Why Adam came to Nant-Y-Cwm at age 11
Above all, we wanted our Adam to enjoy learning, be curious, be creative, challenge himself, have friendships, love life, be connected with nature, respect his fellow humans. Verity and I shared a long-term interest in Steiner Waldorf education and had friends whose children had enjoyed it.
We also had a desire to find something different to the “mainstream”. A general feeling that we still haven’t got education right for young people – despite the apparent changes. If anything, there is more pressure.
We felt that age 11 is too young to go up to “big school” for many reasons: exam focus, one-size fits all, pressure (time, mental), technology (having a phone, gaming, social media). A delay of two years has been really beneficial and hasn’t set him back.
Because Adam arrived late at NYC, we were obviously already thinking about where he would go after NYC. Feedback from teachers at Fishguard is that he is doing really well and the English teacher said he “likes teaching ex-Steiner children”. Adam hasn’t felt a big bump going to the school either. Obviously it’s different for different people but he didn’t necessarily experience a big leap, and that he was generally well equipped to move on at 13 or 14. NYC is in a beautiful location, which is a bonus – but not the only reason we came. We found NYC to have a great parent community, a wealth of people with real-life skills.
Chief Tech Officer & Co Founder of Human Made
Success with technology is absolutely not about learning about computers when you’re young! Working in tech requires logical thinking, critical thinking skills and perseverance, which NYC fully equipped me with. There’s also a huge amount of creativity in software. I’m a good technologist now from my ability to look at a problem from 10,000 feet and creatively find a solution.
Human Made is a remote tech company with 100 distributed employees working all over the world. I co founded the company with my brother who also attended Nant y Cwm and my sister, our VP of finance, also went to NYC.
I didn’t have tech at home when I was a child, we didn’t have a computer until I was 14, no TV no phone etc. The Steiner curriculum was more of the same, but after finishing school I really got interested in programming and it was an advantage that it wasn’t normalised for me in childhood.
At 17 I really delved into it and was the whizz kid that knew everything about computers. When I got interested I went from 0-100. There’s absolutely no need to have been using your computers your whole life in order to learn the skills to be good with them.
I started a company that I wanted to work for, that has empathy and a sense of caring for people and their wellbeing. Many NYC values are present here such as autonomy, benefits for staff such as maternity packages and holiday leave, caring for people through the mental health costs that the company
has. Kindness and warmth are strong values.
Steiner education provides skills that are very useful in tech. I can draw a lot of lines between what I learnt at NYC and how I’m able to succeed in this career.
7 years at Nant-y-Cwm
After NYC I went on to do GCSE’s, college, then a mechanical engineering degree at Brunel University leading to a Masters in renewable energy. I specialised in hydrogen and hybrid vehicles and now work on solar, wind and battery storage projects as an Engineering Director.
NYC provided the opportunity to be in nature, to grow up playing in streams, and gave me a practical sense of building things from wood, metal, and through crafts. I learnt practical skills, which gave me a good grounding for life. These days, everything comes in a box, we’ve lost a connection to real life; sustainable living, growing, making and fixing.
My favourite memory? Two things stick out, the nature walks that we did through the woodland whilst walking up and down streams. Secondly, the deep bond with my classmates. It was more like a family than a class.
What I loved about NYC was the lessons. Main lessons were very engaging as you get fully immersed in the subject, which made it very interesting. The emphasis was on the subject as opposed to an exam.
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm
How to sum up the phenomenon of Nant y Cwm in a few sentences?! One thing’s certain, I can wholeheartedly say I would not be the person I am and love today if it weren’t for the priceless years I spent in the loving arms of this Steiner school.
9 years at Nant-y-Cwm
I value the way my children are seen in a Steiner education. The small class sizes of Nant-y-Cwm, the engaged and thoroughly committed teaching team and wonderful setting of the school brings together an atmosphere of inspiration, curiosity and compassion.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NyC, in particular the creative freedom and hand-on experience it provided. I feel that my overall personal development and real-life skills were developed to a far higher level than those same counterparts. Overall I found it a very valuable experience and I intend to Steiner educate my children.
9 years at Nant-y-Cwm
Two of my four grandchildren attend Nant-y-Cwm Steiner School and I count them so fortunate for this opportunity to receive this form of education. There is a totally different attitude to how they are taught and what they are taught within the Waldorf curriculum that I both witness and perceive in their development. I only wish that my own two sons had had the benefit and experience being part of a community like Nant-y-Cwm.
A levels & gap year
NYC made me curious and inquisitive, I feel I’m up for trying things and taking opportunities in life. It was such an altogether amazing experience.
I felt I was able to communicate with every person. There were no groups or cliques at the school, it was welcoming to everyone and you learn the skills to get on with everyone.
