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Family Farming

Pre-K/K

Early childhood (birth to age seven) is a unique period of life that deserves respect, guidance, nurture, and time. The goal of the Waldorf-inspired Pre-K and K is to integrate young children into their physical bodies, the social body of the classroom, and life as a whole. Thus, the children’s education occurs primarily through active participation in the “Living Arts.” These include well-structured and consistent daily, weekly, and yearly routines, healthy nourishment, daily rests, and clearly-held boundaries. Students will imitate and partake in meaningful, practical work, such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening. Children will also explore the creative arts, such as imaginative play, watercolor painting, puppetry, handwork, and storytelling. They will develop social and or relational skills, including learning to share, waiting, and asking for help. They will experience daily, extended time in nature, developing an understanding of the seasonal cycles, the earth, and the elements. In UTCS classrooms, a multi-sensory, experiential foundation is laid for abstract learning in grade school and beyond. Unlike the older grades, the Waldorf-inspired Pre-K and K teachers do not teach main lessons. Instead, 3-6 week seasonally-oriented themes infuse the content of each day and integrate literacy and language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, music, and the arts into each theme.

English Language Arts

Pre-K and K students focus on developing foundational reading skills, phonological awareness, and early phonics skills. Students are introduced to these concepts with imaginative letter stories and fairy tales and use play and movement to stimulate phonological awareness and work towards becoming readers. Circle time builds a love of language as the teacher brings the children a range of poetry, song, and verse in an imaginative theme or story, accompanied by gestures and movements. As they “sing and dance,” the children’s capacities for auditory processing, speech articulation, and feelings for rhyme and rhythm are strengthened and nourished. Storytime provides another opportunity for language skill development. “Cultural literacy” is taught by telling classic fairy tales from many cultures. Teachers tell and repeat stories to build vocabulary and comprehension. The teacher strives to use clear pronunciation, proper grammar, and a broad, rich language. Much of the literature in Pre-K and K will come directly through the teacher as they tell stories, present a puppet play, or help the children act it out for themselves. In addition, there will be many books in the classroom. Children will be encouraged to look at books independently and have them read aloud.

Mathematics

Children love to count and do so out of imitation. Children gain experience in ordering, sequencing, adding, subtracting, and dividing through the direct manipulation of objects. In the social experiences of play, they gather and share. Through the practical activities of baking, cooking, and doing handwork, the children experience measurement and counting as they watch one step follow another. Children also delight in simple sequential stories, often repeating the order of characters or events as the story is told. Circle time offers the opportunity to match rhythmical counting both forward and backward with body movements such as clapping and stepping that help form the basis for learning math later. Counting games, number songs, and rhymes add enjoyment to the experience of the world of numbers. Teachers lay the foundation of geometry as children move in space, developing their sense of spatial orientation. In addition, as they explore nature, they find numerous examples of geometric shapes, forms, and numbers.

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