Our Parent-Child Program
The Parent-Child Program is a simplified morning designed to provide the first school experience for the younger child who is not quite ready for separation from the parent. A parent or other caregiver attends with the child in a one-day-a-week classroom program. Guided by the teachers, the parent is involved in simple, purposeful tasks, while the child can help or play freely. With the support of the parent and with the help of trained teachers, the child can begin to move into a more social play experience.
Through classroom participation, parents can experience first-hand the Waldorf approach to early childhood education and can deepen their understanding of the young child and specifically of their own child. As with all of the early childhood programs, regular parent evenings offer a time for study and discussion on topics relevant to the challenges of parenting the young child and provide an opportunity for questions and for sharing, especially about the classroom experience.
Class sessions for children ages 2 years to 3 years and 3 months are offered on both Thursdays and Fridays.
In Waldorf Education we refer to classes for children about 3 1/2 to 6 year olds as Kindergartens (German for “child’s garden”).
During the academic year 2015-2016, we have three classes. The Bluebird kindergarten is a three day kindergarten and is for children 3 1/4 – 4 1/4 years old. The Bluebird class meets Mondays through Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. The Oak Tree and Redbud mixed age five day kindergartens are for children who are 3 1/2 to 6 years old and meet Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. These kindergartens are, first and foremost, places for creative play. In a secure and home-like setting, children of mixed ages are active in play, living out the axiom that “the work of the child is play.” The children learn about themselves and their world under the guidance of two teachers. Natural, open-ended materials, which lend themselves to a variety of uses, are provided in the classroom.
During the first part of the morning, with gentle encouragement the children take up these materials in wonderfully imaginative ways. Tree stumps, chairs, and play cloths arranged as a Metro train one day may be formed into a royal castle the next. Such play fosters the development of flexible and creative thinking. Other activities such as baking, painting, and craftwork also form a part of the free-play time.
After free-play, the children sing and move together during circle time when songs, verses, and rhythmic games help, in an artistic way, to build important language skills and physical coordination. Circle time is built around the seasons — the ever-changing picture of the natural world around us. A wholesome organic snack and outdoor play are always a part of the morning. Their time together concludes with the telling of a story or a puppet play. Stories and puppet plays are carefully selected and presented. The wisdom of age-old folk and fairy tales and the beauty of nature stories unfold before the child in expressive language.
The rhythmic repetition of these daily activities strengthens and nourishes the child. Throughout the year, as well, we observe a rhythm. Fall, winter, and spring each brings a particular seasonal observance. Harvest time, the advent of winter, and the arrival of spring are celebrated in an experiential way appropriate to the young child, who lives strongly in nature and its changing faces. We strive to present simple, universally meaningful images in these festivals to support and nurture the child’s sense of wonder and reverence. Our observances are non-sectarian, since our school welcomes families of all faiths. We honor diversity.
Our Grade School
“The Waldorf approach to educating the child strives to achieve rhythm and balance in every school day and throughout the school year. The presentation of each subject directly connects with the child, head, heart and limbs.”
from Rudolf Steiner Education – The Primary Years by Carl Hoffmann
As children enter a Waldorf elementary school they are guided by a class teacher who carries the class and journeys with them through the grades. The children and teacher develop a deep and enduring relationship through their shared experiences of the main lesson curriculum. The curriculum in the grades is very rich and fulfilling. It meets the children where they are in their development mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The heart of Waldorf education during the elementary school years is the main lesson. First each morning, the main lesson centers on one subject for “blocks” of three or four weeks in length. This arrangement allows for an intensive, uninterrupted study. When the block concludes, another main lesson subject takes its place. The previous study goes to “sleep,” and reawakens later in the year. The main lesson takes into account the subconscious life. It is frequently observed that a child who may, for example, have difficulty in understanding an arithmetic problem will, during the next main lesson block of the same subject several months later, have solved his problem.
The daily main lesson follows the beneficial rhythm of breathing in and out: concentration and relaxation, formal instruction and individual activities. Thinking, feeling, and doing are kept in balance. The teacher’s artistic, imaginative faculties make the lessons living and exciting. Rather than relying on text books that make for a common denominator, the students write and illustrate their own workbooks.
Form Drawing: Rudolf Steiner created form drawing; it is done in all the elementary grades. The children begin with straights and curves, and gradually move on to running forms and freehand geometric designs. Form drawing strengthens their manual dexterity, and trains the child’s sense for form.
