There is nothing like your first glimpse into a Waldorf preschool or kindergarten classroom. You might first notice the soft pastel colors that surround you. You might be intrigued by the natural wooden toys, soft silks and fabrics. Maybe you’ll be amazed at how busy the children are – so much so that it is likely they won’t even notice you! Some children might be grinding wheat to make their own loaves of bread or they might be stacking wooden crates and pretending they are animals in the zoo. You immediately get swept away and feel nurtured, interested, and alive. Imagine how the students feel each day!
Central to all of our early childhood programs is the preservation of childhood. Our Early Childhood teachers strive to preserve the innocence and innate wonder of early childhood by creating a secure, inviting, joyful environment. The day unfolds in a natural way following a dependable rhythm that gives the children a sense of security and consistency. Drawing, watercolor painting, beeswax modeling, baking, handwork, woodwork, storytelling, puppetry, and outdoor play are among the activities that nourish the children’s natural sense of awe and wonder and create an environment worthy of imitation. At Kimberton, children bake bread, they develop dexterity through finger-knitting and working with beeswax, they tend a garden, and they are enriched with nature stories, puppet plays, storytelling and festivals. Seasonal activities such as planting bulbs, raking leaves, gathering fruit or making jam nurtures a reverence for the natural world.
The toys in our Early Childhood programs are simple: wooden toys, shells, stones, logs, branches, colored fabrics, sheep’s wool, and cloth dolls. With these simple toys, imaginative play is nurtured and transforms into creative, independent thought in later stages of learning. Our beautiful 430 acre campus with its rolling hills, babbling brook and forest provides a natural setting that will support creative, self-initiated play of the young child. Daily play outside provides a direct experience of nature and the seasons so that a healthy relationship with nature can develop.
Daily outdoor play, in all kinds of weather, is an integral part of Waldorf education. All of our early childhood programs spend time outside on the school’s breathtaking 430-acre campus, with its rolling hills, farm and gardens, conservation trail, bubbling creeks, and wooded areas. Outdoor play allows children the opportunity to play, explore, and immerse themselves in the natural environment — giving them the opportunity to use their imaginations, develop critical thinking skills, stretch their muscles, and hone their motor skills.
Honoring the young child’s imaginative capacity in play, setting a mood of wonder, reverence, and enthusiasm. We strive to support parents in strengthening their parenting skills and in creating a healthy and joyful home life.
Our weekly parent-child class allows time for building skills such as preparing an organic snack of cut vegetables and fruit, as well as kneading fresh dough for buns that we enjoy together at snack time. We build our class community through meaningful, purposeful work that builds self-esteem. Children are invited to help clean up after our shared snack and/or are offered time for free play. Most children happily join in following the adults, joyfully washing dishes and sweeping.
We allow time for creative free play that encourages children’s imaginations to flourish and cultivates social skills and problem solving. By observing, providing the time and space and a peaceful environment, children are able to bring out play from deep within, enlivening themselves and others around them. Our classes are meant to create a safe community for parents and offer a quiet, calm space for children where their play is honored as work.
At the end of our morning, rain, shine, or snow, we venture outside to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. This is a time where children can explore the natural world developing awe, respect, and reverence for Mother Earth. The opportunities are endless at Rosebud’s garden space. There are chickens to watch, vegetables growing, trees to climb, sand to dig, and swings to sway. Time truly stops in this picturesque pastoral setting.
Thursday and Friday Mornings
This program is for families with children up to age three. Children turning four during the school year should apply for one of our preschool programs described above.
- Thursday and Friday mornings from 9:30AM to 12:30PM
- Please note that expecting parents are also eligible to enroll in the class.
- This program provides an opportunity for parents to learn, work, and socialize together while the children play.
Rosebud Garden Preschool
Rosebud Garden offers a warm and home-like setting where great care has been taken to provide beautiful environments where your child’s senses will be nurtured and nourished.
