Early Childhood

What is the day?  

Children begin their day in a beautiful classroom or nearby outdoor spot. They enjoy seasonal songs, movement, storytelling, puppetry, crafts, painting, soup making, bread baking, beeswax modeling, and creative play. Each day is harmonious, balanced between structured activity and open-ended exploration, rest and motion, indoor time and time in nature. From nursery to kindergarten, the rhythm, responsibilities, and the complexity of tasks deepen.

What is the difference?

Children explore and connect with teachers and friends. They work joyfully, creatively, and cooperatively. Teachersexperts in early childhood developmentunderstand each child. Their curriculum of movement, eurythmy, practical tasks, and nature exploration integrate the senses and develop sequencing, balance, fine-motor skills, regulation, and executive function. Stories and games build a foundation for reading, mathematics, scientific inquiry, and for life.   

Kindergarten

Two-year, mixed-age, supporting children’s developing abilities. Then children cross a milestone, from the world of imagination towards a more concrete way of thinking. Careful preparation and assessment ensures readiness for grade school academics.   

Nursery

Teachers work with families to ensure a smooth transition to school that supports each child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. A balanced routine gives children the security from which to explore freely, confidently, and joyfully.

Literacy and Numeracy

While children can learn “letter de-coding” early, our approach builds a foundation of literacy that supports deep comprehension and a lifelong joy of reading. Stories, songs, verse, and poetry build mental picturing, vocabulary, memory, and sentence structure. Teacher-led games and activities promote an understanding of value and an interest in numeracy. 

Movement and Eurythmy

Movement develops motor skills, integrates the senses, and builds cooperation. Children hike to the Presidio, explore nature, and participate in eurythmy, a movement art unique to Waldorf education. In the classroom, fine motor skills are developed through cooking, painting, crafts, and clean-up.

Gardening and Outdoor Education

Children dig, plant, harvest, and explore the beauty of our urban garden. Led by our Gardening Teacher, they hear stories of nature and develop and understanding of seasonal cycles. The school uses biodynamic farming and gardening techniques, an approach that ensures the health of a complex ecosystem. There are also forest days: extended time for outdoor exploration in the Presidio and nearby natural spaces. 

Work and Play

Any given week includes arts and crafts, painting, cooking, baking, cleaning, games, and gardening. Activities are designed to integrate the senses and develop patterning, tracking, sequencing, and logical thinking.

There is also time for pretend play, for children to test ideas, work cooperatively, develop agency, solve problems, and have fun! 

Work and Play

Children delight in simple activities like bread baking, painting, crafts, and clean-up. Puppet shows and stories capture a child’s imagination and help build strong language skills, while lively counting games lay a foundation for mathematics. There is time for creative, imaginative free play each day, play that’s an essential part of physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth.

Outdoor Exploration

Daily excursions help children gain confidence in and understanding of the natural world. Children run, climb, build forts, and experience the seasons in all kinds of weather. Classes explore the walled garden of the nearby Swedenborgian Church, the Presidio, and the grade school play yard.

Movement

Movement is learning for the young child. Children develop motor skills, integrate the senses, and work cooperatively. Teacher-led movement games help integrate the senses, and support physical and emotional development. Fine motor and artistic expression are encouraged through watercolor painting, craft activities, cooking, and free play.

Inside the kindergarten

The experience is Waldorf

A kindergarten child in the Presidio, taking a moment during play in the rain. Photo: Lucas Foglia

“We were caught in a sudden downpour—a real deluge in the Presidio. Little hands were cold so we went to our packs for extra socks and turned them into socks mittens.

How do we build resilience? Our days have a steady rhythm and there is consistency, so when the unexpected happens, children are calm."

A kindergarten circle: children sit in a circle as the teacher tells a story

"The importance of storytelling, of the natural rhythms of daily life, of the evolutionary changes in the child, of art as the necessary underpinning of learning, and of the aesthetic environment as a whole—all basic to Waldorf education for the past (100) years—are being 'discovered' and verified by researchers unconnected to the Waldorf movement."

A kidnergartener is dressed up during play time, a classmate playing int the background.

Research shows that most of the social and intellectual skills one needs to succeed in life and work are first developed through childhood play. The benefits continue through kindergarten, about ages 6 or 7.

A kindergartner dips his paint brush into the blue during a painting lesson.

“Any school can teach the subjects from an intellectual standpoint; we do that, too. But to teach students at the right moment—when the child is ripe for learning just such a lesson—that is the art of Waldorf Education.”