Play is the young child's "work"
KINDERGARTEN AND PLAYGROUP
In the Waldorf Kindergarten foundations are laid for later learning and healthy development; including life-long physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.
KINDERGARTEN AND PLAYGROUP
The journey through the incredible milestones from Birth to the age of Seven is supportend at Waldorf Kindergartens throughout the world. At Raphaeli Playgroup nurtures 2 to 4 year olds through the initial phases of walking, talking and thinking, While in Kindergarten, we create the opportunity for 4 to 6 year old minds to explore the world and develop their capacities through ‘Creative Play”. Children going into Grade 1 need to turn 6 before the 1st of November while in Kindergarten.
In both classes an atmosphere of loving warmth and guidance that promotes joy, wonder and reverence are the inner qualities that support the healthy growth and development of young children.
An essential aspect of the work with little children is the inner attitude of the teacher, who provides the example for children to imitate. This attitude towards education is based on an understanding of the development of human individuality, offers protection and respect for the dignity of childhood.
Playgroup children enjoy a consistent rythym where their natural curiosity for the world and budding independance develops gently at each child’s individual pace. The teacher nurtures them with rich stories, wholesome meals, song and play.
As the children start to show eagerness to engage in group activities, learn skills, enrich their fantasy worlds and interact more with other children, they are welcomed into Kindergarten.
Here the routines of preparing meals for the group encourage awareness of life outside themselves. They experience a magical introduction to the world of colour through wet-on-wet painting, oral story telling expands their capacity for wonder and reverence, guided crafting introduces the development of will.
Eurythmy a unique form of movement taught in Waldorf schools as a social skill that helps the little ones concentrate and focus. Their co-ordination benefits as does spatial awareness and self control.
The fundamental characteristics of a Waldorf Playgroup and KINDERGARTEN
Loving interest in and acceptance of each child as a unique and valuable individual.
Opportunities for self-initiated play with simple play materials as the essential activity for young children.
Play is the young child’s work and makes it possible for them to digest and understand their experiences.
Awareness that young children learn through imitation, through the experience of diverse sensory impressions and through movement. A focus on real rather than virtual experiences to support the child in forming a healthy relationship to the world.
Artistic activities that foster the healthy development of imagination and creativity. Crafts that develop the will of the child to work continuously at a project with the absence of instant gratification.
Predictable rhythms through the day and week provide stability and security, while the celebration of seasonal festivals weaves the interrelationship with the wholeness of life.
This clear explanation of the priciples that guide Waldorf kindergartens is directly from the International Association for Steiner/ Waldorf Early Childhood Education, the resource is available here Early Childhood Education