Awakening through active imitation.
Pasadena Waldorf’s immersive play-based kindergarten curriculum blends many foundational skills necessary for subsequent academic success with a strong social-emotional learning component.
Young children learn best by actively engaging their senses and imitating what they see around them. Our kindergarten classes encourage children to participate in simple duties that connect them to their environment and one another in a nurturing and harmonious manner. The teachers introduce children to simple handwork that helps to prepare them for future learning while also stimulating their creativity.
The outdoor play yard offers swings, a spacious sand pit for digging, and a lovely playhouse, which are all nestled below the branches of a stately oak tree. The play yard is lined by an edible garden that the children tend to and is complimented by hay bales for sitting or climbing. Separated from the play areas for the older grades, the kindergarten yard is a perfect place for imaginative play or jumping rope.
The indoor play environment is filled with natural toys designed for maximum imagination. The classic Waldorf dolls and other handmade toys are present in abundance. Cooking sets and building blocks made of polished wood are friendly to small hands, while inspired accessories straight from nature such as pine cones or crystals find their place alongside the versatile silks as perennial favorites.
With an environment conducive to peaceful and joyful learning, the teachers are able to bring the children into a consistent rhythm for the school day. The teachers nourish the feeling of security within the children, just as they also provide a nourishing diet of healthy organic snacks which the children help to prepare and serve to their classmates. The participation in group activities and the service toward other classmates all contribute to the development of the whole child.
The kindergarten class is also where children are first able to participate in the art of Eurythmy. This combination of synchronized movement and voice helps with sensory-motor development, enhancing coordination while simultaneously stimulating the language centers of the brain. The teachers also lead a story circle that progresses through the week. Sometimes, the children are invited into the story itself, acting out parts as they are immersed in the lessons of each parable.
The changing rhythms of the year are integrated into the kindergarten experience, with the children beginning most days with an adventurous stroll led around the campus. The children march along behind their teacher on a winding journey, weaving amongst the trees and over little bridges, until they end up at one of the many outside play areas. These “morning walks” are often accompanied by parents who appreciate the peaceful and refreshing start to the day.
Each child in the kindergarten learns from the process of doing, whether stitching a doll or churning butter. They find joy in participating in the important work of daily life, from washing their napkins to cutting vegetables for a delicious soup. And they are exposed to a rich, imaginative world through which they learn important lessons that prepare them for entrance into the Grades.