Green Meadow Preschool and Early Childhood FAQ’s
What is the philosophy of your school? How does this differ from a traditional public school program or other school format?
Waldorf education is over 100 years old and continues to innovate to meet our children of today. Green Meadow Waldorf preschool program offers a space of deep reverence for children and nature. Our campus is nestled within 200 acres of wooded land, including a working dairy farm, beautifully kept gardens, streams, and trails. In these spaces, children encounter age appropriate experiences and challenges, laying the foundation for a successful future in academics and in life.
Preschool and Kindergarten are play based, primarily outdoor, nature immersion groups who participate in forest exploration, gardening, animal care, and farm visits in addition to arts, handwork and crafts, practical work and a rich community life. Singing is central to the day. Teachers forge strong bonds with every child, helping each develop a voice in the class and creating a safe, nurturing environment, fostering a lifelong respect for the earth, a true sense of belonging and joyful appreciation for each other.
The young child learns through imitation. The teacher provides a model worthy of imitation through meaningful work and social relationships. Experiences offered to the children are designed for their participation through imitation and to nourish the development of lifelong skills and capacities.
How do kids typically spend a day?
Teachers create a warm and welcoming environment where children feel safe to play, participate, and explore. Each day follows the same healthy rhythm, where children are led through songs, verses and rituals, making their experience familiar and predictable, honoring the young child’s needs.There is a time and place for everything, from storytime to harvest season, from self-directed play to tapping trees for sap.
Daily activities may include free play and practical work, circle time and nature walks. Weekly activities such as caring for the animals, painting, or visiting the farm and gardens, are interwoven with the celebration of yearly festivals and the changing seasons.
What is the focus of the curriculum?
Waldorf early childhood education is focused on healthy sensory-motor integration, giving the child a full palette of social skills that value community, and providing an authentic unhurried childhood. An organized body and mind will support strong academic success. Students engage in free play, gardening, music, animal care, nature walks, storytelling, puppetry, and meaningful work everyday. Additionally, they are truly immersed in nature to build a connection to themselves and to life. Children integrate their sensory experiences into self-knowledge, skill acquisition, and a hands-on understanding of the world around them. Motor skills, executive function, descriptive vocabulary, healthy socialization, and focused attention are some of the capacities that our children develop in an organic, natural way at their own pace.
Is play important? If so, what types of activities or games do the kids do to enhance learning? Why is play essential?
Play is a child’s most important work. We allow ample time for children to engage in self-initiated play, both indoors and outdoors. Through play, children develop the capacity for creative thinking, problem solving, and social resilience, and build a foundation for academic success in grade school.
At the heart of our early childhood program is our understanding that self-initiated play is critical to the healthy development of all young children. In addition, we recognize that all play is based upon imitation, and that the activity of play is a process of recreating what a child perceives in their environment. How a child transforms and reflects the perceptions flowing in from the physical environment, which includes the activity of the adults in it, reveals the creative forces working within each individual child.
What advice do you have for parents when deciding on choosing your program for their preschooler?
Early childhood is the one precious opportunity to lay the foundation for their future. Before engaging in formal academics, children need to develop a myriad of skills that lay the foundation for success in school and in life. Allowing children to develop these skills in an unhurried, caring, safe, and affirming environment is the single most important gift adults can offer them.
Do you offer full- or part-time programs? How many days per week?
All children may attend Half Day (8:30am through lunch, 1:00pm dismissal), or Full Day (8:30am to 2:45pm dismissal).
3-day option attendance is available to children 2 years, 9 months to 4 years old (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays)
Our Early Childhood after school care program is available from 2:45pm-6:00pm for parents to use as needed.
To learn more, visit our Early Childhood website!