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Integrated Nepali and Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculii

Integrated Nepali and Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculii

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Published by Eric Fairman
A second integrated document, this time incorporating the Nepal Department of Education and Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood curricullae, originally created for a Steiner-Waldorf Inspired school in Kathmandu. Integration by Terri Reinhardt (USA).
Copyright: Eric Fairman
A second integrated document, this time incorporating the Nepal Department of Education and Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood curricullae, originally created for a Steiner-Waldorf Inspired school in Kathmandu. Integration by Terri Reinhardt (USA).
Copyright: Eric Fairman

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Published by: Eric Fairman on May 15, 2011
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To be studied in tandem with
Government of Nepal. Ministry of Education and Sports. Department of Education

Early Childhood Development Section EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK (CURRICULUM).2062 Government of Nepal Ministry of Education and Sports Department of Education Early Childhood Development Section EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK (CURRICULUM).2062 Part One Role of Early Childhood Development Curriculum 2) Goals of the childhood development curriculum The main goal of early childhood development curriculum is to impart direct or indirect learning experiences through various means of educational activities as per the children's social settings. This curriculum has emphasized in developing children's skills related to their health, safety/protection, other life relevant and self reliance by identifying their hidden talents and steering them appropriately. In other words, the main function of this curriculum is to enhance self confidence; develop positive attitude towards changing society and other people; maintain emotional balance in challenges, successes and failures as well as to establish foundation to develop nationality, cultural and human values in them by providing functional skills and making them learning to learn as per social and practical norms and values. As a whole, the goal of this early childhood development curriculum is to make children capable of conserving environment, sharing their feelings, listening to others and acquire knowledge of their surroundings through teaching-learning.

The goal of a Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten is to provide a solid educational foundation upon which the children can build their knowledge and skills throughout the rest of their school years and their lives. The foundation in the Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten is provided through rhythm, an understanding of the young child’s need to learn through imitation, and by a sense of reverence and care for the environment and for each other that is modeled by the kindergarten teachers. Young children respond strongly to rhythm. In a Steiner-Waldorf scool, the kindergarten will have a strong rhythmic element built into their program. Each day will have a consistent rhythm with periods of free play, group activities, snacks, lunch, outside play, and rest. Each week will also have its own rhythm; one day will be for baking, another for painting, a third for practical craft work, and so on. Seasonal activities will help the children to experience the rhythm of the year. This strong rhythmic element in the program provides a sense of security and a sense of time for the children as they begin to learn the sequence of what happens throughout each day and week. The young children are intimately connected with their surroundings and they take in everything through their senses. Children then imitatively recreate all that they have taken in from their environment.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum

Acknowledgements: ‘LIFEWAYS’ http://www.lifewaysnorthamerica.org

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK (CURRICULUM).2062 Part One Role of Early Childhood Development Curriculum 5) Environment Early childhood development centres running under Early Childhood Development Programme have to conduct indoor and outdoor activities. These activities have to be of the type which would motivate children to investigate new things and acquire information of their environment. In order to make children's learning simple/natural and interesting, situation in the learning environment has to be created to look it natural so as to give a sense of protection and suitable for the children to learn freely. 5.2 Educational environment Children must be taught in an informal way. For this following educational activities must be carried out: a. A time table must be prepared to carry out activities like free plays, experience from the use of materials, free activities according to the situations, educational games and guided activities for children's learning. The time allocation for the activities has to be adjusted taking care of the place, situation and culture. b. The activities selected for the children must be meaningful. When selecting activities for children, they must be the ones which could be finished in the stipulated time and appropriate to be used in daily life. The facilitators must pay special attention so that the activities do not burden or develop negative emotions in children. And, the activities must be conducted collectively with the active involvement of children and should encourage them to investigate for new things as per their levels. Instead of control and giving instructions, children must be supported to solve their difficulties and confusions by providing necessary feedback while conducting the activities. c. In order to make children learn from the surroundings, child-friendly teaching methods need to be adopted by creating appropriate situations for problem solving. For conducting such activities, strategies like sharing new things and asking questions encouraging children individually, in groups and the whole class must be adopted. d. In order to support in children's learning, they should be explained as per their necessity, provide additional information and ask questions to mediate/keep them in track. Meanwhile they must also be encouraged to ask questions among themselves. Apart from this, children must be involved themselves in order to make them gain knowledge from the surroundings. For the same, why, where, when types of questions must be asked by creating necessary environment for making them motivated to discuss. e. In the process of preparing children for primary schools, it is necessary to plan to allocate certain time for activities like pre reading and pre writings from within the period of their stay in early childhood development centre. f. While supporting children's learning, the facilitator must organize individual activities involving them in creative games considering time and place. It is necessary to form various groups for group activities and support them whenever necessary during the activities. Similarly, it is also necessary to assist children while conducting social works like presenting the subject-matters, following group instructions and using social skills. g. Children have their own pattern of learning. However, entertainment and games associated activities support them to learn better. And under the entertainment and games associated activities, free plays/games, discussions, creative plays, physical plays and directed plays must be conducted. These activities must be conducted as planned together by the children themselves and the facilitator.

