Academic activities are not found in a Waldorf Kindergarten. The emphasis is on developing skills through experience. Here are the experiences and a brief description of their significance.
Creative Play Time:
An atmosphere of work permeates the room or outdoor space. Play is important work for children. While the teacher prepares snack, sews a doll, rakes leaves, or gardens, the children play and imagine with a wide variety of natural toys and materials. Learning: Development of the imagination, social interaction with peers, problem solving, and carrying tasks to completion are just some skills developed during creative play.
Circle / Story Time:
The class comes together to sing songs, recite versus or listen to a teacher told story. Learning: Repeating and remembering verses builds memory. The ability to sit and listen to an adult for a sustained period is developed at this time as well. The story told by the teacher also exposes children to the beauty of language which supports literacy skills builds the person-to-person relationship between teacher and child.
Wet-on wet water coloring, woodworking, beeswax modeling, crayon work and sewing/finger knitting are done as a group activity, although each child is absorbed in their own work. Learning: These activities encourage the child’s natural sense of beauty and color. These artistic techniques will be built on in further grades. They also develop motor / visual learning skills and the ability to focus on a task for a lengthened time.
A group activity where children prepare snack together and eat together. The children also clean up after themselves and tidy the space. Learning: This time is a good transition example of home to school life. It also teaches social interaction, how to follow directions, the science of cooking and cleaning and personal responsibility.
Children are free now to run, use imaginations, and experience the outdoor world in all seasons. Waldorf outdoor time happens daily in all but the most inclement weather. Learning: Large motor skills, imagination and creativity, social skills, and natural science. It is hard to think of a skill not fostered during outdoor free play.