Early Childhood

 PARENT CHILD PROGRAMS

infant in sun

Meadowbrook Waldorf School offers Parent-Toddler programs throughout the school year for children from birth through preschool (3-4 years). These programs are offered weekly for two hours and facilitated by Waldorf–trained teachers.

For the children, this is a time for play, exploration, and socialization, while the parent or caregiver enjoys the support and company1 of other parents.

 

 

PT with bird puppet

 

 

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.  Please email admissions@meadowbrookschool.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

Early Childhood

Preschool and Kindergarten Program

Snack table

Taught by experienced Waldorf teachers, our programs are designed to nurture and protect the young child’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity. Formal academic learning begins in Grade 1 in a Waldorf school, with the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy laid in our Early Childhood classrooms, play yard, and woodland campus. These pre-academic skills, including social, physical, and emotional skills, are strengthened in a beautiful and warm environment, rich in hands-on play, indoor and outdoor activity,  and storytelling.

Days in the Early Childhood classroom are balanced with periods of quiet following periods of active, creative play, purposeful work, and exploration. This rhythm is expressed in a daily routine that includes play, circle time (verses, nursery rhymes, songs, and games), snack time, nature stories, folk and fairy tales, artistic activities, and outdoor play. These activities work together to strengthen the child’s capacities for creative thought, cooperation, problem solving, and perseverance in preparation for the academic learning beginning in the elementary grades.

Meadowbrook Waldorf School offers a mixed-age preschool and kindergarten program with three to six year olds in the same classroom. Children must be 3 years old by June 1 to be considered for enrollment, while the kindergarten year begins for the child who is 5 years old by June 1. We offer both half and full day programs for preschool and kindergarten. Preschool-aged children may attend either three or five days per week. Kindergarten students must attend five days per week to meet State of Rhode Island standards and continue on to First Grade.

 

Elementary Grades

MWS Rose Ceremony_43

 In a Waldorf school, formal academic learning begins in the elementary grades, Grades 1 to 5. Children at this stage, ages 7-11, naturally learn through direct experiences.This tendency is met with a curriculum that provides hand-on learning opportunities for all subjects. A Waldorf curriculum is one that unites academics, the arts, movement, practical work and a deep respect for the natural world.

 

Grade One: Coming Together

Maypole Ribbons 

The Waldorf Curriculum for Grade One leads the children gently out of the familiar realm of early childhood and set them joyfully on the path of formal learning. The teacher provides a model for the child’s life-long love of learning and strives to create beauty for them everyday.

Rich, archetypal tales from many cultures form the academic theme of the year. Through these stories, students build the foundations of literacy, and experience the practical qualities of numbers. The introduction of the four mathematical processes through experience and story, leads to greater retention and a deeper understanding of abstract concepts.

During this year, much work is done modeling and developing good classroom habits and strengthening social skills. The development of these soft skills  is supported through outside play, making music in a group, and working together on the class play. This encouragement of empathy and cooperation ultimately inspires a sense of respect for each other and nature. Combined with celebrations of the seasons and holidays, the children develop the ability to observe and relate to the outside world with reverence.

In addition to daily work in the arts including painting, drawing, beeswax sculpting, singing, and pentatonic flute, every child participates in classes in German, movement, handwork, and nature walks.

 

Grade Two: Awakening Intellect

Playing Flute in Grade 2

The Waldorf Curriculum for Grade Two builds on the foundations of First Grade and continues to present the curriculum through story. These young students are emerging from the magical fairy tale existence of early childhood and with this awakening intellect are discovering the world around them. With heightened awareness, students begin to probe more deeply and experience the contrast that exists in the world.

The stories of saints, legends, and fables from around the world form the theme of this year. It is through these stories that contrasting human qualities are explored and the children sometimes meet themselves in these tales of overcoming obstacles and weaknesses, and finding harmony.

Each academic and artistic subject gains complexity. Students gain foundational reading, writing, and phonics skills through the writing and retelling of stories told by their teacher. Reading competency is improving, sentence structure is introduced, and students discover the rules of spelling and phonics. Odd and even numbers, mental math, and fluency in math facts is gained not just through rote memorization, but with the discovery of the patterns and rhythms contained in math.

In addition to daily work in the arts including painting, drawing, beeswax sculpting, singing, and pentatonic flute, every child participates in weekly classes in German, movement, handwork, and nature walks.

 

Grade Three: The Practical Individual

Grade 3 (1)

Third graders are developing a sense of individuality and separateness from others and benefit from a curriculum that helps support them during this important childhood transition.  A Waldorf curriculum meets this need with a deep exploration of the practical.

Building on what has come before, the dreamy fairy and folk tales of previous years advance to a study of more complex, ancient Hebrew stories. These foundational stories combined with a study of building, clothing, and farming, demonstrate how humankind, applying practical knowledge and labor, inhabits the world.

In the classroom, reading and independent writing skills continue to develop and cursive writing, grammar and the parts of speech are introduced. The study of math also turns to the practical with a study of time, money, and measurement, and the children are challenged with multiplication and division of larger numbers. These mathematical skills are put to practical use in a variety of ways.

This rich curriculum includes gardening, building, measurement, and a five-day overnight farm experience. This trip gives the children the opportunity to experience the everyday activities of a working farm. It is often the child’s first time away from home and is a challenge met with the warm support of his or her classmates and teacher.

In addition to daily work in the arts including painting, drawing, and singing, this year reading music is introduced with either the pentatonic flute or recorder. Furthermore, every child participates in weekly classes in German, movement, handwork, and nature walks.

 

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