Language Arts : Writing comes before reading. The children learn the sounds and shapes of the letters of the alphabet through stories, poetry, drama, and many lively activities. Reading happens individually when each child is ready. The children read from material they have copied into their own books from the chalkboards. (It is a phonics approach with rhythm, repetition, and speech.) First graders make their own “readers.” From second grade on, well-selected books serve as readers along with other material supplied by the teachers. Most children are reading by third grade.
Arithmetic: The first graders are introduced to the numbers from one to twelve through stories and active counting games. They learn to write the numbers and to count by ones, fives, tens, and so forth. The four arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) are introduced pictorially, and are related to each other. The children recite number rhymes, discover number patterns, and begin to learn the times tables “by heart.” Developing skill through imaginative drill strengthens their abilities. The work in arithmetic builds each year on what was done the previous year, so the work grows more complicated as the children develop new capacities. Mental arithmetic is done daily in the morning exercises.
Nature Study and Science: Experience of nature is strengthened by walks, seasonal observations, gardening, and through stories that help explain natural phenomena in a living and imaginative way. In second grade, Native American tales are included. In all grades, the children spend a portion of every day outside, and are encouraged to become keen observers of the world around them.
Subjects needing regular practice — foreign languages, music, eurythmy, handwork, and games — are given after the main lesson, usually by specialist teachers and in shorter periods of time.
Music: The children sing daily. They play pentatonic flutes into third grade, and then learn to play diatonic recorders. Music notation is learned after the switch to the diatonic scale.
Eurythmy: This movement class was created by Rudolf Steiner, and is unique to Waldorf schools. It is connected to speech and tone. In the grades eurythmy is done weekly or in blocks.
Foreign Language: Spanish is taught through artistic activities, listening, and repetition. The approach is conversational and very lively. After the nine-year change, the children also begin to write the language. The class meets twice a week.
Handwork: The first graders learn to knit on wooden needles they make themselves. They knit practical items such as flute bags and scarves. In grade two they learn to purl, and the projects become more challenging.
Woodwork: From time to time in the early grades, the children sand, drill, saw, and hammer simple items for gifts.
Drawing, Painting, Modeling Beeswax and Clay: These activities are connected to main lesson studies as much as possible. The children draw on a daily basis, and paint once a week. Modeling classes vary in relationship to what is being studied.
Games: The children have games class once or twice a week. They learn to cooperate with each other while developing balance, dexterity, and coordination.
Gardening and Crafts : Both classes are seasonal and complement each other. When the weather is suitable, the children work outside, digging and planting in the school garden. In the colder months when the Earth is sleeping, they work on various indoor projects connected to the seasons. Each grade does different craft projects based on the needs of the class and the talents of the teachers. Baking, cooking, and indoor gardening may be included in these activities.
We continue to accept applications through out the Spring and Summer. Some of our classes are full and some are still filling up. We keep an active wait list to accommodate late applicants as spaces open up. Grades applications are due by March 31, 2016. Any family wishing to apply for Tuition Assistance should get their applications in by February 2, 2016.
Submit an online application for our preschool, mixed age kindergarten and grades program here.
After submitting your application, the teacher of the class will contact you to learn more about the child and the family. Enrollment decisions take about a month to process. Once a decision has been made, parents will receive a letter from the school indicating their child’s placement for the coming year. After the first decision date, we accept and enroll children on a rolling basis as space permits. Online application sumissions include an application fee of $100 plus a $20 processing fee.
Tuition Assistance Requests
Monday, February 2, 2016, is the date by which tuition assistance request applications need to be completed with The School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) . You will need to know our school code: 2937. An objective and confidential assessment of family need is returned to the school’s tuition assistance committee. Award amounts are mailed to families with their enrollment decision. Tuition assistance is available in limited amounts from the school budget and through the generosity of donors. Applicants filing after February 2, 2016, may find that all available funds have been awarded. It is our hope that anyone desiring Waldorf education will not allow financial constraints to prevent application to the school.
Tuition Assistance Applications Due: February 2, 2016.
COMMUNITY COFFEE & TEA
Next Coffee & Tea TBD
(Please RSVP if you are interested in attending! No RSVP required for current PCWS families.)
*SPEND A DAY IN THE GRADES
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 from 8:30 – 10:30 AM.
Monday, February 1st, 2016. 7:30 – 8:30 PM.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016. 8:45 – 10:00 AM.
*MORNING IN THE GRADES
Experience a Waldorf 1st Grade Main Lesson Firsthand!
Next Morning in the Grades TBD.
email@example.com or call (703) 486-1309.
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