Early Childhood

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The Waldorf Early Childhood Program optimally addresses the needs of preschoolers and kindergartners by being keenly aware of a child’s inner and outer growth and development. Our Waldorf-trained teachers are experts in the social, physical and emotional development of young children. Our programs focus on three areas that are critical to children at this age but are sometimes forgotten in other preschool settings:

  • Imitation – Imitation is the best way for a young child to learn. We provide an environment worthy of imitation through song, stories and verse and activities such as cooking, baking, sewing, woodworking, and gardening.
  •  Play – Play allows a child to learn through doing and to develop social skills. Countless studies have shown how important free play is to the development of self-regulation, self-discipline, imagination and much more. This NPR story does a wonderful job explaining the problems caused by a lack of free play in children.
  •  Rhythm – Whether it’s the words of a song, activities of the day, or the seasons – rhythm develops a feeling of security in a child, allowing him to move through the world with ease and confidence.

The seeds planted in our Early Childhood Program will manifest later in your child’s life as a love of learning, social and emotional intelligence, the ability to think creatively and solve problems, an appreciation for beauty and the arts and a deeper connection to the world. For more information on the developmental approach of Waldorf early childhood education, visit Waldorfeducation.org.


Programs include:

Parent-Child Programs (days and hours dependent on enrollment)
We offer a fall, winter, and spring session of this program. Class meets once weekly for an 8 week session. We invite you to join us for exploring the wonders of childhood in a setting that respects every parent’s path, choice, and struggle. The Parent-Child Class is offered on Mondays. This facilitated play group is for families with children 18 months through three years of age. Parents and children gather for indoor play providing a safe place for children to learn through their play. Parents also share their experiences and spend time in quiet observation. Again, such observations offer a continued understanding of child development, as well as gaining further knowledge of how to best support their child’s unfolding abilities. Lap games, songs will be shared, and a simple snack will be provided to the children. Classes will be held on Mondays at our Forest Kindergarten location at 45 Kaydeross Avenue West; one class from 9:00 am – 10:30 am and the other class from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Snack for children and parents will be provided. Please note that we are not able to accommodate siblings unless they are age appropriate for the class and are also enrolled.  If needed, young infants may accompany their parent to the Parent-Child class. For further information and/or to receive an application, please contact Rich Youmans at 587-2224 or admissions@waldorfsaratoga.org.  Or you may download an application by clicking here.  We hope you will join us!

Preschool Programs:

For 2 and 3 Year Olds

At the Forest Kindergarten – Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am-12pm

At the Early Childhood Center – Thursday and Friday, 9:00-12pm

A two-day program that allows children to explore their surroundings and interact with their peers at their own pace while enhancing the development of large motor skills, sensory awareness, social interactions and language.  A typical day includes outdoor and indoor play, songs and verses, snack and finger games.

For 3 and 4 Year Olds

3 Day Option, Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 AM to Noon
4 Day Option, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 AM to Noon
Aftercare available until 5:00 PM
The preschool child’s morning is slightly longer than that of the 2 and younger 3-year-old. A typical day includes seasonal songs, movement/circle time, ample indoor and outdoor free play, daily snack preparation, artistic activities, simple fairy tales and puppet plays.

Kindergarten Programs:

The Rose Kindergarten

For 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds
Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to Noon
Aftercare available until 5:00 PM
A typical day in the Rose Kindergarten includes circle time, free play, group activity, clean up, rest, snack, story time, outdoor play, and a good-bye circle. A sense of rhythm is stressed throughout the year by integrating festivals and seasonal stories into the curriculum. Children acquire a strong foundation for future academic learning in a peaceful and warm way:

~ Songs and nursery rhymes cultivate an intimacy with language
~ Oral stories, puppet shows, and dramatic play strengthen the memory, imagination, comprehension and vocabulary
~ Games and rhythmic activities enhance balance and gross motor development
~ Practical work develops coordination and concentration
~ Artistic activities develop the senses and fine motor skills
~ Free play strengthens imagination, social skills, problem solving, executive functions and more

The Forest Kindergarten

Lily CaterpillarFor 3 1/2 through 6 Year Olds
Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lunch provided
Aftercare available until 5:30 PM
Still a rarity in the US, this outdoor-based program established in 2009 is modeled after similar programs now popular throughout Europe. Children spend most of the day outside year-round. In addition to the traditional Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum outlined above, nature is front and center in the FK experience. Always changing, nature provides new problems to solve and situations to explore depending on the season and weather. Located on Spa State Park land, the FK features numerous forested hiking trails and ample yard space for gardening, digging, playing, and working. A restored farmhouse provides a nurturing indoor space for a nutritious organic lunch, rest, and respite from extreme weather. Read more about Saratoga’s own Forest Kindergarten in the New York Times. You can also read more about how spending time in nature benefits young children on the Children & Nature Network’s website.