Ashwood’s Forest Kindergarten program will offer a full Waldorf kindergarten experience, outdoors. Fall, winter, and spring, in all weathers, children will enjoy seasonal activities, circle time, gardening, forest walks, and creative free play. They will delight in stories around the fire where they prepare their snack and warm their tea. Waldorf early-childhood education integrates art, music, and movement into a structured, play-based curriculum. With small class sizes and dedicated, experienced teachers, Ashwood provides active and creative experiences that nurture an enthusiasm for learning. Veteran teacher and outdoor educator Marianne Bockli will lead the program. Bockli has spent the last five years mentoring Waldorf teachers in China, and brings a rich life experience and deep love of nature to the program. The Forest Kindergarten program will be offered on Wednesdays to children enrolled in Ashwood’s regular Early Childhood program. There will be no additional tuition fees for enrolling in the program. Participants will enjoy the traditional course of activities with their regular teacher and classmates on the other days of the week.
Early Childhood Category
This article by Eugene Schwartz gives an explanation of why we try to keep All Hallows’ a scare-free experience for our youngest children. Please read and comment.
For the younger child, this festival reaffirms the goodness of the world. Eons ago, as they looked upon the mists that wove around their fjords and heaths, ancient Europeans had a particular experience as the days grew shorter. Toward the end of the month that we call October, they perceived the souls of all of those who had died in the past year gathering and preparing to ascend to their heavenly home, making a space for the souls due to be born in the year to come. But before they could assume their place in the ethereal realm, the departed souls had to sweep away all the detritus of the life just past and cast it to the earth. Thus the popular image of witches riding on their broomsticks is a misperception: in reality, the brooms are sweeping away the witches!
At the time when the child is in fourth grade, a sense of human mortality begins to dawn within her. Children of this age are rightfully and healthily drawn to all of the frightful and gruesome aspects of Halloween, and they look forward with trembling anticipation to visiting a haunted house, watching an horrific form arise out of a swamp, or, if only through a well-told story, being scared out of their senses!
For the younger child, however, the situation is different. The spirits and creatures with whom the younger child communes are not those created by human error, but rather those in whom the innocent and wise powers of Nature reside: gnomes and undines, fairies and elves, the spirits of stones and streams, sun and wind. For young children to be exposed only to the dark and demonic qualities of Halloween is to deny the unspoken conviction that they carry in their souls that the world is good.
— Eugene Schwartz
“To bring up your child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in awhile.”
We think our Parent-Child Classes offer the perfect way to “travel that way yourself.” For 10 beautiful mornings this fall, join a group of dynamic parents, their young children (18–36 months) and Ashwood’s veteran early childhood educator and awesome Waldorf mom, Cherry Short-Lee.
The children engage in creative play while parents may engage in child-led play or work on a craft project, help with snack, or discuss a reading on an aspect of parenting with Miss Cherry and other thoughtful parents.
The morning ends with a walk through the woods and time to climb and swing on our playground. A goodbye circle completes the morning.
Ashwood’s Parent-Child program nurtures the whole family and provides a bridge from home to school. When ready, the young child may transition to the mixed-age Early Childhood classroom.
Parent-Child 2013-14 Schedule
- Weekly on Thursdays, September 19–November 21
- Weekly Thursdays, January 9–March 20 (with no session on February 20)
For more information or to receive an application form, please contact the enrollment director at 207-236-8021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A question we often hear from parents is: “What are the differences between Montessori and Waldorf eduction?”
These two educational philosophies actually started with a similar goal: to design a curriculum that was developmentally appropriate to the child and that addressed the child’s need to learn in multiple ways.
A fundamental difference between these two forms of schooling has to do with the role of the teacher. Montessori teachers act primarily as facilitators, intervening only when a child requests help with an independent learning activity that has been selected by the student. In a Waldorf classroom, on the other hand, the teacher is an authority who leads the class in a variety of teacher-directed activities. This means that Waldorf children participate in activities such as singing or acting or math games or juggling that they may not have chosen to do on their own. Balance, rather than specialization, is encouraged.
In the social realm, Montessori students are taught not to interrupt their peers while they are working, but are encouraged to help younger children complete a task with which they are unfamiliar. Waldorf education, on the other hand, puts particular emphasis on the development of the young child within a group. Barbara Shell, a teacher who worked in public, Montessori, and Waldorf schools, put it this way:
“Waldorf teachers orchestrate this [social] development by modeling good social behavior with their children, by getting the children to join together in movement activities, by introducing songs and games that develop group consciousness, and by helping children learn to work through disagreements.”
Read Barbara Shell’s article in its entirety by downloading the following PDF:
If you have any questions about Waldorf education, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 207-236-8021 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!
At the end of each school year, the Early Childhood children, teachers, and families gather for the Bridge Crossing. In this joyful ceremony, first-grade ready children, wearing silken capes and golden crowns, cross over a wooden bridge festooned with fresh flowers. The crossing symbolizes their readiness to enter the Grade School. They are then followed by the younger children, who wear different colored capes and cross the bridge into “Summerland,” receiving a hug from their teacher on the other side.
Click on one of the photos below for a slideshow.
In a move to make a Waldorf education more accessible to families of midcoast Maine, Ashwood Waldorf School is pleased to announce a new tuition assistance program for families with kindergarten-aged children.
Ashwood has a longstanding history of fostering an economically diverse school community through its generous grade school tuition assistance program.
This is the first time in its 27 years that the school has extended financial aid to the pre-school population.
The new tuition assistance will benefit applicants to Ashwood’s mixed-age, five-day kindergarten, which accepts children from age 3 1/2 to 6 years. Tuition assistance will cover up to 10 percent of the posted tuition for this program.
“With its balance of academic excellence, rich programming in the arts and outdoor education, we feel that the value of what Ashwood offers to the children is clear,” said School Director Jody Spanglet. “We see this value, each and every day, reflected in the children’s bright faces and inquisitive minds.”
Ashwood offers awards of up to 50 percent of tuition for Grades 1-8.
All of Ashwood’s tuition assistance awards are based solely on need.
The tuition assistance application deadline is March 1, 2013.
For more information: email@example.com or 207.236.8021.
Play is not only a child’s real work in life, it is the foundation of creativity yet to come. For the young child, play is a way of understanding the world and is vital for healthy emotional and intellectual development.
The inner forces of imagination, cognition, and flexibility, which are developed during play, become the capacities for life-long learning.
The teachers take special care to have a daily and weekly rhythm of activities that gives time for both structure and spontaneity.
The day begins with a long period for free play alongside artistic and household activity (cooking, painting, cleaning etc).
Playtime is followed by circle time, consisting of verses, nursery rhymes, songs, and circle games that enliven and strengthen the children’s natural creativity and provide the content for higher quality of play.
Then the children gather together for a wholesome snack–usually which they have helped to prepare–after which they play outside where they explore, dig, run, jump, and exercise their limbs as well as their imaginations.
Lastly, a story is told often brought to life with simple hand puppets. The exposure to fairy tales and puppet shows allow the children to feel secure in a world where the good triumphs over bad.