Parent-Toddler Playgroup Philosophy
At the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Playgroup,
you and your child will experience a Waldorf early
childhood atmosphere and community — a place
where children play together and parents support
Playthings are simple and natural, allowing freedom
for your child’s imagination to flower. The daily
rituals and seasonal rhythms call forth harmony and
security for your child. Within this rhythm, your child
is allowed the space to experiment through trial
and error to arrive at his or her own understanding
of the world, with gentle parental guidance.
While the children play, the parents work with their hands, creating playthings and
seasonal crafts. After playing, we share a wholesome snack together. During circle
time, we sing songs, play finger games, and enjoy simple puppet plays. The playgroup
is guided by trained and experienced Waldorf early childhood teachers.
The Importance of Creative Play
Creative play is central to the Waldorf approach to early childhood, for it is in play that
the children assimilate and integrate the world around them. Their experience of the
general mood, the speech they hear, and sense impressions at home and elsewhere,
are reenacted through imitation in play. Toys in the Waldorf early childhood environ-
ment are simple and unfinished, inviting the children to enliven them. Through fantasy
and imitation the children begin their journey into themselves and out into the world.
While play is important for physical, social and emotional growth, it is also the
formative element for the development of thinking and intellectual activities. The more
children can be absorbed in their play, the more freely and effectively they will take
hold of their potentials in the future.
"I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder
they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings.
We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early
years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they
expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified
and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to
extreme old age."
- Henry David Thoreau
Parents or grandparents are welcome with children, birth to three years. The Playgroup meets Thursday or Friday 9-11 a.m. Please enroll for one day only. There are two 16-week sessions in the academic year: September – January and February – June. The cost is $525 per family for each 16-week session. Siblings over 18 months of age receive a 2/3 registration discount.