Early Childhood Education
Greenwood Tree is a place where children gain confidence and flourish through:
• Ample Time to Play and Learn
This program is play-based with daily opportunities for movement, music, crafts, story, and time outdoors. We move through our day at a comfortable pace, that is centered upon the developmental needs of the young child. The curriculum arises from the mood of the seasons, the traditional tasks of daily life such as preparing meals, and tidying up, as well as open-ended free play with beautiful playthings, handmade from natural materials.
• Daily and Seasonal Rhythms Connected to Nature and Art
The children follow a predictable rhythm of activities through the day and week. The schedule has both the form and the flexibility to accommodate the children’s energy and the flow of the particular day. The consistent and dependable schedule provides a safe atmosphere for growth, exploration and learning within the social realm of their peers, other parents and teachers. Nature stories, seasonal songs and festivals awaken children to the turning of the seasons and a reverence for the earth and all living creatures.
• Caring and Community
We model caring and community through the importance we place on the relationship among the children, parents and teachers, as well as our respect for our immediate environment and the earth’s resources. The classroom is a calm and lovingly tended, homelike environment with an emphasis on healthy organic food, eco-friendly materials, and sustainable practices. Greenwood Tree is a place where the imagination is nurtured, childhood is protected, and adults are supported as they navigate their parenting.
Sample Rhythm of the Day
9:00 Health check/drop off/Outdoor Play
9:30 Welcome Circle and Nature Walk
10:15 Daily Activity/Handwork/Free-Play
11:00 Circle and Story Time
11:30 Snack time & dish washing
12:00 Outdoor or Gym Time
12:30 Tulips and Dandelion Class Dismissal/Beginning of the Afternoon Kid's Club
1:00 Thimbleberry Kindergarten Dismissal
Ms. Victoria Baker
Friday 9-11 or 12-2
The Roots program is a parent child group designed to be both a community of support and connection for parents as well as a first taste of school for young children. Together we engage in seasonally appropriate, meaningful activities, both indoors and outdoors, which nurture parent and child in the world of the senses, rhythm, and wonder.
Ms. Eileen Frazier
Mon-Thur 2,3,or 4 days, 9:00-12:30
The Tulips class is a preschool program for children who potty independent and ready for a group experience. Designed to mimic a peaceful home rhythm, Tulips’ days includes a variety of activities.
Unstructured outdoor play which supports the healthy unfolding of their cognitive, social, and emotional growth. Time in nature hones the child’s observation skills and provides excellent opportunities to develop motor skills, balance, and coordination. Circle time, where the children experience being a part of the whole, moving together as a group and experiencing their bodies and senses in relation to self and others. The children learn to mark the seasons, develop their sense of rhythm, connect to peers, while learning out of imitation and creating an embodied foundation for later academic learning. They will also engage in free play time following their own initiative, Art (painting, drawing, craft, etc.) or the practical arts (washing, folding, sewing, preparing food, etc.) and a nourishing snack time.
Mon-Wed 2 or 3 days, 9:00-12:30
Dandelions is a mixed age Pre-K which offers preschoolers and introduction into classroom life that meets them where they are. Students enjoy outdoor time, circle time, free play, story time, arts exploration, practical arts, and a wholesome snack time together. The program days align with our Grades Program and Dandelions is often the right choice for a family with multiple students at GWT.
Ms. Victoria Baker
Mon-Thurs 3 or 4 days, 9:00-1:00
Our mixed aged Kindergarten, students must be 4 by August 31st. The program provides a gentle bridge into the classroom community based upon the principles of Waldorf Education. We are guided by the notion that children learn best when the whole child- head, heart, and hands- is fully engaged. Abundant opportunities for open-ended free play, lively movement and artistic expression during the preschool years provide a strong foundation for healthy physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Waldorf Infused Alternative Learning Model
With a full staff of dynamic teachers, we are blessed to have so many skills to share in our community.
