Guidelines

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able to impart freedom and direction to their lives.”  –Rudolf Steiner

Bedtime/Sleep

For children to be happy in school, sleep and a healthy bedtime ritual is crucial. 3 to 6 year old children need about 10-14 hours of sleep and should go to bed between 6:30-8:00.

“The more sleep-deprived a child is, the more excitable he will be, and some children in this condition are constantly in various states of arousal.  The stress hormones produced in response to arousal tax the liver greatly.  Blood pressure, breath, and heart rate accelerate, as well as many other processes, which the heart as central to the rhythmic system must mediate.”

Breakfast

Children must arrive well fed. Be sure that your child had plenty of water, and a healthy protein-rich meal. Having children finish their breakfast at school disturbs the work of the teacher and the other children. Feeding them a sugary breakfast will not give them the right source of energy they will need to get through the morning. Being in school is a lot of work for a young child.

Arrival

Drop off is at 8:30AM and no later than 9:00AM without prior arrangements. Drop off should be prompt. Please try to avoid arriving with loud music or radio in the car. It disturbs the already engaged children on the playground and will start your own child with overstimulation. And please, no cell phones!

Each day begins with a greeting and a handshake between child and teacher. This creates a bridge from parent to teacher for the child. This also shows the teacher how the child is doing that morning. Is he shy or tired… or is he ready with energy for the day? We model a respectful handshake, but without expectation for the child to do anything other than letting him inwardly imitate the adult. We can help with this transition by having children walk on their own instead of carrying them to school.

Departure

For your child’s safety, it is our policy to dismiss a child only to the parent or designated approved alternate (listed on signed emergency form maintained in the office).

The transition from school to home is sometimes a difficult one. Please help to ease the strain on the children by not socializing during pickup time. We find this helps greatly to alleviate tantrums! And again, please, no cell phones.

Pick-up is 12:30 pm. There is a 15 minute grace period, after which there will be a late charge. See contract.

Attendance

The curriculum is created to promote an unfolding of the day, the week, and the year in a rhythmical movement that allows learning to take place in a balanced way. By promoting regular attendance, we allow children to experience what has been designed for them. The child’s work is to play!

Daily Rhythm

8:30-9:00 Arrival

Outdoor Free Play/Practical Art

Circle/Creative Movement

Snack/Clean Up

Forest Walk/Play

Story and Closing Verse

Walk home

12:30 Dismissal

Weekly Snack/Activity Rhythm

Monday Brown Rice/Watercolor Painting/ Folding Laundry

Tuesday Oatmeal/Oat Rolling

Wednesday Millet/Bread Making

Thursday Bread/Bread Buttering

Friday Fruit/Nuts-Craft

 Please note that there are handwork activities all-through the year related to the festivals. All the food we serve is Certified Organic.

Birthdays*

Children look forward in great anticipation to their birthdays. When they are very young, they ask over and over when their birthday will be. As parents, it is a time when we marvel at how old our child is and how much they have grown. In our program, a birthday is a very special event. There is preparation for the celebration by the children and the teacher, such as making the room more beautiful with flowers, making cards, and preparing for the birthday circle. The teacher tells a birthday story of the child’s journey from the spiritual world to his or her new home. The care and thought behind a Singing Cedars birthday makes it very special. Every effort is made to celebrate the child’s birthday on that very special day; however, should the birthday fall on a weekend or during vacation time, arrangements should be made for a mutually convenient day. We invite parents to share some part of the morning with the class on the day of their child’s birthday.

Please do not send invitations for home birthday parties to school for distribution; mailing addresses are available from the office or your copy of the directory.

* In the PreK class birthday celebrations may be of a much simpler nature.

 

Dress Code

In general, keep in mind that the children will go outside for play every day in all weather. Please ensure that your child is dressed appropriately for the weather.

Children should wear clothing appropriate to the climate of our location. In cold weather, both a jacket and a lighter sweater or shirt, as well as hats, scarves, gloves or mittens are needed to maintain proper warmth outside or in the classroom. Legs need to be covered with tights, leggings, or long pants. On rainy days a raincoat,rain pants, hat, and rain boots are necessary. On cold and/or snowy days, snow pants and snow boots are necessary. Shoes should be conducive for running and playing especially on days when the grass is wet or snowy. Children who are not dressed properly will need to return home with parents.

Media Influenced Clothing and Accessories

Please do not send children to school in media influenced clothing e.g. TV, movies or cartoon characters. This includes slippers and lunchboxes. We strive to provide an environment where children can form images from their own wellspring.

Sunglasses & Sunscreen

Eye contact is very important for young children. Please do not send them with sunglasses. We encourage wide brimmed hats and sunscreen for protection.

