Early Childhood Program
Swallowtail’s Early Childhood program provides a nourishing and lively social setting which supports a child’s growth and development. Classes are filled with healthy rhythms and wholesome activities that meet each child’s developmental needs. The curriculum follows daily, weekly, and annual rhythms, embracing culture and the changing seasons. Early Childhood teachers provide the foundation for each child to develop and grow physically, social-emotionally, and intellectually.
Love & Warmth
Love and warmth are truly at the heart of a Waldorf Early Childhood education. These qualities are modeled by their teachers in their interactions with children, and their interactions with adults including parents and other teachers. So much of early learning is imitation, and a child will imitate the warm and loving gestures they see from their teacher. The Early Childhood classroom is a learning community where much of the work is social: children learn how to care for others, resolve differences peacefully, share, listen, and communicate. During the first seven years of life, children learn though imitation, thus a healthy environment is essential.
Rhythm & Repetition
The Early Childhood days have a rhythm that can be compared to breathing in and out. Breathing in: focused circle time and purposeful work such as sewing or drawing. Breathing out: free play time, movement, and music. Alternating these experiences while meeting the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development nourishes the well being of a child. Painting, drawing, baking, finger knitting, beeswax modeling, sewing, woodworking, and other activities develop concentration and focus. Free play (indoors and outdoors), clean up, and circle time all call upon the child to work with the group to develop social skills. The repetitive nature of the daily rhythm is very calming and consistent, lending itself to the child’s sense of security and healthy physical development.
Preschool Daily Rhythm:
Circle & Storytime
Playtime & Table Activity (drawing, painting, seasonal craft)
Clean up and bathroom time
Lunchtime (brought from home)
Goodbye song & dismissal
Preschool Weekly Rhythm of Activities:
Monday: No School
Friday: Painting, coloring, or crafting
Mixed-Age Kindergarten Daily Rhythm:
Daily Activity – painting, coloring, sewing, crafting
Clean up & Rest time
Lunchtime (brought from home)
Goodbye song & dismissal
Kindergarten Weekly Rhythm of Activities:
Monday: Painting or coloring
Friday (Fall & Spring): Farm Day
Children in a Waldorf Early Childhood classroom will experience art in many ways: watercolor painting, drawing, beeswax modeling, sewing, song and movement. Artistic activities are brought in an imaginative and non-instructive way so children may live into the experience of the color or medium with which they are working.
Early Literacy & Mathematics
The daily routine introduces pre-math skills in manifold ways including: measuring while baking, one-to-one correspondence when setting the table, ordering from smallest to largest stacking toys, counting out numbers in order with finger plays, counting children in the class, chairs at the table, and sorting toys and laundry.
The teacher uses clear, expressive, descriptive speech and language when speaking to the children and in storytelling, puppetry, songs, verse, nursery rhymes, and finger plays. Hearing the human voice is necessary for imitation and speech development. Stories are told in the oral tradition, which develops listening skills, sharpens the memory and imagination. These are foundational skills for reading comprehension.
The musical experience plays a vital role in the daily life of the young child. The teachers sing throughout the day for transitions and in order to maintain a calm and relaxed classroom mood. Circle time is devoted to the beauty of the word put to song and verse.
The observation of animals, seasonal changes, and natural surroundings takes place during nature walks, at the farm, and during outside free play time. The children observe cause and effect during play – such as how water interacts with sand and how food transforms when it is cooked or baked. While gardening, the natural world comes alive for the child as they sprout seeds, observe plant growth, and harvest flowers and food.
The Mixed-Age Kindergarten Farm Days are school days spent entirely outdoors at our beautiful Farm campus. Farm days are scheduled on Fridays in the Autumn and Spring (weather permitting), with the days following the same rhythm as the rest of the week. The children benefit greatly from these sustained periods outdoors by gaining problem-solving & cooperative skills, observing animals & changes in nature, and by learning how to amuse themselves using their imaginations.
The Caterpillar Preschool is for 3 & 4 year old children, some of whom will be away from their parents for the very first time. The gentle rhythm of the class supports the needs of the younger child and focuses on socialization through active play and imitation. Children may attend the Sunflower Pre-School for three or four days a week. Classes are held Tuesday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday from 8:45am-1:00pm. Extended Care is also available before and after school.
Mixed Age Kindergarten Classrooms (Butterfly & Dragonfly), each serving children ages three to six. The Kindergarten program is designed to support the healthy development of a young child through a rhythm that moves between focused activities and individually initiated activities. Both of our Kindergartens spend Fridays on the Farm campus in the Fall and Spring. Classes are held Monday-Friday from 8:45am-1:00 pm. Extended Care is also available before and after school.
Parent-Child Classes are for children from birth to age 3, to be attended with a parent or guardian. Parents and caregivers will be led in circle time, snack, and age-appropriate projects with their children. Parent-Child Classes are held on Mondays from 8:45am-11:15am.
Parent-Child Sessions for 2018-19 School Year are 9-weeks long. Session 1 is Sept. 10-Nov. 5 (FULL), Session 2 is Nov. 26-March 5 (FULL) We’ve added 5-week session from Jan. 7 - March 5, Session 3 is March 11-May 21.
Cost is $200 per session ($25 per additional sibling)
Learn more about how the Waldorf curriculum meets the needs of Early Childhood development.