Our mixed-age, (2.9+) Early Childhood Program is designed to meet and support children’s unfolding capacities and awakening interests. We set out to support their sense of wonder and whole-hearted participation in the world. We strive to meet their deep devotion to life with nurture and support, building the foundation for the development of creative thinking and sound character. Because young children so readily absorb their surroundings, we pay careful attention to the environment of the classroom. We attend to the social development of the child within the community of the class, and the creative development of the child through imitation and imagination. We provide rhythm and balance in daily, weekly and yearly life. We work within the natural rhythm of the year by celebrating seasonal festivals. We spend a large portion of each day outside, allowing for healthy movement and helping to foster an appreciation of the natural world.
The classroom is thoughtfully prepared, with an emphasis on warmth and beauty, and the use of natural materials. The natural cloths, the stones and wood, and the simple dolls, invite the children to use their imagination rather than dictate a fixed topic of play. The focus in the classroom is on providing a peaceful, safe and beautiful environment, where children can play and interact joyfully.
For many children, this will be their first experience of being in a large social group. The community of the class in our school provides many opportunities for relationships and awareness of others. The children are encouraged to participate in group activities, and together we work on sharing, caring for, and helping each other. We enroll children from the age of two years, nine months, to five. This range in ages offers a family-like atmosphere, where the older children can be caregivers and role models, and the younger children look up to the older ones, and can see what they will learn to do.
The role and activities of the teachers in the classroom support the capacity that the young child has for imitation. Whenever possible, the teachers make themselves visibly active with practical work connected to the daily life of the classroom, including cooking, baking, washing, ironing, woodworking, toy making, cleaning, sweeping, sewing and mending. The children are encouraged to participate and help.