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, 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 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.
Children who are 31/2 by the first day of school may enroll in the Kindergarten. A child must turn six before June 1st to move on to First Grade. Most students attend two years of Kindergarten, which provides a solid foundation for the grade school. Our Kindergartens are mixed age classrooms.
Kindergarten is a two, three or five day structure depending on age and is from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Aftercare is available.
If you are interested in this program, please refer to Admissions. We will admit children mid-year provided there is space available.
Serious Business of Child's Play
The tedium is the message of many modern educational toys, games, and children's television programs, tediously intent on serving a solemn purpose of rushing children's development. Much of this, some pedagogic experts say, flies in the face of what has long been known about children's play. Plato, in The Republic, warned parents to "avoid compulsion and let early education be a manner of amusement. Young children learn by games; compulsory education cannot remain in the soul."
More recently, the late Jean Piaqet wrote on the same theme: "Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself. On the other hand, that which we allow him to discover for himself will remain with him."
These age-old lessons, say Maria W. Piers and Genevieve Millet Landau, have been forgotten by too many parents who consider a child's play a waste of time. Piers is Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of the Erikson Institute for Early Education in Chicago. Landau, former editor of Parents Magazine, is director of the Hasbro Center for Child Development in New York.
Anxious to give their preschool children a leg up on the competition for success in school, college, and life, many parents put pressure on nursery schools to teach children to read, memorize, do formal arithmetic, and play games designed to reinforce these skills.
"The assumption that children at play are not learning anything valuable – not developing or being prepared by school and life – is distressingly wide-spread. It couldn't be more wrong," said Piers and Landau.
The two experts in child development presented their own and other authorities' views to the first National Conference on Play. They have expanded their report in a book, The Gift of Play (published by Walker and Company).
"In trying to define child's play," they comment, "educators often say that play is the child's work. But this description, unfortunately, has led some parents and teachers to value only that play which seems to them really serious." What adults often aim for when supervising or directing children's play is the kind that seems to them to teach the virtues of adult life, such as persistence, prudence, and ambition. This is rarely what children have in mind when they spontaneously design their own play. Slowly, by the time children are four years old, their games take on shape and purpose, with a beginning, middle, and an end. Their play reflects an order that, in turn, reflects the children's observation of the world around them.
This defense of freewheeling play is not a plea for chaos. The child's play, at home and in nursery school, requires structure and reassuring predictability of scheduled activities so that the child knows what to expect. But within this structure, children should be allowed to give rein to their imagination.
Albert Einstein once mused: "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."