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Early Childhood Category

Ten Beautiful Mornings with Your Child

0DEM0537In honor of our Ashwood Waldorf School’s upcoming Parent-Child classes, we offer you this quote from the 19th-century American humorist, Josh Billings:

“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


First Day of Summer Camp 2013

Waldorf and Montessori: What’s the Difference?

Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

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:

A Look at Waldorf and Montessori Education in the Early Childhood Programs.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!

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Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

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.

Ashwood to Offer Kindergarten Tuition Assistance

P1000031In 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: 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.


Rosewood Early Childhood Center

Ashwood Waldorf School - Early Childhood BuildingIn a Waldorf school the physical environment plays a central role. Our rooms are beautifully decorated and the atmosphere is calm and purposeful.

All toys are made of natural materials: wooden blocks and wooden toys; shells and stones; beeswax; broad paintbrushes, clear, bright, translucent watercolors, and big sheets of wet paper; large vivid wax crayons – these are some of the materials the young child comes to know and to use with delight.

These help awaken the children’s sense of touch to the physical sensations of a world that is still new to them.

Toys and dolls are simply-made with a minimum of detail so that the children’s imaginations will bring them to life.

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood programs at Ashwood serve families with children from age eighteen months to six years old.

The Waldorf early childhood programs support young children at this crucial developmental stage by emphasizing imaginative play, purposeful work, movement, social and artistic endeavors, and language development. Read more