Frequently Asked Questions
What is Waldorf-Inspired?
Waldorf Education is trademarked by AWSNA (Associated Waldorf Schools of North America) and therefore one must be affiliated with them in order to call oneself a ‘Waldorf School’. Song Garden is not affiliated with AWSNA. However, our teachers essentially use the same approach as a registered Waldorf school. We incorporate wisdom from wherever we can find it, yet our background and expertise is based on the indications of Rudolf Steiner’s work regarding the education of young children.
What is your daily rhythm?
Our rhythm each day combines teacher-led activities (circle time, story time, music, artistic/craft projects, snack/lunch, rest time) with self-directed indoor and outdoor free-play.
Do you offer non-consecutive days?
We offer consecutive days for several reasons. Having worked in other programs that offer non-consecutive days, it can be more difficult establishing the classroom rhythm – an effective tool when working with young children. We have observed the child may experience a group reintegration process on their first weekday back at school. On the consecutive days after this, they are more confident, self-assured, relaxed and familiar in their classroom environment. Peer groups can change when attending non-consecutive days, making social integration more difficult.
How do you handle conflict between children?
We use imitation and example as primary learning tools with young children. This often involves the teacher providing the child with appropriate ‘script’ or key phrases e.g. “May I please use that when you are finished?”
The progress of more challenging interactions between children are closely monitored by the teachers as they unfold. This can be a valuable opportunity to introduce functional communication skills. The teacher’s input may involve listening and acknowledging each individual child’s experience and then offering up or asking the children involved for suggestions to resolve the conflict. Given space, the children may successfully navigate these obstacles between themselves. Some situations call on the teachers to state clear guidelines e.g. “In our class we play with everyone or we may choose to play alone”.
Guidance is always provided in a positive manner intended to help the child develop self-control, promote self-esteem and respect for others. Children are redirected from inappropriate behavior and purposeful tasks may be implemented. Most kids eventually learn the valuable life-long skill of using respectful words to communicate their needs with lots of practice, reminders and encouragement.
What are the expectations for parent involvement?
We are a non-profit organization and the success of the school is the result of a combined effort between parents and teachers. All parent involvement is on a voluntary basis. There will be requests for support in setting up special events, being a chaperone on a field trip, or with school laundry etc. Some offer their talents knitting and crafting special toys for the classroom, while others may have a knack for woodwork. Help with the garden is also welcome from time to time.
Does my child need to be potty trained?
We do not require that a child is potty trained before entering Song Garden. We are happy to work with the child’s natural process and ask that the parents gradually work towards independence in this area.
What is the boy/girl ratio at Song Garden?
We try to create a balance in all of our classes. This involves considerations of both gender and temperament/personality type as there are many children who do not fit into gender stereotypes. Our ratio is also affected by the families who choose to enroll in the school from year to year.
Do you offer an afterschool option?
Our school operates four hours each day and we do not offer an afterschool option at this time. When parents require support with their child in the afternoon, some choose the parent network and set up regular play dates, do nanny-share or enlist the support of friends and family members.
What is Song Garden’s relationship with the Landlord (Church)?
Song Garden is non-denominational and independently rents private rooms from the church.
What is Song Garden’s approach towards media (TV, computers etc.)?
Media exposure is generally not encouraged by Waldorf early childhood teachers (see Stranger In Our Homes: TV and Our Children’s Minds by Susan R. Johnson, M.D.). Children have an innate ability for rich, imaginative play that is best nurtured without the influence of electronic media. We ask that parents ensure that their child is not exposed to TV, electronic games or computer on a school morning. We observe that young children exposed to media have a strong urge to process these impressions by acting them out during free play in the classroom. If we determine that the group play in the classroom is consistently influenced by media exposure brought in by a child, we will schedule a meeting with you to discuss a remedy for the situation.
What’s the idea behind the natural/wooden toys?
A healthy child’s imagination is flexible and adaptable. Natural toys are aesthetically beautiful and encourage the child’s imaginative play. Our toys are also designed to be multi-use so that they will become whatever the child needs them to be. There is a purity and honesty to natural materials and things fashioned by hand.