Waldorf Inspired Early Childhood Program

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Young Cedars Waldorf Inspired Early Childhood Program


Hello Parents,


     WELCOME to "Young Cedars Waldorf Inspired Early Childhood Program" for Ages 3 - 6 years. My Name is Monica Flamenco and I am a Certified Trained Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher of 18 Years. I have over twenty years of experience working with Children and their Families as I am also Maria Montessori Trained A.M.I.  Working with Young Children brings me JOY in my Life! 


 WHAT IS WALDORF EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS?


 Waldorf Schools were first born from the deeply profound indications given by Rudolf Steiner on Human Development. I was drawn to these Cycles of human development, primarily the First Seven Years. I am especially moved by Steiner's recognition of the deep connection to the Earth's Natural Rhythms & Human Life.  Children have a profound connection to Nature. It was not until my experience as a Waldorf K. Teacher that I was able to apply what I already knew in my Heart to be true.  After having taught for ten years at The Vancouver Waldorf School, I can tell you with confidence that this innate connection is the Key to helping Children grow and thrive during their early Childhood Years. The Earth has a Naturally Slow Rhythm unlike the fast paced Man-made one which exists today. It seems that the present time pandemic has actually caused a slower pace in recent months. Hopefully all services will be up an running soon and when they do, can we continue to provide a slower rhythm in the Life of a Young Child? In a Waldorf School, we strive to! 


Young Cedars follows the principles of the First Seven Years of development indicated by Rudolf Steiner, primarily to provide a Play environment. The Kindergarten often has a the sound of a babbling brook or busy bee's at work. Yet, the calm daily, weekly and seasonal Rhythm becomes the vessel which holds the Child and the Adults in it. The Movement, Imaginative Play, Story-Telling and Puppetry, Baking and All Artistic Creativity support the Child in developing as a whole individual. The Young Child's Spirit is met emotionally, physically & mentally through the Early Childhood Waldorf curriculum. The curriculum must begin by following a healthy rhythm.



NATURAL RHYTHM


 The Earth has a Natural Rhythm which we can observe in Nature with an "In-breath" and an "out-breath". We do not have to look far when we consider the Seasons. We are fortunate to have four in this part of Canada. Young Children especially are sensitive to the changes: notice the Joy of a Child when jumping into a pile of leaves in the Fall, the delight in observing the movement of a Snail in the Summer or the glee at the First Snow Fall.  


We could say the Earth has an "Inhale" in the Winter months and an "Exhale" in the Summer months. In the same way a young Child needs their Rest (inhale) & Play (exhale) in order to develop & unfold their Being. A Waldorf environment can provide an in-breath and an out-breath throughout a Rhythm of a Morning and Afternoon, a Week, a Month, a Season and a Year. Here is where Waldorf Education Shines!

Rhythm: It holds the group and helps create a Safe space that is dependable and reliable with regular "in-breaths" & "out-breaths" that Young Children can learn & come to Trust. (see daily rhythm at bottom of page)

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PLAY


"Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul."   Frederich Froebel



         Young Children not only "pretend" when engaged in their Play but they have the ability to BECOME and create from their imaginations.  Imaginative Play is encouraged in a Waldorf Early Childhood Program. 

     

                                           Rudolf Steiner said, "A child's play is their work."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Based on this principle, a Waldorf Classroom is an Imaginative PLAY based environment. Here the Children can explore the World they live in by role-playing Home Life, Playing Shop, Working on the Farm, Garage etc.... as they try to make sense of the outside world. The "dress up" area offers them an opportunity to play out the Stories which they will hear or see in a Puppet Shows. This gives them an opportunity to sense within themselves what it is like to be the Prince, the Knight, the Dragon, the Baker. Play allows for all Movement. It is through movement that a strong, healthy WILL can be developed..


TOYS


Toys are all made of Natural Materials including Wood, Metal, Cotton & Wool. These toys are often made by the Kindergarten Teacher herself and are imbued with her Love and devotion. Many are Open-ended in design for the purpose of imaginative play. They are Natural to allow for an "Alive" and "Sensory" experience. Children learn about themselves and their world through their senses. 


                                   "Imagination is more important than knowledge" Albert Einstein



OUTDOOR PLAY


Outdoor Play is essential to a Healthy Imaginative Play-based program. Sometimes the Indoor Play can continue outdoors allowing for continuity. Other times, outdoor Play simply beckons a Young Child to move their bodies and connect to Nature. Connecting with the Rain, Gardens and Flowers gently awakens our Children's senses in the Summer while Snowflakes, making Snow Angels and sliding down our Toboggans invite us to "move" encouraging large motor development. Therefore going outdoors is equally as important as Indoor time. As long as the Children are dressed appropriately for the weather, outdoor play occurs daily. Depending on the season, more time is created for the outdoors!


STORY TIME


Story Time is unique to a Waldorf program since the Stories are carefully chosen to meet the developmental stage of the Child. It can be seen as "Food for the Soul". Traditional "Oral Story Telling" is one of the gifts the Waldorf Teacher offers her young class as part of the morning curriculum. This is done to encourage a Child's natural ability to develop their own picture Images. Since Children see the World through pictures, Puppetry is also offered. Here, gentle moving images can give the Child nurturing & soothing pictures for their developing  bodies, minds and souls. Carefully selected books from the Library are read in the afternoon time permitting.


SNACK: A warm Snack is prepared by the Teacher. Whole Grains such as Rice, Millet or a Warm Soup are offered. The Bread is offered on Baking Day. To drink, there is Water. 


Allergies: Please inform the Teacher of any allergies and the environment can be adjusted accordingly.



Daily FALL Rhythm:


9:00-10:30 Outdoor Play, "Forming a Ring" and Artistic Activity

10:30-11:20 Snack & Story 

11:20-12:20 Outdoor Play

12:20- 12:30 Bathroom & Hand washing & Dismissal for Young 3 Year Olds

12:30-1:00 LUNCH (packed)

1:00-2:20 Outdoor Play

2:20-2:30 Prepare in Boot room for Dismissal

2:30-3:00 After Care

 



Weekly Rhythm:  Tuesdays (Painting Day), Wednesdays (Baking Day) and Thursdays (Drawing Day)


*Artistic Activities will Include: Wet on Wet Water Color Painting, Sewing,  Baking, Wet Felting, Wood Working and Drawing.


Yearly Rhythm: Celebration of Festivals such as The Lantern Festival, Christmas, May Day Celebration and especially Birthdays!



Birthdays: 


Birthdays are Special in a Waldorf Early Childhood Program. The Parent(s) are invited whenever possible. An Archetypal  Birthday Story is told with a few details that make each Child's Birth Story unique and easy for anyone to relate.



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