EARLY CHILDHOOD

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Azalea Mountain’s Early Childhood program fosters the magic of childhood, building the foundation for creative and flexible thinking later in life. In this warm, loving and nurturing environment, children participate in activities within a healthy daily rhythm that prepares them for lifelong academic excellence.

Azalea Mountain School is a Developing Member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN).

Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN ) LogoWe honor these essentials for young children:

  • Imaginative, self-initiated creative play with natural materials
  • Daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms
  • Singing, movement, art, puppet plays and storytelling
  • Fostering awe and wonder for the natural world

Many of the activities in our Nursery and Kindergarten classrooms are extensions of home life. Depending on the day of the week, the children may grind grain for the bread they bake for snack, do simple finger knitting, gardening, mending or housekeeping. They learn to love and care for their things in their classroom home. Activities such as listening to the telling and retelling of fairy tales, painting with watercolors and forming colorful beeswax into delightful shapes guide the flow of the day. Our teachers organize each day carefully so that the children may rely on the rhythm. Festivals and celebrations provide many magical moments throughout the year.

Our Curriculum lays the foundation for lifelong learning:

At Azalea Mountain School we place an enormous importance on the early childhood years. This precious time in a child’s life builds the very groundwork on which later learning takes place. Young children who are given opportunities to learn through play, cultivate imagination and hone their concentration, coordination, language acquisition and number skills will excel and succeed in life as adults. All of this is done in the warm, cheerful atmosphere of a classroom inspired by Waldorf education, which offers simple, hand-made toys and play materials from nature. Our early childhood program prepares children for the academic challenges of elementary school by engaging children through meaningful life activities, cultivating the arts and stimulating creativity through imaginative play. The teachers allow the children’s intellectual faculties to unfold naturally so that by the time children enter the elementary grades they are ready and eager to experience new forms of learning.

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Caring Environments

Nursery

The Nursery provides a warm and nurturing bridge between home and school. Held within the embrace of our daily rhythms, children learn how to gain independence and trust in the world beyond home. Children explore language through finger-plays, games, poetry, song and stories.

The Nursery welcomes children aged two and a half to four. We offer a 4-day morning option (Monday-Thursday), a 3-day morning option (Wednesday-Friday) or a 2-day morning option (Monday-Tuesday). Each morning runs 8:45 am-12:45 pm.  The nursery classes will be reserved for our youngest students, and are open to children who are using the bathroom independently and will be between the ages of 30- and 48-months as of June 1, 2017.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten provides a magical world for the young child. Preparation for literacy grows out of games, finger-plays, song and verse. Love of language and learning is taught through stories, puppetry and plays. Fine-motor development is acquired through long-term handwork projects, while gross-motor skills are attained through circle and open-ended movement and outdoor play.

Our Kindergarten program welcomes children aged four to six. We offer a 2-day, 3-day and  5-day Kindergarten options for the 2017-2018 school year. Each morning runs 8:45 am-12:45 pm.

An extended day option for children aged 5 through 6 will be offered 12:45pm-3:00 pm. Full day kindergarten is a wonderful opportunity for the older child to prepare for his or her transition to the 1st grade with longer school days.  As next year’s rising first grade class, children who will be six years old by April 20, 2017 should be enrolled in the five-day kindergarten, and extended day is highly recommended.  The full day kindergarten program includes rest time, snack and outdoor play.

Sample Daily Rhythm for Early Childhood

8:45-9:00 Arrival
9:00-10:00  Indoor free play, daily artisic activity
10:00-10:10 Tidy up
10:10-10:30 Circle time
10:30-11:00 Snack, wash dishes and housekeeping
11:00-12:00   Outdoor play
12:00-12:10  Transition inside
12:10-12:40 Story, puppet show and good bye circle
12:40-12:45 Dismissal