This has fast become one of my favourite parenting books. It introduced me to Steiner's philosophy on child development age 0-6, and it loyally and sensitively updates the application of Steiner's approach for today's times. I noticed that the author is rated as one of the top pioneers of natural parenting on the uk NP website, up there with Leboyer, Steiner himself, Leidloff and the like. This comfirmed for me that this is an important book, and should certainly have a place on the shelves of pre-school settings, particularly in the U.K. and U.S., where children start their formal education at such a young age.
I have always had a vague uneasy feeling about certain toys: character dolls such as Barbies, T.V. & video games, and I knew that toys such as fully fitted plastic kitchens can be too literal. But this book explains exactly how childhood and children's brain development and creativity can be compromised to their great detriment by such resources. It also emphasises the necessity for children to enjoy each phase of early childhood without having their developing senses violated by experiences they are not ready for. It describes how as parents and teachers we can so easily sabotage the child's developing creativity by over-directing them, over-providing for them, hurrying them, limiting them, or simply by stealing away their precious early years time with totally inappropriate demands for academic learning. After reading this book I resolved that my small children would not waste away their precious early years infront of videos, colouring in, or keeping their clothes clean. The "Teacher" role referred to in the title is really a time and space provider, learning enhancer, play enabler, quality controller of toys and resources, sensory protector and advocate.
I quite liked this book. I did find some of the statements a little ridiculous, like one of the other reviewers; the rabbit being a prime example. And yes, yes, yes I found the section on discipline very uncomfortable reading - but then it does go against my own thoughs on discipline and how I would approach behaviour that is not appropriate.
However, as a good basic overview of waldorf principles with young children, this is a good book. I don't believe in everything that Rudolf Steiner wrote, some of it these days being very objectional indeed - however, going back to the book - as a book that IS a Waldorf book and so does view early childhood from a waldorf perspective it is very good.
Frankly, if you're not interested in waldorf and do not subscribe to the main principles - no screen time or very little, natural, simple toys, waldorf rhythms to the day, the very different views education of young children etc - then chances are you're not going to be overly keen on this book - although, I do think you should read it still as it offers an interesting and equally valid philosophy for the development of young children,and with any book, method etc - take what appeals and wll work in your family and leave the rest alone.