Play-based Learning for Holistic Growth
The Waldorf approach to the care and education of the child recognizes the first seven years to be the primary formative phase of life. Physical development, motor skills, language and sensory development all become the foundation for the gradual awakening of the child’s capacities to think clearly, to feel fully and to act freely. Our 8:15 am to 12:30 pm program allows for the gentle unfolding of each child, all in an effort to grow healthy, resilient human beings with their own sense of purpose in an ever-changing world.
Children are deeply connected to their surroundings and absorb everything into their beings. Our kindergarten teacher creates a nurturing environment where children have plenty of opportunities for meaningful imitation and creative play. This supports them in the central activity of the early years – developing their physical selves. We allow children to focus their full energies on the fundamental work of play-based learning, knowing that their health and vitality now is the prerequisite for the intellectual demands of the future.
Learning Through Imitation
Natural openness and a gift for imitation are a kindergartner’s super power. They’re entirely given over to their physical surroundings and absorb the world primarily through their senses and respond in the most active mode of knowing: imitation. Because a young child’s life is so interconnected to their world, they simply cannot filter things out as we adults do. That’s why we nurture, protect and provide kindergartners with a warm, soothing learning environment that gives them plenty of beautiful words, healthy actions and nurturing relationships to imitate every day.
Play, Movement, Fresh Air
Young children develop relationships and gain experience best by playing, running, jumping, problem solving, getting lots of fresh air and closely observing the natural world. Waldorf-inspired teaching is oral, dramatic, and creative. So, in kindergarten, we gather during circle time to move and sing and listen to stories, poems and puppet shows. We paint, color, model beeswax and do craft projects. We chop veggies for soup, bake bread, and build play houses with silks and wood. We dress up pretending to be mothers and fathers, fairy queens, kings and gnomes. We re-enact our own dramatic plays. And we walk and romp outdoors exploring and daydreaming. Full engagement in this work builds powers of concentration, interest, and a lifelong love of learning.
Harmonious daily rhythms strengthen the child’s sense of security, self-confidence, imagination, and creativity. Nature activities, festivals and seasonal rhythms connect the child to the natural world and foster a sense of caring for the environment and for others. And predictable daily rhythms carry the child gently through transitions.
Winterberry provides an option for your child to be cared for at school until 3:15 pm (excluding Thursdays). This program allows for the rest and relaxation young children need, as well as imaginative play.