Kindergarten Handbook - Journey School

Kindergarten Handbook - Journey School

Journey School 27102 Foxborough Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 (949) 448-7232 (phone) (949) 448-7256 (fax) 1 THE JOURNEY KINDERGARTEN ...

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Journey School 27102 Foxborough Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 (949) 448-7232 (phone) (949) 448-7256 (fax)



From my head to my feet, I am the image of love. From my heart to my hands, I feel the breath of love. When I speak with my mouth, I speak kind words. When I behold kindness everywhere; In mother, in father, in all dear people, In children, in plants, in flowers, in stones, No fear comes near, Only love for all around me


Welcome Introduction to the Journey Kindergarten General Kindergarten Schedule: Daily Rhythm and Weekly Rhythm Preparing For the First Day Arrival and Dismissal Cell Phone Usage Tardiness and Absences Kindergarten After-Care Program: Little Acorns Practical Matters: Clothing and Warmth Health and Illness Children with Allergies Media Nutrition Toys Positive Discipline in Kindergarten Seasonal Celebrations Birthdays Parent Communication: Parent Meetings Parent-Teacher Conferences First Grade Readiness Parent Volunteers Learning About Waldorf Education: Recommended Parent Readings Verses and Songs Gift Ideas for Young Children


WELCOME Dear Parents, Each year as the doors of the kindergarten open in September, children, parents and teachers are equally excited. The parents depart with one last goodbye kiss and hug entrusting their dear little ones to our care. The child's day is full of creative play along with painting or baking, lots of singing and a story. When the parents arrive to collect their children and eagerly question them about the day's events, they are most often answered by dreamy gazes. "Nothing" may be the reply to the question, "What did you do today in Kindergarten?" The child of this age has a different kind of memory and lives in the wonder of the present moment. Often the kindergarten experiences may unveil themselves in a song or verse in the bathtub or before sleep. Sometimes a simple statement from the parent (such as, "It was walk day.") will lead to a gently unfolding tale from your child. As teachers, we want to build a bridge between home and kindergarten. We hope that this booklet begins to build that bridge by shedding light on our work with the children. More than anything else, we want you to feel that we are always open to your questions and concerns and that through the school we may grow together as parents, teachers and children into a true community. Warmly, The Kindergarten Faculty Morning Glory Kindergarten Snap Dragon Kindergarten Dandelion Kindergarten Sunflower Kindergarten


Miss. Hellene Ms. Jill Ms. B Ms. Jennifer

[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

INTRODUCTION TO THE JOURNEY KINDERGARTEN What is a Waldorf School? Waldorf education was born post World War I Europe, when socio-economic, political and technological circumstances were shifting rapidly. Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, began working with social leaders to develop an education that would cultivate in young people the basis on which to develop into free, moral, and integrated individuals who could meet the challenges of the 20th century. Steiner put forth the premise that human beings have a threefold nature: physical, social-emotional, and intellectual. Hence, in his educational model, the heart must be reached as well as the mind and body. Since Steiner’s time, Waldorf Education has engaged all aspects of a child’s being. Journey School adheres to this holistic educational picture. Learning is balanced in these three realms to enable each child to fully develop physical will and artistic sensibility alongside intellectual capacity. Addressing the threefold nature of children allows them to move gradually into adulthood as healthy human beings. As a progressive public charter school in Orange County, Journey School is committed to ensuring that more children and families have access to Waldorf Education. Our Kindergarten Our Kindergartens are based on an understanding of child development in which the child between birth and age seven develops and learns through imitation. We thus strive to create a home-like environment worthy of imitation. Artistic activity, "daily life" experiences and play using simple wooden toys and basic play materials leave the children free to unfold their own creativity. These activities also support their physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. We nurture a love and joy for nature, the unfolding seasons, the beauty of color, music, language and movement in the children. Allowing the children's imagination and creativity to develop in Kindergarten creates a foundation for academics and a continued desire to learn. In Kindergarten, the teachers work with attention to beauty and detail. We consciously choose the items in the room, the activities with which they are engaged, and the stories and circle time activities that will promote the children's healthy development. There is attentive observation of the children as they grow, with an eye to providing them what they individually need to support that development.


