We are fully human only while playing, and we play only when we are human in the truest sense of the word.
~ Rudolf Steiner ~
Early Childhood Age Guidelines
To begin school in September a student must be turn 3 by May 31st of the current school year and be toilet trained. If a child does not meet this age guideline but turns 3 years old later in the school year, they can attend school after they turn 3 years of age. Children who will turn 6 by May 31st are considered “Sun Children” and work on special activities and projects in preparation for first grade.
Dandelion, Sunflower, and Rose Kindergarten Classes
We offer three mixed-age kindergarten classes–a hallmark of Waldorf education–for children 3 to 6 years old. The Classes meet 8:10 am to 12:30 pm. These classes are for children attending either three or five days a week. Five-day children are prioritized in class placement. Three day students attend Tuesday – Thursday. Children must be enrolled in the five-day program one year—and preferably two—prior to first grade, so that they can be adequately prepared for first grade. Families who require a later pick-up time may sign up for Extended Care.
The Benefits of Waldorf Kindergarten
A Waldorf Kindergarten education can help your child develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Here are some of the benefits of a Waldorf Kindergarten education:
A focus on the whole child: Waldorf education is based on the belief that children learn best when they are engaged in activities that are both stimulating and meaningful. Our kindergarten classrooms offer a variety of activities that support the development of the whole child, including the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual selves.
Hands-on learning: We believe that children learn best by doing. They use a variety of experiential activities to help children explore the world around them and develop their natural curiosity.
A focus on creativity and imagination: Our teachers believe that creativity and imagination are essential for learning and personal development. Children are given ample free-play time both indoors and outdoors to express their creativity and imagination.
Handwork: Handwork is an important part of Waldorf education. Children learn to do things like knitting, sewing, and woodworking. This helps them develop their fine motor skills and their sense of creativity.
A nurturing environment: Waldorf kindergarten classrooms are warm and inviting environments where children feel safe and supported. Teachers are patient and understanding, and they create a positive learning environment where children can thrive.
Here are some specific examples of how Waldorf pedagogy is used in the kindergarten classroom:
Circle time: Circle time is an essential part of the pre-literacy program in the Waldorf kindergarten classroom. Students develop their proprioception, a child’s spatial awareness, and gross motor skills through songs, movement and storytelling during the activity.
Artistic activities: Children engage daily in either watercolor painting, beeswax modeling, drawing and fiber arts in order to develop fine motor skills.
Nature-based learning: Our students spend extensive time outdoors in all kinds of weather. Songs and stories in the classroom reflect changes in the seasons. Nature-based toys like wood, stone and wool are found in the classrooms for children to play with.
Why Play-Based Kindergartens Are Important and More Impactful Than Traditional Schools:
More space for Child-led learning: play-based kindergarten recognize that children learn best through play and exploration. By allowing children to direct their own learning, teachers can create a rich and engaging environment that fosters creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills.
Abstract concepts are understood better through play: play-based kindergarten use play to help children learn abstract concepts in a concrete and meaningful way. For example, children might learn about the seasons by playing with seasonal fruits and vegetables, or they might learn about math by building with blocks.
Open-ended play: like Montessori schools, we use a variety of natural and nontraditional materials to help children learn and explore instead of sitting at a desk with a pen or pencil. For example, children might paint with beeswax crayons, play with wooden blocks and silks. These objects help children to develop their fine motor skills, sensory awareness, and fully immerse themselves into their imagination and think outside of the box. This leads to successful critical-thinking and creative problem solving.
Here are some specific examples of how Waldorf kindergarten use play-based learning:
To teach reading: Using a pre-literacy program, Waldorf kindergarten use storytelling, puppetry and the arts to help children learn about letters and sounds.
To teach math: Children might learn about counting and addition interwoven in day-to-day activities. They might experience this by helping with chopping vegetables in the kitchen, jumping over stumps and obstacles, and through songs and stories.
To teach science: Science begins by the observation of the natural world. Our kindergarten children experience this by planting bulbs in the fall, observe the frost in the winter, and see the flowers bloom in the spring. Students are encouraged to engage with science through experiential learning.
Waldorf kindergartens believe that play-based learning is the most important way for children to grow. By providing a rich and stimulating environment where children can play and explore, Waldorf teachers help children to develop their full potential. If you live in the Newtown, Bethel, Danbury, CT areas or the surrounding region, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School is the pre-k school to enroll in. Contact our friendly staff today for more information!
Learn More About Our Private Elementary School
A Waldorf education is like no other. Our students are not confined to desks in classrooms and children who participate in our nature-based preschool and kindergarten program will enjoy many benefits to their physical, mental, and emotional development. Schedule a visit today to learn more about our preschool program and kindergarten and why it would be a wonderful fit for your family. Families who require a later pick-up time may sign up for Extended Care.