Background to the Survey
This Survey is being used to assess the level of interest from parents and care-givers of children in our community.
We are a local group of Waldorf teachers and parents planning on establishing a non-profit Nature based Waldorf school on Salt Spring Island. With the assistance of a potential philanthropist, the intention is to purchase or lease property to start a mixed aged preschool/kindergarten (ages two and a half to six years) starting in the Fall of 2018. It is our wish to carry the children into the elementary grades in the subsequent years.
Our ethos draws on the pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner and the initiatives of the Forest School Movement. It is our hope to create an environment where children have the space and support they need to develop their unique potential. We believe education is about nurturing living connections, whereby the child’s innate strengths can develop naturally.
In the Waldorf nursery-kindergartens, foundations are laid for later learning and healthy development, including life-long physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth.
Foundational characteristics of a thriving nature based Waldorf program include:
- Loving interest in and acceptance of each child
- Opportunities for self-initiated play with simple play materials as the essential activity for young children.
- Children experience nature in all its wonder in daily outdoor classes and play.
- This is the young child’s work and makes it possible for them to digest and understand their experiences.
- Awareness that young children learn through imitation, through the experience of diverse sensory impressions, and through movement. Their natural inclination is to actively explore their physical and social environment. The surroundings offer limits, structure and protection, as well as the possibility to take risks and meet challenges.
- A focus on real rather than virtual experiences to support the child in forming a healthy relationship to the world.
- Artistic activities such as storytelling, music, drawing and painting, rhythmic games, and modeling that foster the healthy development of imagination and creativity.
- Meaningful practical work such as cooking, baking, gardening, handwork and domestic activity that provide opportunities to develop unfolding human capacities. Here the emphasis is on the processes of life rather than on learning outcomes.
- Predictable rhythms through the day, week and year that provide security and a sense of the interrelationships and wholeness of life. Seasonal and other festivals are celebrated according to the cultural and geographical surroundings.