Kindergarten (Mixed ages 3.5-6 y.o.)
The Steiner or Waldorf kindergarten bases its program on the conviction that imitation, rhythm and play are the hallmarks of healthy early childhood education. Imitation of the beautiful, meaningful and true enables the child to go forth in life with initiative and purpose. A healthy rhythm and repetition gives children a sense of security, a sense of trust and a feeling of wellness that provides for their healthy growth and development. Children learn through self-directed creative play. Children who play well in creative social situations:
In the Steiner kindergarten, imitation of example is the teaching method that is used exclusively. It is at work on many levels. Whatever the teacher is doing, be it baking, cooking, painting, sewing or another activity, the children flock to her and say, "What are you doing? Can I do it too?" The teacher is always ready for the children to help, and usually there is a table full of children gathered around, sewing or cooking alongside the teacher. When children absorb the mood of concentration and the adult’s love of work being done, a yet more subtle, but perhaps more important, imitation of example takes place. The important element for parents and teachers alike is to present an example worthy of imitation.
Holding a handmade paper lantern
A Steiner kindergarten is easily recognized as a physically beautiful, emotionally supportive and carefully structured homelike environment. The child's day naturally flows between social and individual activities that reflect the child's need for both active and quiet play, indoor and outdoor play.
Painting, singing, puppetry, playacting, baking, games and handwork are the foundations of the curriculum. The class learns to play together, hears stories that feed the life of imagination and takes nature walks through the five hectares of school grounds.
Each child's innate capacity for wonder, reverence and devotion is nurtured and strengthened by the preparation for and celebration of the seasonal festivals.
The foundations for literacy, numeracy and grade school readiness are cultivated through the various activities described above, rather than through the early academic programs so characteristic of many early childhood programs that lead to stress and what is being described as the loss of childhood.
The Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten teacher is a specially trained individual able to create a wholesome environment that nurtures the physical, emotional, social and spiritual development of each child in preparation for the elementary grades.
Balay Binhi is a sister-initiative started by school parents to offer a Steiner Waldorf parent-toddler program and is located in Jaro, Iloilo.