Early Childhood Education

The Denver Waldorf Early Childhood Program (for children ages 3½ to 6 years old) 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.

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The Wisdom of Play in Early Childhood

The Waldorf Approach to Education

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.

Webinar on First Grade Readiness

Purpose and Play

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 Importance of Art and Nature

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.

Breaking Bread

Each day they share a family-style meal with the 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.

Waldorf Festivals

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 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.

Ages

Our mixed-age early childhood classrooms are suitable for children 3½ to 6 years years of age.

Children must be 5 years old by April 30 to be considered a kindergartner in the fall. During their kindergarten year, students will be given a first grade readiness assessment to determine maturity and readiness.

Schedule

Our Larkspur, Morning Glory, and Woodrose classrooms follow The Denver Waldorf School Academic Calendar, from late August to early June.

Half day: 8:30am–12:30pm

Full day: 8:30am–3pm

Aftercare is available on most school days from 3:15-5:30pm.

Student Teacher Ratio

The student teacher ratio is one to nine in our early childhood classrooms. Each class has an experienced lead teacher, a lead assistant, and a support teacher.