skilled visiting specialists are all brilliant exponents of your chosen areas - congratulations on assembling such a group. Jack Cryer


Course structure and dates

The course is a mixture of one day workshops and residential courses.  

Full-day and week end workshops will be held at Rudolf Steiner House in London and three five-day residential courses will be held at Emerson College in East Sussex.

In order to demonstrate your knowledge, skill and understanding you will be expected to carry out a range of written and practical activities to demonstrate that you have successfully completed the units. Learners will need to complete all stages of assessment in order to attain the qualification.


Course tutors

Course leader

Dorothy Marlen BSc (Hons), PostGradDip is a freelance Early Years consultant, trainer and author. She trained as a Steiner Early Childhood teacher 20 years ago, and more recently at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, at Resources for Infant Educarers in the USA, and in psychoanalytic child observation. She has developed a pioneering specialism in supporting parents of young children in groups as well as running workshops and courses, and advising on early childhood care practice in nurseries and trainings in the UK and Ireland. She organises trainings in the Pikler approach in the UK, is a founder member of the Pikler UK Association, and is the Birth to Three representative on the Steiner/Waldorf Early Years Steering Group. She is the author of The Parent and Child Group Handbook – a Steiner /Waldorf Approach (Hawthorn Press, 2006). Dorothy has initiated the Holistic Baby and Child Care (EYE)*.  See www.dorothymarlen.net


The core team members are:

Dorothy Marlen, Clare Benson and Sam Greshoff.



Find out more about Dorothy Marlen and our core team members here:  

Holistic Baby Team 




For more information and to register for the course, please contact:

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Programme fees

Fees for the next cohort of the course are being finalised.  Please register your interest using the form on this page and we will send more information when it becomes available.

Refunds and Cancellations for Course Fees

Your application fee of £60 is non-refundable. £200 of your £400 deposit is refundable if you cancel up to four weeks prior to the start of the course, after that the whole deposit is non-refundable. If you leave before the end of the course, you are expected to also pay a pro rata amount based on the course fee and number of sessions attended provided you have given a minimum of four weeks notice in writing.

No refunds are made for missed sessions. 

Entry requirements

As Emerson College is an adult college the minimum age at time of enrolment is 18. Learners must be able to provide evidence of previous study at level 2 (or equivalent), or have equivalent work experience.

Applicants for whom English is not the first language must be able to demonstrate sufficient spoken and written English skills to meet the requirements of this qualification. GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above (or equivalent) is a requirement for learners intending to work as Early Years Educators and be counted in the EYFS ratios.  The final decision for acceptance on the course is at the discretion of the course leader.


"On behalf of the Board of Trustees I would like to thank you very much for your contribution to a successful conference hosted last week. It was extremely valuable for delegates to hear your experiences and knowledge of working with children and families. You stressed the importance for both parents and others, to take things at the child's pace and allow them to develop in a natural and unhurried way. The support you have given to us with our work is very much appreciated by the Trustees".   Lydia Keyle Chiar of Board of Trustees of the charity  "What about the children?"


Course venues

The course will be held at Rudolf Steiner House in London and at Emerson College in East Sussex.


Achievement and progression

Successful completion of the course and all assignments will lead to the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator) (VRQ) (601/5636/3) qualification, certified jointly by Crossfields Institute and CACHE. Learners completing this qualification may proceed directly to work in an early years setting, for example in the role of an early years educator, adult and child group leader, or childminder and carer of children under 3 years, in a Steiner Waldorf or mainstream setting.  Learners can also progress to the CACHE Level 4 Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE) (VRQ).


For full details of the course please contact the Registrar direct at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.