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 (Mondays at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM)
We offer a fall, winter, and spring session of this program. Two classes meet 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. Two Parent-Child Classes are offered on Mondays, one at 9:00 AM and the other at 11:00 AM. This facilitated play group is for families with children 18 months through three years of age. Parents and children gather indoors to provide a safe space for children to learn through their play. Parents also share their experiences and spend time in quiet observation. Such observations offer a continued understanding of child development, as well as gaining further knowledge of how best to support their child’s unfolding abilities. Lap games, songs will be shared, and a simple snack will be provided to the children. Our Fall and Spring Sessions will be held at our Forest Kindergarten location at 45 Kaydeross Avenue West and our Winter Session will be held at our Early Childhood Center at 212 Lake Avenue; one class from 9:00 am – 10:30 am and the other class from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Snack for children 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 class. For further information and/or to receive an application, please contact Richard 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-Turning-3 Year Olds

At the Forest Kindergarten – Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

At the Early Childhood Center – Thursday and Friday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

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.

 

Kindergarten Programs:

Early Childhood Center

Rose Kindergarten and Morning Glory Kindergarten

Three and Five-Day Programs for 3 to 6-Year-Olds
Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lunch Provided
Aftercare available until 3:00 PM

A typical day at the Early Childhood Center 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 Campus

Birchtree Kindergarten and Maple Forest Kindergarten

Lily CaterpillarThree and Five-Day Programs for 3 to 6-Year-Olds
Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lunch provided
Aftercare available until 2:30 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 Forest Kindergarten 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 Forest Kindergarten 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.