Sunglasses are also in the way of safe play and create “wanting” in the other children. On very sunny days, you may choose to apply sunscreen to your child before school to protect their faces, arms and shoulders from the sun. Please make sure that the product you supply is healthy and effective for our climate. No colors please.

Extra Clothing

Except in cases of extreme weather (excessively cold, snowy, windy or rainy) we will play outside every day. Please provide clothing appropriate for our quickly changing climatic conditions. During hot weather, children should bring sun hats, swimsuits, and towels. During the cold weather season, each child needs to have snow pants, snow boots, warm jacket, hat which stays on, and appropriate gloves or mittens. During the rainy season, please bring raincoats and rain boots. At all times, please dress your child appropriately for the season and provide extra clothes. Remember, all clothing needs to be labeled.

All clothing that may be taken off should be labeled with the child’s name. A change of clothes is necessary. In addition, each child should have a pair of soft inside  shoes, which remain at school for classroom wear. These should be comfortable and simple.

Synthetic Frangrances

Artificial fragrances often found in laundry detergents, soaps, dryer sheets and softeners and scented bags are known to be hazardous to our health. Some children are particularly sensitive to these chemicals. We ask you to please refrain from their use.

Personal Belongings

Please leave all personal belongings at home. The school cannot be responsible for special toys, jewelry or money that is brought to school. We encourage children to avoid the distraction of these items by keeping them at home. 

Toys

The realm of toys has grown exceedingly complex, often at the expense of our children’s imaginations and our pocket book. The more simple and natural a toy is, the more a child will work with inner feelings and imagination to enliven the toy, thus strengthening the child’s own faculties. Waldorf teachers are keenly aware of the impact of the marketplace on children, and they are full of suggestions for toys and activities that will enhance the child’s life outside of school. The school requests that no toys be brought from home. Mechanical toys, transformers, toy guns or knives, radios, headsets, and boom boxed are not allowed. We are happy for children to bring beautiful or interesting items they have found outdoors or something they made at home for sharing with the class when appropriate.

Make Up, Nail Polish

We try to avoid anything that brings attention to the surface and awaken vanity in children prematurely. Playing with it can be fun at home but in group settings, the other children feel less for not having it.

Media

Much in modern American education with its nearly exclusive emphasis on utilitarian problem-solving skills, neglects entirely the development of the child’s imagination. At the same time, through television, movies, literalistic picture books, detailed toys that leave nothing to the child’s imaginative powers, the children are made increasingly vulnerable to having their minds and feelings filled with supplied images—other people’s images—often of the most banal, even violent and obsessive kind. 

The damage done to the young developing child by repeated and extended periods of watching television or movies has been widely recognized by leading educators. The younger the child, the greater the damage and the greater the irreversibility. Not only is the content harmful, but the actual physical and psychological processes involved in watching screens are at risk as well. 

Waldorf education achieves its best results with children who are not exposed to media at all. We strongly urge that if any media is permitted, no watching be done on school nights (Sunday through Thursday), or in the mornings before school. If you have questions about this issue, discuss them with your class teacher or request that it be made a topic of a parent meeting.

Discipline

We believe that early childhood is preparation for a healthy social life. Therefore, we place much attention on striving for a harmonious atmosphere. The goal is to limit the need for discipline by providing consistent boundaries and a strong daily rhythm with child-appropriate activities. When discipline is needed, children are approached with clear and loving guidance.

Diapering & Toilet Training

We understand that “accidents” happen and do provide safe and sanitary facilities for changing clothes. We ask that parents of young children please provide a couple of extra changes of clean clothing each day. We work with the children that are toilet trained by encouraging the use of the toilet at frequent intervals during the day and praising successes. Corporal punishment, yelling, or criticizing about accidents is not tolerated at the school at any time.

Illness, Accidents, Injuries

Please don’t expose the school to anything to which you would not want your child exposed to. Children who have had fevers, diarrhea or vomiting need to stay home until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. Colds and runny noses are common in the winter, please do not bring your child if the nose discharge is not clear, if they have a sore throat, or if they have pink eye. The teachers and staff reserve the right to send your child home if they feel it is necessary due to illness.

If a child becomes ill or gets an injury during school, the staff will attempt to reach the parents as soon as possible. If the parents are not accessible, the emergency contact listed on the medical information form will be contacted. In the case of an extreme emergency, staff will seek emergency treatment immediately and then notify parents.

