Research confirms play is the young child’s work, supporting them in exercising their creativity and imagination and laying the groundwork for a life-long love of learning. Our kindergarten programs have a breathing rhythm of creative child-led play time interspersed with teacher-led activities. Through play, young children gain a sense of the world and themselves. The simple natural toys found in a Waldorf kindergarten provide endless possibilities. Baskets of river rocks, seashells, slices of birch branch, simple cloth dolls and wooden frames draped with shimmering silk come alive during creative play. These materials are transformed by the children into villages, castles, ships and forests as the moment’s drama unfolds.
We show our gratitude in the way we care for our toys and environment, taking care to roll up silks and tuck in our baby dolls. In the yard, we treat the lizards, frogs and other tiny creatures that share our yard with care. We strive for the children to live with a sense of wonder and to be filled with awe and joy in the beauty found in the world. Play connected to the seasons of the year engenders a love and respect of our earth. Our large kindergarten yard provides ample space for a variety of outdoor exploration. Here the children enjoy climbing trees, building forts, playing house, and so much more. On rainy days, our students suit up in rain gear for their outdoor play so they can enjoy the bliss of a good mud pie or a slide down our muddy mountain.
A Strong Foundation
Over the two kindergarten years the children are growing exponentially. Their bodies are lengthening after leaving toddlerhood, and they are becoming more and more capable. The children take walks in the greenbelt weekly to support large motor skill development. Circle time provides opportunities for healthy movement: crawling, rolling, and crossing midlines while playing games and singing songs. Outside, the children are encouraged to try the monkey bars, jump rope and practice other milestones. Fine motor skills are acquired through the practical arts of sewing, finger-knitting and woodworking, as well as through artistic endeavors such as coloring and watercolor painting.
A Space for Imagination
The children experience the richness of language through the art of storytelling. Teachers typically tell stories in four week blocks allowing a story to live deeply in the children. The stories are initially told by heart and without images, allowing each child to develop the capacity to mentally picture the story and the characters. After several story circles, a puppet show is performed followed by a people play. In the people play, the children are given the opportunity to take on a character in the story, experiencing the human archetypes that we all carry. Language skills are acquired through song, finger games, nursery rhymes, and verses.
The children participate in meaningful work, chopping vegetables, raking leaves, feeding the chickens, sweeping, folding, washing and more. A warm and hearty snack is served daily in the kindergartens, which the children often help prepare. These purposeful activities strengthen the children's will and confidence. With each task, work grows easier and becomes more enjoyable. Such activities develop a sense of responsibility and foster a sense of self-confidence and achievement. The children feel capable and proud when they know they can do real work and serve others.
In the kindergarten, there is always an occasion to express gratitude and to come together. From Michaelmas in the fall to May Faire in the spring, there seems to always be something to look forward to and prepare for. Festivals and birthdays are celebrated allowing the child and their family to connect to the natural cycle of the year. Parents work in partnership with teachers to support their child’s development and, through volunteering, enhance the curriculum and festivals in the kindergarten. Parents form close bonds through parent evenings and time spent after school together while the children play.
Video Introduction to Kindergarten
|8:00-8:25 am||Morning Gathering Circle with Parents. Children, teachers and willing parents join together to sing good morning to the new day.|
|8:30-9:00 am||Circle Time. The teacher leads the children on a magical journey through song, dance and story, inspired by the changing seasons. The children move their bodies in developmentally challenging ways as they participate as a group, while learning verses and songs.|
|9:00-9:45am||Inside Playtime. Children engage in child-directed creative play. Examples of their play include going on an airplane trip, camping, taking care of the home and the babies, or acting out ideas from our stories. Children also participate in teacher-led activities like finger knitting, sewing, and cooking and prepare for the many festivals celebrated in the kindergarten (i.e., dyeing silk capes, crafting lanterns, carving pumpkins, shaping wreaths).|
|9:45-9:55 am||Clean Up Time. We sing a song and clean our room. Each child has a job to do and everyone works together.|
|9:55-10:25 am||Healthy Snack. We serve fresh fruit and/or vegetables with our snacks. All items are organically grown, season and from local sources when possible.|
|10:25-11:40 am||Outside Playtime. The children play in our lovely kindergarten play yard. They dig in the sand or our digging hill, garden, spin on the tire swing, climb in the trees and enjoy nature and each other.|
|11:40 am-12:15 pm||Story and Activity Time. A different activity each day. (e.g., painting; coloring; walk; beeswax modeling).|
|12:15-12:45 pm||Lunch. We all sit together to enjoy the lunch we bring from home.|
|12:45-1:00 pm||Goodbye Song and Hugs. We sing goodbye to our day.|
|1:00 pm||Parents Arrive. Children are received outside.|
Optional aftercare begins at 1:00 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. for families who need full-time care
Climbing Rose Lead Teacher
Casey Powers grew up in Davis and has returned to her hometown after finishing up her studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where she studied writing and education. Before taking on the role of Lead Teacher in the Climbing Rose Kindergarten, she worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher at Davis Waldorf School and at the Olympia Waldorf School. She received her Early Childhood Waldorf Teaching certification through the Sound Circle Center for Arts and Anthroposophy in Seattle, Washington. In her spare time, she loves watercolor painting, writing children's stories, practicing yoga, playing ukulele, gardening, and making puppets.
B.A. Education and Writing, The Evergreen State College
Climbing Rose Assistant Teacher
Mira Sahoo received a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Economics in India, but her love for children drew her to the field of education. She has been working with kids for over five years at various local schools and is a mom of two. Her main goal when working with children is to provide them with an engaging and safe learning environment, where intellectual growth is fostered - yet the kids still have fun. In her spare time, Mira loves to garden, cook, and spend time with her family.
Morning Glory Lead Teacher
Emily Lalande has worked at DWS for three years, assisting in the kindergarten and preschool as well as working in our nap program and June Bug Aftercare. Emily also worked as a nanny with children 8 months-14 years old for more than six years and helped facilitate children/family events at her Meditation Center with children 4-9 years old for several years.
Emily completed her Waldorf Teacher Training with a focus in Early Childhood from the San Francisco branch of Rudolf Steiner College. She has attended many lectures and conferences on Early Childhood Education, Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy. Emily brings magic and joy into the kindergarten through her love of singing, nature and story telling.
B.A. Fine Art and Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.
Morning Glory Assistant Teacher
Rebeccah Murray, also known as Beccah, began teaching in 2015 and led her classroom for 5 years before joining the Waldorf family. This coming year will be her first leap into the world of Kindergarten! As she continues on this path, Beccah plans to continue working towards her Bachelors in Education and Waldorf Teacher Training.
Beccah is a mother to two young boys, Henry and Elliot. She recently learned how to sew and has fallen in love with the craft. She enjoys needle work, reading, iced coffee and crafting of most kinds. Her favorite outdoor activities are camping and gardening. Beccah looks forward to sharing this journey with all of us here at DWS!