Foundations for Literacy

In many schools across the country, children are being pushed earlier and earlier with homework, high-stakes testing, and reading instruction. While young children may learn the "de-coding" part of reading, they may also miss out on important foundations for literacy.

At San Francisco Waldorf School, nursery and kindergarten days are filled with storytelling, poetry, puppetry, and song. With careful attention to the beauty of language, teachers share folk tales and fairy tales; children develop listening skills and form inner pictures that support reading comprehension in later years.

There is time for movement, painting, outdoor play, and practical activities like cooking and baking. Each of these simple activities engages young children’s imaginations while supporting sensory integration and the development of patterning, tracking, sequencing, and logical thinking—the foundation for literacy and numeracy.

By the end of kindergarten, children cross an important developmental milestone, moving away from a world of imagination towards a more concrete way of thinking. First graders are introduced to the alphabet in an imaginative, pictorial way: each letter drawn into their Main Lesson book reflects the character of a story—“B” for butterfly, “K” for King, “M” for mountain, and so on. From the books that the children create, reading begins.

Reading takes off naturally in grade school and an enthusiastic interest in books continues through the years. Across the grades, students are immersed in great literature and poetry, works that resonate with children at each stage of their development and impart universal stories of humankind.

Research shows greater gains from play-based programs than from preschools and kindergartens with a more academic focus.

-The Washington Post
January 13, 2015

First-Grade Readiness

As kindergarten concludes, children cross an important developmental milestone, moving from the world of imagination towards a more concrete way of thinking. Teachers make a careful assessment during this transition to ensure readiness for the grade school academic curriculum ahead.