Our 2-year kindergarten classes serve children between the ages of four and six. Both of our classes have a mixed-age range, allowing the children to form deep relationships with their teachers and peers as well as develop foundational skills.
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. Through play, young children gain a sense of the world and themselves. The simple natural toys found in a Waldorf kindergarten provide endless possibilities. A rock from the basket of river rocks are handed to a shop keeper as payment, boards and wooden boxes are transformed into airplanes, doctors cure baby dolls and forts are built.
Outside, our large kindergarten yard provides ample space for a variety of play. Here the children enjoy climbing trees, building teepees and playing house in the homes they built, being gnomes by crushing rocks, or building a fairy home in one of our garden spaces. Play is just as fun in the rain! On rainy days, our students suit up in rain gear for their outdoor play where they enjoy the bliss of a good mud pie or a slide down our muddy mountain.
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 kindergarten classes 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.
The children experience the richness of language through the art of storytelling. Teachers tell stories often 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 also 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 so forth. These purposeful activities strengthen their will or their ability to achieve a task. With each task work gets easier and becomes enjoyable. Such activities also 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, support the curriculum and festivals in the kindergarten. Parents form close bonds through parent evenings and time spent after school together while the children play.
Our toys and classroom materials are natural and mostly wood, glass, silk and wool. These materials provide the children with a real sensory experience and provide a greater appreciation for the natural world around them. 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.
We believe in honoring the natural world. 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.