School begins on Tuesday, August 26th! If you’re new to Spring Garden, and even if you’re not, here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Early Childhood drop off.
What is The Meadow?
The Meadow is the Early Childhood only play area for our students in Pre-K and K classes. It is behind the fence adjacent to the right hand parking lot. It is divided from the older students’ playground by a small creek and the outdoor stage area.
When is Drop Off?
Young children are to be brought to The Meadow between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
When does school start?
Early Childhood Classes begin at 8:30.
Do I bring my child to The Meadow?
Yes. Please walk young children into the The Meadow and help them locate their teacher. Please join your child in saying good morning and shaking their teacher’s hand each day. This is a small gesture with much wisdom behind it. It is the beginning of teaching children to be comfortable approaching and speaking to adults and at the same time gives the teacher a glimpse into the child’s approach to the day.
When should my child wear their outdoor clothes?
Every day, rain or shine, if your child is a student in Early Childhood. Have your child come to school wearing their appropriate outdoor rain or snow gear. This includes rain pants, boots and jacket. And snow pants, boots, jacket, hat, gloves and scarf in winter. Children are encouraged to be kids and get dirty and these items ensure that children are dry and clean in their classrooms.
Do they wear outdoor gear if it’s sunny and hot?
Yes! Teachers will make the call as to whether the children can shed their outerwear items as the day goes on, but morning dew and Meadow mud requires all students in Early Childhood wear outdoor clothes each morning.
What if we’re late?
Children coming in late must get signed in at the office with their caregiver and receive a pass. If the early childhood students are still in the meadow at this time, the caregiver and child can then proceed to the meadow and give the teacher the late pass when they meet to greet each other. If the class is already in the room, please knock softly at the door and wait patiently for the teacher to come and welcome your child. It may take a few minutes as the teacher will not disrupt circle time to answer the door.
Is there Before Care?
Before care begins at 7:15. Please walk in with younger children. Before care is located in the First Grade classroom. Early Childhood children will put on their outerwear and be walked to their classrooms at 8:15 to meet their teacher and proceed outside for morning recess.
We are excited to announce that Emily Rode (pronounced RO-dee) will be joining us this fall as our new Strings/Orchestra teacher. Mrs. Rode is an accomplished strings teacher and performer who has been working with students of all ages and abilities, both individually and in ensembles, for over 30 years.
Mrs. Rode received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the University of Akron and a teaching assistantship at Youngstown State University. In addition to teaching private lessons in her studio, Mrs. Rode has worked with directly with students in the Akron, Medina, and Berea Public School strings programs.
Please join us in welcoming her to the Spring Garden community!
A feeling of social inclusion is key to a child’s happiness and success in school, and the conscious development of social skills from an early age may be one of the most lasting benefits of a Waldorf education.
The Waldorf model takes the long-term view that, as with academic learning, healthy social interaction must be self-motivated. Our teachers seek to provide students with important social skills that will enable to them interact compassionately with others, to create a sense of community, and to confront and resolve conflicts within their community.
For more about social skills in the Waldorf Curriculum, read this three part series from professor and Waldorf parent Stephanie Greer.
There are many examples of how Waldorf education introduces learning material in an age-appropriate manner. Most parents are concerned about how and at what age academics are introduced, but “age-appropriateness” in learning also encompasses considerations of when young minds are ready for formal music training, when children are socially able to grasp and relate to world history, or when Socratic inquiry in science can resonate within a curious adolescent.
Rich Edwards, father of two Spring Garden Waldorf alumni, says the age-appropriate curriculum was one of the most important factors in the decision to give his daughters a Waldorf education.
The question of age-appropriateness applies to foreign language, physical education training, even recess time. Here are some examples of age appropriate curriculum at SGWS:
- No standardized testing for young students (SGWS begins standardized testing in Grade Four)
- No homework for young students (homework typically begins, in small amounts, in Grade Three)
- Lots of outdoor and active time, in both learning and free play, for all students
- Teaching of reading and math concepts begins in Grade One (not Pre-K)
- Foreign language begins when children are young (Grade One)
- Music begins in Pre-K; Music training (pentatonic flute and choral) in Grade One
- Cooperative games begin in Grade One / Competitive sports begin in Grade Five
- Nature studies for science in Grade One / Science lab work in Grade Seven
See these resources for more information on age-appropriate curriculum:
Moving Through the Grades Curriculum Articles:
Many of our prospective parents wrestle with the decision of whether to send their children to a public school or to Spring Garden Waldorf School. There are many differences between public education and Waldorf education, though a general summary might be that Waldorf education places a high value on art, critical thinking, and creativity, and does not begin academic instruction before the age of seven. Public school, on the other hand, puts a high value on standardized and measurable academics, with a focus on math and reading starting at age five.
Watch this video to learn why one public school teacher chose to send her son to Spring Garden Waldorf School. Or for read this article more information about the differences between Waldorf and Public school.
If you have a young child who is advanced in academics, is an early reader, or seems ready for formal schooling at an early age, you may believe that Waldorf Education isn’t the right choice for you. You may worry that your bright child will be bored in a Waldorf classroom.
However, in this article, Dr. Richard House, a senior lecturer at Roehampton University’s Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, recommends delaying formal schooling for bright children. He says, “…gifted pupils from relatively affluent backgrounds suffered the most from being pushed ‘too far, too fast.’” He quoted a major U.S. study, carried out over eight decades, that demonstrated how “children’s ‘run-away intellect’ actually benefited from being slowed down in the early years, allowing them to develop naturally.”
The absence of worksheets and standardized testing in the early grades does not mean that Spring Garden does not introduce these young pupils to advanced concepts. Students in Grades One and Two are actively taught mathematical concepts along with reading and writing, nature and science, music, art and foreign language — all in a multi-sensory and engaged manner.
Joanna Caley, mother of a Spring Garden student, talks about the benefits her gifted daughter experienced when given a more balanced Waldorf education at Spring Garden.
Click to learn more about Waldorf Education: