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


If you wish to be on the waiting list, please contact Chiara Carones at registrar@emerson.org.uk.

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

QRN: 603/7739/2

This Level 3 Diploma is a “blended” course, with online teaching as well as residentials at Emerson College and face to face meetings at Rudolf Steiner House, London.

Important: because of its modular distance learning character, this course is now open to EU and NON-EU citizens. However, all applicants need to attend at least 80% of the full timetable and complete all the assignments to receive the Level 3 Diploma.

An intermediate level of English is required to attend the course.

Applicants applying from abroad can gain written approval from the course leader not to join the course for the day events at Rudolf Steiner House, but they will need to attend at least 80% of the full timetable to pass the course. Recordings and tutorials will provide necessary information. Your particular circumstances will be discussed with the registrar and course leader.

Click here for Dorothy Marlen’s report on her visit to Steiner early childhood nurseries in Europe

We are delighted to announce that this birth to three training course is now officially recognized by IASWECE (International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education).









Click here to download Course Calendar

An Introduction to the Baby and Child Care course 

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

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.


“I will always be grateful for this course which has nourished and inspired me more than I can say. I feel very well set up to follow my dreams. It has been a privilege to learn from and be so supported by each of the tutors. Thank you”
A Attwell 2021.

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 2022 wearing the story aprons students had made.

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
“The Holistic Baby and Child Care course was like coming home for me. I found the knowledge, community and growth I had been yearning for – a guiding light towards my destiny path. I cannot recommend this course enough to anyone with a calling to work with new families, infants and young children in truly holistic way”.
A Cochran 2021

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.

“The Holistic Baby and Child Care course has been the core element of my personal, professional and spiritual development journey during the past two years. The guidance, support and inspiration has been abundant in its accessibility and the skills are invaluable in all areas of life. The range of topics covered considered the diverse needs, interests and purposes of all students and are delivered by extremely knowledgeable and experienced pedagogues”.
L Newman 2021

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.

“This course has been incredibly nourishing for me personally – introducing new skills and practice that I’ll take forward into what ever I do. It has also given a community of like-minded individuals, which I really cherish”. 
L Chinnery 2021

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
“This course was really healing for me. A beautiful journey which I’m glad I had the courage to start. I have met wonderful people and learned a lot. I wish more and more people can take this journey and help spread kindness and love all over”. 
F Khattabi.
  • Programme
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  • 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

In total there will be:

  • 34 weeks 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, 9.00-17.00 (30 September 2023, 13 Jan 2024, 14 September 2024).
  • Two 3-day residentials at Emerson College on 7th to 10th June 2024 and on 29 November to 2nd December 2024, starting Fridays at 16.00 and finishing on the following Monday at 16.30pm.

There is no teaching during December 2023, April 2024 and August 2024.

*N.B. Students applying from abroad can choose not to join the course for the day events at Rudolf Steiner House but will need to attend at least one of the residentials at Emerson College. Recordings and tutorials will provide necessary information.

Course Calendar









Click here to download Course Calendar

Video Recordings & the Emerson College Online Portal

Online lessons are an important part of the course and require live attendance. If, in certain circumstances, a student cannot attend an online lesson, the tutor can authorise absence and a video recording of the lesson can be made available to them via the Emerson Portal. Recordings will also be made available to all the attendees to refer to after the lessons to support the required assignments.

The course fee is £3,150. This includes the 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 with a £100 admin fee.

Bursaries are available from Emerson College. For the bursary form, please contact Chiara Carones, registrar@emerson.org.uk

Grants for tuition fees are available from 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 Fund. For full info, please contact Chiara Carones, registrar@emerson.org.uk

How To Apply

To apply, please click here.

You will need to  fill out the online application form and upload the documents listed below.


To complete your application you will need to have the following documents ready:

  • A personal statement
  • A copy or a scan of the information page of your passport (the one with your picture on it)
  • A completed health statement available to download here: Health Statement
  • 2 referee letters. Template available to download here. A referee can be someone who has known you in a professional capacity. One reference can also be from someone who has known you in a non-professional capacity for more than 5 years.
  • 1 Photo
  • Current DBS Check (if you already have one)

You will also need to provide contact details for someone you would chose to be your emergency contact, should you be accepted onto the course.

If you have any questions please contact Chiara Carones – registrar@emerson.org.uk.


Once your application has been received, you will be invited for an interview with the Course Leader, Dorothy Marlen, as a final step in the application process.

The interview provides both you and the Course Leader the opportunity to explore the course content, requirements and your motivations for attending.  It will also give you a space for any questions you might have.


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