****** Great care is taken in the kindergarten to provide an environment that is nourishing to the child’s senses. Natural materials are used in the classroom; wooden tables, cotton and silk for curtains and play cloths, dolls made of cotton jersey and stuffed with wool fleece, and wooden blocks for building. The kindergarten environment strives to be a warm, beautiful, and calm place for the children.
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


The teachers in the kindergarten also will provide a model for imitation in the activities they choose to bring to the children and how they bring these activities to the children. The children will imitate not only what the teacher is doing but also, more deeply, the attitude and care in which the activities are brought. The children experience that the teacher is fully engaged and interested in the practical living activities that are being worked on in the kindergarten. This is an example of imitation that not only leads the children to learn much about each of the activities; the children also imitate the focus and interest that the teacher brings to the activity. This engagement and interest and care that is imitated and learned in the kindergarten is the foundation for engagement, interest, and care that will develop as the children are challenged to focus on academics in later school years. During the period of time set aside for free play, the children have the opportunity to recreate what they have taken in from their environment. The toys that are provided are simple and relatively unformed, in order to allow greater freedom for the child’s growing imagination. A Steiner-Waldorf kindergarten will prepare children for the academic expectations of elementary school by allowing the children to engage their will in meaningful life activities, by cultivating a feeling for the arts and for beauty, and by stimulating creativity and fantasy through creative play, allowing the child’s capacities to unfold naturally.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK (CURRICULUM).2062 Part One Role of Early Childhood Development Curriculum 6) Parents' involvement The involvement of parents in various activities of the early childhood development centre and informing about the progress of their children will increase their interest towards the Early Childhood Development Programme which will help to sustain the programme. Parents could be made supporters in the Early Childhood Development Programme by increasing their trust among each other through open discussions to make parents' wants and desires compatible with the activities of early childhood development centre. Following things could be done for this – • Informing children's progress to parents by having regular dialogues and well informing about the activities of the centre • As per the necessity discussing with parents via personal contacts about the progress of the children, activities and programmes of the centre • Planning special activities for parents such as, involving them in various committees; requesting for their help as per their capacity; seeking for their help in running library and in collecting magazines/papers; organising parent-children joint learning sessions, games playing session and parent education programme; making parents exchange views among themselves; inviting them regularly to observe children's activities in centre and making them to participate in such activities; and requesting for parent's support while taking children for excursion. • Also involving parents in planning/developing annual programmes and formulating policies of the early childhood development centre • Provide necessary advises to the parents of troublesome children

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum

7) Childhood development programme in relation to special needs children As children's learning capacity differ due to various reasons, it is essential to support/guide them appropriately as per their necessity by identifying the children with learning differences from their early ages. By doing so, the learning differences will be reduced to some extent. Besides the activities mentioned in this curriculum, necessary 5 appropriate activities could also be selected as per the necessity of the children to help them by identifying their physical and intellectual capacities. Parents' help is to be sought also to manage teaching-learning as per the special needs of the children identified. Also, it is necessary to take assistance of the institutions facilitating early identification of children's special needs and capacity, and accordingly forward them to other concerned institutions for necessity support and it is also necessary to organize for the remedial classes 8) Evaluation Evaluation of children of the early childhood development age group must be going on continuously. The information on the existing situation of the children and their pace of progress could be obtained when observations of their activities are done including all aspects of child development and evaluate on the basis of the records of those activities. By doing so it helps to get information on weak and strong aspects of children and will make easier to help improve the weak aspects. During the evaluation of children, the facilitator should help in their learning as per the necessity rather than publishing results like passfail, first, second. • Observations have to be done on what, how much, when and how children are learning as per their daily activities • During the evaluation of children, techniques to find out weaknesses relating to where, what types, what and why have to be used • Parents should be informed quarterly from the records maintained with the notes taken for the children's progress based on the activities they perform. At the end of academic session, reports prepared based on those notes must be given to the children when they go for enrolment in schools from the early childhood development centre • As various age group children are taught in one group in early childhood development centre, evaluations need to be done observing their activities based on age-wise learning outcomes. For example, three years old children show their interest on letters in books whereas four years old children try to read letters. In this way, literacy skills have to be assessed whether it is achieved as per their age level.

