The Early Childhood Program at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School is a vibrant place – filled with the joyful exuberance of children held in the secure embrace of their teachers and parents. We offer three mixed-age classes for children ages 3 to 6 years, various parent-child programs for parents with children from birth to 3 years, and parent-support classes and workshops throughout the year.
Baby Garden: Birth to 18 months
Peach-Buds Parent-Child Class: 18 months to 3 years
Peachblossom Nursery: 3 and 4 years
Morning Kindergarten: 4 and 6 years
Know what it is to be a child?
We invite you to consider this question posed by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. At Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School’s Early Childhood Center, we are dedicated to bringing excellence to the learning experience of the young child. Essential educational foundations that nurture the development of thinking, feeling, and willing are built into our holistically integrated curriculum.
The demands of modern life often lead us to a state of busyness in which the stress of over-scheduled time becomes the unconscious norm. At Hawthorne Valley’s Early Childhood Center we seek to create an environment where the young child (and adults as well!) can slow down and experience a different reality. “We have plenty of time…” for play and work and each other. This abundnt sense of time allows the child to enter a state of natural centeredness that invites exploration of the world and relationships.
The rhythms of life, from the cycles of the day to the seasons of the year, teach us principles that underlie healthy growth. For the young child whose body is growing and changing at a remarkable rate, the continuity of life rhythms provides strengthening reassurance and a healthy foundation for physical development.
In our programs, we work consciously with the rhythm of breathing, both physically and metaphorically. Our daily activities build the child’s ability to navigate between the polarities of expansion and contraction, freedom and form, activity and rest, social engagement and inner presence. Within the repetition of these alternating experiences, the young child grows in adaptability and resilience with a strengthened sense of self.
Through our daily activities of meaningful work, the children gain self esteem by experiencing interconnectedness and feeling that their work is needed in the world. The ability to take the time to give care is essential. While children need to feel cared for and loved, they also need to be able to foster those sentiments towards others. Our rhythmic tending of others and ourselves helps to strengthen these capacities in each child.
Daily activities include the songs, verse, and games of morning circle, drawing, free play, cooking, projects, clean-up, story, outdoor play, and nature walks. Weekly activities include beeswax modeling, eurythmy, watercolor painting, garden harvesting and soup making, bread baking, farm visits, and animal care.
It is important to extend the benefits of rhythm beyond the school day. For example, regular bedtimes that allow for at least ten hours of sleep for the young child, consistent family meal times, and a balance of daily chores and playtime will support your parenting and help your child’s natural development.
Honoring the Essence of Childhood
Welcoming children to a world of wonder where
a love for learning is experienced every day:
In nature exploration of forests, waterways, and fields,
Through creative arts and play, story and song,
Experiencing the plants, animals, and people of the farm,
Building confidence through meaningful work,
Celebrating friends and community!
Educating the whole child – head, heart and hands.