What is a Waldorf early childhood program? What philosophies does Rosewood School hold regarding child development?
Waldorf schools are an international school movement based on the indications given on child development by Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Above all else, Waldorf schools strive to protect childhood as an immense time of wonder and a time that is crucial for the healthy development of the individual human being that will carry on throughout their entire life. While this question could be discussed at great length, in short, some of the essential characteristics of a Waldorf early childhood program include a loving interest and acceptance of each child; opportunities for self-initiated play with simple materials as the essential activity for young children- this is the young child’s work and makes it possible for them to digest and understand their experiences; awareness that young children learn through imitation, through the experience of diverse sensory impressions, and through movement- their natural inclination is to actively explore their physical and social environment; the surroundings offer limits, structure, and protection, as well as the possibility to take risks and meet challenges; a focus of real rather than virtual experiences to support the child forming a healthy relationship to the world; artistic activities that foster the healthy development of imagination and creativity; meaningful, practical work that provide opportunities to develop unfolding human capacities- here the emphasis is in the processes of life rather than on learning outcomes; predictable rhythms through the day, week, and year provide security and a sense of the interrelationships and wholeness of life. A Waldorf early childhood program is truly a therapeutic and holistic education which seeks to protect and preserve the natural sense of wonder and curiosity the young child has for the world.
What is your approach to discipline?
Predictable daily rhythm goes a long way in helping a child feel secure in their environment and less likely to act out. Children learn through imitation and the teacher models warm, calm, loving behavior. The children experience being a part of a class family where everyone is respected and expected to care for one another. Parents and teacher are in partnership together to help your child grow and develop into a self-disciplined person. Children about to engage in unacceptable behavior are gently re-directed to a new task, which not only solves the issue before it starts, but prevents the child from feeling bad about themselves as they would if an adult were to reprimand them. Consistent boundaries are maintained at school. Children are helped to right a wrong and to care for a child they may have hurt. Pedagogical (therapeutic) stories may be created by the teacher and told to the class to address an issue affecting the whole group, in a way that doesn’t single out and shame an individual child, so that the offending child may receive the message gently while maintaining their integrity and confidence.
Why mixed age?
There are many benefits to mixed age early childhood programs. For one, it mimics the natural family arrangements of siblings and cousins. Younger children learn so much from observing the older children while the older children learn to nurture and care for the younger ones, while gaining confidence in their roles as helpers. It also allows for siblings to remain together in one classroom.
Does my child need to be potty trained?
We welcome children in diapers and pull-ups and are ready to assist children at all stages of potty learning. When you decide you would like to begin potty training, let us know and we can gently support your efforts while your child is at school. Often, children have a very easy transition when they are around older children who have already learned to use the potty.
Is my child ready to attend?
Rosewood School is a mixed age early childhood program for children ages 18 months-4 years. What we are looking for in determining readiness is, has your child given up their morning nap? Your child may continue on at Rosewood School until they are ready to age into Kindergarten.