The Pre-Primary School
A Time for Imitation and Play
Children attend kindergarten from the ages of four to six years. These young children live in a rich world of play and discovery. They are completely open and deeply influenced by all that surrounds them. What they see and hear they imitate; unconscious imitation is the natural mode of learning for the Pre-School child.
The still developing child absorbs everything around him. Accordingly, the kindergarten is a world of harmony, beauty and warmth. The teachers themselves, in their attitudes, feelings and actions, strive to be worthy of the children‘s unquestioning imitation.
In this secure and intimate environment, the children learn about themselves and their world. Their days are filled with artistic and practical work, imaginative play and fairy tales, puppetry and music, circle games and healthy outdoor play.
Toys in the kindergarten are made from nature’s gifts: wood, seashells, stones, pine cones, lamb’s wool. The simpler the toys the more active can the children’s imagination be. This prepares the ground for a fertile mind.
Through play young children recreate the world they find themselves in and live it out. To do this they develop the ability to plan and strategise, the skills to work cooperatively with others and the faculty of thinking on their feet, of finding creative solutions.
Natural childlike thinking is a part of all their activities but is so integrated in the whole that that there is no intention to isolate intellectual thinking faculties in these early years. Thus there would be no formal intellectual schooling. The primary focus in a Waldorf kindergarten is on imaginative play and rhythmic activity, which serves as a sound learning basis for later academic achievement in the child’s thinking, feeling and will activity. With an active imagination, energetic physical development, and a true reverence for the world, children are best prepared for the challenges of Primary School and later life.