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK (CURRICULUM).2062 Part Two Early Childhood Development Curriculum As whatever children learn at this age becomes the foundation for their future learning, children at this stage must be taught for "learning to learn" in enjoyable manner. The early childhood development curriculum, through the experience of plays and environment must be able to enhance children's latent capacity to make them capable of living a good life in future. For this, age-wise and area-wise weight given of educational and developmental goals are mentioned below – 1. Educational goals • To develop children intellectually with the positive thinking towards experiences available in their environment and to help them to be healthy • To motivate for being cooperative, independent, free, honest and be sociable in the society • To support in moral, social and physical development • To help in developing positive attitude towards social, natural and religious environments • To involve in various activities to elicit creative talents • To aware linguistically and increase skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing to use appropriate language in daily activities • To develop positive thinking towards language, literature, mathematics, science, art to increase interest in learning in preparation for the primary level education and lay fundamental concepts in those subjects.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


Jaba pugyo ek, bhui ma lauro tek jaba pugyo dui , ija mero bui jaba pugyo tin , chepparo chin jaba pugyo char,bakhra patha sar jaba pugyo panch, agan ma nachh jaba pugyo chha padna lagyo ka ,khaa jaba pugyo saat, bujhana lagyo baat jaba pugyo athha, ghokna lagyo patha jaba pugyo nau, uslai paryo dhau jaba pugyo dash, panda ma rash *****

Rationale Young children encounter mathematics as a part of the natural world. They begin to experience the quality of size and weight as they lift different stones or compare the length of the branches and sticks they find. The child experiences time in their own rhythm of waking and sleeping, the rhythm of the sunrise and sunset, and the changing of the seasons. Young children also encounter mathematics as a part of daily living. They experience numbers and counting as they help to set out plates for the family meal. Their experience of time is enriched when festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Different shapes can be experienced as the child helps with daily activities such as folding square napkins or kneading dough into a round ball. Movement songs and games are one more way for the young child to experience mathematics. Through movement, the child can learn to become small by bending down low to the floor and to become big by jumping up high with arms outstretched. Another game may explore concepts such as fast/slow, long/short, near/far, many/few, or front/back. Verses and songs have their own pattern of rhythm and rhyming, which is also an experience of mathematics. A Steiner-Waldorf kindergarten is structured in a way that encourages the children to explore mathematics in the natural world and in daily work activities. There is a rhythm to the day, week, and year, which gives to the children a solid foundation for the learning of time. The teacher takes advantage of opportunities to count out loud with the children, using practical activities such as counting the number of spoons needed for snack or the number of children in a ring game.

Movement games and songs are used consciously by the teacher to help the children to develop confidence in knowing where their body is in space, to introduce concepts as listed above, and to
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


experience the rhythm that is in speech. The children are allowed to experience these concepts, not as an intellectual experience as of yet, but as a natural part of the world in which they live. Objectives 1. Values and Attitudes ♦ To stimulate and create favorable attitudes toward mathematics.

♦ To provide an environment in which the children can experience mathematics as a natural part of their world, which they can experience with a sense of wonder and discovery. 2. Knowledge ♦ To provide the foundation experience of counting, spatial awareness, shapes, measurement, and time. ♦ To provide practical life activities that naturally will include experiences of mathematics, such as measuring ingredients for baking. To develop skills in these areas. 3. Learning Outcomes/Skills ♦ Numbers and counting: The younger children (ages 3 and 4) will begin to imitate the teacher and will begin to count objects one by one verbally. The younger children will join in singing games that involve counting. The older children (ages 5 and 6) will be able to count the number of children in the kindergarten classroom and then count out the napkins or spoons on their own. The older children will join in the singing counting games and also be able to initiate these games.

♦ Measurement: The younger children will begin to understand concepts of big/small, tall/short, thick/thin. They will compare weight by lifting and carrying various sized objects. The older child will be able to sort items according to size or weight.

