Meadowbrook’s Parent-Child program provides education and resources for parents and their children from birth to 4 years. In an inviting environment that echoes the rhythms and atmosphere of a Waldorf Early Childhood classroom, parents and children come together to explore the wonders of the first four years of life.
Parents engage in home-like activities or make simple crafts while their children help them or play near-by. Children play with simple, natural toys and materials and are guided through the morning by the gentle rhythm of circle time, creative play, snack and story time.
There is also the opportunity to discuss child development, parent issues and Waldorf Education with an experienced Waldorf parent and teacher. Classes are now enrolling.
The Waldorf Early Childhood teacher works with the young child by creating a warm, beautiful and loving home-like environment, which is protective and secure and where things happen in a predictable, regular manner.
The teacher engages in domestic, practical, and artistic activities which children can readily imitate (for example, baking, gardening, and handicrafts), adapting the work to the changing seasons and festivals of the year.
Free, imaginative play is at the heart of the Early Childhood program, developing the capacities for creative thinking, problem-solving abilities and social skills. Simple, natural materials encourage children to form their own stories and games. As children act out scenarios of their own creation using toys made of wood, silk or shells, stones and other objects from nature that they themselves have collected, they are able to experience many aspects of life more deeply. The teacher further cultivates the child’s power of imagination and strengthens his ability to listen and concentrate with puppet plays and by telling carefully selected stories.
Free play is balanced with structured activities including circle time with movement, songs and nursery rhymes that inspire a love of language and music. Baking bread, eating together, and cleaning up afterwards encourage organizational skills, cooperation and a sense of responsibility. Our program fosters sensory integration, eye-hand coordination; also tracking, sequencing and other skills necessary for the next phase of school life.
In this truly natural, loving and creative environment the children are given a rich early childhood experience that creates a bridge from home to school, providing them a strong foundation for academic excellence.
Waldorf Schools are organized to make the relationship between student and teacher as fruitful as possible. In the elementary grades, this is accomplished by the unique Class Teacher/Main Lesson system. Each morning the children spend the first period of the day (the two hour Main Lesson) with their Class Teacher, who ideally will be with the class from 1st to 8th grade. This continuity enables a deep understanding of each student’s strengths and challenges and supports the development of a rich social dynamic in the class. The teacher is able to bring continuity to the curriculum as well, integrating the various disciplines over the years.
During the Main Lesson time, when young minds are freshest, they will intensively study a block from one of the core subjects. In this way the rhythm of the day begins with work which requires the most attention, and each academic subject can receive special focus during the course of the year. The teacher has time to enter each subject in depth and to approach it in a variety of ways; time to enliven each topic with poetry, painting, modeling and drama. Thus, intellectual learning is always combined with artistic, rhythmical and practical work. After about a month, when one topic has been fully explored, a new Main Lesson block is introduced.
As a vital part of building cognitive capacities and memory, the children create their own Lesson books. Here observations, compositions, diagrams and drawings are recorded. Also of note, specialty teachers provide lessons in strings, German, movement, recorder, handwork and woodwork. These “special subjects” are treated not as separate, alternative options but as vital parts of a complete education.