The Forest Kindergarten at the Waldorf School Connects Children With Nature for an Innovative Learning Experience

The forest kindergarten program at the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs, New York is one program among many operating in the 170 Waldorf Schools in North America that provide innovative and healthy educational programs.

Dec 07, 2015, 08:00 ET from Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, a membership organization for Waldorf Schools and Teacher Training Institutes, is proud to highlight the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs, New York, which offers an outdoor-based kindergarten program. The forest kindergarten, established in 2009, is modeled after similar programs now increasingly common in Scandinavia and other European countries like Germany and Austria but still quite rare in the United States.

Children between the ages of 3 ½ and 6 years old spend three hours a day outside year round no matter the weather conditions. The program is based on the Waldorf's early childhood program curriculum but nature remains front and center in the student's experience. Nature provides a changing environment which gives students new problems to solve and situations to explore depending on the season and weather.  

The kindergarten operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and is located at the Spa State Park land, which features numerous forested hiking trails and ample yard space for gardening, digging, playing, and working. A restored farmhouse provides a nurturing indoor space for a nutritious organic lunch, rest, and respite from extreme weather.

Waldorf early childhood programs, operating in schools worldwide, address the needs of preschoolers and kindergartners by focusing on a child's inner and outer growth and development. Waldorf-trained teachers are experts in the social, physical and emotional development of young children, and programs focuses on imitation, play and rhythm, which are three critical development areas for children.

Imitation is the best way for young children to learn, and Waldorf early childhood programs do this through song, stories and verse, and activities such as cooking, baking, sewing, woodworking, and gardening. Play allows a child to learn through activities and developing social skills. Rhythm develops a feeling of security in a child, allowing him to move through the world with ease and confidence.

"The growing popularity of a Waldorf education has made it the fastest growing independent school movement in the world," says Beverly Amico, leader of outreach and development at the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. "The seeds planted in Waldorf's early childhood programs manifest later in a child's life as a love of learning, social and emotional intelligence, and the ability to think creatively, and effectively problem solve."

Developed by Austrian educator and philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on an understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child and aims to develop healthy resilient children. To learn more about Waldorf early childhood programs and their success, visit WhyWaldorfWorks.org.

About Association of Waldorf Schools of North America

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America is a non­-profit membership organization of independent Waldorf Schools and Institutes in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The association was founded in 1968 to assist schools and institutes in working together to strengthen and nurture Waldorf Education and to advance Waldorf principles. Today there are more than 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries. In North America, there are greater than 170 member schools and 14 teacher education institutes. The association supports schools through collaborative regional work, professional and resource development, accreditation, community outreach, and advocacy. For more information, visit WhyWaldorfWorks.org. To learn more about the forest kindergarten at the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs, New York, visit WaldorfSaratoga.org.

Contact Information

bamico@awsna.org

SOURCE Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)



RELATED LINKS

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org