♦ Time: The younger child will begin to anticipate daily activities that occur within the

consistent rhythm of each day. They will also begin to anticipate the activities that occur weekly within the consistent rhythm of each week. The older child will begin to anticipate the activities that occur within the rhythm of the year, ie: festivals and birthdays. They will begin to understand the concept of the calendar and have an interest in watches and how they show time.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


♦ Geometrical Shapes: The younger child will begin to recognize different shapes such as a round ball or a square block. The older child will be able to tell the shapes of various objects. The older child will also make shapes out of modeling clay, beeswax, or bread dough, or draw shapes on paper, and identify those shapes.

♦ Relation of place, special awareness: Using movement games, the children will

develop an awareness of using their own body in space to experience concepts such as big/little, tall/short, quiet/loud, front/back, fast/slow. Through imaginative stories, the older children will expand on these concepts, developing concepts of bigger than…, smaller than…, faster than…, and so on.


Rationale Artistic activities provide children with an opportunity for personal expression, creativity, and joy. These activities encourage the development of imagination and lay the foundation for a life time enjoyment and appreciation of the arts. Artistic activities also allow the children to experience the culture of their own country and also other regions and cultures. In a Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten, the teachers believe that teaching is an artistic activity and that, in working on their own artistic skills, they are continuing to develop their own imagination and creativity. Thus, they bring to the children a model of lifelong learning and creating; a model that is worthy of imitation. The children in a Steiner-Waldorf kindergarten have opportunities to draw, paint, model with dough or beeswax, sing, dance, act out simple stories, and learn simple crafts. Objectives 1. Values and Attitudes
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum

9 ♦ To allow the children to express themselves and their feelings through art

♦ To encourage the development of imagination and creativity
♦ To lay the foundation for an interest in and an appreciation of the arts

♦ To give the children to experience arts as a part of their Nepali culture as well as experiencing arts from others cultures

2. Knowledge
♦ To give the children a basic understanding of the various artistic medium and tools

♦ To provide experiences of music, by listening, singing, and playing simple instruments, where the children can develop their capacity for listening to music and making music.
♦ To provide opportunities for the children to move their bodies to the rhythm of music

and to learn simple dances
♦ To give children an experience and basic understanding of drama and storytelling

3. Learning Outcomes/Skills
♦ Drawing:

Children’s drawings follow a developmental pattern. At the Shanti Kindergarten, the children will have ample opportunity to draw. The teachers will observe the drawings of the children and note where they are on the developmental sequence. These stages of development are not taught, but happen naturally. The drawings of the youngest children are just beginning to have some recognizable form, and the activity of drawing for them is as much a motor activity as an artistic one. By the time the child enters Grade 1, the child will be able to draw an age appropriate picture of a house, tree, and person, in which all the forms are recognizable. The house will be on the ground and have doors and windows. The person will have head, body, arms, legs, face (eyes, nose, mouth), and the tree will have a trunk and branches. is very fluid and the paper is wetted as well to allow for the free interplay of the colors. The children will begin to learn proper brush technique. The children are allowed and encouraged to give free expression to the work. The paintings of the younger children will be an experience of color rather than form. The older children begin to find ways to

♦ Painting: The children are introduced to wet-on-wet watercolor painting. The paint used

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


create pictures. All of the children will have the opportunity to experience the quality of color as they paint.
♦ Modeling: The children model with beeswax and bread dough. As with the drawings

and paintings, the younger children create forms that are not easily recognizable, however, as they grow older and have more experience with modeling, their fine motor movement becomes more proficient and the objects which they model will be more complex.

♦ Music:

Music can be divided into three aspects: listening, singing, and playing instruments. The children will develop their listening skills as songs are often used to help the children through the transitions between activities of the day. Music is occasionally used in conjunction with telling a story. Then the children learn to listen both to the spoken word and to singing, putting it together to understand a story. Singing and singing games play an important part in the kindergarten. The children learn to sing in unison and in tune by singing traditional songs and nursery rhymes in both Nepali and in English. The children will also be introduced to musical instruments, the pentatonic lyre and pentatonic flute. Other simple rhythm instruments such as drums, rattles, and bells will also be introduced in the kindergarten. Older children will be able to clap in rhythm. Young children live in predominantly in movement. The morning circle time provides ample opportunity for movement in the form of singing games and movement to songs and verses that tell a story. The younger child will be able to take part in the group movement, imitating the movements of the teacher and the older children. They will move different parts of their body as per the singing game and they will begin to move according to the rhythm of the song. The older children will be able to move rhythmically and follow the instructions of the teacher. The older children will learn simple dances that they are able to initiate during their free play. Movement to music also gives the children the opportunity to practice going fast, then slow, being loud, then quiet. In alternating between these qualities, the children also learn self-control. familiar story. The teacher leads the story, including children when their part comes up. The older children will be able to remember what is said by their character and are able to