The Importance of Rhythm in the Classroom and at Home Children experience the world in its totality and are carried along by the rhythms of the world they live in, from the rhythms of breathing in their bodies to the daily rhythm of sleeping and waking to the yearly cycle of the seasons. Our view is that children flourish when their daily activities reflect the natural order of life with a rhythmic arrangement of the day, providing them with a sense of security and trust. Daily rhythm creates good hygienic, social and work habits. It is a key to sorting out and even preventing all manner of disciplinary situations. Recent scientific research shows that such repetition helps the development of neurological pathways in the brain. Our daily activities flow with a sense of "breathing out” to ''breathing in” from the active moments of circle and joyful work and play to the quiet moments of the fairy rest time. An example of a Kindergarten rhythm may be: circle to begin the day as we all sing and dance, celebrating the seasons and the joy of movement. Then the children are involved in creative play and work. After snack, the children may go outside to play, then return to the quiet magic of a fairy tale. All transitions between activities are graced with song as the teacher creates a rhythm of active and quiet experiences for the children. Activities such as watercolor painting, coloring, beeswax modeling, puppet show or play, finger knitting, sewing, housekeeping, cooking, baking, gardening and gift making are also shared. Just as children are carried along by the school day’s rhythms, so too, are they nourished by the regular rhythms at home. Although it may challenge us in these modern times to establish set mealtimes and bedtimes, we strongly support you in such a commitment. It is so healthy for young children to go to bed at the same time every night. We recommend this be 7:00pm, and no later than 7:30pm.


General Kindergarten Schedule (example) * Daily Rhythm

8:30 8:55 9:20 10:10 10:30 11:00 12:00 12:15 12:25 12:30

8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Enter class/ Morning greeting Circle Dramatic play/artistic expression Clean Up/Wash hands Snack Outside Play Rest time Story Goodbye Circle Dismiss

Weekly Rhythm (example) Day Monday

Snack Brown rice/ carrots

Activity Sewing or painting


Millet porridge

Coloring and seasonal activity


Oatmeal, apples

Bread making

Thursday Friday

Stone Soup and bread Popcorn, fresh fruit

Finger knitting or snack prep Nature walk, beeswax

*Your child’s class may have slight variations to their daily and weekly rhythms. Water is always available for the children.

Preparing for the First Day There are a few items your child should bring to school: (Please refer to your specific teacher’s recommendations) • A plain ceramic drinking mug free of slogans or cartoonish art; sized appropriately for your child (8 oz. is recommended). • A full change of clothing, all labeled with your child's first and last name, which will be kept in the classroom (include shirt, pants/shorts, socks and underwear).


Arrival The morning greeting and opening circle are integral parts of the day. Tardiness breaks this special early morning routine for children and does not allow them needed time to transition from the drive to school to integrating with their classmates. We suggest that you bring your child to school between 8:15 and 8:25 a.m. Your Kindergarten teacher will let you know where it is best to wait. The morning school bell will sound at 8:25 a.m. If you are not already waiting by your child’s classroom, please begin walking there. Kindergarten begins at 8:30 a.m. Please remain with your child until the teacher opens the door and greets your child at 8:30 am. Teachers are not able to receive the children prior to that time. Please sign in your child on the class sign-in sheet. If your child is staying for after care, please leave his/her lunch in the basket outside the classroom. This is also a valuable time for parents to meet with one another, and perhaps arrange for play dates outside of school. We do ask for a quick kiss and hug and then for you to leave, to ease your child's transition and so that we can begin our work. Please park in the lot or on the street. We share the campus with Niguel Preschool and they also need to park. We have staggered our time with them so that the parking lot is available for the wave of parents who will be dropping off children at the preschool. Dismissal For dismissal, please park and walk in to meet your child outside the kindergarten at 12:30 p.m. If someone other than the parent is to pick up your child, please make certain they are on the release form in the office, and please let the teacher know. Any child not picked up by 12:40 will be brought to the office. Prompt pick up is requested as this is a working office. Cell Phone Usage on Campus We respectfully ask that there be no cell phone usage on campus at arrival and dismissal times ~ allow this time to be present and attentive to your child. We also request that adults refrain from cell phone use in the play yard and on nature walks, and to step away from the children if a call needs to be taken.


