New Parents Network

New Parents Network Sponsors

Tucson Waldorf - Enchanted Desert School and Playgarden

Contributor: 

Programs

We offer playgroups for toddlers with parents (ages 18 months Ÿ?? 3 years), nursery program (2-?® - 4 year olds), mixed age kindergarten (4 - 6 year olds), and Grades 1 Ÿ?? 8. We have one nursery class with a maximum of 14 children and two kindergarten classes with a maximum of 18 children. The nursery and kindergarten classes have a full time teacher and a full time assistant in each class. In addition to the beautifully appointed classrooms, we have outdoor play equipment and a garden.

Playgroup (Ladybug Garden):

Our playgroups are for parents and their young children (ages 18 months through 3 years) to come together once a week with other Moms or Dads and children to play, share stories and circle games, and get some social time. This is a great way to interact with other parents, learn some helpful parenting skills, and get out of the house!

Nursery Program (Hummingbird Garden):

Our Nursery Program is designed as an environment where the young child is surrounded by warmth, tenderness and love. The rhythmical order of daily, weekly and seasonal activities gives children a sense of security. The childrenŸ??s need for both movement and rest determines the arrangement of daily events and activities. Our nursery class size has a maximum of 14 children and a full-time teacher and full-time assistant. We offer 2, 3 and 5 day nursery programs.

Mixed Age Kindergarten (Star Garden and Red Rose Garden):

Our early childhood program is designed to nurture creativity and imagination in our children. We believe that creative, flexible thinking is born of the childhood experience of imaginative play. There are many years to be a serious student, and few in which one can truly play. The protection of childhood is one of our main values. Our kindergarten classes have a maximum of 18 children with a full-time teacher and full-time assistant. We offer 3 and 5 day kindergarten programs.

In Waldorf schools, the mixed age nursery and kindergarten allow children in contemporary smaller families to experience the social learning opportunity of helping younger children or being helped by older children. This sets a tone and establishes the example of cooperation that is evident on the play yard.

Our nursery and kindergarten classes, true to Waldorf Education, are beautiful and homelike, full of soft colors and playthings of natural materials. Activities such as painting, baking, free play, circle games, and story time fall into a predictable weekly rhythm. The natural rhythms of the year are also honored through story, circle time, and verse. Our Waldorf Kindergarten centers on beauty and reverence: beauty in our surroundings, beauty in our speech, reverence for our selves, reverence for our surroundings and others. Each classroom has a Waldorf trained teacher and an assistant.

The preschool years are of great importance in laying the foundation for healthy adult creativity and intelligence. Today, nearly one thousand Waldorf Schools around the world promote true self-discipline, sound development, and solid learning through the head, heart and hands approach, striving to offer the right stimulus at the right time and to help each child's abilities to fully unfold. The curriculum, begun in 1919, is a successful model for holistic education.

In the first seven years, the child seeks to see the world as a place of goodness. These early years are a period of joy and exuberance during which the child will absorb and imitate everything he or she sees, and during which the learning will flow through the movements of the child. Therefore, the teacher seeks to lead the work of the class in a kind, conscious, loving manner that is worthy of imitationŸ??and the child learns by doing.

Great care is taken in planning and providing an entry into school life that fosters wonder, joy, and possibilityŸ??the early foundations for a life-long love of learning. The Waldorf preschool/kindergarten experience is meant to enliven the imagination and lovingly guide each child toward an understanding of the worldŸ??to plant the seeds for a successful school and adult life.

The early childhood day includes: Baking Ÿ?? Dance and Movement Ÿ?? Painting Ÿ?? Hand-crafts Ÿ?? Puppetry Ÿ?? Singing Ÿ?? Story-time Ÿ?? Outdoor activities Ÿ?? Cooperative and creative play

Sample Schedule
8:30 a.m. Welcome, Outside play
9:30 a.m. Transition to inside - snack
10:30 a.m. Circle
10:50 a.m. Inside play, craft activities
12:00 noon Clean-up
12:10 p.m. Story
12:30 p.m. Goodbye
(12:30 - 1:00 p.m.) Lunch

The Grades (1-8)

Our campus also houses our administrative offices, library, and gift shop, and provides the setting for most of our festivals. There is play equipment, ample outdoor play space, as well as a garden.

Grades:

"When the intellect travels on wings of Goodness, Beauty and Truth it can reach new heights."

The uniqueness of the Waldorf curriculum lies primarily in how and when the children are taught, rather than in what is taught. In presenting the material, first comes the encounter; then encounter becomes experience; and out of experience the concept is crystallized. Perception, feeling, idea: three steps in a genuine learning process that prepares the intellect for the abstract and conceptual thinking which will become possible later, in adolescence.

Waldorf schools are organized to make the relationship between student and teacher as fruitful as possible. In the elementary grades, this is accomplished by the unique Class Teacher/Main Lesson system. Each morning the children spend the first period of the day - the two-hour main lesson - with their Class Teacher.

During this time when young minds are freshest, they will intensively study a block from one of the core subjects. In this way the rhythm of the day begins with work which requires the most attention, and each academic subject can receive special focus during the course of the year.

The teacher has time to enter each subject in depth and to approach it in a variety of ways; time to enliven each topic with poetry, painting, modeling, and drama. Thus, intellectual learning is always combined with artistic, rhythmical, and practical work. After about a month, when one topic has been fully explored, a new Main lesson block is introduced.

Subjects that require regular repetition in shorter lessons (foreign languages, for example) occupy the later part of the morning. Afternoons are devoted to activities that are more social in nature: games and sports, painting, handwork, and gardening.

There is a wonderful coordination and harmony of subject material throughout the curriculum. What is being taken up in each Main Lesson block appears in subtle ways in the activities of the afternoon. The challenges of handwork and the fine arts are treated not as separate, unimportant "options" but as vital parts of a complete education.

Two great rhythms work concurrently in the Waldorf grade school: the daily rhythm of lessons, and the rhythm of seasonal festivals celebrated throughout the year. The student of this age needs the ordering quality of rhythmic activity in order to develop the security and confidence necessary for academic achievement and self-disciplined work habits.

The close community relationship established between a class and its teacher in the main academic subjects is balanced by lessons taught by subject specialists, so that the children have a healthy experience of many different adults. Subjects such as foreign languages, music, eurythmy, handwork, and movement may be taught by class teachers with the necessary skills, or by other specially-trained teachers.