Summerfield's preschool program strives to make the transition from home to school as gentle as possible by creating an classroom setting that feels just like a home. At the age of three, children are just beginning to interact with their peers and they imitate the world around them. It is through active play and this imitation that children this age develop a foundation for future learning.
The Rosebud Preschool room has an area where the children can play house, with brooms for sweeping and a play stove for "cooking" stones and seashells or perhaps making tea for the dolls. The doll corner offers a place in which the children can become mothers and fathers of the "babies", or perhaps change it into a doctor's office or a school. Toys made of natural materials, for example, a wooden doll bed, silk cloth or flannel pillow, are quite inviting to touch. The items in the Preschool are carefully selected with the idea that they may be used for many different things, depending on the imagination. The basket of stones may be food, a barn fence, or money to pay the baker. The toys stimulate the imagination, which in turn creates valuable play.
Our morning work may be the grinding of wheat, and the measuring, mixing and kneading of dough. Through this activity the children have the opportunity to learn patience while the class waits for the dough to rise. The final reward is when the class can join together around the table and share the creation for snack.
The outside area is like the backyard at home, with a patio to sweep, a garden of flowers to care for and a place to grow vegetables. There is a sand-play area, a lawn area on which to run or play games, and a shady area in which to rest.
Like traditional Waldorf Kindergartens, the Rosebud Preschool follows a rhythm of the day, week and year. Language is developed through songs, circle games and stories. We sing many songs during the day: during our morning greeting, our inside circle time, on walks, while working, and to bless our meal. Circle is a time for guided imitation when we may be the farmer sowing the seeds or the horse galloping to town. Through storytelling and puppet shows, the child's vocabulary grows and the imagination is kindled.