In Rosebud Garden, young children learn about life by example and imitation and are offered an engaging rhythm in which each child is met and can thrive. Children fully participate in incorporated artistic activities such as painting, coloring and seasonal crafting as well as practical household activities such as meal preparation, washing dishes, cleaning up, and laundry. Gardening and caring for our outdoor environment including feeding the birds that visit our play yard are meaningful outside activities that we do with the children.
Central to our program is providing ample time for creative free play, which encourages joyful learning and develops the imagination. Studies show that play in the early years is the key to success in school because play provides cognitive, social, emotional, physical and moral development.
Rosebud Garden provides for the young child an environment held by rhythm, surrounded by beauty, carried by wonder, respect, and reverence for all life building a healthy childhood foundation that enables each child to become a self-directed, aware, and compassionate human being!
Full-Day or Half-Day Options
This program is for children two to four years of age. Children turning five during the school year should apply for one of our kindergarten programs.
- The half-day program runs from 8AM to 12PM
- The full-day program runs from 8AM to 3PM
- Extended day options are available through 5PM.
- Children may attend either two, three, four, or five days per week.
Kimberton Waldorf School offers one of the area’s only full-day, mixed-age kindergarten programs, serving children ages 4 to 6 years old. Our kindergarten program is carefully designed to respond to the developmental needs of the young child through creative, play-based learning. The teachers work closely with parents, and in this way, form a bridge for the child between home and school from the earliest years, creating a sense of security and trust.
Wonder, reverence, and awe are at the heart of the Waldorf Kindergarten experience. Our teachers work to establish a familiar daily rhythm that includes creative free play, a focus on domestic activities, and significant time spent outdoors. Drawing, handwork, watercolor painting, beeswax modeling, woodwork, and puppetry all nurture the child’s imagination and preserve the innocence and innate wonder of early childhood. As they care for the classroom, bake, prepare nutritious snacks, lead circle time activities, and tell stories, our teachers lead by example and the children learn naturally through healthy imitation.
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. In the kindergarten, the most important thing is to give the children the opportunity to directly imitate life itself. -Rudolf Steiner, Founder of Waldorf Education
Every day the children engage the natural world with reverence through open-ended outdoor play, taking long walks on our beautiful 430-acre campus, and helping to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in our organic garden.
Circle time movements, along with indoor and outdoor play, strengthen each child’s sense of balance and well-being, confidence, security and touch. This creates a solid foundation for the physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills that will be developed in their ongoing education.
The kindergarten teacher nurtures the children’s power of imagination, creative play and sensory integration that will be the foundation for academic learning and will prepare them for later learning and for life itself. -Susan Howard, Waldorf Early Childhood Expert
Developmental Picture of the Student
The young child is open to all the influences and stimuli of the environment around her, soaking in every sensory experience they may have. These experiences become directly incorporated into her still forming and developing physical constitution. The young child learns primarily through imitation, activity, and imaginative play.
Early learning, therefore, is guided by activity and sensory impressions, rather than reflection and thought. It is the role of the kindergarten teacher to model the practical activities of daily life so that the child can participate in them and also imitate these activities in play. The process of learning is integrated into all classroom activities, rather than being a separate component of the school day.
How the Curriculum Meets the Kindergartner
The kindergarten program provides a warm, nurturing foundation for young children, and allows unhurried time for their growth. Cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills are accorded equal value in our kindergarten program. The teacher creates an inviting, carefully structured environment with a strong daily rhythm to engage the child. Through attentive observation and calm, loving presence, the teacher guides the individual child and helps to create an active, healthy classroom community where each child can thrive. The program is designed to foster both personal and social growth, as well as meet the changing needs of the child as they mature. The use of storytelling, poetry, and recitation provide a strong foundation for emerging literacy, as these activities expose the children to the building blocks of reading. While there are many teacher-directed activities, much of the day is devoted to free play, which is essential for healthy development.
In play, children develop the capacity for creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills through their imaginative interactions. While outdoors, the children refine their large motor movements, sensory experiences, and social interactions while engaging in cooperative play. These experiences develop decision-making skills and executive functions, which are so important for their future success.
