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The Waldorf School of Princeton Children’s Garden provides a home-like setting, offering exposure to language and culture through play, creative and practical activities, daily stories, songs, poems, and puppet shows. In a Waldorf early childhood classroom, children are active participants in all that the day brings: chopping vegetables for soup, kneading dough for their bread, and helping the teacher order and clean the classroom. Crafts and an array of outdoor opportunities bring balance to the day and strength to the child. Each session is designed to provide a harmonious balance between active pursuits and quieter, more receptive activities, such as storytelling and watercolor painting.
For many children, coming to school is their first experience away from their families, and teachers help to smooth the transition by creating as nurturing an environment as possible. Each day includes a homemade organic snack, circle games and songs, a puppet show or story, artistic activities, practical experiences, and ample amounts of creative free play both inside and outdoors. Children grow in their social interactions as well as develop their independence through daily tasks such as dressing and washing. Daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms deepen their awareness of and participation in the natural world and provide a sense of predictability and security. In such an environment, children not only prepare for the next phase of school but also for life.
Our Children’s Garden programs are specifically designed to support the development of children from ages 2.5 to 6. Children who are 2.5 years old by September 1 or older may apply.
Children’s Garden Daily Schedule:
- 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon (morning program)
- 12:00 noon - 3:00 p.m. (extended day program)*
- 3-day students attend Monday through Wednesday (for children under 4 by June 1)
- 5-day students attend Monday through Friday (for all ages)
*A warm organic lunch, quiet time, simple craft activity, and creative outdoor play are all part of the afternoon for the extended day program. Children enrolled in the morning program who are bathroom independent are eligible to attend in the afternoon from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. up to the number of days they are enrolled, as space allows. Pre-school care beginning at 7:30 a.m. and after school care until 6:00 p.m. are available to these children as well.
Enrollment Options and Class Placement
Each of our mixed-age classes offers a morning program and an extended-day option.
The early childhood faculty consider many factors when deciding on each child’s class placement. A child’s age, previous school experience, personality, and place in the family are all taken into account. When forming our classes, careful thought is given to the class make-up as a whole, ensuring a healthy balance of gender, age, and temperament.
Following the interview process and acceptance into our program, our admissions director will inform you of your child’s placement; you will later be contacted by the class teacher to arrange a home visit in an effort to ease your child’s transition into school and begin the forming of the parent-teacher relationship so beneficial in supporting the child.
“Play is the highest form of research.” —Albert Einstein