Beautiful, Meaningful & True
The Waldorf kindergarten bases its program on the conviction that imitation of the beautiful, meaningful and true enables the child to go forth in life with initiative and purpose. In a physically beautiful, emotionally supportive and carefully structured homelike environment, the child’s day naturally flows between social and individual activities that reflect the child’s need for both active and quiet play.
Painting, singing, puppetry, playacting, baking, games and handwork are the foundations of the curriculum. The class learns to play together, hears stories that feed the life of imagination and takes nature walks through the hill country woodlands on the school’s 19 acres. Each child’s innate capacity for wonder, reverence and awe is nurtured and strengthened by the preparation for and celebration of the seasonal festivals. The Waldorf Kindergarten teacher is a specially trained individual able to create a wholesome environment that nurtures the physical, emotional, social and spiritual development of each child in preparation for the elementary grades.
A Sample Daily Rhythm
|7:30||8:30||Arrival; outside play.|
|8:30||9:45||Creative play indoors. Artistic activity: watercolor painting, block-crayon drawing, beeswax modeling, baking, seasonal and home crafts.|
|10:00||10:15||Circle time; good morning, seasonal songs and verses, rhythm games, ring games.|
|10:15||10:40||Wash hands; healthy snack, wash dishes.|
|12:00||12:30||Morning program children picked up at classroom. Afternoon children have lunch.|
|12:30||2:15||Wash-up; make beds, nap time.|
|2:15||3:30||Wake-up; bedding away, outside play.|
A Sense of Wonder
A sense of wonder, discovery, and whole-hearted participation in the world are the special gifts of the young child. To foster these natural capacities is the aim of the Waldorf play-oriented kindergarten. When young children are given freedom to explore all possibilities in their environment, their approach to learning in later years will be fresh and alive. Through actively imitating the purposeful work and actions of the adults around them, they gain self confidence and a deep connection to all that life has to offer. To begin academic study at this time is to rush them through the stage of life when their most natural and effective way of learning is through creative play.
Accordingly, warm, home-like rooms and a beautifully landscaped play yard provide the setting for the kindergarten day. Play materials, such as cloths, wooden animals, felt puppets, shells, rocks, and other natural materials, are carefully chosen to stimulate creativity. The teachers create a balance between imaginative free play and group activities. The children learn to relate together, as well as to develop a sense of self. The experience of seasonal changes through nature walks, crafts, and festivals enhances the natural flow between active and quiet times in the daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms: and the children’s ability to observe subtle changes in the natural environment is strengthened, laying the groundwork for future scientific study.
Children learn responsibility and the joy of working when they join the teachers in washing their dishes and napkins, grinding grain in autumn, or planting flowers in spring. The children help in caring for the room and toys, and often participate in snack preparation.
There is a strong emphasis on hearing and speaking beautiful, well-articulated language with a rich vocabulary. The children readily imitate and absorb what they hear, and a firm foundation is laid for further work in language arts in the elementary grades.
Active outside play, circle games, and crafts increase physical strength, agility, and grace. In the kindergarten, the child’s physical body is tuned for readiness for the emotional and intellectual skills to be mastered in future years.