The Waldorf approach to literacy emphasizes reading readiness through rich oral language development. Children develop language acquisition through speaking, listening and participating in conversations. A well-told story creates an appreciation of the beauty and rhythms of language, extends the child’s vocabulary, and develops the capacities for memory. Math is experienced in a hands-on, practical manner. During play or in the preparation of snacks, concepts such as addition and subtraction, greater than / less than, weight and measurement can be explored. The children experience movement through eurythmy class, circle time and free play. Music is experienced during circle time and throughout the day, as teachers sing them through transitions.
Full-Day or Half-Day Options
Our offerings include a half-day kindergarten option or a full-day kindergarten option in both our Rose Kindergarten classrooms as well as in our Forest, Farm and Field Kindergarten. We offer quality after-school childcare to accommodate the needs of working parents. Children may attend for either four or five days.
Children who participate in our full-day program have the option to purchase a healthy, home cooked meal from our organic school lunch program, Food For Thought, or bring a lunch from home. The children then transition into a quiet rest time. The room is made cozy with individual cots, pillows, sheets, and soft blankets to rest in. The children hear peaceful lyre music or a gentle lullaby as they unwind and rest from their morning activities. Following rest time, the children play outside until the full-day program ends at 3:10PM. The day can then extend with the aftercare program until 6PM, under the care of their familiar, Waldorf-trained teachers.
Forest, Field, and Farm Kindergarten
In Kimberton Waldorf School’s Forest, Field, and Farm Kindergarten, the “classroom” is the school’s breathtaking 430-acre campus, with its rolling hills, farm and gardens, conservation trail, bubbling creeks, and wooded areas. Held outdoors, this program encourages children to play, explore, and immerse themselves in the natural environment — giving them the opportunity to use their imaginations, develop critical thinking skills, stretch their muscles, and hone their motor skills.
The curriculum grows out of the ever-changing environment. The children are busy working in the garden, observing animals, witnessing changes in the land, crafting, and playing in nature’s playground. These kinds of activities develop a deep sense of wonder about the natural world and lay the foundation for scientific inquiry. Sticks, acorns, leaves, and other treasures become props for imaginative play and implements for counting, sorting, and pattern-recognition. Storytelling, songs, and poems provide a rich, language-based experience. Each day, children connect with the Earth, themselves, and others through:
- Seasonal storytelling and song
- Exploration of animal habitats
- Nature crafts and handwork projects
- Water and sand play
- Farm chores: tending the garden and caring for animals
- Observation of the natural world
- Physical movement: climbing, hiking, swinging, rolling, running and more!
Our Forest, Field and Farm Kindergarten program follows the same developmental activities happening in our Rose Kindergarten classrooms. Led by a trained Waldorf teacher, the programs have more similarities than differences. Following daily and weekly rhythms, the children begin with morning free play in their mini classroom in our kindergarten building. Then the class heads off to spend the rest of the morning outside. Some days begin with a visit to the nearby farm or to the school’s garden before making their way into the woods on campus. The class’ routine continues with circle time, snack, discoveries and play. After cleaning up the outdoor classroom, the children head back to the main campus for lunch and rest with the other kindergarten classes. On Friday’s, all of our kindergarten children are together in one of the Rose classrooms for a special day with the kindergarten teachers.
“At a time when children are experiencing less outdoor free-play and parents are concerned with their children’s lack of exposure to nature, we are excited to offer an outdoor early childhood program that focuses on nature-based, hands-on learning. Modeled after similar programs that are gaining in popularity worldwide, our forest kindergarten focuses on outdoor play and early learning experiences that enable young children to develop self-confidence, independence, and resilience. Children are able to run, climb, crawl, balance, and move in a variety of landscapes, fostering physical development — which is essential to healthy cognitive, social, and emotional growth in the years ahead.” – Kevin Hughes, Dean of School.