Early Childhood - Healthy Bodies, Growing Minds
making a lantern field trip to the farm girls on the playground around the maypole
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The Four Winds 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 other daily activities build the foundational experience for learning mathematics, sequencing, and number skills. Snacks of whole grains and organic fruits and vegetables are enjoyed daily, with the children helping in both the meal preparation and clean up. Outdoor play, nature walks, and field trips facilitate learning about the physical world through large and small motor work and imitative play, preparing 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; nourishing the children's sense of awe and wonder as important prerequisites for the exploration of the sciences in elementary school.

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, Founder of Waldorf Education

The Four Winds Waldorf School Early Childhood program offers several options to accommodate the individual needs of children and families. The Sunrise Garden two-day Transition Program represents a gentle step from home to school, involving a parent or caregiver in the classroom for the first eight weeks while the child grows in independence. Following this transition period, the children begin to separate from their caregivers and experience the classroom environment with the gentle guidance and support of their teacher.

The Rainbow Garden and Oak Tree Garden classrooms offer three-day and five-day mixed age programs for children three-and-a-half to six years of age. Children who turn five years of age by June 1st of a given year are considered "true Kindergarteners" in September and must enroll in class for five mornings per week.

Click to View CNN Health piece on Nutrition in The Four Winds Kindergarten from 09/2007