The MPCS Kindergarten, a member of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, is a play-based, half day or full day, one or two-year program for the child turning 5 or 6 years old during the year. In the Kindergarten, the teachers gently lead the child across the bridge from home to school, laying a strong, healthy foundation for the academic program that begins in First Grade.
The Kindergarten program is based upon the simple, yet profound concepts of imitation, repetition, and creative play. Due to its unique format, the MPCS Kindergarten is appropriate for a mixed-age group of children from early five-year-olds to the pre-first grade six-year-olds.
The Kindergarten student will learn how to work within a group, listen to stories, interact with the teacher, and follow a daily routine. At the same time, the student is also being aided in his or her development as an individual through the encouragement of creative play, healthy movement indoors and out, practical life skills, and many artistic opportunities.
Each day follows a regular and reassuring pattern and rhythm. Within the rhythm of each week, the children engage in these activities following a regular pattern: painting, baking, sewing, drawing, and beeswax modeling. Story, song, seasonal activities and celebrations carry us through the cycle of the natural year.
In a homelike environment, the Kindergarten program is rich in singing, seasonal activities, painting, puppetry, and storytelling. Waldorf teachers believe it is profoundly important that the child have time to develop body, imagination, and will in a secure setting. Free play with simple natural toys draws out the imagination.
Because the Kindergarten child lives so deeply in the environment around him and imitates all he sees, the teacher strives to create an environment that mirrors back to the child the good and the beautiful. The teacher cultivates a reverence for nature and for caring relationships and good habits, laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning, personal development, fruitful relationships with others and engagement with the world.
Social development and cooperative learning are also emphasized in kindergarten. In particular, acquiring the skills of concentration, courtesy, social habits, classroom habits and spatial awareness are important goals providing a strong foundation for future learning and for life.
Kindergarten as a Foundation
One key goal of the kindergarten program is to lay a strong foundation for the formal academic curriculum of the grades. Many preliminary academic skills are practiced daily. This material is not presented through formal academic lessons, but rather is embedded in the activities and rhythms of each day. The kindergarten program also allows children to fully develop their creativity, imagination, and self-confidence in preparation for the higher levels of cognitive thinking developed in the later grades.
For example, music, games and finger play develop rhythm and counting skills. The hands-on activities of gardening, cooking, nature walks, seasonal activities, etc., introduce science, math and geography skills, and concepts and vocabulary developed through classroom activities and stories. Multicultural stories give the child an introduction to social studies.
The curriculum establishes solid foundations for work in the Grades in the following areas—as natural parts of the Kindergarten student’s activities:
- Math: The qualities of numbers; sorting and ordering; rhythm counting with movement and song; measuring in baking and cooking; woodworking
- Language Arts: fairy tales from around the world; singing; poetry recitation; with emphasis on the oral tradition
- Science: Cooking; baking; nature stories; nature walks; observations; gardening
- History & Social Studies: Multicultural stories; festivals; foods
- Handwork: Finger crocheting; sewing; cutting; pasting; drawing; seasonal crafts; woodworking (fine motor skills, foundation for concentration, speech and thinking)
- World Language: Introduction to Spanish, through songs and rhymes
- Visual & Performing Arts: Drawing; painting; beeswax modeling; drama; singing; puppetry
- Movement/Physical Education/Games: Circle games, finger games, jumping rope, climbing, outdoor imaginative play
Directed academic instruction and activities are not emphasized in a Kindergarten; the emphasis lies on the foundation skills and experiences described above.
Kindergarten Program Options
Mountain Phoenix offers the following kindergarten program options:
- 5 Full-Day Program
- 5 Half-Day Program
- 5 Extended Half-Day Program
For drop-off and pickup times, see here.
Tuition & Fees
The kindergarten full-day program is tuition-based. To view current tuition rates and fees, click here.
Clarification About the Kindergarten Cutoff Date
If your child is not 5 years old before October 1st, they are not considered a Kindergartener. However, we have older pre-schoolers in the Kindergarten class, which is why it’s referred to as a “Mixed-Age Kindergarten. Those families pay pre-school tuition for the whole school year, even after their child turns 5 (if that is after Oct. 1).