Tardiness If you arrive after 8:30 a.m. please walk your child to the office to obtain a tardy slip. Then wait with your child on the class ramp until your child’s teacher opens the door to greet your child. Absences Parents are to notify the school office of a student’s absence as soon as possible, and no later than 9:30 a.m. @ (949) 448-7232. Kindergarten After Care Program: Little Acorns Little Acorns serves the kindergarten families of our Journey School community by offering quality, age-appropriate care, consistent with the principles of Waldorf education. Please visit the Journey School Website for aftercare information. You may contact Tammra Tanner for program scheduling and details: (714) 679-7488 or [email protected]

PRACTICAL MATTERS Clothing and Warmth The Journey Kindergarten is a rich learning environment which promotes healthy development and inspires an appreciation for beauty. We strive to have the children working and playing freely without distractions. We ask for your support in the following clothing guidelines that reflect these intentions of a Waldorfinspired education. Our overall guideline is that school clothing, outerwear, and lunch sacks (lunch sacks are only for those attending aftercare) be free of all images, slogans, cartoons, logos, commercial advertising, and caricatures (no writing, graphics, decorations, sparkles/glitter). Please no sports jerseys or camouflaged clothing. Journey School T-shirts are allowed. Specifically we request the following: • Sturdy and simple clothing for active play •

Plain, solid colored shirts and blouses are requested by the Early Childhood teachers


These may be purchased inexpensively at: Michaels (craft department), Target, and Old Navy. A great on-line source for inexpensive T-shirts, leggings, dresses, plain jackets and hoodies is: Rain boots and rain coat with hood - we play outside daily, rain and shine.

Some resources for these items:,, Layers for comfort inside and outside. Physical warmth is essential to the

healthy development of the child. We often have cool mornings and warm afternoons at Journey School, thus layers are important. •

Plain solid colored hoodies and jackets

Label all clothing, jackets, hoodies and sweaters with first and last name using Sharpie or iron-on labels which may be purchased at or

Closed toe and sturdy shoes that your child can put on themselves. Please no

crocs, slip-on party shoes, flip-flops, shoes with heels, flashing lights or media characters or cartoons. Girls wear shorts or leggings under skirts and dresses (so they can freely

climb and move). 0n Nature Walk day please dress your child in lightweight long pants and

closed toe shoes (sneakers are fine). Please, no: •

strapless, backless or bare midriff garments

leave wristwatches, bracelets, and necklaces at home

remove temporary tattoos and nail polish before coming to school

We all know how children love to create, build, cook and play, play, play! In the Kindergarten we go outside every day, allowing the children to experience all the seasonal changes in nature. Their clothes often get muddy or wet. A change of clothing midway through the kindergarten day is not uncommon. Please feel free to check your child's extra clothes bag and exchange them if needed.


Health and Illness We strive to provide an environment which promotes healthy activity for your child. The children wash hands regularly and we discourage sharing food or placing toys in the mouth. In order to help maintain a healthy environment we ask that children not attend school if they have: • a fever above 100 degrees, colored nasal discharge, vomiting, or persistent cough • a contagious disease such as chicken pox, strep, measles, impetigo, pinworms, conjunctivitis, or lice, etc. •

if they are not feeling well enough to fully participate in activities at school

We recommend that children stay home 24 hours fever-free after having a fever. The lively kindergarten is not a soothing environment for a sick or recovering child.

