A Message from Nursery Preschool Teacher, Kathy Miller
When I see the words brain development in black and white, I feel such a tremendous responsibility for my classroom’s children. Am I providing every possible opportunity in my Nursery Preschool classroom to develop each child’s greatest potential?
Thankfully, I know that what I do on a daily basis with children in the Nursery Preschool class at SGWS truly honors each child’s gifts and affords every learning opportunity possible. And what is it we do, exactly? We provide a rhythmical, un-rushed day in a carefully prepared environment. To the outsider, the repetitious day in our Nursery Preschool class may seem too subdued or restrictive to inspire learning. However, our homelike setting and predictable rhythms create a safe place for young children to develop life skills, and they also lay the groundwork for the future development of academic skills.
Dr. Jane Healy, a psychologist with a background in neurological development, assures us that repetition is critical to the development of the young child’s brain. Providing an environment with sequence, patterns, and order helps to prevent a chaotic environment, thus allowing the child’s brain to establish pathways for clear thinking.
Dr. Healy explains that after six months, an infant’s brain begins to develop the pathways and connections essential to their future cognitive growth, and these connections are strengthened through repetitive activity. To hurry or rush development impedes the natural process of growth because it lessens the time spent in repetitious experiences that develop these essential connections within a young child’s brain.
In our Early Childhood program at SGWS, the children are not hurried in their development. They are familiar with our rhythmic routines, so much so that at times their inner rhythms are established to the point where they know, without being
told, when it’s time to play, join in circle, listen to a story, participate in creative arts, and enjoy a nutritional snack. This stability allows the children to focus on learning other skills naturally and experientially. We do not awaken the child to structured learning, but allow them to explore, play, and socialize, using their will and curiosity to process information, solve problems, and build cognitive connections.
Our established rhythms are full of opportunities for the young child to flourish cognitively, socially, and creatively. Daily tasks, creative play, practical life skills, and close peer relations provide ample opportunities for the young children’s brain development. It gives me great joy to be part of the Nursery Preschool student’s framework for life!
The Early Childhood classes — Miss Kathy, Miss Olga, and Miss Julie — will celebrate Martinmas with a lantern walk during the school day on Tuesday, November 11. This is a simple celebration, intended to both observe the changing of the seasons and inspire generosity of spirit.
As the story goes, Martin was a prosperous soldier, who, on his way home encountered a shivering begger with nothing to his name. Rather than walk on by, he ripped his own cloak in two in order to give half away. In so doing, he shared the light that was within him with someone in need.
And so, St. Martin became the patron saint of beggars, drunks, and outcasts, dedicating his life to helping others. To celebrate, the three classes will walk down to the creek together during their outdoor playtime, to sing songs and leave seeds and crumbs for the forest animals. And since Martinmas celebrates the light inside of us to share with the world, the children will also make lanterns as a physical representation of this light.
Wet felting is a common handwork activity in Waldorf schools. In wet felting, combed sheep’s wool (sometimes called “roving”) is soaked in warm, soapy water, then kneaded so the individual wool strands break down and combine into felt. Wet felting offers unlimited potential for creativity, as the felt can be manipulated and shaped in many different ways – for example, students in the middle and upper grades Handwork classes fashion it into book covers, hats, and three-dimensional sculptures.
Recently, our Early Childhood students helped their teacher with the preparation process of wet felting. Miss Kathy brought out a bowl of warm, soapy water scented with lavender oil and the children took turns stomping the wool in the bowl.
The purpose of wet felting with their feet is to give these young students a grounding sensory experience. On this particular day, the children had high energy levels and were having a hard time settling into creative play. But after this experience, which engaged the children’s senses of touch and smell while satisfying their need for movement, they were able to settle calmly into creative play.
The completed wet felting project will be a piece of scenery for a puppet show and story the children will be hearing during story time.
Our Parent / Child classes offer a warm, enriching environment for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. Parents are nearby to observe and interact as their children are guided through the morning by the gentle rhythm of circle time, creative play, snack and story time. Parents are encouraged to discuss child development and parenting issues with our experienced Waldorf teacher.
Sessions are once a week from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. for 7 weeks
- $200.00 for one child and parent(s)
- $100 for each additional child
- Families who enroll for the entire year will receive a 10% discount.
For More Information:
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.