The toys in our classroom are made from natural materials such as wood, seashells, stones, beeswax, silk, and wool. Because the toys are simply formed and without detail, the child exercises his or her imagination to transform the object into whatever he or she desires. As the children play, a tree stump might change from a throne to the crow’s nest of a ship. A length of fabric might transform from a royal cape to a sail, or even wrap around a child’s legs and become a mermaid tail. With such simple and beautiful playthings, the young child’s senses are nourished and his or her imagination is given complete freedom. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, believed that fantasy and imagination are the bases for creative thinking and that when these capacities are aroused in a child they will remain active and alive throughout a lifetime.
A foundation for mathematical and scientific learning is built through the child’s experiences in the physical world. Building with blocks, balancing on a teeter-totter, and rolling a car down a ramp are early physics lessons. Putting together puzzles or building with blocks develops spatial intelligence, and a wonder-filled observation of nature’s treasures and creatures are early lessons in biology and botany. Counting is introduced in a practical way, through cooking and sharing, and in a playful way, through finger games and rhymes.
During circle time the language arts are practiced with joy through spoken verses, songs, and finger games. Story telling and puppet shows develop the child’s listening skills and attentiveness, and most importantly, a love of literature. Children delight in hearing their favorite songs and stories over and over again. This is an example of the child’s innate wisdom, because it is through this repetition that the child’s memory and comprehension skills grow.
The artistic activities in our program include watercolor painting, coloring, modeling with clay, beading, weaving, finger knitting, and sewing. Music and singing are an important part of every day. Much of the artistic work in the classroom is done in celebration of the changing seasons of the year and its festivals. Artistic work and handwork are important for developing fine motor skills, which are important for brain development. They also nourish the child’s soul by giving the child an opportunity for self-expression and an experience of beauty.
Cooking, gardening, housekeeping, and woodworking are practical activities that give the children a sense of purpose, teach environmental and nutritional lessons, and foster qualities such as patience and reverence. Good work habits are developed as children learn to care for their environment and complete their tasks. Security and harmony develop as they live within the gentle structure provided by the rhythms of the day, week, and year.
Outdoor time is an important part of each day. It is a time when the children can simply “be,” without much being asked of them. They can be as fast and loud as they want, they can splash in a puddle, or they can lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by. They are given the wonderful experience of all of nature’s moods... warm sunshine, gentle raindrops, blustery winds, and quiet snowfalls.
Our program strives to provide an entry into school life that fosters wonder, joy, and respect. The Waldorf preschool experience is meant to enliven the imagination, create respect for the natural world and all its inhabitants, and establish a love of learning and a strong foundation for future academic success.
Snack preparation or craft
Bathroom and dress for outside
Outdoor walk, work, and play