Our curriculum is based upon two fundamental parts of our philosophy. The first is that children of all ages learn through imitation. The second is that their approach to learning is through physical experience. With this is mind, we teach through imitation and work to be worthy role models! Children will acquire skills that will prepare them for kindergarten, such as literacy and following directions, by absorbing them in their natural state. For example, in the springtime, we will watch the world thaw and come alive, and birds will begin to sing. On our walks, we will see and hear them, and carry baskets to collect materials for nests. During our circle, our songs will revolve around different kinds of birds, and our movements will mimic theirs. Our stories before nap will feature brave birds, sweet birds, naughty birds. As their mind focuses on this change in our environment, so will their play, their creative energy, and their questions. In all of these ways children will direct their own learning. Everything around them is their classroom, and everything and everyone becomes a teacher. To provide our children with a foundation for a fulfilling life where they are confident, able beings, we must allow them to ask and answer their own questions.
We are not focused solely on preparing the child for school. Childhood is the MOST important time of our lives developmentally speaking, and we aim to protect this special time for your child. In the past 20 years, early childhood education has become little more than the application of the elementary school model to younger and younger ages, yet performance-driven programs are just not what young children need! Early childhood psychology proves to us that that which is hardest and most important to teach comes to children of all ages not through lessons but through play.
At a young age, self-regulation, or “good executive function” is the highest indicator of future academic success as well as a predictor of effective development in every area of a child’s life. Children that are able to self-regulate are easily identified: they can resist impulses, exert self-control, and understand their emotions and behavior. We will encourage the development of executive function and self-regulation in all our students by:
- Providing a space free of television, a known inhibitor to this development
- Minimizing our involvement in and interruption of children’s play
- Allow and encourage children of different ages to be together
- Giving space to children of all ages for them to make their own decisions
As adults, we can use our own growth as an example: academic, professional, and interpersonal “success” requires motivation, flexibility, creativity, respect, and love. This is what children will learn at DDS.
Our school is suited to children aged 12 weeks to 7 years. At our school we provide everything your growing child needs in their years before school. This, combined with the fact that the relationship between child and caregiver is very important and consistency in this relationship cannot be undervalued, we encourage parents to consider DDS as a place for your child until they enter kindergarten.
“What is already present in small children grows with them as they mature. So the final law is to protect
childhood. Shield it from experimentation, from
premature development, from floods of stimuli, from everything that serves to weaken the child’s powers of imagination. Protect childhood as a source of physical well-being, of inner strength, of self-identity, of social tolerance.”
-Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education