Early Childhood – enjoying an unhurried childhood
Early Childhood, education is centred upon meeting the needs of the child’s developing motivation or will. A young child’s work is play. The Early Childhood program is focused around activity and play, in a colourful environment equipped with natural, basic materials. At Mansfield Steiner School, Early Childhood consists of Playgroup, Morning Star Kindergarten (a group for those turning four, and a group for those turning five) and Rosa Mundi Prep.
‘Morning Star’ Room – Playgroup
Our weekly Playgroup is a gathering of parents and little children (birth to about three and a half years) held in the Morning Star room. The program is informal, with free play inside and out. The children can join in baking; they come together for a morning song circle and morning tea, and share a simple story at the end of the morning. A playgroup facilitator is present to lead these activities. Parent support is necessary to ensure that the morning runs smoothly and is enjoyable for all in attendance.
‘Morning Star’ Kindergarten
These smaller children are just beginning to socialise and to be comfortable away from their parents. Our sessions are largely devoted to largely devoted to free play, inside and outside. Activities such as painting, baking or simple handcraft are offered. Morning tea is shared at the table and the session finishes with songs, finger-plays and a simple story, perhaps acted out with props or puppets. Opening and closing verses and the mealtime grace are repeated throughout the year and children feel secure with their familiarity.
Rosa Mundi Prep
Children need to be turning five years of age by April 30 in the year they are enrolled in Prep. This is a preparatory program offering extended activities over five days. The focus of this year is the continuing development of foundation skills. For example, foundations of reading and language skills are being laid through the verses, songs and rich language of storytelling.
“Play is important because by definition, it is something every child can succeed in. It is a natural thing they do unless we take it away, unless we ‘educate’ children out of play, which is what is happening now in many places,” Dr Pasi Sahlberg.