Local Waldorf-Inspired Pre-Schools & Kindergartens
We get many calls inquiring about our Early Childhood Program. We answer that we don’t have one! Our campus houses grades 1-8, and children come to us only when they are ready to enter first grade. We refer callers to our list of ‘feeder’ pre-school and kindergartens — intimate home-based programs in the Ashland-Talent area, run by trained and loving teachers with extensive experience in Waldorf early childhood education. The region is fortunate to have several such programs. This year we are including a description of some of those on our website. We endorse them all. Though each setting has its own particular charm, the teachers of these various schools are bound by a similar view of what best serves the young child — an intimate home environment, natural play materials, wholesome organic foods, an emphasis on the natural world and the cycle of the seasons, engagement in practical activities such as baking bread, gardening, cleaning, cooking, painting, seasonal crafts, and, above all, the value of imaginative play for the young child. Indeed, in each of these pre-schools the heart of every morning is the time when the children take up the silk cloths, the capes and the crowns and enter the world of imagination, acting out the stories they have heard, the experiences they have had, the adult world they have observed. In the Waldorf view of child development, this sort of play is seen as the ‘work’ of very young children — that which they must do at that time. Imaginative play is the child’s medium for processing and making sense of the world and thus coming to find their place in it. Waldorf-inspired pre-schools and kindergartens are places where children learn to be social. The Siskiyou School faculty is grateful to the area pre-school teachers for providing a Waldorf early childhood experience for children. We find that those children come to the Siskiyou School well grounded and prepared to take up the work of First Grade — writing, reading, and all the other subjects!
BIRDSONG is a Waldorf-inspired preschool for children ages 2 1/2-5 years old. My home is a warm environment where it smells of the day’s cooking and the teacher is busy with domestic and creative activities. We spend our mornings together engaging our senses at play inside and outside. Our daily rhythm includes painting, drawing or baking, cleaning, singing and moving at circle time, and enjoying a story before going home. The curriculum is rooted in nature and the seasons, and much care is taken to choose songs and stories that will enliven the children’s senses, make them feel safe and at home in the world, and inspire kindness and reverence. I offer organic fruit and nuts for a morning snack and prepare a hearty, warm lunch.
Birdsong hours are 9:00-12:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The group is small as I enroll a maximum of 7 children. Enrollment usually takes place before the fall, but is ongoing if space is available.
I am the mother of six children. I have a B.A. in Holistic Education, and have participated in Waldorf education workshops and seminars. I have taught in my home for nine years and have been involved in Waldorf education in the valley for 15 years.
126 N 1st Street, Talent, Oregon 97540
Contact person: Nancy Rush-Yates
Chrysalis Cottage is a Waldorf inspired early childhood center located in Talent. Our classroom is a cozy cottage nestled amongst trees, gardens and play areas. We offer a four morning a week pre-school, one morning a week parent/toddler classes, summer programs, and natural doll and toy-making classes for parents and children. Classes are taught by Nancy Rush-Yates, a mother and Waldorf teacher in the Rogue Valley for over 20 years. Nancy received her training at Emerson College and Wynstones International Kindergarten Training Center in England. For more information and to check on class availability, call Nancy at 541-535-1031.
Gan Neve Shalom- Peace Garden Preschool & Kindergarten
Havurah Shir Hadash
185 N. Mountain Avenue
Ashland, OR. 97520
Contact Person: Linda Cohen
We have a mixed age group of nine 3-5 year olds. Our hours are from 9 – 1 on Tuesday, Wed., and Thursday. Our program is a unique blend of Waldorf-inspired education and universal values that are rooted in Judaism. The spirit and beauty of each of these traditions imbues the children’s daily classroom experience. We welcome families of diverse traditions and spiritual paths. Our morning activities include baking, cooking, watercolor painting, arts and crafts, music and movement circle, story, gardening, and indoor and outdoor creative play.
Linda taught in diverse classroom settings in the San Francisco Bay Area for eight years before relocating to Ashland and opening this program in 2001. She is credentialed in Early Childhood Education with a background in Waldorf education. Admissions involve a parent interview and meeting your child. To check on space availability, call Linda at 488-8887.
Creekside Cottage Nursery School
7845 Wagner Creek Road, Talent, OR. 97540
Phone: 535-9927 and/or 535-5686
Email: Karenzischke@gmail.com and Ingunnskj@msn.com
Contact person/s Karen Zischke and/or Ingunn Skjervold.
Creekside Cottage is a Waldorf based pre school/kindergarten on a small farm. We opened our doors in 2006. We take up to 14 students ages 4-6. Classes run Monday-Thursday, 8:45 – 12:45. Karen has a background in arts, environmental studies and agroecology, and Ingunn has a Masters degree in Education. Both teachers have almost ten years of Waldorf experience, with children attending different grades at the Siskiyou School. Karen and Ingunn also have taken Early Childhood Education workshops at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Creekside Cottage is located in Talent, on a farm in the Wagner Valley. We have animals — llamas,donkeys cows, and chickens — and a creek running through the property. We spend a lot of time outside doing projects. Morning activities include feeding the animals, gardening, circle activities with songs and games, puppetry, food preparation, baking, painting, crafts and nature walks. Both teachers are CPR certified. Admission involves a parent interview and a visit with your child. We look forward to your call. Tuition is $4250.
