The Waldorf-inspired preschool creates a gentle and beautiful environment for the very young child’s imaginative and social life to grow. Young children learn through play and imitation. Play is the ‘work’ of the young child – the medium through which the child learns and lives joyfully. The Waldorf teacher also brings love and joy to every activity, song and story, and models nurturing behavior to the children as she cares for them and their preschool space.
Connection to Nature
Waldorf schools encourage a connection to the natural world and the cycle of the seasons. Children spend time outside in all weathers, catching Fall leaves, squishing in mud, jumping in puddles, and playing in the sun. They have ample time to turn over rocks to look for bugs beneath, to watch squirrels burying peanuts, and birds hunting for nesting materials. This encourages the child to become a future steward of the earth, while helping them to lay the solid foundation of a healthy body.
Encouraging the Imagination
Imagination is the gateway to all artistic creation, scientific achievement, and social change. If you can’t imagine it, you cannot begin to create it. Waldorf preschools choose toys that are simply made, from natural materials, so that the child’s imagination has to work to ‘complete’ the details of the toy, or transform chestnuts or shells into food, or turn a wooden frame covered in silk cloths into a house. We tell our stories from memory so that the child creates their own pictures as we speak. Simple silk puppets bring other stories to life in the course of the school year.
Building the Social Life
Our preschools are places where children learn how to be social. Teachers foster the idea of individuals becoming a true group, developing skills in communication and empathy, and learning to see and understand one another’s strengths and challenges. The preschool itself can become an extended family, with the community of parents forming a great network of family support.
The strong, underlying rhythm of the daily and weekly round of activities, often signaled by little songs, supports even the youngest children in the ability to sit at the snack table, gather for circle time, work at bread-baking or painting, and dress for outdoor playtime.