Early Childhood Philosophy
The Waldorf curriculum is based on the educational
philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. It is common to
Waldorf Schools throughout the world.
During the first stage of childhood, from birth until
around the age of six or seven, children are learning
and experiencing the world primarily through
physical activity. The nurturing environment of the
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Early Childhood program, for children ages three to
six, provides plenty of opportunity for learning and meaningful engagement through
exploration, creative play, and purposeful work.
"If you want your children to be brilliant, tell them fairy tales.
If you want them to be very brilliant, tell them even more fairy tales."
- Albert Einstein
Early Childhood Program
The classroom is a child’s first home away from home.
At the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, it is a place of
warmth, order and beauty. Walls are painted in luminous
washes. Curtains are made from plant-dyed fabrics.
Sturdy wooden tables and chairs host activities and
snacks. It is an environment that nourishes the senses
and fosters reverence for nature and the material world.
Each day in the Nursery and Mixed-Age Kindergarten
follows a gentle rhythm that the children look forward to
and provides them with a sense of security. The day
begins with circle time, during which the children sing
and recite verses. Finger plays and rhymes inspire a
love of language and develop children’s fine and gross motor skills. Creative free play
follows and offers an opportunity for children to exercise healthy fantasy. Playthings
are created from natural, simple materials such as wood, colorful silks, shells and
smooth stones. Mid-morning, children and teachers prepare a wholesome, organic
snack such as whole-grain bread, vegetable soup or oatmeal,which they eat at a table
set with candles and cloth napkins.
"Rhythm is the bearer of life, and therewith the bearer of health."
Every day of the week includes an artistic activity such as watercolor painting, modeling
with colored beeswax, drawing with beeswax crayons, or Eurythmy. Beeswax is a
sweet-smelling material that becomes pliable as a child’s hands warm it. Watercolor
painting is done with a wet-on-wet technique. Process is emphasized over product.
Eurythmy is an art in which the child’s whole body is engaged, and speech and songs
are expressed through creative movement.
Throughout the morning, children and teachers engage in purposeful work such as
kneading bread, chopping vegetables for soup, and cleaning up. Practical work
provides children with meaningful actions to imitate, and it is through imitation that
a child learns. Waldorf teachers are mindful of the fact that everything they do will
be imitated, and strive to be models for the children.
Rain or shine, the children play outdoors-- in the
sandbox, digging in the garden, and enjoying games
or sledding in the yard. Respect for the earth and our
fellow human beings is emphasized. The morning
draws to a close with the teacher telling a story or
fairy tale. This is a time for listening and quiet
reflection. Stories are told from memory, and special
attention is paid to the words chosen and pronunciation,
in an effort to engage the children’s imaginations fully.
Early Childhood Programs
The Sunflower and Rose mixed-age early child classes meet Monday through Friday.
A three-day option (M-T-W) is also available
Classes are located in the Early Childhood Building at 40 Dodgingtown Road in
Newtown. It is a licensed day care center by the Connecticut Department of Public
Health. Each class has two teachers. The school day is from 8:15 to 12:15.
Aftercare (consisting of lunch brought from home, rest and playtime indoors and out)
is available until 2:55 pm.
How to Apply