Children attend Kindergarten from around the age of 4½ years and continue for two years, by which time they are 6. The kindergarten provides a balanced, comprehensive program that weaves activity and free creative play through a daily rhythm that nurtures inner vitality. The demands of formal teaching do not enter here.

Kindergarten outdoors

  • A variety of practical and artistic activities - baking, painting, drawing, modeling and handcrafts - create a rhythm to the week that are coloured by seasonal moods and festival celebrations.
  • Songs, nursery rhymes, stories, puppet plays and the children’s own dramatic play nourish their feeling life, cultivate language skills and strengthen the power of imagination.
  • Counting games, finger plays, rhythmic movement games and active physical play help build a strong foundation for arithmetic and number skills and develop co-ordination and the ability to concentrate.
  • Natural, beautiful materials, shells, seeds, stones, simple dolls and wooden toys, coloured cloths and play frames encourage a rich fantasy life and creative thinking and provide an opportunity for constructive, co-operative play.
  • Building, swinging, climbing and balancing, digging, water play, gardening and caring for animals encourage children to feel at home in their body and in the environment.

Bush Kindy

Mount Barker Waldorf School operates a Bush Kindy at the bottom of the school’s picturesque grounds. The Bush Kindy arose as a creative solution developed by a Kindergarten teacher when her class needed to vacate the Nightingale classroom during the renovations in 2009. It was inspired by Forest Kindergartens and by the ‘education in nature’ impulse that is developing throughout Europe and the USA.

Bush Kindy has been very positive for the children, parents and teachers. The teacher observed noticeable changes in the children in their development and relationship to each other and the natural world. This was confirmed by parents’ experiences of their children also. The social and innovative creative play expanded the children’s experiences in all aspects. It complimented the curriculum the children had experienced so far at kindergarten and rounded of the year in a fresh and relaxed atmosphere.

So now, each year the class has a Bush Kindy as an educational impulse in its own right supported by the Collegiate Leadership Group and Executive. The classroom is between the garden classroom, walled secret garden, pizza oven and chook yard. The area is sheltered by large trees, which provide shade. Further shelter will be in the extended and modified area around the pizza oven that also serves as a Bush Kitchen. 

The day - from 8.50am-12.30pm - revolves around a strong and predictable rhythm providing play, craft and artistic activities, walks, song and movement, morning tea and story. Naturally some of these activities are modified for the environment, while other Nightingale activities are replaced by activities more appropriate to the setting. The focus for the term is on children interacting with nature and the naturally occurring activities that come out of living in this environment for a short period.

In the case of extreme weather, hot or cold, the class moves to Nightingale Kindergarten or Banksia Rose Kindergarten. The teacher makes this decision on the day and moves the class once all the children have arrived at Bush Kindy.

Once at Bush Kindy the children deliver their bags, say good-bye to parents and good morning to their teacher and then stay together in the sandpit. When all the children have arrived they go into free play and the activities of the day. For example, preparing morning tea, feeding the hens and collecting eggs, caring for the guinea pigs, gathering firewood, building a camp fire, clay modelling and grass craft (daisy chains, simple weaving etc).

The day ends in a shady story circle and then walk up to Nightingale Kindergarten or Banksia Rose Kindergarten for pick up and afternoon kindergarten.