Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs
Early Childhood Program
Waldorf education is the fastest-growing independent school movement in the world and is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. Established in 1981, the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs provides this rich and unique education to our region as the only pre-K through 12 independent school in Saratoga County.
The Waldorf early childhood approach is firmly grounded in the science of child development and allows children the space to learn and grow by actively engaging in their world. Students have ample opportunity to build, dig, climb, garden, sing, listen to stories and perform meaningful chores like cooking, tidying and caring for themselves and their environment. Unstructured free play allows a child to learn through doing and to develop collaboration and social skills. Whether it’s the words of a song, activities of the day, or the seasons – regular rhythm develops a feeling of security in a child, allowing him to move through the world with ease and confidence. All Waldorf Saratoga early childhood teachers are Waldorf-trained in the social, physical and emotional development of young children. By respecting what the young child needs to develop a relationship with the world on their own terms, the Waldorf Early Childhood Program aims to provide the foundation necessary to manifest later in your child’s life as a love of learning, social and emotional intelligence, the ability to think creatively and solve problems, an appreciation for beauty and the arts and a deeper connection to the world.
The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs has two early childhood campuses:
Early Childhood Center Campus, 212 Lake Ave
The Early Childhood Center is located a short walk from the Waldorf Lower School (grades one through eight) and across from Eastside Recreational Park. Children experience intimate and nurturing classrooms and a play yard and gardens within a friendly neighborhood setting.
Two-Day Preschool for Two to Three-Year-Olds
A two-day program that allows children to explore their surroundings and interact with their peers at their own pace while enhancing the development of large motor skills, sensory awareness, social interactions and language. A typical day includes outdoor and indoor play, songs and verses, snack and finger games.
Parents spend much of their days keeping up with all the needs of their children. In our classes parents can enjoy a break by sitting around the edges of the room and bringing their attention to the children as they play. The time also includes observation time, some time to share, lap and finger games, snack for the children and outside playtime.
Forest Kindergarten Campus, 45 Kaydeross Avenue West
Located on Spa State Park land, the Forest Kindergarten features numerous forested hiking trails and ample yard space for climbing, gardening, digging, playing, caring for chickens and working. A restored farmhouse provides a nurturing indoor space for a nutritious organic lunch, rest, and respite from extreme weather.
Kindergartens and preschools at the Forest Kindergarten Campus
Still a rarity in the US, this outdoor-based program established in 2009 is modeled after similar programs now popular throughout Europe. Children spend most of the day outside year-round. In addition to the traditional Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum outlined above, nature is front and center in the Forest Kindergarten experience. Always changing, nature provides new problems to solve and situations to explore depending on the season and weather. The children also have the opportunity to experience gardening, caring for chickens and gathering eggs.
Specific early childhood programs at Waldorf Saratoga include multi-aged kindergartens for three to six-year-olds, two-day preschool classes, and parent-child classes at each campus. Activities evolve with the children’s developmental stage. A typical kindergarten day at both the Early Childhood Center includes circle time, free play, group activity, clean up, rest, snack, story time, outdoor play, and a goodbye circle. A sense of rhythm is stressed throughout the year by integrating festivals and seasonal stories into the curriculum. Children acquire a strong foundation for future academic learning in a peaceful and warm way:
Songs and nursery rhymes cultivate an intimacy with language
Oral stories, puppet shows, and dramatic play strengthen the memory, imagination, comprehension and vocabulary
Games and rhythmic activities enhance balance and gross motor development
Practical work develops coordination and concentration
Artistic activities develop the senses and fine motor skills
Free play strengthens imagination, social skills, problem-solving, executive functions and more
All kindergarten classes are available as either three or five-day programs Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Lunch is provided, and aftercare available until 3:00 PM for an additional fee. Two-day preschool classes are available at the Early Childhood Center campus on Thursday and Friday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, and at the Forest Kindergarten Campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
Parent-child classes are available in Fall, Winter and Spring sessions. Schedules vary per session and are published several weeks before the start of each session at www.waldorfsaratoga.org/earlychildhood.
Open House and Registration Information:
Parent-Child Classes open for enrollment. Eight-week session from January to March.
Early Childhood Open House on January 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at both early childhood campuses: 212 Lake Ave and 45 Kaydeross Ave. West in Saratoga Springs.