Our enrollment is shifting in our Preschool for this current school year. If you would like to learn more about our Preschool program, please contact us for a school tour.
The Early Years program (for children aged 3 to 5) is a warm and supportive environment, where young children can feel “at home”. Much care and preparation are poured into building a healthy, family- like environment where each child can safely explore his/her growing skills and interests, experience others and the wonderful, unfolding world around them.
We offer 2-Day (Monday, Tuesday), 3-Day (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) and 5-Day (Monday - Friday) programs which run from 8:30am - 1pm.
Daily Rhythm (Mondays/Tuesday/Thursdays)
*On Fridays, we will visit the neighboring Cousins Park during our Outdoor time. Please meet us in the yard before 8:45 or find us at the park after you have dropped of your child’s belongings.
Please visit this link to view our Preschool Parent Handbook:
As new beings in this world, very young children are striving to unite with their surroundings, as well as learning that this is a good, safe place to come into. Most of brain development and neural connections linking sensory experiences happens in early childhood, as well as the so called “windows of opportunity: crucial times in development where there is a major opportunity for an experience to have the greatest effect. Some of these experiences are attachment (the life-giving bond between child and caregiver, arguably the most important factor in healthy development), physical growth, motor and speech development. The teacher provides plenty of opportunities for chopping vegetables, baking and using kitchen tools, sewing, painting, woodworking and many other practical and artistic activities. There is no need for constant verbal instruction as the children are drawn to the teacher’s meaningful activity, and observation skills are developed and translated into action. In this time of their lives, children are experiencing the world through their will: their drive for connection and exploration is the main force behind their growth and development.
At around 3 years of age, it is also the first time a child might be cognizant of experiencing the changing in seasons for the first time, and their social horizons are being expanded beyond the family nucleus. The preschool classroom becomes a home away from home, where children can experience the world around them in a safe and open way, within a physically nurturing, warm and child minded environment. Guidance In the early years, teachers understand that young children want to be part of what is happening in the world around them, so they teach out of imitation. By being present and compassionate, the teacher sets the tones for the “rules of the land”, and the children understand that this is the expectation in the “kingdom”. Because the expectations are developmentally appropriate and expressed lovingly and firmly, the children feel a safe framework around them within which they can act freely. If a child is having trouble remembering or following the rules of the land, the teacher will kindly bring the child closer and help her remember, reinforcing rapport and a support, providing the tools the child needs to do better next time. A consistent routine and rhythm also aid in creating a healthy breathing sense of time, as well as allowing the child to chose a different way of acting the following time. This fosters self discipline, awareness for other and their needs and the possibility of coming to these experiences out of one’s own volition (not because of externally imposed constricts). These skills can be the key to a successful and productive life in the future.
Building Blocks In order to nurture this growing body, our teachers provide wholesome snacks and an aesthetically pleasing environment. Understanding that young children are literally using large amount of energy in building their bodies, teachers nurture the sense of warmth and touch.
Natural materials provide non synthetic sensory experiences, and care for seasonal appropriate clothing protects the growing forces of the body, so the building blocks can develop in a healthy, thorough manner. Through movement, children also explore all planes in space and develop a sense of balance and an awareness of their place in the physical world around them. By observing the child and out of their knowledge of child development, teachers plan to provide movement opportunities that will allow for the neural and motor development that is so crucial at a young age.
Since the outdoors provide rich, ever changing sensory experience and countless physical obstacles, Nature Walks and time outside are usually a staple in the early childhood programs. Children also feel held by Nature’s reliable yet ever changing essence, which speaks of a cosmic truth that transcends space and time.
Open ended toys such as wooden blocks, silk scarves and a basket full of stones elicit a child’s inner picture and promotes social interaction, as children explain and negotiate ideas with their peers. The building steps of physics are explored when blocks are stacked and buildings are erected, math is put to use in the kitchen while measuring, and problem solving is an everyday thing when one needs to “feed” a whole class with only a basket full of shells!
Simple, open ended toys also allow the possibility of re creating the environment at the whim of imagination. In the most natural way possible, and out of their own inner experiences, children develop resilience, flexibility and ingenuity: skills that will prove helpful in any walk of life.
Circle and Story Time Bearing in mind the relationship between physical movement and speech development (pattern, metric and the mood of sounds and words), early childhood Waldorf teachers provide daily chances to develop a relationship with the spoken word through the class’ musical framework, traditional songs and games. This is seen specifically in Circle time and Story Time. In order to meet the child’s quest for authentic knowledge, Circle Time and Story Time are carefully planned to meet the children where they are at: sometimes therapeutic stories are picked, sometimes folk tales and songs, and many times fairy tales, which feed the child’s imagination with an archetypal image they can recognize as true.
The inner wisdom of these tales, plus the rich language they provide, are nourishing for the young child. Oral stories are often told, so children are allowed to create mental pictures (a skill which will come in handy when formally learning how to read). The teacher might also present a puppet show, deepening the experience, and with favourite stories, sometimes plays will arise after the children have internalized the sequence, plot and lines of the story.
Seasonal Craft As the class follows the cycle of the year in the form of the seasons, many opportunities arise to develop powers of observation and connection. Believing in meaningful learning, teachers plan according to seasonal moods and colors, edible produce and crafts for festivals. Watercolor painting, cooking and handwork showcase the colors of the rainbow and the flavour of the seasons, spanning from yellow paint and corn, to apples and red leaves, to orange pumpkins and pies in the fall. With winter, the cooler colors and warmer foods and products such as soup and wool might become a staple in the class life. With the growth of Spring, rainbows of color and garden produce announce the return on the Sun to our land.
During the school year, children develop at their own pace, while being supported and encouraged to grow and experience in a conscious, patient manner. Through many movement and speech experiences, children grow confident in their physical abilities, and their capacity for expression and social interaction evolves in many ways. The feeling of family encourages children to work cooperatively while asserting oneself and caring for others, as well as nourishing the sense of self within a community. By being trusted and encouraged to participate in meaningful activities, children’s confidence in their skills and their understanding of the environment grow, creating a healthy framework of how the world works upon which the child will base later experiences. As a consequence, self awareness and discipline, the ability to tackle challenges creatively and confidently, and the foundations for human experience within and with others are gifts children are receiving during their first years at the Comox Valley Waldorf School.