We offer two years of a mixed-age Preschool and separately,
two years of a mixed-age Kindergarten.
Preschool: 2.9 - 4.3 years old
Children must be 2 years 9 months by September 1st (born before December 31) to join Preschool as a first year student.
Kindergarten: 4.3 - 6.9 years old
Children must be 4 years and 3 months by September 1st (born before December 31) to join Kindergarten as a first year student.
Children arrive between 8:30am and 9:00am. Once everyone is present, we gather in a circle to greet the day with seasonal songs, poems, finger games and movement. We transition into a morning snack and move into our activity of the day; watercolor painting, bread baking, vegetable chopping, farm work or a hike in the park. Once our activity is completed, including clean-up, the children are welcomed into free play, guided by the teachers if needed. Free play ends with a song of tidying and gathering, and we work together to bring our space back to order if indoors. We then have a short rest while the teachers sing lullabies to help children relax and come to quiet. A rooster crow tells us it is time to get up and prepare to eat lunch. Before meals, a blessing is sung to instill gratitude for the earth. Snack and lunch are provided by the program on indoor days. As the day comes to an end, we gather for a story and puppet show. Stories include simple nature tales, as well as various folktales and fairy tales from around the world, age-appropriate for the preschooler.
This strong experience of rhythm, warmth, and care for self and others, in the very early years, readies children for the big adventure into GBS Kindergarten!
Each preschool nest is taught by experienced teachers with specific specialized training and a maximum 1:6 teacher to student ratio.
Three Kindergarten Nests - 8:30am - 1:00pm, aftercare until 5:30pm
Red Bud, Cypress and Morning Glory Kindergarten classes each meet the children of San Francisco in a unique and exciting way. The days rotate between a set schedule of indoor days, farm days, and hike days.
By design, the indoor kindergarten space is a home-like, secure, and loving place with a predictable rhythm throughout the day, season, and school year. We offer two years of a mixed-age kindergarten, welcoming younger children’s first venture into school, and preparing older kindergartners for first grade. Soft colors, fresh flowers, the beauty of nature, and natural toys fill the classroom.
The kindergarten gently nurtures the development of imagination, verbal capacities, sequencing, sensory integration, memory, social skills, and motor skills that are essential as the foundation for later learning and academic excellence. This is all achieved in a supportive atmosphere free from formal academics.
A typical day...
Indoor days are structured with the rhythm of circle time or morning greeting,
activities such as painting, baking, sewing, drawing and seasonal food projects and crafts. We honor free play with knowledge of the great benefits of child-led play where their imaginations are nurtured and encouraged to expand. Toys are made from wood and natural fabrics, and the children are encouraged to stretch the flexibility of their minds by having objects become many different things.
Each class spends days hiking in McLaren Park and at our school Farm. We joyfully engage our bodies with weeding, harvesting vegetables and herbs for soup, hauling big logs for structures and play. This is also where we chop vegetables for farm soup, eaten with our homemade bread. There is a deep experience of the seasons when the children get long stretches of time on the land; they see what it is like for the land to sleep in Winter, to bud in Spring and to bring forth its great bounty in Summer and Fall.
Each day ends with an oral storytelling experience, told by their teacher, and often accompanied by a puppet show. The stories come from far and wide and are often therapeutic tales, created by the teachers themselves. This early language development of taking in an oral story serves as the stepping stones for learning how to read and write in the grades. Stories foster memory skills and allow the children to develop and live into the rich imagery of their own mental pictures.
More about our approach...
"Becoming" is the third film in a series of short films produced on the occasion of the centenary of Waldorf Education under the direction of the award-winning Californian documentary filmmaker Paul Zehrer, and which provide an insight into the inclusive diversity of Waldorf Education under the most diverse cultural, social, religious and economic conditions around the globe.
No age has a deeper impact on the whole of life than the first years of childhood. "During those first seven years, children develop their bodily foundation for life. They explore and experience the world with their senses and through meeting the other. These early encounters in life have a deep influence and long lasting effect on the making of their own being,” says Clara Aerts, coordinating member of IASWECE and co-producer of the film, which was shot in the USA, Israel, Japan, India, South Africa, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany. "The experiences that we make possible - or withhold - for our children at this age form the most elementary basis for their further lives and thus ultimately for the future of humanity.”