Being at NYC builds your foundations. The way the teachers treat you, the other pupils and the setting itself. Everything is designed for a child, this makes you feel safe and secure and coming away from that makes you feel safe and secure inside. It’s allowed me to be in different situations, knowing what you want as you know yourself a bit better. It gave me confidence, I was treated with respect, which allowed me to be able to talk to other adults and teachers and present yourself well to others.
NYC is good at listening to each child and understanding what they need. The teacher knows each child so well that they really accommodate them. They are good at looking after YOU.
My favourite memory was the class 8 performance and trip. It rounded off my experience at NYC. I was so grateful I made it to this stage. Also, the closeness of my relationship with the teachers and classmates. The finale was amazing and so fun.
After NYC I went to Dyffryn Taf to do GCSE’s and then A levels, I’ve since been saving up some money for travelling and volunteering. I’m specifically interested in learning about sustainable living, and growing. It’s important to feel self-sufficient and over the last few years I’ve really appreciated this. This knowledge makes a real difference and has a positive impact on the planet.
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm
As I’ve become older, I appreciate my Nant-y-Cwm education more and more.
4 years at Nant-y-Cwm
It was not a question of filling my son with information to pass exams, Nant-y-Cwm provided a strong grounding for lifelong learning and self discovery, though an education that supported him in body, soul and spirit from age 6 to 14. He gained the physical skills of making, drawing, coordination and movement, whilst understanding a clear context and relevance for subjects and their separation in later years. Most importantly, he gained a love of learning and an active interest in the world around him that has given him a strong foundation as he takes the next step.
Outdoor Instructor & Environmental Educator
After NYC I went on to do A-levels at Pembrokeshire College followed by a degree in Human Sciences at Oxford. Since then I’ve always been involved with connecting people with the environment, through outdoor adventure, expeditions and various educational programmes.
I love that they start formal academic learning later, in line with other European countries and plenty of research that backs up the importance of focussing on emotional, social and physical development, before academic development. The topic of my thesis at University was the importance of play during early years education. This is one of the main reasons I moved back to Pembrokeshire, to send my own children to the school.
I felt I left NYC with curiosity and the confidence to ask if I didn’t understand. We were encouraged to ask questions not only for clarification, but also to get greater depth on areas you were interested in.
NYC is good at exceptional care and warmth. It’s the opposite to a sausage factory. The teachers and the staff have the child’s best interest at heart. Providing a warm, nurturing, caring environment, this made me feel very safe and very free, free to be yourself, free to explore.
My favourite memories were on the fantastic class trips and, going to Switzerland for our final class trip. The responsibility to raise the funds, the months of build up, it all built the anticipation. The adventure while we were there, climbing mountains, the friendships and the fun. We volunteered on an alpine farm which gave me an excitement for working holidays which I still have today. The experience connected me to the landscape and the people more than if you were just a tourist.
NYC helped me foster my connection to, and love of nature, something every child needs now more than ever.
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm
University of West England – Graphic Design
NYC gave me an enjoyment of learning! I also think it gave me a vast set of skills and opportunities. I feel it opened a lot more avenues for example, I doubt I’d be in a creative subject without NYC. Working with tools, being creative, hand rendering rather using technology such as CAD and software. These skills are less seen these days but they’re definitely worth keeping.
In terms of developing my soft skills, it’s an unparalleled atmosphere for learning how to be kind and warm to each other, I felt encouraged and supported. It was the opposite of bringing each other down.
I felt there was a sheltered-ness, but seeing how it built up characters I think it’s very necessary for children to have their childhood protected from the negative side of human culture like people not having encouragement. It’s an environment that brings people up and works with your assets
NYC is good at working with assets rather than deficits. I noticed that you were encouraged to do the things that you excelled in as well as supported to do the things you didn’t. They definitely let you be an individual. For example in art I was someone who liked to do finer drawings, not all my classmates did but we were all encouraged to work the way we wanted to.
My favourite memory was lunch times! And, just being in the class during main lesson, it was always interesting, especially as our teacher was such an uplifting character. Lunch time was good fun, we’d all sit and eat together and have some very interesting conversations.
What do you love about NYC? The people.
After NYC I went on to do GCSE’s followed by graphic design at Pembrokeshire College. I’m now studying Graphic Design at University of West England, Bristol.
3 years at Nant-y-Cwm
Sailor & Boat Builder
NYC gave me the liberty to dream. It gave a broader spectrum of possibilities, I was told ‘sure you can do that’. It gave me imagination, the confidence to think outside the box. It made me believe I could sail around the world on a gaff right schooner, which I did!
NYC really cares for the children, you felt very nurtured and cared for. It gave me pride and it gave me confidence. The teachers by their very nature are caring and concerned. The small class sizes were very nice. Outdoor play and outdoor time was especially memorable
My favourite memory was playing rounders with Deborah our teacher. I can picture where we did it and everyone loved it for the excitement, enjoyment and fun. I also remember handwork with Nim our teacher, she was lovely and it was a calm time. My best memories were always with the other children, we were great mates and still are.