When a child is ill, the parent must take responsibility to provide alternate care. Your child must be kept home if they show any of the following symptoms:

  1. A temperature of 100 degrees or more
  2. Intestinal disturbance accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting – child must have had no vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours before returning to school.
  3. Any undiagnosed rash.
  4. Pink Eye – any eye infection must be under antibiotic treatment for 24 hours before the child can return to school.
  5. Strep Throat – child may return to school 24 hours after antibiotic is started if child feels well enough to participate in activities and temperature is normal.
  6. Chickenpox – child should stay home until all spots are completely scabbed over. This usually means 7-10 days.
  1. Head Lice – child may return to school only after treatment and hair is free of nits.
  2. Impetigo – child may return to school after having started treatment. Treatment must include removing crusts before applying medication and covering with a band aid, if possible.
  1. Measles, Mumps, Rubella – these are illnesses which are highly communicable and need to be diagnosed by a physician. Please report any suspicious cases to the school so that follow-up can occur.

If your child becomes ill while at school, you will be notified immediately and requested to come pick him/her up. All children in attendance are expected to be well enough to participate in the school program. This includes both indoor and outdoor activities. If your child is unable to participate in our everyday activities, he/she needs to be kept at home. The school has the authority to require private health screenings or examinations by your own physician of any/all children for any contagious conditions, if deemed necessary.

 It is required by State Regulation that the school be notified immediately of the nature of all children’s illnesses. We are required to post exposure to all contagious diseases so that other parents may be alerted for symptoms in their children. We thank you for your assistance in this.

Medication

We are only able to administer medication with a written prescription from a physician. This includes homeopathic remedies, herbs and flower essences. All medication must be in the original container bearing the original pharmacy label which shows the prescription number, name of medication, date filled, physician’s name, child’s name, and directions for dosage. Records of all medications dispensed will be maintained in the medical log and medication will be stored out of reach of children and according to appropriate storage type as indicated on the package.

Emergency Procedures in Case of Fire, Tornado or Lost Child

In case of a tornado, all of the children will be escorted to a safe place in the basement until it is safe to return to the classroom. In case of a fire, 911 will be called. The children will not  return to the classroom until the firefighters say that it is safe. If a child is lost, the police will be called immediately, then the parents.

Inclement Weather / School Closure

In most instances, we follow the Fairfield School District closure policy. In case of inclement weather, please listen to the radio for status updates. For exceptions you will be notified directly.

New Babies/Birth

It is a tradition in Waldorf schools to cook dinners for families with new babies. During the school year, we will coordinate volunteers to help when new babies are born. Please bring it to our attention if we are not aware of the coming birth of a child!

Parent Meetings

Parent meetings are held six times a year or as needed. This is a very important aspect of Waldorf Education. Parent meetings build school community and support parenting work. Various topics include Creative Discipline, the Importance of Play in Child Development, the Effects of Media, Nutrition, and Therapeutic Education, the Importance of Rhythm in Family Life, Protecting Children’s Senses and other topics of interest. Please make every effort to attend.

Teacher/Parent Conversations

Teacher and parent conversations are available by appointment. If you desire a conference at any time during the year, please see your child’s teacher to schedule an appointment. 

Home Visits

Each year, your child’s teachers would like to visit the homes of all the students in the class. The home visit provides a special opportunity for you and your child to bond with your child’s teacher. This visit enables the teacher to deepen her work with your child by experiencing your home environment.

 Often the children will have some individual time with the teacher (showing their bedroom and outside play area). The children usually take great pride in showing their teacher all around, and the teacher goes away with a heart-warmed sense of who this child is and what his interests and passions are. The working together of parents and teachers greatly serves and nourishes the children, thereby creating a bridge from home to school.

Tuition & Fees

The school year runs from the first Wednesday after Labor Day until the second week of June. Parents may choose which days their child will attend, but the days must remain consistent to maintain a 3 day rhythm.

We offer a 5% discount when tuition is paid in full for the year. Otherwise, tuition payments are divided into 10 equal payments, August 1 Through May 1.

Parents are responsible to pay a $200, nonrefundable registration, materials and equipment fee at the beginning of each school year.

Visitors

We request that all visitors call in advance to make arrangements to observe or visit a classroom. We reserve the right to refuse visitors at any time.

Work Days

Work days are a wonderful way to gather as a school community. Working together on various projects to help beautify the school environment.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Waldorf Schools across the country who so generously sent us their handbooks and told us to freely use whatever we needed; Emerson Waldorf School, Linden Corner School, the Marin Waldorf School and the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten.

“We must develop an art of education that will lead us out of the social chaos into which we have fallen during the past few years and decades. The only way out of this social chaos is the bring spirituality into human souls through education, so that humanity may find the way to progress and further the evolution of civilization out the spirit itself.” –Rudolf Steiner