The Treehouse is a Waldorf inspired program with a loving, creative environment. We offer vegetarian, organic snacks, natural & homemade toys, daily activities of yoga, painting, bread making, finger plays, music and gardening. With our move taking place in the Summer of 2021 we now have 1/3 acre for our outdoor classroom and indoor classrooms for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten!
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What is a Forest School?
Forest School is a child-centered inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. Forest School has a developmental ethos shared by thousands of trained practitioners around the world, who are constantly developing their learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners. Its roots reach back to the open-air culture, seen as a way of life in Scandinavia where Forest School began. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and arrived in North America in 2007 and has been growing here ever since! www.forestschoolassociation.org | www.forestkindergartenassociation.org
Core Elements of a Forest Kindergarten are:
All-weather nature immersion, every day
Child-led Flow Learning
Forest Schools are discovery and exploration-based experiences that all promote the love of learning so that individuals understand on an experiential level the love of learning new things at the same time developing one’s character, resilience, social skills, and more.
Place-based education: development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Forest School can increase a child's confidence and self-esteem through exploration, problem solving, and being encouraged to learn how to assess and take appropriate risks depending on their environment
What is Waldorf Education? from Introduction to Waldorf Education/ waldorfeducation.org
Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. They integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by the world renowned artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education evolve from an understanding of human development that address the needs of the growing child.
Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and rewards to motivate learning and allows motivation to arise from within. It helps engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning.
Waldorf education is independent and inclusive. It upholds the principles of freedom in education and engages independent administration locally, continentally and internationally. It is regionally appropriate education with hundreds of schools worldwide today. Waldorf education is truly Inspired Learning.
Acorns ~ 6 weeks to 24 months (Infants and toddlers)
Our Acorn class is for the gentle beginning of your child's childcare experience. Our warm and caring Teachers will work with your family's individual comfort level to transition your little one from home life to the care of our experienced staff. Bonding with parents at this age is vital, so our Acorn Teachers work hard to develop a trusting relationship with parents through ample communication. This is the age of discovery! So during this time we will use the RIE method to observe and pave the path for undisturbed milestone growth. As your little one explores their new skills and their surroundings, we will work closely with you to share in this beautiful process of the infant's unfolding of their own unique personality.
Saplings ~ 2 to 3 year olds (Older Toddlers)
At the age of 2, your child will begin to take an increased interest in the world around them, and will have a big desire to interact more with their peers and develop autonomy. You may begin to hear the words "me" and "mine" and see them refuse your help as they strive to master tasks themselves. In our Saplings class, your toddler will be able to practice developing this independence as they learn how to compassionately interact with their peers, practice their basic self-care such as putting on shoes and gear, and they will learn to take care of their classroom and one another. This age begins to interact more with our Oaks Classroom which helps them observe children who are more advanced in the skills they want to master, and allows the older children to guide them to discovering themselves.
Oaks ~ 3 to 6 year olds (Preschool and Kindergarten)
During the Preschool and Kindergarten ages, your child is ready to dive in to their environment! They become fully into thier peer groups at this age and have a desire to take ownership in themselves and their surrounding. The Oaks class is heavily involved in the child-inspired curriculum so our Oaks Teachers will often bring a wide variety of activities into our classroom to meet the curiosity of the children. As we ARE in our Forest Garden 90% of the time, the children desire to explore the plants and animals that surround them. Through Story, Circle, and Activities we learn about how we fit into our environment and how we IMPACT our environment. This is the age when our Teachers work with the children to carry a loving and compassionate way of interacting with Mother Earth and her creatures, as well as developing this same love and compassion with our interactions with peers and community. Our Oaks class gets hands on experience teaching and guiding the younger classes which amplifies their sense of empathy and caring for others. Here they learn our overarching motto: "At Treehouse, we take care of each other and our school." Our goal is to send forth into the world individuals who will positively impact the world.
Daily Classroom Life
In the morning typically the Saplings and Oaks Classes come together for a special experience of playful singing, moving and celebrating the changing seasons. Music connects us on a unique level that quickly can lighten the mood and bring much joy and excitement to our program. With songs and movements about birdies building their nests, stepping over stepping stones, looking way up high in the apple trees and little jacky frost pinching your nose, the children get to learn songs and verses about each changing season. We are constantly having parents coming to us asking what songs we have been singing so they can sing along with their children at home!
Right before lunch we all gather around the table and the children sit quietly and listen to a story told—not read—by their teacher. The beauty of the spoken word sparks their ability to form images and thoughts about the words they hear. We use hand made figures for our stories out of silks, wool, wood and felt to create a special environment for the characters to exist in. Each story is told for a minimum of one week so the children fully experience it and come to expect it as part of the rhythm of their day. We find the children re-creating the story time scene during their free-play and re-telling their own variations of the story. This time is a special part of our program that helps expand the children's vocabulary, verbal retention and concentration.
The Daily Rhythm for Saplings and Oaks Classrooms
At The Treehouse we strive to stimulate the children’s bodies, souls and love for creation with a nurturing, homelike environment that engages all senses. We have a strong sense of community and are based on walking through the same daily rhythm to help build security, trust and continuity in the children’s lives. We believe in the power of outdoor play in enriching every aspect of a child's growth and experience, so strive to spend as much time out as we can. We have a required gear list to make this possible; as the saying goes, "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing."
8:30- 9am - Drop Offs and Morning Outdoor Play (we begin outside except for the deepest winter months)
9-10am - Outdoor Classroom and Circle Time
10:15am - Morning Snack and Bathroom Break
10:45-11:45am - Activity Hour (Art, Cooking, Gardening, Yoga, Music)
12pm - Puppet Show / Oral Story
12:15pm - Lunch Time
12:45pm - Afternoon pick-up / Reading time and Bathroom break
1-3:15pm - Rest Time
3:15pm - Afternoon Snack
3:30pm - Pick-up
3:45pm - Afternoon Activity
4:30pm - Pick-up
The Daily Rhythm for Infant Classroom
Our Infant Classroom develops their own unique rhythm based on the individual children that are in attendance. During this age range this fluctuates as they grow and we will be in steady communication as they shift sleep and eating phases. Eventually they will settle into a twice a day nap pattern, and then finally a once a day nap pattern.
We have the class split into 2 different cohorts of Infants and Toddlers. Infants start their day inside and toddlers start outside, and may remain outside until afternoon nap, weather and needs permitting. Infants may go outside for shorter periods, depending on their cohorts nap schedules and needs.