♦ Dance:

♦ Drama/Puppetry: During story time, the students are occasionally directed in acting out a

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


speak it themselves. From time to time, the teachers will prepare puppet shows for the children to watch. The children will often imitate this activity during free play time, by creating their own simple puppets from play cloths or dolls and performing stories for the younger children.
♦ Practical Craft Work: Craft work in the kindergarten includes sewing, felting, simple

finger weaving, and simple woodworking. The emphasis is on helping with practical work needed in the kindergarten, such as repairing torn play cloths and making small dolls. In addition, in learning simple woodworking skills, the emphasis is also on learning how to use the hammer and saw safely.


‘When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than my talent for abstract thinking.’

Albert Einstein


A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


Science is about seeing: what we think about the world often shapes how we see it. Science is also about seeing objectively: what is really there, not what we presume to be there. Theorising in science is a process of explaining what we see: the initial step is a clear perception, unclouded by preconceived ideas. Theorising is a later step, and also one that we grow into when we are able to think causally, to link cause and effect. The kindergarten child tends to see the world subjectively, and responds though feeling and fantasy. When the child is older, the more objective causal understanding becomes possible and appropriate.

In a Steiner-Waldorf kindergarten, the aim is to build a science curriculum that is both located in the child’s developmental stages and will also educate the growing mind to be truly scientific, to be both passionate and rigorous about understanding the world around us.

In the early years everything the child learns about the physical world (plants, animals, sun, moon, minerals, mountains and rivers) is rendered in story form, directly out of the teacher’s imagination. We wish to preserve the imaginative, pictorial nature of the young child’s mind – preventing a premature and inappropriate intellectualisation. It is important for the child to see the world in its wholeness as a subjective experience; awakening a natural sympathy within the child to care for and protect his/her environment.


1. Values and Attitudes ♦ To develop a sense of wonder and awe in nature ♦ To experience the rhythms of nature and celebrate the seasons ♦ To develop an understanding of the built environment ♦ To cultivate a feeling of responsibility for nature ♦ To provide the children with the opportunity to explore the natural world

2. Knowledge

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


♦ To develop an ability to observe ♦ To begin to understand the cycle of planting and growing in a garden
♦ To provide the foundation through which the children can begin to understand the role

which science and technology plays in their lives.
♦ Through exploring, observing, and interacting with the natural environment, to give the

children a foundation for later studies in natural science 3. Learning Outcomes/Skills
♦ Built Environments: The children will engage in creating their own built environments in

creative play indoors, using blocks, tree branches, and cloths to create their buildings, roads, rivers, and vehicles. They learn to organize the space and assemble the components they need for building. They learn to work with each other in sharing the space. The children use their imagination, working with various components, thereby learning how the different types of components fit together, how to solve their construction problems, and are able to carry out their task with confidence. On regular walks, the children will observe building work in progress.

♦ Weather and seasons: Through daily walks and outdoor play, the children will experience the outside world in all but the most severe weather. During the morning circle, the songs and verses that are presented to the children are of a seasonal nature.

♦ Plants: Through caring for plants in the kindergarten room and in the school garden, the children will observe the growth of plants. When vegetables are harvested and used in the children’s snack or lunch, the children learn how these plants are used.

♦ Animals:

Through verses, stories, and movement games, the children will learn the sounds animals make, how they move, and where they live. Through stories, the children will learn about animals that work for people and be able to differentiate between common domestic animals and wild animals

♦ Water: The kindergarten will have access to water for drinking, washing hands and face,

cooking, cleaning, and watering plants and garden. By the teacher’s modeling of the
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


proper and economical use of water for these activities, the children will learn many different uses of water in daily life.

♦ Geology and land: Through the daily walks and through stories, the children will learn

about the land around their home in Nepal. They will experience the difference between walking on hills and flat land, and will observe the stones, plants, soil, and small insects that are a part of the land around them.

