Sea Star and Periwinkle Mixed-age Kindergarten
The mixed-age kindergartens serve children in a caring, rhythmical, play-based environment. We adhere to the Waldorf curriculum for early childhood. The lead teachers are Waldorf trained; materials and furnishings are classically Waldorf.
In our kindergarten program, children learn through play, purposeful work, storytelling puppet shows, and practical and artistic activities. Children typically attend Waldorf kindergarten for two years. The two-year kindergarten program is akin to a plant: during the first year of kindergarten, the seeds are planted and nourished; in the second year, the plant fully blooms and flourishes.
A mixed-age grouping of 4-6 year-olds has several benefits including:
- The relationship between the child, teacher, and the child’s parents deepens during two years of working together, enabling better support for each child’s unique developmental path.
- Children have unhurried time to develop the skills they will need to be successful in school and in later life. Older kindergarten children can engage in activities for longer and at a more complex level. At this stage, they are more inwardly motivated to initiate rather than participate out of imitation.
- The second year of kindergarten provides opportunities for the older children to develop leadership capacities and a sense of responsibility by setting the example for younger peers in a familiar setting.
- Younger children are often inspired by the older children’s expertise and the older children have the opportunity to encourage and support younger peers, thus creating a more complex social environment.
A comprehensive 1st grade readiness assessment of each child is undertaken in the winter of their second year of kindergarten.
Through joyful engagement in the kindergarten, our children develop lifelong capacities for creative thinking, healthy foundational senses, a self-confidence and awareness of others, and readiness and enthusiasm for academic learning.
The rewards of the play-based entry to school become visible when children enter first grade and begin the academic journey through the grades. The children now have the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic readiness to explore the worlds of letters, numbers, writing and arithmetic.
The afternoon program flows directly from the morning program and involves outdoor play, lunch, story, nap/quiet period, handwork, afternoon activities and free play.