The essential elements of our kindergarten class consist of real and authentic experiences of play, work, and time in nature. The children engage in a wide range of activities, including handwork, beeswax modeling, jumping rope, coloring, domestic chores, naturalist skills, watercolor painting, storytelling, puppetry, plant dyeing, wood working, gardening, singing and creative movement.
The importance of deep imaginative play on the young child’s development – including their brain development, cannot be stressed enough, thus free play is an essential component of each day. Play allows children to hone their creative forces, develop their imagination, foster fine and gross motor skills, all while strengthening their physical, cognitive, and emotional capacities. Play offers children the opportunity to engage and interact with the world, process their experiences, learn how to work cooperatively, to negotiate, and resolve conflicts.
The result of such an immersion in social skills is confidence, resilience, and the ability to compromise, all of which they will need throughout their lifetime.
Meaningful work – raking, washing, sweeping, setting the table for example, fosters independence and a sense of responsibility within the children, which is empowering in the present, while also providing a foundation for later service work in the grades and throughout their lives.
To enhance listening skills, simple songs and games are offered by the teacher. Stories shared help the children to develop the ability to create mental images based on what they are hearing, which lays the groundwork for reading comprehension later on.
These authentic experiences cultivate joyfulness, musicality, sensitivity, social skills, sensitivity to sounds and spoken language, physical health, emotional well being, and good habit formation in the young child.
All of these cultivated qualities will support later direct academic learning.
Young children learn through imitation, thus the kindergarten teachers strive, in all of their actions, words, and thoughts, to be worthy of the imitation of their students. Their movements are unhurried and graceful, they speak clearly and slowly, lowering themselves to meet the children’s eyes. Often the teacher will initiate transitions in the day by singing to the children.
Early childhood teachers strive to maintain a calm, cheerful, nonjudgmental demeanor, even during trying situations such as unexpected weather, or when a child is needing more support. They recognize that their task as the teacher is to foster the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual development of each child entrusted to their care. They strive to be an example of goodwill, love, and encouragement, as children learn their golden manners, not through what they are directed to do, but what they are seeing happening before them each day.
The class adopts a daily, weekly and yearly rhythm, which brings the children great comfort – knowing what to expect and anticipate, and each day becomes known by the activity they do and/or the lunch they eat.
Monday becomes known as “Rice day” and “Painting day”. Tuesday is” Stone soup day”, as the activity that they do that morning is cutting up vegetables to help make the soup, then they eat the savory vegetable soup later on at snack time. Similarly, Wednesday is “Bread day” as they prepare gluten-free bread in the morning and then enjoy the warm soft bread later on after their outdoor play. Thursday is both “Drawing day” and “Fruit Salad Day”; Friday is “Forest Day”.
All snacks are organic and gluten free; water and herbal teas are offered to drink.
A typical day in the Bluebird Kindergarten class includes circle time, free play, teacher guided artistic activity, food preparation, class chores, a shared meal together, and a story or puppet play.
For those staying for our Siesta Rest time:
1:00-1:15 Bathroom time and wash hands
1:15-2:15 Rest time
2:15-2:30 Pickup and goodbye song
The Bluebird Kindergarten program is offered as a 3, 4 or 5-day program, for ages 5-7.