The Year Groups - The Early Childhood
Playgroup is often the child’s first experience of belonging to a regular group of people outside of home and family life. We can look at it as a gentle “bridge” between home and school.
Little children of this age are busy establishing themselves as “citizens of the earth”. This they do largely through play. Moving, handling, building, playing in the sandpit and with the dolls are all important experiences for the small children who live and experience the world through their senses and their active life of will.
For this reason also, Rhythm and Routine play a vital part in the Playgroup morning. Every week the children experience this through the regular sequence of activities. There is a time for play, there is circle time, which is full of songs and rhymes exploring the seasons and enabling parents and children to experience an intimate time together, as well as being part of the group, and feeling the sheer joy and simple delights of this age.
We will spend the first weeks of Playgroup in getting to know each other and establishing the rhythm of our morning together. We will also note the gradual change in the season through our stories and songs. Later in the term we will work towards the coming Festival of Easter and in Term 2, towards Winter.
Our Teachers have many years of experience in family building and early childhood needs. They lead their Playgroups with creativity, always making space for each parent and child’s own unique gifts.
KINDY FOUR – A YEAR OF GRACE
The year a child turns four is a very special moment in their lives. It is during this time they enter the heart and breathing phase of the first seven-year cycle of childhood. In other words, it’s the time they become aware of their individuality and need for freedom of expression. At the same time, a growing need arises for a rhythmic routine to support this freedom. Often we begin to hear the statements ‘I will do it’ or ‘I want it’. This is a good sign that the small child, once totally connected to its mother, has decided to peep out from behind the ‘Madonna’s Cloak’ and put a toe into the waters of freedom. This can be a very difficult time for the small child who is both exhilarated by his newfound independence and terrified by it. What’s more, this time can be very trying for Mummy and Daddy who must stay close but not cling too much.
At the Perth Waldorf School we like to offer our Four year olds a ‘Year of Grace’, a transition from home to school. As teachers, we aim to provide a beautiful, serene, warm homelike environment and to constantly model the goodness, truth and beauty the young child needs to imitate in order to grow strong.
Each week the focus of the Kindy Four sessions is free play. This offers the opportunity for the children to express their new awareness of themselves and others. The rhythm of the day mirrors the breathing patterns of the earth and the human being. Each component of the programme aims to create a moment of ‘breathing in’ followed by a time of ‘breathing out’ e.g. story-time and bread baking (breathing in) are followed by inside play (breathing out). This attention to the details of the child’s development allows them to settle quickly into a flowing, natural sequence of events.
KINDY FIVE & SIX
The primary aim of the kindergarten for 5 and 6 year olds is to provide the opportunity for the children to learn through creative play within a home like environment.
The classroom is set out like a home and aside from the children having the opportunity to play there are many practical activities for them to engage in i.e. painting, baking, craft, wax modelling and drawing.
A daily, weekly and seasonal rhythm through the year provides a stable structure within which the children can play and learn through doing.
Adults in the kindergarten teach primarily by modelling, children learn by imitating, we are a community of “doers” steeped in the three R’s of Kindergarten life, Rhythm, Routine and Reverence.
The daily routine and rhythm of the session allows for play, opportunity to do an activity and teacher directed learning such as morning circle and story.
All materials provided attempt to encourage children’s imaginative capacities. Children’s imagination makes anything possible. Imaginative play provides endless opportunity for the children to grow in their physical, cognitive, social and emotional life thus laying a holistic foundation to assist them in becoming fulfilled individuals and valued citizens in this world.
Kindergarten is a place where we have time and joy.