The young child is open and impressionable, and requires a loving, safe, and nurturing environment. The Waldorf Early Childhood program is a haven where children grow and flourish, protected from the complex, often chaotic world. The early childhood years are a time of joy and exuberance, and the children’s social, emotional, creative, and physical development is supported through cheerful activity and positive example. In our Early Childhood program, children begin to develop the capacity for creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills through their imaginative play, which is essential to the child’s healthy development. These early years are the time to strengthen in our children the qualities of imagination, curiosity, and love and respect for all life that will sustain them throughout their lives.
Kukui Nursery (2.5 to 3.9 years)
The Kukui Nursery is often the first transition away from home and parents to school. It provides a warm, gentle experience in a home like environment. The child’s natural feelings of wonder and trust are nurtured in many ways, creating an openness towards life and learning. The daily rhythm of indoor and outdoor play, activities, songs, and stories supports the child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development. The program focuses on socializing as the children learn to be with friends and become more independent. All children should be potty trained. Parents serve as volunteers in the class once a month.
The Nursery program fosters independence and social skills as the children learn manners and self care.
Bread baking, painting, songs and games, and imaginative play all enrich the young child’s growing years and the daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms create a necessary bridge from home to school.
Mixed-age Kindergarten: Koa, Milo, and Kamani classes (3.9 to 6 years)
In the mixed-age Kindergarten, children begin to develop the capacity for creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills through their free imaginative play. The Kindergarten provides a variety of simple, natural toys, and indoor and outdoor settings to spark individual and group play and aid in the development of many basic skills such as sequencing, sensory integration, vocabulary, fine and gross motor skills, and observation. Acquiring these skills gradually is a foundation for academic learning, future social responsibility, and self-confidence. The reassuring routines of the Kindergarten, with a weekly rhythm of baking, painting, eurythmy, and nature hikes, provide a strong, stable framework to guide the child harmoniously through the day, the week, and the seasons. Stories told from memory by the class teacher each day are often repeated in puppetry form as well as dramatic rendering by the children. The age appropriate activities and vigorous play promote learning for years to come.
Stories and puppet plays cultivate the imagination and strengthen the ability to listen, concentrate, and develop language skills.
Daily circle activities with accompanying songs, verses, singing games and movement inspire a love for language and music and provide pre-reading skills.
Children learn by imitation and repetition. They see their teachers engage in meaningful work and model good social behavior.
The Final Kindergarten Year: Star Child Program
Children who are in the mixed-age kindergarten for several years have a new experience each year. As they grow and develop, they see the world in an ever changing way. In the Kindergarten, additional focus is given to the Star Children, who are the children who will move on to first grade the following year. The Star Children are the examples and models for the younger children in the class. They are given special responsibilities and chores, and help with snack preparation and serving. In the second semester they are challenged in a variety of ways. A special “games” class with only the oldest children from all three kindergartens meets each week for exciting new adventures together outdoors. Oldest children create their own book of drawings and have special handwork projects to develop fine motor skills, focus and perseverance. Each Star Child hand stitches a complete doll and blanket, and the entire class celebrates with a “naming ceremony” when the dolls are finished.
Star children make books with their own drawings.
Star children are given more responsibility, and often organize their own games and puppet plays.
Star Children are given a range of activities that help them prepare for the next phase of school life.