Children with Allergies After filling out pertinent allergy information on the student’s Emergency Forms and school records, also communicate with the class teacher regarding any allergies and medications to be administered at school. If your child is allergic to certain foods that we serve, such as wheat/gluten, you may provide an alternate bread or birthday treat, which we will store in the freezer. Please label them with your child's name. Media Policy Since the kindergarten child learns primarily through imitation, they need models worthy of imitation. The strong influence media has upon young children is thus, quite visible. The greatest loss may be the dimming effect it has on a child’s imagination. Imagination provides the foundation for learning and growth, but a child may get “stuck” in creative play, unable to play anything but a super hero, transformer or television character. Some children may lose their imagination and cannot ''think'' of anything to play or they cannot sit still during a story being told. Story time becomes a distressing time instead of a time of wonderment and delight. A child may speak in the tone of a certain character or machine, where speech is reduced to the sound of mechanical noises. There are other noticeable effects of media on children as well, such as uneasiness and lack of attention span or perseverance. There are wonderful alternatives to media that we encourage you to explore:


• Domestic work such as cooking with you, baking, washing dishes, folding laundry, gardening and carpentry. • Reading and looking at children's literature and artistic activities such as drawing, painting, modeling beeswax or dough and craft making • Jumping rope and outdoor activities are also highly encouraged. We ask for complete elimination of electronic media during the school week, from Sunday evening to Friday after school. For our purposes, media is considered to include: • television, videos, movies, video games, computer games (including phone apps) • I-pods, CD players, radio and recorded music • Additionally, Saturday morning fare, adult-oriented programming, and PGrated and above movies are strongly discouraged. Our preference, as supported by brain research, is to eliminate all screen activities for the young child. We respect your efforts and applaud your sincere desire to provide the very best environment for your child. Please speak with us about your questions and concerns. Nutrition Snacks prepared in the kindergarten offer wholesome ingredients and encourage reverence for healthy bodies and a healthy earth. Families are encouraged to support this philosophy at home by following these guidelines: • wholesome, natural ingredients with minimal refined sugar • a good source of protein for breakfast Toys We ask that children do not bring toys from home. If your child needs a bridge between home and school, a toy could journey in the car and be waiting for the child at the end of the school day. If a child does bring a toy to school, we have the toy "rest" in the child's cubby or in the kitchen and then go home at the end of the day. Sometimes the children like to bring something to show the class. In this case, the child can check with the teacher and then we will make a time during the day for the child to share what was brought. If you have any questions, please speak to your child's teacher.


PARENT COMMUNICATION Kindergarten Parent Meetings A series of parent evenings/afternoons are scheduled throughout the year for parents only. These meetings are an important part of your Journey School experience. They offer parents the opportunity to learn more about Waldorf education and also help to strengthen our nurturing community of parents and teachers. We ask that at least one parent per family attend these meetings. Your child’s teacher will inform you of the dates. Parent Teacher Conferences The kindergarten teachers hold regularly scheduled conferences with you during the month of November to share your child's progress and to hear your input. Seasonal Celebrations Celebration of the seasons is at the heart of the Journey School kindergarten. Because young children live so fully into the world that surrounds them, our celebrations primarily focus on nature's changing processes. We want the children to experience the seasons with a time of preparation, a time of peak experience and a time for letting go and saying goodbye. As the year weaves through the seasons the children love learning songs and verses chosen just for that time of year, making seasonal crafts and baking special treats. The stories told give the children a pictorial understanding of nature's processes and speak very deeply to them without our need to explain. Each room has a nature table which changes with the seasons, bringing into the room a way for the children to note these changes. Children love the nature table, bringing flowers or stones that they have found to add to what the teacher has already provided for the season. You might like to let your child have a small table or windowsill to create his or her own nature table at home with things gathered from walks or outings. Birthday Celebrations Birthdays are very special in the Kindergarten. The teachers regard your child’s presence in the kindergarten as a blessing and are grateful for the opportunity to express our appreciation on his or her birthday. Each teacher has a slightly different way of honoring your child at this time. Your child’s teacher will contact


