Preschool

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Our preschool program serves children between the ages of two and a half and four years of age.  We have three beautiful, fully-licensed classrooms, where children have a tender beginning.  A child must be two by March 1st for first-year preschool and three by June 1st for second-year preschool.  All preschool children must be toilet trained by start of school.  We serve a healthy snack that is included in the tuition.  The snack is substantial, organic and locally grown when possible.

Preschool is offered five days a week (with 2-day, 3-day and 4-day options as well) from 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Children may be dropped off as early as 8:00 a.m. for no extra charge.  Families who need care beyond the preschool schedule can sign up for the Junebug aftercare program for an additional fee.  Parents can pick up anytime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  From 1:00-3:00 p.m. the children are napping, so we ask parents to refrain from picking up before 3:00 p.m. to prevent disrupting the children's rest period.


A Joyful First Step
In the preschool, young children are guided by experienced Early Childhood teachers through days of exploration and wonder. The program strives to help children develop social and emotional skills, resiliency and physical independence through imitation, domestic tasks, free play and teacher-led activities.

Gentle Beginnings
Children attend preschool in one of our two beautiful, fully-licensed classrooms. Teachers work closely with families to ensure a smooth transition to school and to create an experience that supports each child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. A balanced routine gives children the security from which to explore freely and confidently.

Work and Play
Preschool children find delight in simple activities like bread baking, painting, crafts, and clean-up. Puppet shows and stories capture a child’s imagination and help build strong language skills, while lively counting games lay a foundation for mathematics. Teacher-led movement games help integrate the senses, and support physical and emotional development. There is time for creative, imaginative free play each day. This play is an essential part of children's physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth.

Exploration
Preschool children have a beautiful garden to run, climb, build forts, and experience the seasons in all kinds of weather! Regular excursions provide plenty of fresh air and help children gain confidence in the wider world. Children walk, run, explore and observe the seasons in the grade school field and the nearby greenbelt.

Movement
In the early years, movement is learning. Children develop motor skills, integrate the senses, and work cooperatively. Teacher-led movement activities and games are balanced with time for free movement, indoors and out. Fine motor and artistic expression are encouraged through activities like watercolor painting, handwork, cooking, and free play.

 


Preschool Rhythm

Below is a sample of what a preschooler's day might look like.  To minimize the number of children on the yard at one time,  one preschool class will begin their day inside and the other outside.  

8:00-8:45 am Children Arrive. Outdoors and indoors the day is beginning with the work of preparing food, folding laundry and greeting friends.
8:45-10:00 am Outdoor Play and Walk. Children play in our lovely preschool yard. They dig in the sand to find treasures, swing and climb in the trees and enjoy nature. We walk, skip and jump over our grassy campus, often paying a visit to our chickens or the nearby duck pond.
10:00-10:30 am Healthy Snack.  All of the nutritious food provided is organically grown, seasonal and local when possible.
10:30-11:30 am Indoor Free Play.  Children play in the classroom.  It is during this time an activity will be offered such as painting, drawing, baking or a seasonal craft.
11:30-11:45 am Clean Up.  We all work together to clean up our room. Many hands make light work!
11:45 am-12:00 pm Puppet Show or Circle Time.  We enjoy a puppet show the teacher has created, teacher-led songs, activities and joyful movement together in a circle.
12:00-12:20 pm

Lunch. We all sit together to enjoy the lunch we prepared at school.

12:20-12:40 pm Clean Up and Free Play.  Clean up from lunch and free play to end the day.
12:40-12:45 pm

Parents Arrive.  Children are received outside.

 

Optional aftercare begins at 12:45 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. for families who need full-time care


Preschool Teachers

Catalina Edwards

Lavender Preschool Lead Teacher
Catalina Edwards is originally from Colombia and moved to the California Bay Area when she was a teen. She began her journey in Waldorf early childhood education at DWS as she was attending the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. After working at DWS for several years as an Assistant Teacher, she was asked to help plant the seed of Waldorf education in Vacaville, CA. Catalina was the inaugural Lead Preschool teacher at the Waldorf-inspired Pleasant Valley Preschool. She transitioned her class of preschoolers into Kindergarten and is excited to now return to DWS.

Catalina holds a Waldorf Early Childhood Certificate from The Sound Circle Center of Arts and Anthroposophy in Seattle, WA. She is a singer and songwriter and holds a certificate in Voice and Songwriting from The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Catalina is thrilled to be back to where it all began for her. She loves the magic and wonder of the early childhood years. Most recently her studies have been focusing on the cultural healing songs from the indigenous peoples of South America. Catalina is looking forward to bringing her music and culture into the curriculum and being a part of the wonderful DWS community once again. 

Jennifer Mason

Buttercup Preschool Lead Teacher
Jennifer Mason born and raised in Sacramento. After attending community college, she moved to San Francisco and attended San Francisco State University. A week after graduating with a BA in Psychology, she gave birth to her daughter and moved back to Sacramento to be close to her family. Because her daughter was a strong willed child, she read many parenting books. While reading “You are Your Child’s First Teacher,” she discovered Waldorf education. Within a month she signed up to become a Waldorf teacher at Rudolf Steiner College and has been teaching ever since. After her training, Jennifer went on to work as a nap teacher in the kindergarten at Sacramento Waldorf School. She also had two sons and when they were toddlers she owned and operated a Waldorf inspired home preschool program. When her youngest son was in third grade Jennifer became the preschool teacher at Camellia Waldorf School. She is a proud parent of three children who attended Waldorf School from kindergarten to twelfth grade. When she is not teaching she likes to garden, practice yoga and spend time with her children.

Par Duncan

Golden Poppy Preschool Lead Teacher
Par Duncan was born and raised in a small village in Punjab, India and grew up on a farm surrounded by life in all forms - plants, animals, and a large family. Food and traditions were everything. Mrs. Duncan was 14 years old when her family moved to Dublin, CA. Par, along with her husband and two sons, moved to Davis in 2004. Once in Davis, Mrs. Duncan and her husband looked for a holistic education for their sons and they came across Davis Waldorf School (DWS). Their oldest son started at DWS in kindergarten in 2005, and her younger son started preschool in 2006. Both of Mrs. Duncan’s boys graduated from DWS then completed high school and their Waldorf journeys at Sacramento Waldorf School (SWS). Mrs. Duncan instantly fell in love with Rudolph Steiner’s whole child Waldorf approach to learning. She dove into Waldorf education and anthroposophy and has worked in Early Childhood (EC) since 2013. Mrs. Duncan has previously volunteered and worked at DWS in multiple roles and has taught at SWS. She has been mentored by several experienced Waldorf EC teachers, including Teacher Mary and, for the past year, Teacher Jenny. Mrs. Duncan is currently enjoying her EC teacher training at the Seattle Sound Circle and will be finished in July 2022. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading, long walks, yoga, gardening, handwork, and listening to different types of music. Mrs. Duncan lives in Davis with her two sons, husband, and German Shepherd dog, Adi.