Kindergarten (Age 3 - 6 years)
When you cross the open field to our kindergarten, it is easy to sense a change of pace and atmosphere. With beautiful mature gardens and in buildings painted in delicate light filled colours and natural materials, the motto of the kindergarten teachers is, “Here we have time”. Ensuring that children are not rushed, over-stimulated or turned into mini-adults, our programme is designed so that the children under seven are allowed space to develop the necessary skills which will form the foundations for life long learning. Mixed age groups of 3 to 6 year olds, an emphasis on domestic, artistic and craft activities and warm supportive encouragement from teachers helps to emulate a large lively extended family where children can learn through imitation – the easiest and most holistic way to learn.
Here the children sing, paint, draw and move to music. They listen to stories told in rich and imaginative language, create puppet shows and little plays; bake, grind flour and help prepare their daily healthy organic snack. They plant and harvest and tend the gardens; weave, sew and use simple tools. Festivals, so significant in creating community, are a major part of kindergarten life, with parents joining in the celebration of our rich spiritual and cultural heritage.
And of course they play. No other activity is given as much support. Natural materials, kept as simple and multi-functional as possible support a range of rich and imaginative possibilities. Gardens are tended to provide an optimum environment for creative exploration, physical challenges and hard work. A schedule where annual, weekly and daily rhythms are honoured supports the development of self confidence, trust in the world and a strong sense of security. Combined with the loving care of the kindergarten teacher, children grow through gentle nuturing, giving them the best possible start in life.
We use natural materials in our Kindergartens, developing the child’s connection with nature and creating opportunities for them to observe the beauty in the natural world around us. These may include leaves, bark and berries collected on walks to using beautifully dyed felt and wool. The wooden toys and cloth dolls also support the idea that Nature offers us many gifts and is a rich source of inspiration as many wonderful things can be made from the things the live around us.
We involve the children in the preparation of the mid-morning snack, enabling them to truly engage with whatever we eat together later on. Often this may have come from our gardens, or we have mixed and kneaded the dough. At snack time when the table is layed, helped by little helping hands, we all sit together for a social time of sharing.
Rain or shine, our gardens and surrounding areas are used every day allowing the child a healthy rhythm of play both inside and out in the fresh air.
Stories are a big part of the kindergarten daily rhythm, allowing the child to feel secure as they†know what is happening next. Whether this be the walking day, the baking day or the painting day, children trust in the weekly rhythm of each day, which helps them to flourish and grow as this rhythm is both nurturing and supportive of their growing beings.