OUTDOOR Kindergarten Classes (starting 2019-2020)
For children 4-6 years old.
Half-Day Kindergarten : Monday - Thursday, 8:45 am - 12:45 pm
Friday Adventure Kindergarten, 8:45 am - 12:45 pm
Full-Day Kindergarten (5 - 6 year olds): Monday - Thursday, 8:45 am - 3:00 pm, plus Friday Adventure Kindergarten
We have two classes of mixed-age children in the mornings, and one combined class for full day afternoons.
Outdoor exploration and wonder abound in our half day kindergarten classes held together in a village setting at our Lowery Farm property. New in 2019, we are offering half day and full day kindergarten classes run entirely outdoors and staffed by our veteran team of teachers. The genius of the 4-year old’s free-flowing imagination, the 5-year old’s inventive social play and the 6-year old’s ideas and skills enrich the entire class. Our nature- and play-based kindergarten program encourages imaginative play and both gross and fine motor skill development to build a solid foundation for the academic work to come in grade school. Our kindergarten village will allow each of our two classes to mix and mingle outdoors and encourage some age-appropriate activities for 4-6 year olds. Each day will consist of free play and exploration, a circle time, a warm snack and an age-appropriate story time.
Studies have shown that time spent in nature and imaginative play contribute far more to developing the crucial neurological building blocks of creativity, concentration and higher-level thinking that do early academics. Children graduate from Madrona School's kindergarten ready to begin formal schooling and embrace abstract concepts such as letters and numbers. Led by experienced Waldorf teachers and a team of trained assistants, each class provides:
Lots of learning by doing using real tools: making bread, carding wool, whittling wood, chopping vegetables, etc.
Integrated sensory-motor activities, such as climbing trees and large rocks, conducting elaborate projects in the sand pit, building large structures with oversized blocks and boards, all of which contribute to large muscle development, balance and coordination.
Daily story time that develops oral literacy, rich vocabularies and long attention spans. In the kindergarten village, story circles will be separated out by age.
Daily circle time with seasonal songs and poems integrated with movement, to enliven children’s imaginations and growing vocabularies.
A family-style snack with fresh fruit, warm organic grains, homemade bread or vegetable soup, cloth napkins and ceramic dishes. In the winter, a cozy fire offers a place to cook, as well as a warm center for class activities.
A warming hut offers a place to get out of the elements and offers a small set of open-ended play materials more appropriate to an indoor setting.
Weekly handcrafting activities including woodworking, sewing, modeling beeswax, and painting.
Additional information available on our Outdoor Kindergarten FAQ page (coming soon!). And, have a look at a post to our school blog from October 2018 talking about the program from the perspective of Isaac Kemsley, one of our kindergarten teachers.
Outdoor kindergarten programs, while gaining in popularity and availability here in the United States, have a longer tradition in Europe. Watch this inspiring video on Denmark's Forest Kindergartens. What great opportunities for developing movement and balance, and to see the universal joy children have in playing in nature. And, we notice especially how well these children are dressed. All weather is good weather when we are dressed for it! This is an inspiration and confirmation of our own outdoor program.
"If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole living being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and power to the service of the world." --Rudolf Steiner