The Clover Hill Mixed-Age Kindergarten for Children Ages 3-6
Freedom to Play...
A child coming to our mixed age kindergarten arrives each day to join his or her extended family - indeed, to be in their second home. The atmosphere of our beautiful classrooms is simple, warm and inviting. They are permeated with a mood of love and safety.
The morning begins with a warm cup of tea in our play yard followed by an hour of vigorous outdoor free play, in all weather. This active time first thing in the morning helps the children work off some energy. This is especially important for children who are in need of free movement following a commute. Free movement outdoors prepares them for the more focused indoor time of circle and snack.
After snack, the children have another extended period of self-directed play. While the children are playing with simple, open-ended toys made of only natural materials such as silk or wool, the teachers observe as they themselves complete practical, purposeful work typical of the home environment. We recognize that when we provide sources of imitation, the children take it up into their imaginative play. Each movement, task or gesture carried out by the teacher is done with consciousness, care and purpose, knowing it is being absorbed and imitated with precision. One teacher may be washing and ironing napkins, or perhaps chopping vegetables for the winter soup to be served for snack, with eager helpers who join out of their own free will. The other teacher may be joyfully knitting a new toy for the room, each day the children noticing a little more progress, until finally it is finished and presented to the children, who receive it with a deep sense of reverence and gratitude for all the work put into it.
Uninterrupted, extended play is one of the greatest gifts we can offer young children today. A play-based environment with ample time for free play was once the mainstay of kindergartens throughout the world. It is now a rarity. Today in many mainstream kindergartens academic leaning geared to state-mandated testing has generally replaced free play time. We recognize that when we allow long periods of self-directed, uninterrupted play, we are making room for them to develop strong concentration. And we see that giving children ample time to move about freely is crucial for healthy brain development and is creating the inner experience - the very foundation - for geometry or physics.
Organic and Green...
One of our priorities in the kindergarten is to provide a highly-nourishing, home-made, hot snack prepared with organic ingredients. We provide a healthy environment for the child in every aspect of the school, from the snack to the natural play materials to the green cleaning products we use.
Form and Rhythm...
While the kindergarten morning is rich with free play time, our program, inspired by Waldorf education, also provides the young child with form and rhythm. We regard these as necessary for health and optimal development. We move through the year on a daily, weekly and seasonal rhythm, knowing how repetition and sameness bring a deep sense of security to a young child. Our morning has a regular rhythm of outdoor play, circle time, snack, indoor play time, a puppet show or story time, and lunch. This rhythm supports harmony in body, soul and spirit. It teaches the body to alternate activity with rest, the emotions to be in balanced movement, and the thinking to be open and flexible.
Circle time is a time for building community and having fun. Following a short "Good Morning" verse that marks the start of our new day together, the teacher leads the children through a story theme connected with the current season, in a combination of verses, songs and movements.
Our story time begins with the teacher gathering the children into a circle. Then a quiet, listening mood is created with the lighting of a candle and a special verse. Repetition of the same story for several days allows for deeper assimilation of the stories, which inwardly nourishes the young child.
In our program, we meet the needs of the whole child. Space is created to allow for the full development of the human being - clear thinking, deep feeling, and a courageous will.
Our Kindergarten is located at the Christ Episcopal Church, 2 Emerson Street in East Norwalk, Connecticut. We are situated in the fully renovated and upgraded 1000 sq. ft. Small Parish Hall and have use of a professional kitchen for bread baking and snack preparation. Our beautiful, off-the-street play yard is a haven for curious and playful children.
Take a Peek into our Norwalk Mixed-Age Kindergarten
Click here to read some of the updates and letters sent to our community by our kindergarten teacher.
Please visit our admissions page to download the appropriate forms for enrollment.
For More Information
Visit the About Our Philosophy page to learn more about our Early Childhood Kindergarten programs inspired by Waldorf education.