Early Childhood Programs


It's true. Waldorf nursery, pre-school and kindergarten children are immersed in the natural world for 1 to 4 hours per day in all seasons. Why? Here is one of the many reasons: Children who play and spend time in nature have increased concentration and cognitive skills, including mitigation of ADHD/ADD symptoms. Joy, wonder and health giving qualities are all important facets of our nature-based education.

Rosebud, Nursery, Pre-School & Kindergarten Programs

Our Rosebud Parent & Child program serves young children, ages 0-3, with their parent/caregiver. Our mixed age Nursery, Pre-school and Kindergarten classes provide a bridge between home life and school. The Butterfly nursery serves our youngest students, age one to three years of age. Our Pre-School  serves our 3-4 year olds. Our Golden Forest and Sunflower Kindergarten classes include children from 4 to 6 to six years old. 

All Early Childhood classes begin at 8:15 a.m. and conclude at 12:15 p.m., with the option of Extended Care until 2:30pm.

Days & Times of Programs

Rosebud days & hours: Our Rosebud Parent & Child program runs all year; Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. This year, 2019-20, all Rosebud classes are held on Thursdays, from 9am - 11am. Classes are held in the Butterfly Nursery classroom, with an outdoor walk to finish the morning. Classes are facilitated by our Butterfly Nursery teacher, Kimberly Lewis.

Nursery days & hours: Our Butterfly Young Nursery program runs Monday through Wednesday, and includes a 1-day (Wednesday) 2-day (Monday-Tuesday), and a 3-day option (Monday - Wednesday).

Pre-School days & hours: Our Pre-School runs Monday through Friday, and includes a 2-day option (Mon & Tues), a 2 or 3-day option (Wed & Thurs/Friday) and a 4 or 5-day option (Mon-Thurs/Friday).

Kindergarten days and hours: We offer a limited number of 2-day options for the Golden Forest KG (Thursday - Friday). We offer 4-day (Monday - Thursday ) and 5-day (Monday - Friday) for both the Sunflower and Golden Forest Kindergarten programs.

Golden Forest KG is an Outdoor Kindergarten: Students spend all morning outside, all year, in our 100-acre campus woods.
Sunflower KG also spends a significant portion of the day (ie 70 percent) out of doors, on our campus in our Early Childhood playground, and in the 100-acre wood that surrounds.

Extended Care Program: runs from 12:15pm until 2:30 pm for Nursery, Pre-school and Kindergarten students.

Rosebud Parent-Child Program

Welcome to the Rosebud Parent and Child program at Whidbey Island Waldorf School! We offer year-round Rosebud programs for parents and their infants and toddlers.

Our Rosebud program creates a warm, nurturing, supportive environment for children (birth to three) and their parents or caregiver to discover the joy the Waldorf School setting, as a family. Parents are guided through observations of the children and work activities while children are invited to join free and imaginative play. Circle time offers songs, verses, and movement for parents and children to experience together. A wholesome snack nourishes the body and a simple puppet story nourishes the soul. Parents and teachers will work together to create a gentle transition from home to school.

Rosebud programs generally run through the fall, winter, spring and summer.
Each seasonal program runs anywhere from 5 to 12 weeks.
Class meets once a week, for two hours each time.

In 2019/20, Rosebud will be held on Thursday mornings, from 9am - 11am.
Tuition will vary depending on the number of weeks for each series of classes.

“Young children view the world with wonder and they give themselves fully to every experience. Waldorf teachers try to keep alive the children’s natural sense of wonder and their sense of oneness and unselfconscious participation with the world.”
— Roberto Trostli, Rhythms of Learning

Butterfly Nursery

Our Butterfly Nursery is a beautiful and inviting place, and provides a most important bridge between home life and school. The Butterfly nursery serves our youngest students, age one to three years of age.

In the Butterfly Nursery we provide 1:1 care so that the child develops trust with the caregiver and a sense of respect and competency during care-giving routines. Mindful observations are made in order to more fully understand and assess the gifts and needs of the class and individual children.

Rhythm is of the utmost importance as we develop a breathing quality to the flow of the day so that the children can anticipate and relax within child-centered activities. Our environment establishes an open-ended, natural play space indoors and outdoors that invites a variety of fine motor, gross motor and creative play opportunities. Socialization is built as we actively support children through conflicts in order to build skills necessary for healthy participation in community.

Our Nursery children begin their day outdoors and slowly, over the course of the morning, transition inside. Daily rhythms are outside nature play, inside for circle time with songs and movement, healthy, organic snack, and inside imaginative play.


Huckleberry Preschool

Our preschool is a warm and welcoming place for your child. We have a strong and consistent daily and weekly rhythm that offers the children a sense of security, allowing them to freely explore what life in the preschool has to offer. Play is the work of the young child, and imitation is their natural way to learn. In this way the warmth, security, and natural beauty that abound in our wholesome, home-like classroom is an ideal setting for their growth - where we offer activities such as storytelling, singing, puppetry, costume play, circle games, seasonal crafts, watercolor painting, drawing with beeswax crayons, baking, cleaning, outdoor and indoor play, and festivals.