After NYC I went to Thomas Picton for GCSE’s and then A-levels. I then completed my Yacht Masters, at the time I was the youngest in Wales to complete it. I went back packing for two yeas crewing on yachts and it was here I decided I wanted to be a boat builders. I can do what I love and I don’t need to be academic. I completed a two year course in Milford Haven and bought my first boat in Sweden and sailed it home. At 29I went to New Zealand, and bought my next boat and 19 years later, I still live on board the boat I bought sailed back form NZ
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm
Chief Executive, Adult Learning Wales
Following a turbulent time in state education, and not one that we had expected, my 13 year old son found sanctuary, care and support at Nant-y-Cwm Steiner School in 2021.
Bruised and battered from relentless bullying, his transformation at Nant-y-Cwm was incredible as we watched him build his confidence and re-engage in a love for learning.
Joining a small class, with a holistic approach to the needs of the child, drawing on their talents and capabilities and acknowledging them as a person was a massive turning point for him. With the support of his amazing class teacher, Tom Blackwell, not only did he “heal” but his academic and practical skills blossomed and enabled him to transition to the next phase of his education with confidence and purpose.
What makes the school special is the care, support and patience of all the staff and the Steiner approach, with its breadth of activities and support for young people in developing a strong sense of self, as well as the capacity to become socially and economically responsible individuals.
It was such a joy to see my son knitting, sewing and woodcarving, drawing maps with chalk and developing his hand-writing skills away from electronic devices. His languages, maths and science skills developed at pace, and his limited social skills were not questioned or criticised – simply gently encouraged. School pick-ups often saw the delightful return of children with muddy boots and rosy cheeks from an afternoon in the woods connecting with nature. I wholeheartedly recommend Nant-y-Cwm to meet your child’s needs in every sense of the word. You will also be joining the wider Nant-y-Cwm family, a community of parents, carers and friends who embrace the Steiner approach and value festivals, food, fun and companionship. Much sought after qualities in the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
My 11 years at Nant-y-Cwm have gifted me with a love of learning, a sense of belonging, an alternative perspective on the world around me, and a solid foundation which enables me to continue my life with knowledge and independence!
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm
My little girl has just completed her 1st full year in kindergarten at this school, We always said we would home educate but my daughter is an only child and a social butterfly….so it does not suit us at the moment. I have no regrets of this last year she is so happy at Nant y Cwm and really missed it during this strange period we have just been through (Covid 19) .. She loves her teachers and has learnt so much through play like steiner intended it’s fab … Anyone thinking about this education for your child I can’t fault it …
NYC has an enormous amount of care for each individual child, it’s in an amazing location and spending time outside in that location is special. The curriculum meets a child where they’re rather than pulling them forward to a place they’re not ready to be academically. It’s supportive of children’s development. It has a community feel to it as it’s small scale, you can be involved as a parent. NYC is dedicated to allowing a child to be a child and become themselves.
Why NYC? I visited the Kindergarten for a Christopher Day book launch. I walked into the building and decided, “When I have children, this is where they will go”. The feeling of the place, the turf roof, the circular building, the winding entrance, windows at a child’s height, all the nooks, wooden toys, the lighting. It made me feel cosy and magical-even the drive to school through the forest. It felt like a really ‘held’ place for a child to have a childhood.
Who do children become at NYC? Before my children joined I met two students that had been through the school and they had a strong sense of self. By this I mean a sense of contentment, an understanding that they are capable people and willing to give things a go. It has given my children a curiosity and a love of learning. They learnttolerance and an appreciation that different people have different qualities. They also have a confidence in themselves and are willing to have a go at life.
What I love about NYC is that it produces happy children. And the school fairs! They are incredibly warm and wholesome, nourishing and very inclusive. There’s a sense of connection in the community and it enables children to grow in their own time and experience magic. I’m really grateful for Nant y Cwm and how special it was.
Since NYC I went on to A-levels, a gap year, then Lampeter Uni to study Archaeology & Anthropology. My first experience of pottery was at NYC and it cemented my love of ceramics. I completed an intensive ceramics training course in Ireland and became a ceramic artist in 2006. After sixteen years as artist, I exhibit nationally and internationally. I have public collections including the British Museum, V&A and the National Museum in Cardiff.
NYC gave me self-belief and the confidence to find your own path in life. It normalises creative ways of being.
NYC is good at nurturing the individual child. The small size of the school and the same teacher all the way through I found to be very grounding and stabilising.
My favourite memories of NYC are climbing trees and being in nature. Also, it was the end of school class trip to Switzerland, we drove there in a minibus, it was a great adventure!
I had such a nice time there; it let children be children without the pressure.
11 years at Nant-y-Cwm