early childhood

Summer Programs: June and July 2019

Green Meadow Waldorf School is now enrolling for our Summer Programs in June and July 2019, for children ages 3-9. Designed to complement our September through June programs, Green Meadow Waldorf School’s summer offerings extend the school year for 3- to 9-year-old children and engage them with a balance of summer activities that strengthen their developing skills and capacities.

The alluring scents and sunny days of summer tempt us to trade work and routine in favor of time outdoors. Our teachers understand the young child’s desire to daydream and explore during the summer season. They consciously plan experiences that allow children to unwind from the school year into a new “holiday” mood and a sense of freedom and exploration.

Run by trained Waldorf teachers, our summer programs take place on more than 11 acres of farm, fields, forests, gardens, and streams. Parents appreciate our unplugged environment, our ecological sustainability, and our commitment to serving food made with only natural and organic ingredients. We use rich materials for handcrafts and authentic tools for gardening, woodworking, and cooking. Children are welcomed into learning experiences that nourish their senses, engage their innate desire for self-initiated movement, and inspire their budding imaginations.

Summer 2019 Programs

SUMMER FARM DAYS
CHOOSE ONE OR MORE WEEK-LONG SESSIONS:
JUNE 17-21, JUNE 24-28, JULY 1-3 (PLEASE NOTE: 3-DAY WEEK), JULY 8-12
9AM-2PM
GROUP ONE WITH CAROL GRIEDER: AGES 5 TO 9
GROUP TWO WITH JESSICA OSWALD: AGES 3 & 4
AT DURYEA FARM OFF HUNGRY HOLLOW RD.
$550/WEEK ($330 FOR WEEK OF JULY 1)

Register with Carol Grieder for ages 5-9 and Jessica Oswald for ages 3 & 4.

Summer Farm Days is an outdoor program located on a working farm. Our days will be filled with caring for animals, including feeding sheep and chickens, working in the gardens, harvesting vegetables on the adjoining farm, engaging in artistic activities, and helping with sheep shearing. We will enjoy rich imaginative play in the sandbox and barnyard, as well as circle and story times. Artistic activities are centered around wool and products of nature. Snack is included and lunches are brought from home. Water tables and sprinklers are available for creative outdoor play. This year, we are offering an opportunity for a group of younger children and a group of older children to collaborate and enjoy the farm experience together.

SUMMER FUN DAYS: FELTING FUN
WITH AYAKO YANAGI & JEANNETTE LOPINTO
JUNE 17-21
HALF DAY: 8:30AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 8:30AM-3PM, EXTENDED DAY: 3-5PM
AGES 3 TO 7
GMWS KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM
$310 HALF DAY, $475 FULL DAY, $35/DAY ADDITIONAL FOR EXTENDED DAY

Register with Ayako Yanagi.

We will spend a week with artistic activities, circle, and story times which meet the young child. The class will include colorful wet-felting craft projects such as necklaces, flower brooches, hair pieces, and egg-shaped rattles, and preparation of homemade snacks. Lunch is brought from home. We will play in the sprinkler, enjoy rich imaginative play on the playground, and take nature walks to the nearby forest.  The items created during the class will be taken home as completed.

SUMMER FUN DAYS: PLANT DYEING AND CALLIGRAPHY
WITH AYAKO YANAGI & JEANNETTE LOPINTO
JUNE 24-28
HALF DAY: 8:30AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 8:30AM-3PM, EXTENDED DAY: 3-5PM
AGES 3-7
GMWS KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM
$310 HALF DAY, $475 FULL DAY, $35/DAY ADDITIONAL FOR EXTENDED DAY

Register with Ayako Yanagi.

We will spend a week with artistic activities, circle, and story times which meet the young child. The class will include Plant Dyeing from onion skins and red cabbage, Japanese Calligraphy craft projects, and preparation of homemade snacks. Lunch is brought from home. We will play in the sprinkler, enjoy rich imaginative play on the playground, and take nature walks to the nearby forest.  The items created during the class will be taken home as completed.

SUMMER FUN DAYS: STAR FESTIVAL
WITH AYAKO YANAGI & JEANNETTE LOPINTO
JULY 1-3 (PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SHORTER, 3-DAY WEEK)
HALF DAY: 8:30AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 8:30AM-3PM, EXTENDED DAY: 3-5PM
AGES 3-7
GMWS KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM
$185 HALF DAY, $285 FOR FULL DAY, $35/DAY ADDITIONAL FOR EXTENDED DAY

Register with Ayako Yanagi.

We will spend days with artistic activities, circle, and story times which meet the young child. The class will include Origami and Kirigami craft projects and preparation of homemade snacks.  Lunch is brought from home. We will play in the sprinkler, enjoy rich imaginative play on the playground, and take nature walks to the nearby forest. The bamboo tree with ornaments of the Star Festival created during this class will be sent home at the end of the week.

SUMMER FUN DAYS: FINGER KNITTING AND WEAVING
WITH AYAKO YANAGI & JEANNETTE LOPINTO
JULY 8-12
HALF DAY: 8:30AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 8:30AM-3PM, EXTENDED DAY: 3-5PM
AGES 3-7
GMWS KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM
$310 HALF DAY, $475 FULL DAY, $35/DAY ADDITIONAL FOR EXTENDED DAY

Register with Ayako Yanagi.

