Reverence for the sanctity of early childhood
"Receive the child with reverence, educate them with love, and send them forth in freedom."
Imagination: A sacred Landscape
We reverence play as the sacred work of childhood, and provide a landscape for play that inspires creativity, is free of media, electronics or commercially driven play-things, and allows for natural development of the child's imagination. Our indoor classroom is furnished with simple, open-ended, hand-made or natural toys that reflect the beauty of the natural world. Branch blocks, polished stones, wooden figures, hand-sewn dolls, gnomes, stuffed animals, and child-sized furniture invite children into a warm and accommodating setting for timeless play.
Our outdoor 'classroom'- fields, creeks, forest and farm- provide an immersive cornucopia of multi-sensory delights, and a landscape of wonder and beauty that inspire the young child's imagination. A stick becomes a wand, a fallen leaf becomes a tiny raft, a line of stones is a train, the curved hollow of a tree hosts a cave or gnome home, and an assembly of twigs is transformed into a fairy palace. Our pristine natural environment offers limitless possibility for free-play, and deeply connects the child to their Earthen home- heart, hands, and head.
We honor Rudolf Steiner’s indications for early childhood, which do not include the introduction of formal academics, but instead prepare the young learner- heart, hands and head- for a fully ensouled learning journey in the later years. In foundational ways, children prepare for later literacy and academics through games, finger plays, songs, and verses. Their developing fine and gross motor skills are supported through simple fiber-work projects, modeling beeswax, shaping clay, building fairy homes in the forest, balancing on logs, climbing, jumping rolling, running and outdoor free play. Additionally, their capacities to feel, sense, intuit their place in the vastness of Earth's community of life are supported through this kind of embodied learning.
A pedagogy of Patience
Our Kinderforest provides spaciousness, patience and freedom where the young child can engage in developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory learning and joyful exploration. In our current educational culture, this important provision of time and space is so often cast aside in favor of early academic engagement, or the imposition of structured, scheduled, choreographed learning experiences that disregard the value of free, open play during these foundational years. The soul of a young child requires our patience if they are to fully develop empathy, self-regulation, and imaginative capacities. Providing time and space for 'heart and hands' learning during these early years will support the 'head learning' that organically, powerfully emerges soon after. Perhaps most importantly, we value and reverence the development of a child's feeling and sensing capacities which will balance their human intellect with wisdom, feeling, and kindness. Later in life, these capacities evolve into an abiding sense of meaning and belonging....and may inspire the grown child to offer these human capabilities in service to something bigger than themselves.