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Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator)

The application deadline for this course has now passed.

We run this course regularly as part of our core education programme.  If you are interested in the course, want to be notified when we release new course dates, or have questions about the course, please email:

Chiara Carones our Education Manager registrar@emerson.org.uk

Open to EU and NON-EU citizens 

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

Following the success of our 2020/21 course, our upcoming cohort will be a Blended-Learning Course with online teaching as well as residentials at Emerson College and face to face meetings at Rudolf Steiner House, London. This way, the course can continue to serve the needs of those who care for our youngest children and support parents, whatever conditions may prevail in the UK and around the world. 

We are delighted to announce that this Birth to Three training course is now officially recognized by IASWECE. 

An Introduction to the Baby and Child Care course 

This Holistic Baby and Child Care qualification synthesises Steiner Waldorf international Birth to Three training guidelines, an introduction to the Pikler approach, and the Early Years Foundation Stage requirements.

The course is led by Dorothy Marlen, a Steiner early childhood teacher and Pikler pedagogue. Sam Greshoff and Silvia Lauzzana, the other main tutors are two leading light in the Steiner early childhood movement in the UK.

The qualification is full and relevant and is on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications*. The qualification has been designed to meet the requirements of the government’s 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.

‘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 whole 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, Graduating student 2017.

Who is it for?

The programme covers the development and care of children up to five years old, with an emphasis on the crucial first three years. It provides depth of understanding and a practical foundation for those wishing to work in Steiner settings and mainstream. 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 also prepares parent and child group leaders, child-minders, play group leaders, parenting course leaders and carers of children up to three years old.

Students and tutors on the last residential 2016.

How is it different?

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 in the first three years
  • An emphasis on the principles and practice of creating care environments that encourage play exploration from birth to five, as this is the way children predominantly learn
  • Hands-on experience in practical and artistic skills, as well as 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

“A deep nourishing insight into Early Years Education. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to enter this profession (journey)and to anyone who is already in Early Years Education at a mainstream setting.”

Lorena Alina Cavalcanti, 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.

If you are a carer….

If you are a carer in a nursery or day-care setting or wish to develop your own a holistic child care setting

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. We introduce several holistic models for childcare including the “home from home” approach from Lifeways North America, Helle Heckmann’s Nokken, and Awhina from New Zealand.

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. We bring an understanding of pioneering parent and baby groups which have integrated the Pikler approach and outdoor groups.

“The HBCC course is empowering and enables the role-modelling of best practice. Far more fulfilling than the Label “level 3” would suggest. The tutors are incredibly professional, warm, enabling and encouraging. The breadth of the course is wonderful”.

Jo Pearce, Graduating student 2017

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 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 exemplary 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

‘In light of the uncertainty we are all facing and our commitment to this course, which we feel is so relevant for the times we are living in, Sam and I have restructured the course to meet the needs of our students should the pandemic continue for longer than expected.  

This includes some new and exciting changes and taking part of the course online to provide flexible and affordable blended-learning.  In this way we will provide a mixture of teacher-led online and face-to-face training. You will find a brief overview of the programme and structure below and more detailed information in our downloadable Information Pack.’

Warm wishes in extra-ordinary times


“The most powerful essential and special aspect of the course for me was the way that spirituality was engaged with. It was undiluted, grounded, clear, experiential and had real relevance to our working with children. The course and tutors are highly knowledgeable, available and inspirational”.

R Leyland Student 2018

  • Programme
  • Course fees
  • Admissions
  • CPD & Certificates

Achievement and progression

Successful completion of the course and all assignments will lead to the Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator) qualification, certified by Crossfields Institute. The qualification is full and relevant and is on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications.

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 up to 5 years, in a Steiner Waldorf or mainstream setting.

Course Schedule

The course starts on Saturday 15 January 2021 at Rudolf Steiner House and finishes on 6 March 2023 at Emerson College.

In total there will be:

  • Approximately 130 hours of online teaching, meeting on Wednesdays 19:00 – 21:00 and Saturdays 15:00 – 17:00 (see calendar below for full dates)
  • 3 full day meetings at Rudolf Steiner House, 9:00 – 18:00 (15 January 2022, 10 September 2022, 14 January 2023).
  • Two 4-day residentials at Emerson College on 15 – 18 July 2022 and 3 – 6 March 2023 (starting Fridays at 16:30 and finishing on the following Monday at 16:30)
  • There will be a 4 week break over Easter in April 2022 and no teaching sessions in August 2022 and December 2022.


*N.B. Students applying from abroad will not need to join the course for the day events at Rudolf Steiner House and Emerson College, but will need to attend at least one of the residentials at Emerson College, if this is possible with COVID restrictions. Recordings and tutorials will provide necessary information.


The course fee is £2950 or £3050 if paid in installments (see info pack for details). This is made up of £2619 which covers course expenses and in addition £331 for course registration with Crossfields Institute, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship and the Association of Steiner Waldorf Teachers and Educators. (ASWTE).

Payment can be made in full at the beginning of the course or paid in installments.

Grants & Loans

NB: Although this course is in the List of the Government of free Level 3 qualifications, Emerson College cannot access the Government funds and therefore cannot offer free places for this course.

Grants for tuition fees are available from Emerson College and the Rudolf Steiner Association. A Grant request can be sent only after having been accepted into the course. For full info, please contact Chiara Carones, registrar@emerson.org.uk  

Interest free loans for tuition fees are available from the Godparents Anthroposophical Training FundFor full info, please contact Chiara Carones, registrar@emerson.org.uk  



Good news for both EU and Non-EU citizens 

Because of its modular distance learning character, this course is open to EU and NON-EU citizens (see VISA section later). All applicants however need to attend at least 80% of the full timetable and complete all the assignments to receive the (EYE) Level 3 Diploma. Your particular circumstances will be discussed with the registrar and course leader. 

How To Apply

To apply you will need to fill out the Application form and email it along with any supporting documents (listed in the application form) to registrar@emerson.org.uk


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