♦ Tools and machines: Through daily, practical activities, the children will be introduced to the use of hand tools such as hammers, saws, and screwdrivers. The emphasis will be on using tools safely.

♦ Transportation: On daily walks, the children learn rules of safety to be followed when

walking down the road. They learn to listen and follow directions of the teacher. Other modes of transportation will be observed and safety skills around these modes of transportation are followed. The children are most interested in the many modes of transportation and will build their imaginative renderings of cars, trucks, trains, boats, and other vehicles, during their free play time.

♦ Communication:

Young children are just beginning to develop their communication skills. In the kindergarten, they will begin to learn more socially accepted and formalized ways to communicate – how to interact with supervising adults, how to follow directions, how to ask for things they need, and how to respond in a group situation. The children are also interested in the technological tools for communicating and will use simple found objects to replicate devises such as telephones.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum



The healthy social life is found When in the mirror of each human soul, The whole community finds its reflection, And when in the community, The virtue of each one is living.

Rudolf Steiner


A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


The teachers at a Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten strive to provide the best model for imitation by the children. This is true for everything that is brought to the kindergarten children, but never more so than in the realm of social education. Children not only imitate what others do, they also imitate the attitude that accompanies the action. Thus, when the teacher takes time and care with an activity, the children will learn to take the same care with their activities. The children learn to respect others and their environment by following the example of the adults around them.

The Kindergarten children will begin to learn how to work cooperatively and respectfully in a group situation and adopt acceptable standards of social behavior. They also begin to notice and appreciate the differences and similarities that exist between other people and themselves. Out of these experiences, the children begin to develop the social skills necessary for one to one, and group situations.

Practical work is a part of a Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten. The children will have the opportunity to observe and participate in practical work activities such as cooking, mending, cleaning, and gardening. Some of the practical work is done to meet the needs of the kindergarten class, such as baking bread for snack, mending play cloths, or sawing a board for a garden fence. Other work may be done that will benefit others, such as baking extra loaves of bread for the school community. The children learn from the beginning that they are part of a larger community and that they can participate in their own way in helping their community.

Celebrating the Religious festivals of the year connects the children to their community and the different cultures around them. The festivals also often mirror what is happening seasonally on the earth. Celebrating the festivals help the children to learn about and connect with the rhythm of the seasonal changes on the earth.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum



1. Values and Attitudes
♦ To provide an environment where children can feel safe and secure and feel a sense of

belonging in the community of the kindergarten and school.
♦ To cultivate an interest in and feeling of responsibility for their home and community,

becoming aware of work they can perform in service to their home and school. ♦ To cultivate joy in participating in the works of family and school. ♦ To cultivate the interest in and the joy in participating in cultural and religious activities. 2. Knowledge ♦ To learn their daily routine
♦ To learn simple good manners

♦ To develop good habits of hygiene ♦ To cultivate a respect for others
♦ To provide the foundation for learning how to make decisions

3. Learning Outcomes/Skills
♦ Self Esteem: The environment of the kindergarten will provide a strong sense of security

for the children. The older children will be able to remember the activities of the day and the week and be able to anticipate them.

♦ Environment and Community: Through daily walks, the children will learn about the

environment around their school. They will learn to respect the property of other people and they will learn to listen and follow their teacher. In the kindergarten, the older children will help the younger children with activities that are difficult for them, such as buttoning up a coat or tying shoes. The older children will be models for the younger children and allow the younger ones to help them with chores such as counting out napkins or taking care of plants. The children will help the teacher to prepare the classroom for activities such as painting, morning snack, story time, or nap time. The children will help to tidy the classroom every day.
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


♦ Good Health Habits:

Through daily practice, the children will develop the habit of washing their hands before meals, after toileting, and upon coming into the kindergarten after outside play. The daily routine of the children will include time for a nap or rest. The children will be given healthy meals and snacks at the Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten and they will learn to eat healthy foods. There is a blessing before meals and the children will learn to say their blessing with reverence.

♦ The children will be respectful of each other as they play and work out their differences.

♦ Decision making: Following the model of the teacher, who makes decisions thoughtfully

and confidently, the children will develop the capacity to make their own decision.

♦ Manners: The children will say Namaste to elders. They will greet and welcome new

children with ‘Namaste’. Through the experience of being in a group and having to wait their turn at many activities, whether it be washing hands or playing a game, the children will learn how to wait patiently for their turn. Out of this example and the example of the teacher, they will also develop the habit of listening to others and waiting their turn to speak.

