Early Childhood at East Bay Waldorf School

Movement and play are the work of the young child and imitation is their special talent and natural way of learning. The early childhood teacher creates an environment where natural beauty and reverence for life abound, respect for children’s naturally unfolding capacities is palpable, and warmth, security and cooperation are an integral part of the child’s world.

 

In Kindergarten, the teacher participates in practical and artistic activities which the children imitate — baking, painting, drawing, beeswax modelling and handcrafts in a weekly rhythm — coloring the work with seasonal moods and festival celebrations.

 

The children wholeheartedly reenact these guided activities in their free, creative play. With joy and devotion they express wonder for life and enthusiasm for work, building a strong bridge to later academic learning:

 

  • Songs and nursery rhymes cultivate intimacy with language building literacy skills;
  • Listening to stories, watching puppet shows and dramatic play strengthen the power of memory and imagination;
  • Counting games and rhythmic activities build a solid foundation for arithmetic and number skills;
  • Work activities develop coordination and the ability to concentrate;
  • Outdoor activities, including play and hiking, encourage healthy physical development and an appreciation of nature and seasonal changes.

 

Here the young child’s fantasy and imagination is nourished and allowed to unfold, leading to an inner vitality out of which grows the capacity not only for dynamic and original thinking but also for creative and effective adult life.

 

 

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  • The first three years of a child’s life are a precious time of bonding and learning about himself and the world. In our Sweet Pea Parent-infant classes, we give our loving attention to our babies, learn how to observe them and read their cues and support their developing movement.  We enjoy a simple circle time with songs and movements, and discuss topics relating to parenting the young infant.

    Click here to register for a current Sweet Pea Class!

     

    Your Sweet Pea Teachers:

     

    Birthe Kaarsholm teaches the baby classes. Birthe is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist. She is a life long student of movement and expression and has a special interest in the important connection between body, mind and spirit as a foundation for healthy development. Her certification as a  Body Mind Centering®  practitioner inspired the creation of “Baby Moves” classes 17 years ago. In the classes, parents together with their babies learn about movement development combined with simple parenting skills supported by the principles of Waldorf education. Birthe is also a staff instructor at the Breema Center in Oakland.

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    Jennifer Doebler teaches the Sweet Pea Parent-toddler classes. She is a Waldorf parent of two grade-school children and attended many years of Waldorf parent-child classes.  Her teaching focus is on children birth to three years old. She is undertaking professional training in the RIE approach founded by Magda Gerber and pediatric neurologist Tom Forrest, M.D. RIE promotes a way of seeing infants and toddlers that enables adults to form close, authentic relationships with them through observation, attentive care and basic trust in their natural abilities. She is currently a RIE Intern. She has also completed Introductory and Advanced Level Pikler training with Anna Tardos and Agnes Szanto, based on the work of Hungarian Pediatrician Emmi Pikler.  She is a student at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training.

    She is motivated by her interest in supporting parents in the inspiring and challenging work of parenting, helping them to discover the uniqueness of their own child within the child development process and the wisdom of Waldorf education.  Previously, she served on the board of New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center, a developing Waldorf program in Manhattan.  Prior to becoming a parent, Jennifer worked for Pfizer, the medicine company, as a marketing executive, both in the US and internationally and ran her own company for 7 years.  She holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from Columbia University.  In her free time, Jennifer enjoys being with her children and husband, traveling, reading fiction, growing vegetables, kelp weaving and camping.

     

  • Young children learn through imitation and imagination. Whether the activity is teacher led or self-directed imaginative play, there is an atmosphere of unhurried purpose and joy. Daily and weekly rhythms of practical and artistic activities promote social awareness while honing fine and gross motor skills. Joyful engagement with complex, rich language and stories also lay the foundations for later intellectual pursuits.
    Together we spend approximately 70% of our time outdoors, taking hikes and building connection to nature and the wider world, as well as stamina and resilience.

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    Program Schedule:

    Preschool is a three or five-day program from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Aftercare is available until 5:30pm for an additional charge. Students can be dropped off as early as 8:15am.

     

    Age Requirements:

    Children who are 3 years old and toilet-trained may enroll in the Preschool program.  Provided there is room in the class, applications are accepted throughout the year.  Children who are at least 4 years & 9 months by the beginning of the next school year may move on to Kindergarten.

     

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    The East Bay Waldorf School Early Childhood Center is a licensed Preschool provider in the state of California & a proud member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.

     

    CA Preschool License Number: 073408218

  • Play is the work of the young child; imitation is their special talent and natural way of learning. The kindergarten teacher creates an environment where natural beauty and reverence for life abound, bringing warmth, security and cooperation to the child’s world of constructive fantasy and imagination.

    The teacher participates in practical and artistic activities which the children imitate–baking, painting, drawing, clay/beeswax modeling and handcrafts in a weekly rhythm–coloring the work with seasonal moods and festival celebrations.

    The children wholeheartedly reenact these guided activities in their free, creative play. With joy and devotion they express wonder for life and enthusiasm for work, building a strong bridge to later academic learning: Songs and nursery rhymes cultivate intimacy with language building literacy skills; Listening to stories, watching puppet shows and dramatic play strengthen the power of memory and imagination; Counting games and rhythmic activities build a solid foundation for arithmetic and number skills; Work activities develop coordination and the ability to concentrate; Outdoor activities, including play and hiking, encourage healthy physical development and an appreciation of nature and seasonal changes.

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    Here the young child’s imagination is nourished and allowed to unfold, leading to an inner vitality out of which grows the capacity not only for dynamic and original thinking but also for creative and effective adult life.

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    Each day we begin kindergarten with a reverent greeting.  Our intention is to create a safe space for children to play and grow in. Through our example we aim to give children a model of how to treat one another and the world around them.
    A unique part of our program is our rich outdoor curriculum.  We spend between 50% – 70% of our time outside exploring and learning in nature. We have special destinations that we hike to daily including our biodynamic school garden, frog pond and wildcat canyon.

    Our outdoor adventures help children cultivate a familiarity and love of the natural world. Over the course of the year children experience the changing seasons and begin to develop a sensitivity to the subtle transformations in the landscapes around them.

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    Kindergarten is a five day program from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    Aftercare is available until 5:30pm.

    Children who are at least 4 years & 9 months by the start of the school year may enroll in the Kindergarten.

    Most students attend two years of Kindergarten, which provides a solid foundation for the grade school. Our Kindergartens are mixed-age classrooms.
    A child must turn six before June 1st of the school year to move on to First Grade.

“It is absolutely essential that before we begin to think, before we so much as begin to set our thinking in motion, we experience the condition of wonder.”