Kindergarten

Kindergarten is equivalent to Reception and Year 1 in most UK schools. Children are in mixed-age classes and there is a strong emphasis on outdoor play and learning.

In the Kindergarten children are allowed to develop in an unhurried setting where a wide range of vital early skills can develop. The teacher works to create a warm, beautiful and loving home-like environment, which is protective and secure and where things happen in a predictable, regular manner.

The teacher nurtures the children's power of imagination particular to their age. S/he does so by telling carefully selected stories and by encouraging free play. This free or fantasy play, in which children act out scenarios of their own creation, helps them to experience many aspects of life more deeply. When toys are used, they are made of natural materials. Pine cones, wood, cotton, silk, shells, stones and other objects from nature that the children themselves have collected are used in play and to beautify the room.

The teacher engages in domestic, practical and artistic activities that the children can readily imitate (for example, baking, painting, gardening and handicrafts), adapting the work to the changing seasons and festivals of the year.

The basic skills necessary for the foundation of academic excellence are fostered in the Kindergarten: sequencing, sensory integration, eye-hand coordination tracking, appreciating the beauty of language and so on. In this natural, loving and creative environment, the children are given a range of activities and the structure that help them prepare for the next phase of school life.

Images.

Top. Leaf Pressing

Bottom: exploring the local river connects children to the wonders of nature, in their own time, at their own scale.