The Kindergarten is a nursery school based on the Waldorf educational system, set in the beautiful surrounds of a 200 hectare working farm in the east of Pretoria.
When you walk through the doors of The Kindergarten you cannot help but be transported back to the land of imagination and imitation; of elves and fairies, princes and princesses, castles and knights and anything and everything the mind can conjure up. You immediately become aware of the warm, homely environment: a sanctuary in which the children can feel both comfortable and safe whilst exploring the world around them.
Daily rhythm and repetition play a vital role in making children feel safe and boosts self-confidence. This rhythm and repetition forms the basis of our curriculum. A gentle and consistent flowing daily and weekly routine is observed. Seasonal celebrations help them follow Mother Nature’s rhythms.
Play in its varied forms shapes the heart of our day. Multi-functional toys are invitingly displayed, allowing the children to make good use of their inherent imagination, creativity and ingenuity. They can play with shells, wood, handmade toys and other natural items and materials. During free play the children get to construct creative, and sometimes elaborate, designs as well as develop important physical and social skills as they learn to work together with others. In this way the children also learn to take care of their space. When it’s pack-up time they all join in song with: “Let’s tidy up together, let’s tidy up together, as children like to do.”
They bake together (teaching them the basics of mathematics and science), take turns setting the table (counting) and engage in various crafts. A hearty breakfast and lunch is served with everyone seated around the table. A verse is recited, the candle lit and happy chatter ensues.
Each day includes the very special ritual of circle time. The whole class follows the teacher’s actions, joining in song and movement purposefully planned to develop both fine and gross motor skills as well as to improve their self-control. The children listen to the teacher telling seasonal folk or fairy tales embroidered with rich imagery and language, to broaden their imagination and vocabulary in their own work and play.
A good portion of the day is spent outdoors experiencing the natural wonders of the playground and the farmyard. The children climb ropes and wooden structures, build with sand, plant and tend to the gardens as well as care for the playground and nature through real, practical work, building a sense of responsibility amongst them. The overall vision in The Kindergarten classrooms is to help the children become loving, good and kind individuals who take pride in their growing sense of independence and capabilities. At The Kindergarten educating the whole child (hands, heart and mind) is actively lived every day.
“The task of the kindergarten teacher is to adjust the work taken from daily life so that it becomes suitable for the children’s play activities. The whole point is to give young children the opportunity to imitate; to imitate life in a pure and wholesome way.”
-Rudolf Steiner, April, 1923