Programs

PARENT & TOT PROGRAM

Classes for children aged in utero to 2 years 9 months will nurture the children’s growth and learning while providing support and guidance for families as they begin to establish routines and encourage the healthy development of growing children.

Once a week, parents bring their young children to the warm and welcoming environment of the Sweet Pea Nursery room and yard to play together, to prepare a snack, work on seasonal craft projects, celebrate the seasons, and enjoy comfortable conversations about child development and parenting.

The two hour class is built on a rhythmical structure of work and imaginative play to develop skills for healthy social interactions. It provides an opportunity for parents to observe children involved in spontaneous free play, and to discuss healthy and beneficial parenting practices.

NURSERY

Classes for children ages 2¾ to 4½ emphasizing imaginative play and the joyful imitation of real domestic work.

simple handmade dolls

With his newly found sense of self, the preschool aged child is ready to explore a “wider world” between the home and the immediate community.

As the feeling life grows and expands, each day fills with new attractions, yet the young soul cannot by himself navigate safely amidst his own overwhelming likes and dislikes. The familiarity of his daily and weekly routines form the vessel that holds a child between the anticipation of every little joy and protection from life’s little sorrows. A strong rhythm, alternating between times of activity and times of rest, will carry him joyfully through the preschool day.

Honoring the need of the preschool aged child to find security in the familiarity of the home setting, this program seeks to offer a social experience in the Waldorf tradition of a beautiful, homelike environment. While “visiting Marnie,”  little friends happily join together in real domestic work activities like bread- and soup-making, washing and ironing, as well as singing, painting and free imaginative play.

Held in the newly licensed and expanded building on the Rawhide campus, these classes give children a meaningful social experience, while giving their parents a needed and well-deserved break.

KINDERGARTEN

Classes for children ages 4 1/2 to 6 1/2. The task of the kindergarten teachers is to provide a curriculum appropriate to this stage of child development.

Our Kindergarten provides a loving home-like setting with predictable rhythms that meet the young child’s abilities and developmental needs. Everything in the Kindergarten is nurturing and purposeful, from the natural toys and surroundings to the wise Kindergarten teacher melodically singing, “Follow, follow, follow…” each time she “magically” guides the children to and from the play yard.

A Waldorf Kindergarten, by design, is free from formal academics and instead focuses on developing strong bodies and a lively imagination, which are the foundation of learning as they move on into the Lower Grades. Our Kindergarten gently stimulates the development of curiosity, verbal capacities, sequencing, sensory integration, memory, social skills and motor skills that are essential for later learning and are the foundations for academic excellence.

The children in our Kindergarten:

  • Explore the natural world with their senses;
  • Develop their attention and language skills by listening to, reciting, and acting out stories, poems and nursery rhymes and singing songs with the teacher;
  • Play freely with objects that can be transformed in the their imagination;
  • Are nurtured by the safety and comfort of a rhythmical daily and weekly routine;
  • Experience healthy, active gross and fine motor movement through play and life skills, such as sewing, woodworking, baking, and housekeeping;
  • Enjoy outside play every day in our dedicated Kindergarten play yard;
  • Enjoy a delicious, healthy snack prepared in the classroom;
  • Express themselves artistically through watercolor painting, beeswax crayon drawing and crafts;
  • Develop their imagination as a foundation for creative and critical thinking

SIERRA WALDORF GRADE SCHOOL

The Grades curriculum is based on the understanding that the key to developing a critical thinking mind is to encourage the active and creative imagination as the child develops over time. Each grade’s curriculum is crafted to support the healthy growth of the whole child – intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. As the curriculum reflects the developmental needs of the child, it fosters an excitement for learning that will remain with the child into adulthood.

Our Faculty delivers the curriculum in a thematic way, with each subject interwoven and complemented by the others. For example, when a class studies California History, they are completely immersed in it through reading, writing, math, science, drama, music, art, physical activity, and a field trip.

The Waldorf curriculum also offers a broad variety of subjects that are woven throughout the weekly schedule. These subjects, taught by the Class Teacher or a specialist beginning in First Grade (unless otherwise specified), enrich the student experience with offerings that include:

  • Foreign Language (Spanish)
  • Gardening
  • Handwork
  • Games/Movement
  • Instrumental Music
  • Singing
  • Drama
  • Watercolor Painting
  • Beeswax Modeling
  • Woodworking

As the students enter their middle school years, they also develop skills and values in team sports, musical ensembles and community service.

The Class Teacher

In Waldorf schools the Class Teacher remains with their class from grade to grade, sometimes all the way from First to Eighth Grade. In this way, parents and teachers can work together over time, orchestrating their efforts to best meet the changing needs of the child and the class as a whole. Additionally, the relationship between teacher and child is constantly evolving and deepening, providing a continuity often lacking in education today.

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The Main Lesson and Main Lesson Book

In the Grades, each day begins with a two-hour period devoted to a single academic subject (when the children’s concentration is at its peak). One topic is studied for three or four weeks, allowing the teacher to cover a subject in-depth, using a variety of approaches.

Movement, games, singing and other hands-on activities enrich this main lesson time, especially in the younger grades, providing an engaging, interactive learning environment.

Rather than using standardized textbooks, Waldorf Grades students create their own main lesson books – writing text and illustrations from their classroom learning and sometimes outside research. These main lesson and other subject books are practical and treasured references.

Age Requirements

Due to the age-appropriate developmental approach of our curriculum, students begin First Grade later than in non-Waldorf schools. We believe this provides the child with greater readiness for learning, both academically and socially throughout their education.

The minimum age cutoffs for each grade are listed below:

Parent & Tot – 9 mos. to 2 3/4 years
Nursery – 2 3/4 years by September
Kindergarten – 4 1/2 years by September 1
First – 6 years old by May 31 before the start of school
Second – 7 years old by May 31 before the start of school
Third – 8 years old by May 31 before the start of school
Fourth through Eighth – 9-13 year olds, respectively, though other variables may be taken into account to best serve each child
Schedule

All grades classes begin promptly at 8:25 am each school day. Regular dismissal times Monday – Thursday are:
Nursery: 2 day (Monday/Tuesday), 2 day (Wednesday/Thursday), 4 day (Monday – Thursday) options with pick-up at 12:30pm or 3pm
Kindergarten: 12:30pm with an optional naptime ending at 2pm
First – Third: 2pm
Fourth – Eighth: 3:15pm

12:30 pm dismissal on Fridays
9:00 – 11am – Friday Parent & Tot Program

News & Updates
  • School Begins September 3!

    School will begin September 3 for the grades, September 4 for Kindergarten and September 3 for Nursery. Opening ceremonies will begin on the upper lawn at 8:25am.

  • Now Enrolling Nursery & Kindergarten for 2014-15

    Space is limited for a small student/teacher ratio. Enrollment packets are available by mail. School tours are the second Wednesday of the month or for an individual tour, call Bill Roberson, Enrollment Director at (209) 984-0454 or email at bill@sierrawaldorf.com

  • Walk Through the Grades

    Our monthly tours of the campus will begin October 8th at 8:30am. Future tours are November 12th and December 10th. Please R.S.V.P. to Bill Roberson, our enrollment director at (209) 984-0454 or bill@sierrawaldorf.com.
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