♦ Religious Harmony and Respect: The Festivals of the year will be celebrated in the

Kindergarten with respect and reverence. The children will develop a respect for other cultures. They will also learn about the seasonal changes in the year as the festivals mark the passing of time in the calendar year. The children will learn to be respectful during meal blessings and when another person is praying.


A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum




In the kindergarten the artistic use of language is an important aspect of the curriculum. Stories and folk tales are told using rich verbal imagery that reflects their classical tradition. Often the children have to extend themselves in their understanding of certain words, but within the content of the story, new words become accessible to them. They become familiar with how language works in a story.

Through speech the children are aware of the role of language in communicating to others. The sense of speech is a key factor in their social understanding. In morning circle an artistic quality is brought to the language by their use of large and small gestures to accompany various rhymes and poems.

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


The kindergarten teachers strive to use only the best language with the children. Diction is clear and the speech, unrushed. The children are very sensitive to the quality and tone of the voices they hear.

Interaction between the children contributes to their language acquisition, whether at play, helping with a task or exchanging news. They learn to listen to one another and share their own stories. Every activity, be it craft, cooking or gardening, has its own vocabulary and expressions.

The children in a Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten are also introduced to the English language with poems, songs, games, and simple stories.


1. Values and Attitudes ♦ To support the art of conversation by developing the habit of listening well ♦ To cultivate an interest in language, both spoken and written ♦ To provide the foundation for learning how to read and write ♦ To cultivate an interest in learning a second language through stories, games, and other activities ♦ To cultivate an interest in the customs and cultures of people who speak other languages

2. Knowledge ♦ To listen and respond to others ♦ To be interested in stories and information
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


♦ To be able to retell or act out stories they have heard ♦ To acquire an increased vocabulary ♦ To be able to speak clearly and confidently ♦ To become familiar with the sound and rhythm of the English language
♦ To imitate and sing the rhymes, poems, and songs in English with the teacher

3. Learning outcomes/Skills
♦ Listening and concentration: The teacher tells the same story each day for at least one

week so that the child will learn the flow of language and have time to build their own images of the story for themselves. As the year progresses, the stories presented are longer and more involved. The stories are drawn from carefully chosen traditional folk tales or seasonal/nature stories. The older children will be able to retell the familiar stories.
♦ Articulation:

Rhythmic work with nursery rhymes and finger games are used as a rhythmic practice in articulation. In the nursery rhymes, the importance is placed not so much on the content of the verse, but on the sounds. The fine motor work of finger games helps to support the finer articulation of speech. The children will learn many finger games and rhymes throughout the year and be able to recite them independently. written texts. The children will be introduced to the qualities of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs through work in the morning circle (e.g. creeping quietly like a mouse or leaping lightly like a deer). Pre-writing skills are emphasized in the kindergarten to prepare the children for more formalized letter/word work in the grade school. Through developing gross motor skills through play, games, and movement, and fine motor skills through crafts, drawing, and modeling, a firm foundation will be provided for the more demanding cognitive skills needed for letter formation and writing.

♦ Literacy: A variety of books is provided for the children to explore the visual aspects of

♦ The children will have opportunity to draw pictures and simple forms and practice shapes in their drawings. The older children will often practice writing their name and the names of their family and friends. The older children will become interested in the use of written language and the recognition and formation of letters.
♦ English language: Through simple songs, verses, and games, the children will begin to

explore the sounds, rhythm, and tone of the English language. The children will learn the
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


names of the colors, animals, and also some simple greetings in English. They will become familiar with the sound of the English language.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN THE KINDERGARTEN Rationale Young children need to move in order to develop in a healthy way. In the early years, the child’s body is still being formed and movement very specifically helps that physical formation to happen. Through crawling, standing, and walking, the hip joints are literally carved out and the muscles become strong. Through jumping, walking on balance beams, standing on one foot, and standing on tip toes, the children develop their sense of balance. Through activities such as throwing and catching balls, the children are developing their eye/hand coordination. All of these movement activities help the children to develop the awareness of where their body is in space. A healthy sense of balance, spatial awareness, and eye/hand coordination are important for cognitive development as well. The ability to read and write depends on the ability of the eyes to track the writing on the page and the coordination of eyes and hands to learn how to write. Without a healthy sense of balance and spatial awareness, it is difficult for a child to sit and concentrate on lessons. In the kindergarten, there is an emphasis on providing healthy movement activities as a foundation, both for the physical health of the child and for healthy cognitive development. There are many daily living activities in the kindergarten that require lifting and carrying items. The children will be encouraged to help the teacher, and each other, in these necessary chores. Objectives 1. Values and Attitudes ♦ To provide an environment where healthy movement is encouraged
♦ To encourage an interest in physical activities

