Preschool & Kindergarten

Our Early Childhood program is shaped by the belief that young children learn best through hands-on experience, shared daily practices, and creative play—not classroom academics.

So while many preschool and kindergarten programs place a heavy emphasis on teaching reading, writing, and numeracy, we take a different approach. The aim of our Waldorf early education program is to help children cultivate creative minds, caring hearts, and capable bodies—and the confidence they need to thrive in the academic years ahead.

Every morning in every season, the children start their day outdoors. Because our curriculum is built partly around play, children are given freedom to engage their imaginations and their muscles, indoors and out.

Our school’s grassy campus, with its organic gardens and prairie, its rope swings and climbing trees and wooden playgrounds, provides a fine natural setting for twice-a-day exercise and exploration. Weekly hikes to nearby woods and field trips to local farms are among the ways we help students deepen their connection with the natural world.

In the classroom, the teacher and an assistant create a soothing environment as they guide students through the day’s activities, often enriching them with songs and stories. Tactile and sensory artforms like watercolor painting and beeswax molding are practiced ritually. Mythic tales are told while the children sit in circle. Together, classmates set the table for tea, prepare soup or roll dough for the day’s bread, and help tidy up afterward.

Simple wooden toys and child-size furniture, dyed silks, and found objects like shells and pine cones provide a collection of natural props for imaginative play.

Classes are mixed in age, from 4 to 6 years old. Students of kindergarten age, known as our “Mighty Oaks,” are given additional responsibilities and leadership roles, as well as encouragement to extend helping hands to their younger classmates.

Each week unfolds with a familiar rhythm and sense of purpose, creating a learning rich environment where children feel secure, self-assured, and unstifled by premature academic pressure.

Childhood is the briefest of seasons, a time when young minds light up with sparks of creativity, curiosity, and imagination. At Da Vinci Waldorf School, we aim to fan those sparks into a flame that will light your child’s way forward.

Our Preschool & Kindergarten program offers flexible 3, 4, or 5 day options for children aged 4 to 6. For our littlest preschoolers, ages 3 and 4, we offer a separate class with 3, 4, or 5 day options.

Classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with optional Extended Day care until 3:30 p.m.

An additional Aftercare program is available until 6 p.m., when there is enough interest. Before School Care is also available for early arrivals.

Parents wishing to enroll their child mid-session may do so for a prorated fee, space permitting. Our school year typically runs from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the end of May (beginning of June for kindergarten.)

Waldorf education begins in early childhood with a strong emphasis on play, which lays the foundation for later academic success.  Before age seven, children need to exercise both their bodies and their imaginations if they are to truly thrive in school later on.   A curriculum that includes cooking, baking, hiking and outdoor play, building, art, music, and storytelling offers young children just what they love and need to grow. We offer this in a warm, nurturing, home-like, play-based preschool.

Visit us today to see for yourself!

The greatest scientists are artists as well. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world. –Albert Einstein

Our Preschool & Kindergarten Program offers many wonderful benefits and experiences for your child, including:
Myna sophia prairiePreserving a Sense of Wonder

Direct experience, beautiful surroundings, oral storytelling, puppetry and the natural world inspire children’s interests. A sense of wonder drives curiosity and leads to enthusiasm for learning.

 
Encouraging Creativity and Imagination

Simple toys allow children’s imaginations to flourish. Playing with open-ended toys such as colored silks, wooden blocks, simple dolls and natural materials, such as pine cones and shells, develops creativity. Children can pretend to be whatever their hearts desire. The ability to imagine is the foundation for the later understanding of abstract concepts

Nature walk 20142Experiencing the Natural World 

Our Waldorf early childhood program honors and fosters the relationship between the child and the natural world. Time spent in natural surroundings instills a sense of peace and is essential to the emotional health of children and to their sense of connection to the wider world. Nature play also lays the foundation for sciences in the grade school.   We offer weekly hikes and opportunities to freely experience nature on a daily basis, with two outdoor playtimes every day in our organic garden, prairie, and grassy play yard.

 

Developing Health and Vitality Through Movement

Preschool children are by nature beings of will and movement. Vigorous play allows children opportunities to use language ~ both verbal and nonverbal ~ and learn how to negotiate, take turns, wait, compromise, show strength and hold back. Providing time for play and vigorous movement helps children develop stronger capacities for self-movement and self-regulation. It also aids in healthy sensory integration and supports their academic success in grade school.

Duncan et all treehouseStrengthening the Will

Rhythm permeates the classroom – the rhythms of the day, the week and the seasons. These rhythms give children in preschool a sense of security that allows them to thrive and helps them develop the faculties that will become persistence, drive and follow-through in adult life.

Building Foundations for Success

The teacher tells a fairy tale in the oral tradition, which helps children develop their concentration. Total absorption in their play world is another way children develop their attention spans.

Learning Social Skills

Children who play together in preschool, with the guidance of the teacher, learn how to share, to agree, to negotiate and to cooperate. This understanding is essential for the formation of positive human relationships.

Josie over the rainbow bridgeProtecting From Premature Academic Pressure

A developmental program protects and values childhood. It aims to keep youthful vitality alive and promotes slow, quality learning.  Da Vinci Waldorf’s preschool classroom provides an opportunity for children to learn naturally through storytelling, finger play, nursery rhymes, movement and the best teacher of all – play. The homelike environment of the Waldorf classroom nurtures children and carefully protects them from the experience of having failed before they were ever ready to start formal schooling.

The Waldorf system differs from other conventional and independent systems of education, not so much in terms of content, but very much in terms of the timing and sequence for the introduction of subject matter. We intentionally wait for formal introduction of writing, reading and written arithmetic until the early elementary grades.

We are conveniently located near Lake Zurich, Deer Park and Barrington, IL

Da Vinci Waldorf is located two blocks from Route 12/59 on Bonner Road.  Our school is near Lake Zurich, Mundelein, Deer Park, Hoffman Estates and Barrington, IL.

Each and every form of play is an exercise in metaphoric-symbolic thinking, the foundation of all literacy and higher learning. – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Waldorf early childhood association of north americaDa Vinci Waldorf School is a full member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.

Join us for

Songs & Stories

A free experiential class for parents and their children.

August 4, 2004 @ 10-11:30am