Hazel Woods Preschool Philosophy and Daily Rhythms
The foundation of Hazel Woods’s curriculum is Waldorf-based and follows Rudolf Steiner’s philosophies. Additionally, we incorporate a variety of educational modalities, and use ideals from a great many renowned philosophers and educators including Steiner, Froebel, Mason, Piaget, Montessori, Holt and Dewey. Therefore, Hazel Woods Preschool should not be classified as Waldorf solely, but Waldorf inspired or influenced.
Steiner’s influence on Hazel Woods Preschool is in the following ideals:
Education should address the whole child, as a threefold being in the realms of thinking, feeling and willing, as well as spirit, soul and body. Acknowledging the whole child stimulates the full spectrum of their being.
We nurture healthy emotional, physical and social development through experiential and play-based learning. By utilizing a broad range of play, physical activity, problem solving, cooperative play, handwork, artistic movement, yoga, and dance we guide their bodies, minds and spirits to become fully integrated.
We also utilize Steiner’s philosophy that children pass through distinct developmental stages at which time specific forces are at work as their capacities develop. Through mixed-age group integration children learn and develop through peer play, allowing each of these developmental stages to fully unfold.
Additionally, Hazel Woods emphasizes respect, reverence and wonder for nature and for human existence. Allowing the seasons to direct our art, music, plays, puppet shows, dances, and meal choices are examples of how we connect the children to the natural order of the world around us.
Play-Based - To support the vivid
imagination of each child, great care
has gone into every toy selection for
Hazel Woods. All toys are hand-made
and have been gathered from all
corners of the world.
Everything is made of natural
materials such as woods, cotton, silks, wool,
shells, stone, or other organic matter. Each toy is carefully chosen for age appropriateness and safety, as well as tactile and visual stimulation.
Art - Art is an important part of our preschool therefore we do art each day and provide the finest art materials available and integrate every possible medium to enrich the children’s experience.
Kindergarten Readiness -
The Waldorf Whole Child curriculum is
outstanding in meeting most of the areas
to be assessed for kindergarten readiness
but not necessarily all of them, so by
design, Hazel Woods Preschool is
"Waldorf inspired" as opposed to following
Waldorf pedagogy in its entirety.
In recognizing that many of our students will not attend a Waldorf elementary school, we felt it is important to support reading and writing readiness. Therefore, we live fully in the realm of traditional Waldorf storytelling and puppetry, but we also read books at Hazel Woods each day to support letter and word awareness and phonetics. To see the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment tool please refer to the FAQ's page of this website.
Conflict Resolution - Every child needs to know that they have value in the world, they need to be heard, and they need to trust that their feelings matter. Through redirection, listening, patience, guidance, love and support all issues large and small can be fairly and easily resolved. To see a comprehensive overview of our preschool Conflict Resolution guidelines please refer to the FAQ's page of this website.
Media, Television and Video Games - Our philosophy is built on nurturing each child’s creativity and imagination during the critical early developmental years. For this to be most successful, it is imperative that a limited media policy be practiced in the family home.
Like minded parents appreciate that their children’s friends and families live in a real world existence and appreciate the wonder around them. You can trust when your children go on play-dates with their peers, which they will, they won’t spend their time playing videos games, on the internet, or in front of a television with a bag of chips. In choosing a preschool it’s critically important to find parents that have compatible beliefs.
Spiritual Influences - Hazel Woods is a secular school and there is no religion associated with Hazel Woods Preschool. Instead, we respect each others cultures, religions and beliefs, and the value of the world of differences emphasized. Family traditions and celebrations are welcomed and encouraged as part of our seasonal activities.
Hazel Woods Preschool Daily Rhythms
Parents bring the children in for a warm greeting, assist them changing into their indoor shoes, apply sun block as needed, and give hugs and kisses and say "good-bye." The children begin greeting their friends, exploring and playing.
9:00 – 10:00
Art and Indoor Free Play
Everyday we provide a new and stimulating art project. We are drawing, or painting in different mediums, or working in dough or clay or sand, or working on a seasonal craft project...
Mealtime Preparation and Indoor Free Play
Each day we are preparing meals at school. We are baking fresh bread, or making a salad, or snapping green beans, or making a pot of soup, or baking a traditional Waldorf birthday cake. For each meal the children help with the food and set the table with china plates, flatware and glasses.
Note: During art and mealtime preparations the children are also involved in indoor free play. They are given complete freedom to participate as much or as little as they would like in these activities. The children appreciate the independence to weave themselves in and out of these activities throughout the morning.
10:00 Circle Time
The kids have had a nice morning easing into the day, doing crafts, prepping meals, and playing with friends. Now, they're wide awake and ready for stories and music to come to life in them. We come together as a group and say our morning hellos, and then lead into Circle Time - Here is where we do our yoga classes, meditation, nursery rhymes, finger games, songs, dancing, musical instruments, and Waldorf puppet shows.
10:15 Clean up and Prepare for Outside Play
We all do our part as we play the Koshi chime and sing a song and work together to put all the toys away. We use the potty as needed, change into the appropriate clothes for the weather, i.e. sweaters and jackets, or raincoats and boots, or bathing suits and towels...and we gather our paints and brushes, bubbles and chalk etc., and head outside.
The star child plays music to call everyone to sit down to a healthy meal together. We say a verse and enjoy our meal and our conversation.
Verse for all meals:
Blessings on the blossom, blessing on the fruit, blessings on the leaves and stems, and blessings on our food. Bon appetite', now you may eat :).
Here we take pleasure in fresh air, water-play, outdoor painting, mud, gardening, chasing bubbles, feeding the rabbit, climbing, running, playing ball, jumping, singing, and dancing. We explore the garden for fairies and gnomes and enjoy all the bugs, birds, flowers, and nature all around us. This is a very life-sized out-breath!
The star child plays music to call everyone to the table to enjoy a healthy hot lunch together. Here we enjoy talking and laughing about the day we have shared together at Preschool.
A Little More outdoor Play...
After we are finished eating, we clear our plates, and we can go back to our games and enjoy outdoor play for a little while longer. This playtime tends to naturally be more tranquil, quiet and solitary.
We head inside and wash off paint and mud, wash our hands, and change clothes as needed. The children are warm and dry and cozy inside once again.
Note: During outside time there is always a teacher inside to assist with potty breaks and changes of clothes, etc. She is also inside to spend time with any kids who want to take a break from outside play. Sometimes it may be too warm or chilly, or sometimes a child may just feel like being inside. We will sit and read with them, or sometimes they like to help us with meals or folding laundry... It's nice for the inside teacher too to have a little helper/companion :).
Story Time & Afternoon Snack
Everyone has had a wonderful day of adventures! Now, the children are feeling a little tired and are need of a some quiet and rest. Here we find a sweet still moment, and in-breath where they can lie down with a pillow and blanket if they like while we read the children a book especially chosen by the star child. Cold days are usually by the warmth of the fire :).
The star child plays music to everyone to wash hands and sit down together for a healthy afternoon snack.
We know parents are coming soon so we sing our good-bye song. When the children are done eating they clear their plates, and find a book to enjoy looking at while waiting for Mommies and Daddies and Nannies.
Everyone goes home to take a nice long nap and dream about the lovely day they had-Teachers too ;). "Bye-bye, see you in the morning!"
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