Using a state approved, inspired by Waldorf, nature curriculum, written by our faculty, this program accommodates both 4 and 5 year old students who are eligible for a VPK voucher through the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, as well as first year kindergarten age students. Students must be 4 before May 1st to be eligible for the Sandpiper class. Students with 4th birthdays between May 2nd and September 1st may use the voucher the following year.
At this age, the child is acting out of imitation, thus they experience a wide range of activities, including handwork, beeswax modeling, coloring, domestic work, watercolor painting, storytelling, puppetry, woodworking, gardening, singing & creative movement, nature observation, and more, naturally, as they see their teachers engaging in various meaningful activities.
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.
To enhance listening skills, simple songs and games are shared in English as well as foreign languages.
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.
All activities are designed to meet the learning domains prescribed by the Early learning coalition.
Like all of our programs, this class takes place completely outside.
Young children learn through imitation, thus the VPK 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, non judgemental 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, so each day becomes known by the activity they do and/or the lunch they eat.
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
Similarly, Thursday is “Stone Soup Day” as they chop, cook and eat the savory vegetable soup together.
Friday is “Forest Day”, when children will engage in nature observations and activities that help them develop their budding naturalist skills.
All snacks are organic; water and herbal teas are offered to drink.
The children take seasonal field trips, such as Crowley Museum and Nature Center or other Forest Days .
A typical day in the Sandpiper class includes circle time, free play, nature exploration, a teacher guided activity, a shared meal together, class chores, and a story time or puppet play.
For those staying for Little Siesta Aftercare:
- 1:15 – 1:30 Transition in/wash hands/bathroom turn
- 1:30 – 2:15 Rest time
- 2:15-2:30 Goodbye song/Pick up
The Sandpipers are led by Ms Joanne Whitney