♦ To value the physical labor of daily work and feel pride towards their own and others work 2. Knowledge ♦ To participate in games and other activities that support a healthy sense of balance
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum

♦ To become aware of the space around them

23 ♦ To become aware of their body and all their various body parts

♦ To express themselves with movement ♦ To help with the daily chores that require physical work

3. Practical Outcome/Skills
♦ Knowledge of body: The children will be able to touch different body parts when asked

in a movement game. Along with imaginative movement verses, the children will be able to stretch their body and limbs, reaching to the sky or stretching outward like the branches of a tree. The children will be able to touch and bend major joints of the body, both with practical activities such as putting on coat and shoes or brushing teeth, and with imaginative games.

♦ Physical fitness: The children will be able to carry small chairs to the story circle. They

will be able to jump with both feet off the ground. The older children will be able to throw and catch small beanbags across the circle with the teacher.

♦ Walking: The children will walk together daily around the neighborhood of the school.

They will develop stamina and be able to walk further as the year goes on.

♦ Balance: Through circle games, the children will be instructed in balance activities such

as standing on one foot or walking along a narrow path or balance board. The children will develop the ability to stand and balance on one foot for a few moments, to walk on tiptoe, and to stand on tiptoes for a few moments. They will be able to stop themselves while they are moving fast, without losing their balance. They will have opportunities to practice balance games during free play and outside play.

♦ Movement in free play: In the kindergarten classroom and play yard, the environment

includes places where the children can climb, jump, and crawl. Simple items for building play structures will encourage lifting, carrying, and physical coordination required to fit the pieces where they need to go. Having simple materials such as boards, hollow blocks, and tree branches as toys, encourage the children to be creative with their
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


building. Being creative often means much trial and error, thus much physical exercise! The children will value this work and encourage each other as they build their muscle strength and problem solving skills.

♦ Movement Expressions: During the movement circle, the children will participate in games and songs that instruct them to make different kinds of facial expressions. They will also imaginatively show how tall a tree is, then, how small is the stone, by stretching tall or bending over and curling up small. They will jump, crawl, hop, walk, tiptoe, or skip to songs or verses. The younger children will develop the beginnings of the skipping rhythm, the older children will learn to skip rhythmically.


ALMOND, J. (Ed), A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten. Waldorf Early Childhood Assn. of North America

ALMOND, J. (Ed), An Overview if the Waldorf Kindergarten, Vol 1. Waldorf Early Childhood Assn. of North America

CARLGREN, F. Education Towards Freedom; Rudolf Steiner Education – A survey of the Work o Waldorf Schools throughout the World. (Lanthorn Press) Floris Books. UK

CLOUDER, C; (UK) Co-authored with HEYS, B; (UK), DAHLIN, B (SWE); DIEKSRA,R. (NL); LANTIERI,L. (USA); BERROCAL, P F.(ESP) and PASCHEN, H. (D) Marcelino Botin Foundation Report 2008: Social and Emotional Education. International Analysis

GRUNELIUS, E.M., Early Childhood Education and the Waldorf School Plan. Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore. USA

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


HALLER, I. How Children Play. Floris Books. UK

JAFFKE, F. Work and Play in Early Childhood, Floris Books. UK

KOENIG,K. The First Three Years of the Child. Floris Books. UK

Curriculum Nepal Department of Education. Department of Curriculum Development, Bhaktapur, Nepal
A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum


*** Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School, Middle Cove, Sydney, Australia *** Kamaroi Rudolf Steiner School, Belrose, Sydney, Australia *** Shanti Waldorf Inspired School, Budhanilkantha, Nepal *** Steiner-Waldorf Schools Fellowship Forest Row, Sussex, UK *** Curriculum Integration: Terri Reinhart. Denver Waldorf School. Colorado, USA *** Photograph: Courtesy of Shanti Waldorf Inspired School ***
All Rights Reserved: Eric K. Fairman© 2010 Email: eric.fairman@gmail.com

A Steiner-Waldorf Early Childhood Curriculum

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