Early Childhood - Healthy Bodies, Growing Minds
The Chicago Waldorf School's Early Childhood program provides a nurturing foundation for the growing child.
By nourishing the mind and the senses through a healthy, beauty-filled environment, our program fosters the development of the whole child. Each classroom is warm, inviting, cared for and intentionally filled with beautiful, natural elements. Simple, natural materials⎯pieces of wood, seashells, beeswax for modeling and handcrafted dolls and toys⎯encourage children to create and form games and stories. The Early childhood room is a gentle place where children can imagine freely while feeling safe and comfortable.
Play is at the heart of the Waldorf Early Childhood program
The children engage in playful activities both indoors and outside all year-round and in all seasons and climate conditions. In play, children develop the capacity for creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills through their imaginative interactions and in teacher-directed activities. The structured and supported use of play in the Early Childhood program lays a strong foundation for future academic success. The children listen to fairy and folk tales, they watch puppet plays and participate in dramatic play all of which strengthen their power of memory, comprehension, and imagination. The stories, songs and nursery rhymes told in class cultivate in the children a love for the wonders and joyful world of language. Participating in counting games and rhythmic activities⎯as well as in the daily activities of bread baking, cooking, and table setting⎯build the foundational experience for learning mathematics, sequencing, and number skills. Learning about the physical world through large and small motor work and imitative play prepares the child for studying the sciences. All of these learning activities are held in consistent daily rituals and in seasonal rhythms that lovingly connect the children to the world around them.
"The task of the kindergarten teacher is to adapt the practical activities of daily life so that they are suitable for the child's imitation through play. The activities of children in the kindergarten must be derived from life itself rather than being 'thought out' by the intellectualized culture of adults. In the kindergarten, the most important thing is to give children the opportunity to directly imitate life itself."
- Rudolf Steiner from "The Child's Changing Consciousness"