Our classes are divided into ‘Pods’ allowing same age groupings for core Waldorf themes, specialty classes and socializing. Track lessons are taught with mixed ‘ages and stages’, lessons brought through cooperative games in the autumn quarter, as students are assessed by abilities. This helps teachers work with groups that have similar skills and allow mobility within groups as students reach their ‘grade levels’ in literacy and numeracy.
Our teachers and class guardians share the planning and implementation of lessons in teaching teams. Specialty teachers and Lead teachers work through grade appropriate curriculum outlines to bring a whole picture of learning for head, heart and hands. Our Waldorf trained teachers carry the Main Lesson themes, track lessons for language arts and maths, Supporting specialty teachers bring areas of expertise according to the Waldorf Main Lesson Block Rotations.
Pod 1 Ages 6-7
Ms. Robyn Pipkin
Ms. Robyn comes to us with a robust background in yoga, movement arts, co-operative games and mindful practices. She has a warm, steady presence in the classroom.
Pod 1 and 2 are often taught together with core subjects such as language arts and math. Specialty subjects are also taught with all ages. All students have an opportunity to engage in activities such as baking, gardening and form drawing.
Pod 2 Ages 7-8
Ms. Channing Showalter
Ms. Channing brings amazing storytelling talents, her beautiful singing voice, and her experiences with mixed media puppetry to enliven the class content. Ms. Channing and Ms. Robyn co-teach the Pod 1 and 2.
The winter term begins with immersion in the movement arts and social skills building with the older classes. Pod 1 and 2 are engaged with painting from nature stories, modelling with beeswax and learning rhythm games. Sight words, word building and helpful cues to sound out subtle nuances found in the language arts. This will be followed with an introduction to the numbers and four processes found in math as we head towards the spring quarter.
Pod 3 Ages 8-9
Mr. Wonder Phallen
Mr. Wonder is an experienced movement teacher and communications facilitator. He is currently enrolled in Waldorf Foundation studies and applying his skills to to education in the Waldorf tradition. He brings lively and engaging classes in American Sign Language to all classes.
As we move through the winter quarter, our completed shelters project are displayed for all the students of the program to admire. Pod 3 will move into a math block, refreshing our times tables skills, multiplication and long division. From here the class will embark on a study of Time, then an exciting study of Fibres and Clothing. As the winter term ends, we will be looking to the gardens again for our spring inspiration.
Pod 4/5 Ages 9-11
Ms. Natasha Daggs
Ms. Natasha returns to her beloved class with her strong background in Waldorf Education, and an enthusiasm for ‘bringing it all together’. She has completed several new trainings and will focus on math, and Ancient Civilizations, Mesopotamia, Ancient India and Egypt.
Nature studies, botany, organic science and pollinator studies launch the first 4-6 weeks of the winter term. Geometry and local geography provide a backdrop to Indigenous studies of the first peoples and their culture. Project-based learning with handwork and puppetry compliments the content of creative writing and theatre arts.
Pod 6/7 Ages 11-12-13
Ms. Suzanne Glick (Interim)
Ms. Suzanne will manage a student-led learning program, overseeing specialty tutors and teachers that mirror the experience students will have in a high school setting.
Student mentorship roles will be provided to engage students as role models for other PODs as well as working in independent study groups. Track numeracy and literacy skills will be the main focus for the autumn term alongside specialty classes in organic science, world history and geography.
Meets on a private acreage South of Mt. Vernon, WA
This class will facilitate children in creating a new relationship to themselves, each other, community, and nature. Children will receive the experience of being outside with minimal restrictions, as well as having choices in curriculum based on their own interests. Teachers will offer tutorials throughout the day, letting children spend their day studying plants, animals, plant spirit medicine, primitive skills, or the ecosystem as their curiosity leads them. In addition, group activities of wilderness skill games and obstacle courses will help bring the participants into a more cohesive group that learns to rely on each other and the ecosystem around them. Individual time spent drawing, journaling, and sitting in nature will help students cultivate a sense of self amidst the life around them.