The Denver Waldorf Early Childhood Program is structured to provide a gradual transition from the life of the home to the structure of an elementary school. We consider childhood to be a valid and honorable experience, not a time to be rushed.
In our classrooms, children gradually become accustomed to working within a group, listening to stories, interacting with a teacher and following a daily routine, while at the same time being supported in his or her development as an individual through the encouragement of creative play, practical life skills and artistic opportunities.
Each teacher deeply understands the young child and the need for movement, as well as the child’s devotion to learning about the world through imitating everything he or she experiences. We follow seasonal rhythms and in parallel, honor your child’s gradual transition from home to school and childhood to adulthood.
Creative play, purposeful work, and circle time are key elements of our Early Childhood program. We encourage children to imagine and play, both following their own initiative and learning to cooperate with others. Purposeful work develops children’s sense of responsibility and connection to the world around them. Children participate fully in routine projects, which include baking, sweeping, washing dishes and digging in the garden. During circle and story time, the children hear and join in seasonal songs, fairy tales and puppet shows. Repetitive verses prepare children for future intense memory work and consistent oral traditions help them develop listening skills over time. Rhyming and alliteration educate the ear, forming the beginnings of spelling and phonics.
The children participate in music, outdoor play and arts and crafts. Music is woven into daily activities and transitions. Outdoor play leads to a rich understanding of the earth’s seasons, providing a sense of stability and a foundation for deeper study of plants, animals, weather, geology and other natural sciences. Artistic activities encourage the child’s natural sense of beauty, color and form, as well as their development of fine motor skills and concentration.
Each day, they share a family-style meal each day, with children helping to prepare the food, set the table, and wash up afterwards. An emphasis on gratitude, intention of preparation and table manners develops valuable lifelong social skills, a sense of responsibility and an understanding of the source of our food.
Festivals are a special part of life at The Denver Waldorf School. Celebrating the seasonal festivals creates a connection to the natural rhythms that sustain us, helps avoid consumer holiday excess and lays the groundwork for cultural and social diversity. Some key early childhood festivals include an autumn harvest, an indoor winter garden spiral, spring basket grass-planting, maypole dancing and more.
The Starflower and Buttercup Nurseries, as well as the Woodrose, Morning Glory and Larkspur Preschool/Kindergarten classes follow The Denver Waldorf School Academic Calendar, from late August to early June. The morning Nursery and Preschool/Kindergarten begins at 8:30 am and ends at 12:30 pm. Parents have the option to add afternoons, which end at 3:00 pm.
Types of Preschool/Kindergarten classes
All of the Nursery and Preschool Kindergarten classes are mixed-age. We offer three classes for children ages 3-1/2 to 6-1/2 (Larkspur, Morning Glory and Woodrose), and two classes for children 2-1/2 to 4 (Starflower and Buttercup Nurseries).
The ratio is one to eight in Starflower and Buttercup, and one to nine in the other classes. Each class has an experienced lead teacher, a lead assistant, and an afternoon nap assistant.
At the big school, morning care begins at 7:30 am. with Mrs. Clark in Morning Glory classroom. At Starflower Nursery, Mrs. Palmer is in the classroom by 7:50 am. If you need to arrive to school earlier, please let her know. The official time for the day to begin in all the classrooms is 8:30 am.
Starflower & Buttercup Nursery days end at 3:00 pm. At the big school, afterschool care is available on school days from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. for Preschool/Kindergarten through Grade 8 students. Afterschool care is reserved in advance, and billed at $6 per hour on a contractual basis, or $7 per hour on a drop-in basis.
Click here to begin the Early Childhood Admissions process at The Denver Waldorf School.