Our kindergarten curriculum meets children where they are while simultaneously laying the foundation for academic success in later grades. It is designed to enhance the child’s physical, language, and sensory development. In addition, the activities of the kindergarten are structured to strengthen the child’s imagination, creativity, social skills, and sense of self-confidence. Teachers involve the students in maintaining the orderliness and organization of materials, preparing the foundation for orderly thinking.
Literacy begins in kindergarten with a rich oral language base. Teachers use storytelling, both classic and modern fairy tales from various cultures, to develop the students' attention span, concentration, vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills. This is the beginning of reading comprehension. Through drama, rhythmic poetry, nursery rhymes, puppetry and songs, the teachers further immerse the children in imaginative oral speech and literature.
Kindergarten also introduces the fundamental concepts of mathematics through creative play and daily practical activities; sorting, one-on-one correspondence, counting from 1 to 30, patterning, and identifying shapes. Through daily practical activities such as setting the table, students will learn to pattern, as well as to identify, sort, and classify objects by attribute. The approach, through imitation and creative play, will use raw materials such as logs, nature blocks and driftwood of different shapes and sizes, seashells, stones, pinecones, etc. By the end of kindergarten, students understand small numbers, quantities, and simple shapes in their everyday environment. They count, compare, describe, and sort objects, and develop a sense of properties and patterns.
The science curriculum gives the children a multiplicity of experiences with the natural world. In the physical sciences, students' creative play allows the exploration of basic physics principles, such as mass, density, gravity, balance, and the creation of pulleys and levers. Students experience the properties of heat and cold through cooking, as well as observing seasonal changes. Life science and earth science starts with students observing common objects using their five senses. Students learn to communicate observations orally and through drawings. Nature tables and frequent nature walks provide an awareness of the seasons and a connection to the natural environment. The students experience the cycle of growth through gardening, from seed to harvest to transformation through cooking.
Other activities involve students directly in the transformation of colors and natural materials into useful and beautiful creations. These activities will include combining colors in painting, carding and felting raw wool, and making dolls from garden grasses. Finger-knitting will develop fine-motor skills and nurture children's ability to focus and concentrate, while fostering hand-eye coordination. Students' development of fine motor skills and focus is essential for learning to read and write, as well as for doing mathematics and other academic work.
Creative play provides students with opportunities to imagine, plan, and carry out increasingly complex activities. Early childhood research shows that free play is serious work for young children, forming the basis for later scientific thought (analytical, critical thinking skills and problem solving).
Please note: Our kindergarten teachers assess three major developmental areas: movement skills, cognitive development, and social/emotional behavior. First-grade readiness is an extremely important factor in both the child’s life as well as the life of a healthy public Waldorf first-grade class.
"In the early formative years, play is almost synonymous with life. It is second only to being nourished, protected and loved. It is a basic ingredient of physical intellectual, social and emotional growth."
-- Ashley Montague