About Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
At Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten, the environment is carefully prepared to create an atmosphere of inspiration for learning. Our classroom is a beautiful and inviting place filled with soft colors, flowing play silks, and a nature table with items that the children have collected outside. A wood table surrounded by little peeled-log chairs sits next to a large round rug where the children gather for stories, songs, and puppetry. Our expansive play yard has its own fantastic appeal, filled with big trees, a large organic garden, and lots of natural wood climbing structures and old fashioned toys. Situated along side of the play yard, our farm animals are also part of this outdoor experience.
Following natural rhythms of the day, the week, and the seasons, our teachers engage in practical and artistic activities which the children emulate in their play. Throughout the day, teachers beckon the children with song as they move gracefully in and out of organized activities (such as grinding oats or watercolor painting) and free play, all the while honoring the importance of the child’s play as child’s work. Throughout the week, each day has a different organic whole grain served for snack so that the children come to know Monday as “rice day.” Every season is marked with a festival and the stories and games carry appropriate seasonal themes of animals hibernating or characters blossoming and changing.
Out of joyful and enthusiastic activity, the children have the opportunity to develop capacities of imagination and creativity, along with a sense of wonder, reverence, and compassion for humanity and our earth. Family life is nurtured as well, with ongoing parent education and support, opportunities for building community, and festival celebrations offered both in and out of school hours.
The Farm and Garden
The farm aspect of the school furthers the child’s ability to follow natural rhythms. Helping or watching the milking of the goat, collecting eggs from the chickens, working in the organic garden and then eating the goat cheese, eggs, and vegetables brings the child more awareness of the processes of life. Caring for the animals tends to the child’s natural desire to nurture.
Biodynamic farming is an organic, yet even more holistic, practice developed by the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner. Renewing old agricultural practices, biodynamics utilizes compost preparations to heal the soil and lunar and planetary rhythms to coordinate planting and harvesting. The biodynamic perspective sees the farm ultimately becoming a self-sustaining organism where plants, animals, and human beings thrive in an environment of balance. For more information about Biodynamics see the Frog Belly Farm.
At Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten, the children are part of the balance that is created here. Their enthusiasm for seeing the plants and animals grow stimulates the livelihood of the farm as a whole. The farm at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten started with the inception of the school and continues to grow with plans for rotational grazing pastures, a duck pond, baby goats, and more garden beds.
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten is part of the international Waldorf education movement, founded in 1919 by Austrian philosopher, educator, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. The Waldorf curriculum is based on sound principles of child development and endeavors to nourish all aspects of the human being. The integration of arts and sciences encourages wholeness in perspective and creative thought in action. Over 900 Waldorf schools in 80 countries comprise the largest independent educational movement in the world. For more information about Waldorf education see AWSNA.org.
What struck me about Waldorf education from the beginning, was the idea of educating the whole child to be a fulfilled and balanced human being so that then the child would be prepared for and have the ability to take on any educational, practical, or skillful pursuits that he or she wishes. I feel that having the farm as part of this school provides a real foundation for this whole child education. My children get to see and be part of where their food, their sustenance, comes from. This feels very basic and very important. This is also something I have not been able to offer my children and I am so grateful to see it be part of their school. Having grown up in the suburbs myself, I had never seen an animal milked or held a freshly laid egg and I often wondered about how this all worked. One day my three-year-old gently held a fresh warm egg in her tiny hands all the way home from school. She was so proud and I was amazed at her thoughtful and careful appreciation for this little gift. My children go straight to the goats most mornings to say hello and, in the warm weather, to help with the milking. They laugh and interact with those animals as dynamically as if they were people and sometimes more so. They are really getting to know those animals and take great care in tending to their needs.
— Erin Dreistadt has 2 children in the kindergarten program
When I was choosing a preschool for my two three-year-olds, I toured numerous preschools, read about different preschool philosophies, talked to parents, and to friends in early childhood education. All this research and preparation agreed with what I felt and knew the first time I walked across the yard at the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten: this was the place for us. Immediately, I noticed and deeply appreciated the beautiful grounds and classrooms. Such thought has gone into making a space for the children that is nurturing, naturally beautiful to all the senses, and best of all, fun and whimsical. When I took the classroom tour and heard more about the Waldorf preschool tradition, I was delighted to learn that the school is very focused on observing and celebrating the rhythm and magic of the seasons. The children spend a lot of time outdoors and take the time to notice and be in awe of the natural world around them. This isn’t hard to do with a large biodynamic garden, farm animals, logs, creeks, and a sledding hill as part of their daily experience, The children then take this appreciation of the seasons and celebrate it often in fun, beautiful festivals held throughout the year. My children remember and frequently sing festival songs and act out their favorite festival events for months afterwards.
— Shannon Halgren has 2 children in the kindergarten program
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