you to discuss details. To preserve the reverence for the celebration and allow all to “live in the moment,” we ask that no recording devices are used during the event (cameras, video recordings, etc.) You may take pictures at the end of the celebration. When giving invitations for a birthday party outside of school, unless the whole class is invited, we ask that you mail invitations to individual children to avoid hurt feelings. Children are very sensitive about being included in birthday parties. First Grade Readiness Journey School's policy considering first grade placement is that a child must turn six years old by June 1st to be considered for first grade in September of that year. Our program allows for differences in development, and we will have junior children become senior children (or star children turn to sun children) in our two year program. It is important to know that this is not considered "retention", but a developmental program. We recognize that children do not develop and mature at the same rate. A child's chronological age and/or academic readiness are not enough to determine first grade readiness. We look at four major developmental areas as we near the end of the school year: gross motor development, fine motor development, and social/emotional behavior. If there is a question as to a particular child's readiness for first grade that may be chronologically ready, further assessment will be recommended. The assessment of the children is shared between the kindergarten faculty, Educational Directors and Administration. The teachers will meet with a child's parents to decide the best placement for the child following the assessment. Children enrolled in kindergarten at Journey School have first priority for admission to first grade the following year. Parent Volunteers Thank you for giving your time, care and energy to our classes! Parent participation in the life of the school takes many different forms and is essential to the school’s success. Whether working in the classroom, on Nature Walk Day, the garden, or a committee, parent volunteers provide a much needed and valued assistance. We would like to offer a few guidelines for your visit to insure the optimum environment is created for the children. Our goal is to be present for the children and to create a space for them to fully live in their imaginations.


Adult Etiquette in the classroom: Movement~ the young child is looking for movements and gestures to imitate, be it sewing, cutting vegetables or setting the table. Let us pay attention to our posture and demonstrate gestures that are meaningful and beautiful. To accomplish this, usually means we only need to slow down. Even our breathing will become deeper. Speech~ Statements are preferred over questions. Words are spoken simply and with care. It is pleasant to work quietly, perhaps humming softly. Dress~ an apron shows we are there to work. (We do have extra aprons to share). Because they can be distracting for the young child, please minimize perfume, cosmetics and jewelry to your comfort level~ we thank you for your support.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT WALDORF EDUCATION Parents and educators alike regard children with wonder and interest. What is the true nature of the child? The wisdom of experience through the body of literature on child development and Waldorf education can help us come to a clearer understanding of our children. There is a wealth of pertinent books available through various bookstores and small publishing companies, to which one of the teachers would be happy to direct you. Additionally, the Kindergarten has parent meetings and events throughout the year during which the teachers will share aspects of child development and Waldorf education. Recommended Parent Readings: The following is a list of books which we feel would be of special interest to parents of young children. In a Nutshell: Dialogues with Parents at Acorn Hill, Nancy Foster Beyond the Rainbow Bridge, Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley You Are Your Child's First Teacher, Rahima Baldwin Dancy Lifeways, Gundrum Davy and Bon Voors Endangered Minds, Jane Healy Failure to Connect, Jane Healy A is for Ox, Barry Sanders


The Hurried Child, David Elkind The Children's Year, Cooper, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling Festivals, Family and Food, Carey and Large Teaching as a Lively Art, Marjorie Spock The Way of a Child, A.C. Harwood Gift Ideas for Young Children A Tool Box or belt- with small hand tools, nails, drill, hammer, screwdriver, saw, sandpaper etc....

A Basket of Wood Scraps A Hand Made Doll- cradle, simple bedding can be made from scrap fabric, clothes A Basket filled with Scraps of Material and Yarn- felt, wool fleece, cotton and wool yarn, beautiful fabric scraps Art & Craft Material- drawing paper, crayons, scissors, modeling beeswax, clay, paints etc. A Treasure Sack- filled with marbles, crystals, “fairy tears”, polished stones, acorns, shells etc. Gardening Tools- seeds, trowel, rake, shovel Fabric- silk, cotton, gauze of various sizes for dress ups and plays Clothespins- for making play houses with cloth A Fine China Tea Set, Wooden Bowls, Spoons- check thrift stores An Apron- for working or dress up Dress Ups- hats, crowns, capes, silk scarves A Kite Rope- for jumping, tug of war, practice tying or “Cat’s Cradle” A Kinder Harp/ Lyre