The Early Childhood Program at Prairie Moon Waldorf School
The Waldorf early childhood program fosters the development of the whole child—physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually and nurtures the beginning of a life-long love of learning. The program provides a healthy environment that nourishes the senses through imaginative play, artistic activity, simple crafts, language, verse, song, puppetry, fairy tales, and storytelling. The early childhood teacher’s goal is to create a harmonious environment that is nurturing, ordered and beautiful and to provide a comfortable transition from home life to school life.
Features of the program include:
- Belief that imitation of the beautiful, meaningful and true enables the child to go forward in life with a sense of initiative and purpose.
- Preserving the child’s sense of wonder and imagination.
- Children should experience a balanced rhythm that inspires both inward reflection and outward action.
- A teacher should cultivate the healthy development of the child’s will.
- Whole foods and grains are provided at mealtimes.
- Such activities as watercolor painting, modeling with beeswax, coloring and finger knitting help children develop small motor skills, coordination, and the ability to concentrate.
- Only playthings made of natural materials such as silk scarves, wooden and cotton dolls and animals, wooden stands and toys, are provided.
- Each child’s innate capacity for wonder, reverence and awe is nurtured and strengthened by the preparation for and celebration of the seasonal festivals.
- Counting games and rhythmic activities build a solid foundation for arithmetic and number skills taught later in the grades program.
- A country setting that allows for expansive play outside and gardening as part of the daily and weekly routines.
- A homelike environment enables the child to comfortably flow between social and individual activities.
- Structured group activities and free imaginative play are balanced.
- Songs, nursery rhymes, poems, games, fairytales, puppets and plays cultivate familiarity with language and strengthen the memory, imagination and listening skills.
- Circle time, snack time and story time teach the children to cooperate with a group and follow the leadership of the teacher.
Here is an article published in our first year as a school highlighting Prairie Moon’s early childhood program, from 2006.