Early Childhood

3–6 year olds

Our Early Childhood spaces provide an environment for children under seven years of age where natural beauty and reverence for life abounds. At this age, children learn to know the world through doing, and they are gifted with the ability to imitate and play creatively.

About our Early Childhood program

Through our Early Childhood program, children are able to make the step from home and family life into a wider community in a warm, healthy and supportive way.

We work with the Waldorf Steiner approach to the Early Years Learning Framework and Foundation Year of the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework. Our curriculum is designed to prepare children for formal learning which commences in Primary School. Our approach is to combine foundation skills in literacy and numeracy in a play-based, creative and predictable environment.

Practical and artistic activities
Cooking, baking, painting, drawing, modelling, gardening and handcrafts, all foster creative thinking, responsibility and independence in adult life. Activities are coloured by seasonal moods and festival celebrations.

Music and stories
Songs, nursery rhymes, stories, puppet plays and the children’s own creative play nourish their feeling for life, cultivate language skills, strengthen the power of imagination and are the foundations of literacy.

Counting games, finger plays, rhythmic movement games and active physical play help build a strong foundation for ongoing learning, develop coordination and the ability to concentrate.

Creative play
Natural and beautiful materials; shells, seeds, stones, simple dolls and wooden toys, coloured cloths, planks, branches and play frames encourage a rich fantasy life and creative thinking, and provide an opportunity for constructive, cooperative play.

Connection to nature
Building, swinging, climbing and balancing, digging, water play, gardening and caring for animals encourage children to feel at home in their body and environment.

Quote marks

If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole loving being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and power to the service of the world.

— Rudolf Steiner

A nurturing environment

Our Early Childhood spaces have been thoughtfully designed to joyfully awaken all your child’s senses. Inside, our spaces are calm and warm with natural materials, soft colours and delicious smells. Our bushy Kindy is surrounded by tall trees, abundant bird and insect life, a winter flowing creek and a bush hut.

Bush kindy

Mount Barker Waldorf School operates a Bush Kindy at the bottom of the school’s picturesque grounds. It was inspired by Forest Kindergartens and by the ‘education in nature’ movement.

Bush Kindy provides a very positive experience for the children, parents and teachers alike. Our teachers observe noticeable changes in the children, in their development and relationship to each other, and the natural world. These experiences are confirmed by parents’ experiences of their children also.

Each of our three kindergartens spend one term during the year at Bush Kindy. The morning revolves around a strong and predictable rhythm providing play, craft and artistic activities, walks, song and movement, morning tea, story, and lunch cooked in our bush kitchen. The focus for the term is on children interacting and building a lifelong relationship with nature and the naturally occurring activities that come out of living in this natural ‘paired back’ environment. Creative thinking, initiative, cooperation and problem-solving are strengthened, and the overall experience significantly complements our kindergarten framework.

A day in the life

Once at bush kindy the children deliver their bags, say goodbye to parents and good morning to their teacher and then stay together in the sandpit. When all the children have arrived they go into free play and the activities of the day. For example, preparing morning tea, feeding the hens and collecting eggs, caring for the guinea pigs, gathering firewood, building a camp fire, clay modelling and grass craft. The day ends in a shady story circle and then walk up to their kindergarten for the afternoon.

More about the school journey