Our Kindergarten introduces the fundamental concepts of mathematics, literacy, science, problem-solving skills, and developing self-confidence through creative play and daily practical activities.
Mathematics begins in kindergarten with sorting, one-to-one correspondence, counting, patterning, and identifying shapes. 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.
Literacy begins in kindergarten with a rich oral language base. Teachers use storytelling, including classic and modern folk tales from various cultures, to develop students’ attention span, concentration, vocabulary, speaking, and listening comprehension skills. This creates a rich foundation for reading comprehension. Through drama, rhythmic poetry, nursery rhymes, and songs, the teachers further immerse the children in vivid and imaginative oral speech and literature.
Children are exposed to a variety of experiences with the natural world. In the physical sciences, students’ creative play involves them deeply in exploring basic physics principles, such as mass, density, gravity, balance, and the creation of pulleys and levers. Life science and earth science start with students observing common objects using their five senses. Students learn to communicate observations orally and through drawings. Nature tables, as well as 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 may include combining colors in watercolor painting, carding and felting raw wool, making dolls from garden grass and more. Finger knitting develops fine motor skills and nurtures 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.
Problem-solving skills have their foundation in creative play that transforms the environment in inventive ways. Creative play provides students with opportunities to imagine, plan, and carry out increasingly complex activities. During creative play, teachers guide students’ growing capacities for creative problem solving and social interaction. 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).
The quality of the environment of a Public Waldorf kindergarten is integral to our goals for our children. A feeling of warmth and security is created by using only natural materials such as wood, cotton, and wool in the construction of the decor and toys. The curtains transmit a warm glow into the room. Children play with simple toys that can be used to nurture their imagination, and through imitation are able to transform the activities that are observed in everyday life. In one corner of the classroom you might find a wooden scale and baskets for children to pretend they are grocery shopping; a pile of timber stands ready to be constructed into a playhouse, a boat or a train; homemade dolls lie in wooden cradles surrounded by wooden frames and cloths the children can use to create a pretend family and play house. Pinecones and other items from nature are artistically dispersed; lovely watercolor paintings adorn the walls. The effect of this beautiful arrangement of decorations and toys is a feeling of entering a “children’s garden” where one can breathe easily, relax and play according to the impulses of one’s heart.
"Those things you learn without joy, you forget easily."
From the article: The Joyful Illiterate Kindergarteners of Finland.
The Atlantic 10/1/15