Songs and nursery rhymes cultivate a lively sense of language. Listening to stories, watching puppet shows and acting in dramatic play enrich language and strengthen a child’s memory and imagination. Counting games and rhythmic activities build a solid foundation for arithmetic and number skills. Work and play activities develop coordination, concentration, and a healthy social sensitivity. Participation in seasonal activities and festivals provides joyful experience and develop a child’s inner life.

We serve a hearty and healthy family style snack each day and with only twelve students and two teachers our students are cared for in an unhurried atmosphere of warmth and love where they are sure to thrive.

In parent meetings your teacher will lead discussions about child development, Waldorf education and parenting.

“I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true for human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are so solidified and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out

Golden Forest Kindergarten (A Forest Kindergarten Model)

Providing a strong and consistent daily and weekly rhythm that holds the children so that they can feel free to explore their environment in a predictable setting, the Golden Forest class uses the fields and woods as its "home room" and generally spends the entirety of its 4-hour morning outside (the Golden Forest class may spend occasional time inside for festival preparation, visiting other classes, or artistic work tailored for a specific class).  We follow principles of Waldorf early childhood education such as the importance of imaginative play, teaching out of imitation rather than through explanation, creating predictability and stability through rhythm and consistency among the adults, nourishing developing senses such as balance and self-movement and well-being and touch, and valuing the sensory and motor integration so easy to obtain from time spent moving in natural and uneven and varying terrains.  

Familiar aspects of a Waldorf morning manifest in a variety of satisfying ways:  we roast potatoes in the coals of a bonfire and cook tea or rice with a mountaineering stove; various outdoor "rooms" provide the perfect spot for seasonal movement circles, stories, and puppet shows; children's imaginative play blossoms in these same outdoor rooms; we sculpt and create art in nature such as cairns, fairy houses, and functional and artistic designs such spirals; and children tune themselves to qualities of expansion and contraction (loud or soft voice; vigorous or gentle movement) naturally in response to the open or closed terrain.  We are outside in all weather, and experienced teachers guide the morning in ways to keep the children comfortable by seeking warmer or cooler spots and making judicious use of warming huts such as the Little Glass House.  Our generous amount of time outside frees children from any sense of haste or hurry; they have time to receive the benefits of seeing a process begun and completed.  This is Waldorf education that works in harmony with our other early childhood programs and the school as a whole.

Our morning begins no more than a brief walk from the main campus and concludes at the early childhood playground.  We provide children a cubby at school. For children who stay for extended care, their cubby will be close to the extended care room.


Sunflower Kindergarten

Encompassed by the enchantments of the surrounding 100 acre wood, Sunflower Kindergarten moves through each day and week balancing the experiences of the classroom indoors and the forest and playground outdoors. Each environment supports ample imaginative free play, practical work, artistic and creative projects, and a healthy variety of gross and fine motor movement. The children in the Sunflower kindergarten class enjoy the merriment of song and verse during regular circle time, the gift of imaginative moving pictures during story time, the joy of purposeful work and play, and a healthy homemade snack served family style.

The Sunflower week is carried by a strong weekly rhythm whereby we enjoy “hike days” and “home days”, each morning beginning and ending in a predictable way. The transitions of the morning are held with loving care as we breathe our way between the “expected to” and “free to” activities of each day. Hike days are accompanied by backpacks, water bottles, ample outdoor gear, and our picnic style homemade snacks. Home days are an opportunity to immerse into the creative play things of the classroom and to engage in the practical preparations for snack time with food preparations, table setting, etc. On all days, no matter where we are, the children are given ample time to build, to imagine, and to engage fully in the child’s true work of collaborative play, the whole of which builds a healthy foundation for the child’s developing senses of balance, movement, touch and well being. Childhood is a thing to be-hold, and not to be rushed. It is, simply put, to be.

Robin Song Extended Care

Whidbey Island Waldorf School currently offers Extended Care program Monday through Friday for  Early Childhood (Nursery, Pre-School & Kindergarten). The program is designed with the students' school day in mind, and offers a healthy rhythm of breathing to accommodate a longer day for the younger children in a developmentally-appropriate way. The programs are run by  trained Waldorf teachers who coordinates care with her assistant(s).

We offer an advanced registration option for Extended Care from 12:15 - 2:30 pm for WIWS-enrolled Nursery, Pre-School and Kindergarten students. Spaces are limited, particularly in the Nursery. It is best to reach out to us as soon as you know you may need Extended Care for your child/ren.

Care is offered on days of school enrollment only; the cost of attendance is added to monthly tuition via the family's TADS financial agreement each month. Participating students must be pre-registered for this part of our extended care program.


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