SUNFLOWERS: Preschool and Before/After School Program
A Child's Nature provides an integrated full-day childcare program for preschool children (3 to 5 years old) in the Sunflower classroom at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH. The daycare is open 6:45 am to 5:30 pm, year-round.
For young children enrolled in Pine Hill's lower grades or in local public schools, an Extended School Day Care Program is offered by A Child's Nature before or after school with our Sunflower class.
(ages 3 to 5 years old)
We Care for every part of a Child's Nature -
Guided by the principles of Waldorf Education, A Child's Nature strives to educate the whole child: heart, hands, mind and spirit. Each child finds within themselves a competent, capable individual able to step out into the world with confidence.
NUTRITION Natural foods, a natural lifestyle – A Child's Nature is committed to teaching children about healthy eating. We serve nutritious food, such as whole grains and fresh vegetables, every day. Older children participate in preparing these meals. This helps them cultivate an appreciation for wholesome, unprocessed food. Lunches are brought from home, and teachers encourage the children to eat their "good growing foods" before snack items. The children's growing bodies also need a healthy balance of activity and rest; we provide active play in the fresh air and sunshine, movement indoors, and peaceful nap times.
CREATIVITY Artistic experiences, imaginative play – Our program strives to inspire creativity. We do this by encouraging imaginative play and engaging in daily artistic activities. The children play with simple, natural toys such as cloth dolls, wooden animals and blocks, acorns and shells, which leave room for the child to live into the play. The children experience a variety of the arts: watercolor painting, drawing and modeling, singing and movement, sewing and finger knitting, stories and puppet plays. In addition, we participate in a wide range of beautiful festivals and celebrations, which also inspires the imagination.
COMMUNITY Purposeful work, shared fun – Young children learn about the value of community by being a part of their immediate community, their family and group of friends. Our program includes many opportunities for the children to engage in purposeful work together, copying the teacher and helping each other in all the daily tasks of living. The children enjoy sweeping and washing soapy dishes, building play houses, baking bread for all to share. A Child's Nature also plays an active role in the wider local community. We offer community meals, elder care outreach and participate in local events such as the Milford Pumpkin Festival and Peterborough Children and the Arts.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS Daily outdoor adventures – Our program is inspired by nature and strives to help children develop a life-long interest in the natural world. Our campus allows the opportunity for children to experience a true "forest classroom." Our beautiful play areas and forest trails provide the perfect backdrop for nourishing the nature-loving spirit within every child.
In all our classes, there is never any use of electronic media or computers; our children are much too busy playing and working, indoors and out. They learn language and other skills best through interaction with teachers and friends.
A Typical Sunflower Preschool Daily Rhythm
6:45 am Arrivals begin in Bluebell Cottage: Teacher-facilitated free play (inside the cottage or outdoors in the play yard). An early breakfast from home may be eaten.
8:00 am Preschool children move to the Sunflower classroom in the main school
8:30 am Visual Arts and Living Activities and Free Play:
- Monday: Watercolor painting
- Tuesday: Baking bread
- Wednesday: Chopping vegetables for soup
- Thursday: Laundry
- Friday: Crayon drawing
9:30 am Seasonal Movement Circle: Active movement, seasonal songs, verses and games. The circle changes frequently.
9:40 am Bathroom and hand washing.
9:45 am Warm Morning Snack: Blessing and finger plays. Food is provided by the center and cooked by the preschool class.
- Monday: Rice, butter, tamari & Sunflower seeds
- Tuesday: Oatmeal, butter, maple syrup, & Almonds
- Wednesday: Home-baked spelt bread, butter & Cheese
- Thursday: Farm vegetable soup & Bread
- Friday: Millet, butter, tamari, & Sesame seeds
10:15 am Outdoor Time: Free play in the play yard, walks together in woods/fields.
Tuesday: Walk to the biodynamic farm next door.
12:00 am Bathroom and hand washing.
12 :15 pm Lunch: Blessing, conversation. Food is brought individually from home.
1:00 pm Story Time and Rest Time: Storytelling or reading by the teacher (mainly fairy tales), lullabies, and naps on mats.
2:00 pm Quiet Activities, for non-sleepers:
- Monday: Play dough modeling
- Tuesday: Collage
- Wednesday: Tempera painting or other media
- Thursday: Baking
- Friday: Cleaning
3:00 pm Pine Hill children in the After-school program may join the Sunflower class.
3:00 pm Afternoon Snack: Bathroom, and hand washing, blessing. Food is brought from home.
3:30 pm Outdoor Free Play (when possible, in warmer months, often stay out until pick-up)
4:30 pm Indoor Free Play (inside in colder months, when too dark, cold or inclement weather)
5:30 pm Final good-byes: Classroom cleaning and close up. Pick-up may be outside in the play yards or upstairs in the Sunflower classroom.
Sunflower Circle Time: Opening Song
Let’s make a circle that is round like the sun. (For gathering children, Circle holding hands)
Let’s make a circle that includes everyone.
Good morning golden sunshine; (Arms make sun over head)
Hmmm, hmmm, hmmmm
You’re looking through my window fine.
The birds fly out and sing so gay, (Wave hands like birds)
Tutoo, tutooo, tutooo,
And thank the Lord for this fine day. (Arms cross, and bow)
Down is the Earth, (Stamp and right hand points down)
And up is the sky. (Point up)
Here are all my friends, (Point around circle)
And here am I. (Cross arms and squat down)
I build a house, I build a house, (Stand up slowly, arms making flat boards)
I build it up so high.
Point the chimney to the sky. (Arms straight up)
Here’s the roof, (Hands together make pointed roof over head )
And there’s the floor. (Bend and right hand show flat floor)
And here’s a little golden door. (Turn doorknob)
Come with me, and you will hear (Beckon with hand.)
What the fairies said to me there.
Seasonal songs, verses and games follow this introduction.
Extended School Day Care Program:
Open Before School from 6:45 am,
After School until 5:30 pm
Young children enrolled in the Pine Hill lower grades can join our Sunflower Preschool class for extended school day care, before or after school. In the afternoon, the Sunflowers all enjoy various crafts, baking, and outdoor free play together. They also have a snack brought from home.
Older school children up to age 10 may form a separate after-school group in the grades classroom across the hall. More involved artistic activities and more challenging games, homework time and outdoor time will be planned for the older students, depending on their ages and needs.