Ages 3 up to 6 years
Our Outdoor Kindergarten programme is based on a simple yet essential approach. Meeting the child’s core needs of rhythm, freedom to move, good nutrition, imitation, sleep, the proper clothing and time to do things on their own terms. A method inspired by the Waldorf Early Childhood teaching philosophy. Teaching is based on imitation rather than direct instruction. Learning is enabled through regular and reliable rhythms, and the children come to know what to expect on a daily and weekly basis. Our outdoor Kindergarten programme supports children's natural development and establishes a strong foundation, something to build on for the rest of their life.
Each morning unfolds in the same reliable manner. Songs signal when it is time to move into a new activity.
The children come to know what is expected on a weekly basis. Monday is the start of a new story and rice is served for snack. Watercolour painting happens on Tuesday and oatmeal is served for snack. Wednesday is the day that the children help to bake bread and buns and they eat millet for snack. Thursday is hike day and bread is served for snack. Friday is the day when the children help to make soup in the winter.
Creative Free Play
The children experience the world during their inner-directed play. The teachers watch attentively and help as needed, although they do not get down with the children and play nor do they interfere except as necessary for safety or to resolve conflicts that the children have been unable to work out themselves.
The morning snack includes an organic grain (alternating between rice, oatmeal, millet, barley and bread baked by the staff and children) and a bowl of cut fruit. Families are invited to contribute one fruit per child per day to the fruit bowl. Soup made by the staff and children is served in the winter months. Meat and dairy products are not served. We strictly enforce a nut-free policy to ensure a safe environment for all children.
After helping to tidy up, the children are called to circle time by a song. During the circle time, the children are led through rhymes and songs that are accompanied by small movements. Most often, these songs and verses reflect the season of the year.
The children gather to listen to a fairy tale or an old folk tale. Sometimes puppets are used to enhance the experience. Often the children's hands are kept busy by molding beeswax while they listen to the story. The same story is told for a number of days.
Clothing and The Outdoor Kindergarten
The children dressed for the morning outside in the yard and garden until it is time to go home. One of the most important aspects of the Outdoor Kindergarten is children’s clothing. Our motto is: “There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. We have observed that children thrive and are happiest outside as long as their clothing meets the needs of the outdoor elements. It is important that we embrace proper dress for outside activity so the children are able to reap all the benefits of the outdoor program.
Hike on Thursday
On Thursday morning, the children and teachers hike to the nearby trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens or the Aviary in Westdale.