At Sunflower Cottage, we seek to develop skills that will last a lifetime: a warm social sensitivity, a joy in exploring and learning, and a healthy foundation built into the wonderful rhythms in our days and weeks and seasons. Artistic experiences include imagination-rich play, circles filled with verse, song, and movement, drawing and watercolor painting , and crafting with natural materials. Storytelling and puppet shows enliven and enrich imaginations, developing the child’s ability to sit quietly and give attention fully. Our practical work includes gardening, bread baking, soup making, and caring for our school home. Seasonal festivals bring our school community together, offering an opportunity to nurture friendships, and deepen our understanding of the unique gifts each season brings.
Sunflower Cottage offers a four day preschool, located in the heart of Ashland’s Historic Railroad Neighborhood. Classes are Monday-Thursday, 8:45-1:15, and are taught by Karen Michelle Loop, certified Waldorf teacher, with over twenty years joyfully bringing Waldorf education to the children of the Ashland community.
The Secret Garden
Days: Monday to Thursday with optional Friday (nature day- where we usually meet and explore in Lithia or North Mountain Park).
Hours: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (Aftercare until 4pm).
Ages: 2-6 Limited to 9 or 10 children
Years in Operation: 8
Cost: $490 per month 10 months (4 days)
Teacher: Paula Lynam & Dave Nourie
Contact: 541- 482-5543
The Secret Garden is located just a few blocks from the Siskiyou School and is based on the natural and nourishing rhythm associated with Waldorf early childhood education; known to support the child’s healthy social, emotional and physical development, healthy family culture and well-being. Children love to learn the seasonal songs, stories, games, finger plays and crafts; form friendships, play, create, imagine, eat our gluten/soy free local meals, and celebrate life together with joy and wonder.
In that we know the importance of parent participation and involvement to the child’s long term success and self-image, parent participation is a significant aspect of The Secret Garden; to include regular attendance and involvement in the morning program and festivals; participation in parent enrichment sessions designed to deepen our knowledge and awareness of the children through lively discussion, artistic activities and study.
WECAN & Lifeways affiliate
State of Oregon Child Care Division License #CF501849
Paula earned her Master’s in Education with the emphasis on Waldorf early childhood, preventative and therapeutic education; parent enrichment. Her Waldorf training in Educational Support, Games/Integrative Movement and KG teacher, is coupled with over 22 years Waldorf teaching experience in Ashland. Paula is committed to supporting parents and practitioners through facilitating classes on Waldorf Early Childhood Philosophy/Practices; Holistic Education; Preventative and Therapeutic Education for teachers, child care providers and other professionals at SOU, WTTE, OYAEC and JCAEYC.
Under the guardian shelter of trees and surrounded by sunny flowering meadows, we seasonally migrate along Ashland’s beautiful waterways. Your child will build a strong and resilient body, develop a deep ‘sense of place,’ and be elementally nourished in the cradle of our beloved valley ~ guided by two loving teachers in the wonder of outdoor play and learning. Join our established school family in the rhythms of stories and songs written for our valley, seasonal circles, puppet-play, and nature-based handwork, cooking, and gardening. Enrollment includes family festival celebrations, classes on building family culture, diet and nutrition, support in whole-child development, life transitions, and ritual handwork. Together we will create a foundation for your very own ‘family treasury’ or repertoire ~ to be built upon for years to come. We would love to support you and your children in creating a thriving family culture!
Tuition: $200 enrollment/supply fee, $550 per month for 10 months
Ami C Mycko studied English and Philosophy at Colorado State University, received her Waldorf teacher-training in Boulder, Colorado, taught in the grades as a class and games teacher, while also working in curative education.
Cottonwood Cabin Preschool
92 Emerick St, Ashland, OR 97520
Contact: Shannon Clery
Cottonwood Cabin is a small group preschool program for 2 1/2 to 5 year olds in my home, where children are gently held with strong rhythm and loving guidance, growing together as a school family. Our days include lots of imaginative play inside and out, painting, baking, crafts, gardening, circle time, and sharing a warm, organic meal. We embrace nature and the seasons in our songs, stories, activities and celebrations. School is held Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 1 pm, with the option to attend two to four days. A mother of two boys, ages 5 and 7, I have immersed myself in learning about the Waldorf approach to early childhood, have an MS in Environmental Education, a diversity of teaching experience at local schools and outdoor programs, and founded Cottonwood Cabin in March of 2011.
The Open Door
699 Glendale Ave. Ashland, OR 97520
Days: 8:45-12:45 Tues-Thurs with an optional outdoor day on Mondays
Class size: Limited to 8 children
Cost: $300/mo for the three day program and $400/mo for four day program.
Teacher: Jen Vogel
Contact: (541) 324-2336
The Open Door is a Waldorf based preschool for 3-6 year olds that meets Tues-Thurs from 8:45-12:45 with an optional outdoor day on Mondays. The children experience regular rhythm (including painting, breading making, and crafting), a nourishing environment, wholesome snacks, seasonal circle time, stories, and festivals, and magical play. Class size is limited to 8 children. Jen Vogel has been an early childhood educator for over 12 years. She has two children ages 8 and 5. She is currently enrolled at the Rudolf Steiner College working toward her certification in Waldorf Education. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and has taught Kindergarten and First grade. The school is located within walking distance to the Siskiyou School near Clay Street Park.