At Davis Waldorf School we offer a comprehensive early childhood curriculum that is pre-academic and play-based. Our preschool and kindergarten programs provide protection from sensory overload and other academic pressures. We provide many opportunities for children to develop their foundational senses in a healthy way, as well as to learn social skills according to their development. Although the programs differ according to the children’s developmental ages, all programs work together to provide a continuum of care for the children. Our programs also provide educational and community-building opportunities for parents.
Our preschool program is a play-based, developmentally-appropriate program with a balance between child-directed and group activities. Songs, stories, puppetry, movement, and artistic and domestic activities enable children to explore their relationships to themselves, each other, and the world around them. The program weaves daily and weekly rhythms around seasonal themes.
The program strives to help children develop social and emotional skills, resiliency and physical independence through imitation, domestic tasks, free play and other rhythmical activities. Parent education is an important aspect of the work and teachers hold quarterly parent education meetings in addition to social gatherings and festivals. Both preschools come together with their families to celebrate festivals inclusive of all religions and cultures.
Preschool is offered five days a week (with 2-day and 3-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.
Preschool serves children who have turned two or three by June 1 of the school year that starts in September. A child must be two by June 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 and lunch each day that is included in the tuition. The snack and lunch are substantial, organic and local when possible.
In the preschool, we strive to have many opportunities for children to imitate domestic and practical life tasks, as well as to have artistic and sensory experiences. Both classes have their own rhythm of the week. Activities include: washing and hanging our cloth placemats and napkins, folding, sweeping, washing dishes, grinding wheat, cooking, coloring, painting, using scissors, gardening, sanding wood, washing and preparing vegetables and fruit. Children are also involved in setting the table for snack and lunch, as well as serving and cleaning up. In preparation for festivals or holidays, children may felt with wool, sew, harvest and prepare flowers for use in sachets, garlands or scented water.
Our philosophy as teachers is to enter our work and artistic activities with joy and warmth in an attitude of invitation for the child to join. We take time and allow the child time to be immersed in the activities. We are always aware of the importance of leaving ample time for imaginative play in the rooms and the garden and often have activities as an option, not as an imperative. Our teachers follow the rhythm of the year experienced out in nature, especially in the garden. We strive to keep things simple and calm, focusing on joy and beauty.