We will spend a week with artistic activities, circle, and story times which meet the young child. The class will include finger knitting and weaving crafts projects such as a wall hanging decoration with branches from nature, and preparation of homemade snacks. Lunch is brought from home. We will play in the sprinkler and enjoy rich imaginative play on the playground and take nature walks to the nearby forest. The items created during this class will be sent home as completed.

SUMMER PLAY AND SAIL
WITH MARTINE LITTLEWOOD
JULY 15-19
HALF DAY: 9AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 9AM-3PM
AGES 4-7
FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY CLASSROOM
$240 HALF DAY, $475 FULL DAY

Register with Martine Littlewood.

We will spend a week with artistic activities, games, and songs which meet the young child. The weekly theme will center around creating and sailing a small wooden boat. The daily rhythm will include rich outdoor imaginative play, preparation of homemade snacks, and nature walks to source materials to craft and launch our own sweet little boats. Lunch is brought from home.

FAIRY GARDENS AND GNOMEY HOMES
WITH MARTINE LITTLEWOOD
JULY 22-26
HALF DAY: 9AM-12PM, FULL DAY: 9AM-3PM
AGES 4-7
FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY CLASSROOM
$240 HALF DAY, $475 FULL DAY

Register with Martine Littlewood.

Adventuring and gathering we will go this week, allowing the young child to explore the magic of the plant and animal kingdoms. The theme will center around creating fairy gardens or gnomey homes from the items we will find in nature. The daily rhythm offers outdoor play, nature walks and observation, and homemade fairy and gnomey snacks. Lunch is brought from home. Our little habitats will be decorated and brought home at the end of the week.

Photo by Melanie Rieders.

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Is Waldorf "hygge?"

You've probably heard about the Danish concept of hygge. You can read about it here and here (and, it seems, everywhere). We recently came across the hashtag #hyggeschooling and that made us think about how especially in Early Childhood, Waldorf embodies hygge.  

The social atmosphere and the simplicity of the classroom, the aesthetic pleasure of the scents and sights and sounds, the tea and cozy slippers and wooly layers: Waldorf children get the best of hygge from the early years. (And then they go on to knit their own socks and go on camping trips...but that's for another post.)

This is not by accident. The founder of Waldorf Education, Rudolf Steiner, wrote and spoke about the importance of protecting and nourishing the developing child's senses. He articulated 12 senses and said, "Everything we have in us, even everything we experience in our soul, is related to the outer world through our twelve senses. These are the senses of touch, life, movement, balance, smell, taste, sight, warmth, hearing, speech, thinking, and the sense of the I." His work on this topic is outlined in The Care and Development of the Human Senses.

If you are curious to know more, join us on December 9 for Celebrate the Seasons with a Waldorf Teacher or come by any Monday for Tea & Play for 1pm. (Both events are open to families with children ages 2-6.) Register with our Early Childhood Admissions Coordinator at 845.356.2514 x326.

Photo of a felted acorn in the Nursery classroom by Nursery Teacher Rebecca Ruof.

Photo of a felted acorn in the Nursery classroom by Nursery Teacher Rebecca Ruof.

Play is essential for young children

This article from last year in The Atlantic sheds light on one of the many reasons that play is essential for young children. The author, pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, notes:

"Like many other American parents, I had an obsession: academic success for my child. Only, I was going about it completely wrong. Yes, my daughter would later go on to test above average with her academic skills, but she was missing important life skills. Skills that should have been in place and nurtured during the preschool years. My wake-up call was when the preschool teacher came up to me and said, “Your daughter is doing well academically. In fact, I’d say she exceeds expectations in these areas. But she is having trouble with basic social skills like sharing and taking turns.” Not only that, but my daughter was also having trouble controlling her emotions, developed anxiety and sensory issues, and had trouble simply playing by herself!

Little did I know at the time, but my daughter was far from being the only one struggling with social and sensory issues at such a young age. This was becoming a growing epidemic. A few years ago, I interviewed a highly respected director of a progressive preschool. She had been teaching preschoolers for about 40 years and had seen major changes in the social and physical development of children in the past few generations."

At the heart of Green Meadow's Early Childhood program is our understanding that self-initiated play is critical to healthy development. As soon as children learn something new, they start to play with their new capacities, practicing and testing their skills until they tackle more and more difficult tasks. Therefore, ample time for creative play is part of each morning.  

Open-ended toys made from natural materials, like silk scarves, knitted wool puppets, wooden blocks, and acorns collected from nature walks, nourish the child’s developing senses. With these natural items, children may flex their creative muscles and imaginative capacities, and further develop their emerging fine motor skills.  In addition, involving moveable structures that they can explore in environments that invite movement helps to develop gross motor coordination. We believe that creative play is the child’s most important developmental tool, whether to discover new skills, work with experiences, or express emotions.

Our children benefit from a rich variety of outdoor play spaces.  In addition to our beautiful playground, they experience the natural wonders of the forest, field, farm, garden, pond, and woodland stream, all within walking distance of our classrooms.

Rain or shine, ample opportunities exist for developing strong, healthy bodies.  Depending on the time of year, children sled down snowy hills, climb rocks in the Rocky Dell, and balance on fallen trees in the Fairy Woods. Munching on autumn apples in the orchard or tasting a maple tree’s sweet water in late winter can foster a lifelong respect for the earth and a deep appreciation for nature’s bounty.

Read the rest of The Atlantic article.

Come to Morning in the Nursery/Kindergarten on March 4.