The First Seven Years


The key mantra of education at this stage “The World is Good”

In the mother’s arms, the infant seems helpless, vulnerable, and incapable of learning. However, the Whole Child is like one sense organ, at the most absorptive stage and totally open to external influences. After birth, the child learns to stand upright, to speak and to think - remarkable achievements in a period of three to four years.   The young child does this without teaching or formal instruction, but through instinct and mostly through imitation.  Imitation is the special quality that characterizes the period up to the age of seven.   The young child mimics everything in the environment uncritically, not only the sounds of speech, the gestures of people, but also the attitudes and values of parents and peers.

The early childhood teacher in a Waldorf School works with the young child by creating a warm, beautiful, and loving home-like environment, which is protective and secure and where things happen in a predictable, rhythmical manner.  The teacher engages in domestic, practical, and artistic activities that the children can readily imitate (for example cooking, painting, gardening, and handicrafts)adapting the work to the changing seasons and festivals of the year.   Also, the teacher nurtures the children’s power of imagination particular to the age.  She does so by telling carefully selected stories, finger play and by facilitating free play.  This free or self-directed play in which children act out scenarios reflecting the environment they live in and play, is an expression of a child’s sensory impressions. Simple toys, without specific forms or shapes are often used in a Waldorf Kindergarten. The play items are made of natural materials - wood, cotton – and may consist of shells, stones, twigs and branches and other objects from nature that the children themselves have collected. 

Sequencing, rhythmical memory building, speech, movement, sensory integration, eye-hand coordination, tracking, appreciating the beauty of language and other basic skills necessary for the foundation of academic excellence are fostered in the Kindergarten.  In this truly natural, loving  and creative environment, the children are given a range of activities and boundaries that help them prepare for the next phase of school life.

Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love and send them forth in freedom

- Rudolf Steiner

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