Waldorf-Inspired Pre-Schools & Kindergartens
in Ashland and Talent

The Siskiyou School gets 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 — 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. 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 Nursery

1116 Oak Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520
Ages: 2 1/2 – 5 Contact person: Jenny
Learn more…

The Children’s Garden

777 Jaquelyn St, Ashland OR
Ages: 4-6 Contact: Claire Marie
Learn more…

Chrysalis Cottage

126 N 1st Street, Talent, Oregon 97540
Ages: 2 – 6 Contact person: Nancy
Learn more…

Creekside Cottage Nursery School

7845 Wagner Creek Road, Talent,
OR. 97540 Ages: 4 – 6 Contact person/s
Karen Zischke Ingunn Skjervold
Learn more…

FolkSoul Farm

Ashland Ages: 2 – 7
Contact person: Hanya Zwick Learn more…

Forest Preschool & Kindergarten

Lithia Park, Ashland
Ages: 3 – 7 Contact person: Jennifer
Learn more…

Little Gnomes Nature School

North Mountain Park Nature Center in
Ashland Ages: 3 – 6 Contact Person:
Anouschka Andresen or Shannon Clery
Learn more…

Peace Garden Preschool & Kindergarten- “Gan Neve

Havurah Shir Hadash, Ashland Ages: 3 – 6
Contact Person: Leah Avital Cohen
Learn more…

Robin’s Nest

Ashland Ages: 3 – 6 Contact
: Rebecca Mehta
Learn more…

The Secret Garden

Faith St, Ashland Ages: 2 – 6
Contact person: Paula Lynam & Dave Nourie
Learn more…

Sunflower Cottage

164 Sixth Street, Ashland Ages:
3 – 5 Contact: Karen Michelle
Learn more…

Pre-Schools & Kindergartens – listed alphabetically

Birdsong Nursery

1116 Oak Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520

Phone: 482-6064
email: jennybirdsongmama@gmail.com
Contact person: Jenny Johnson

birdsong nursery

Birdsong is a Waldorf-inspired preschool program held in my home in Ashland. My small group includes a wide age range of children from two years old to five years old. We meet from 9:00 to 1:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The environment is a real home, where we are cooking, cleaning, mending, and caring for the plants, animals, and people which make up this Birdsong family. We spend our mornings together playing, painting, drawing, singing and moving at circle time, and enjoying a story before going home. I have a beautiful shady yard with gardens, chickens, a sand box, and play equipment. The curriculum includes building kindness and emotional literacy, resilience, learning basic manners, sensory integration, developing pre-literacy through verse, song and story, and observation and reverence for the natural world of which we are a part. Mostly the children learn through play, as that’s the work of the young child! Cooperation, patience, tolerance, discovery- these are the lessons of preschool.

Enrollment usually takes place in late Spring, but is ongoing if space is available. Snack and lunch is provided. Tuition for the year is $3500.

I am the mother of six children. I have a B.A. in Holistic Education and participate in Waldorf education workshops, and I have been teaching in my home for 12 years. It is my honor to serve children and their families.  Return to list…


The Children’s Garden

777 Jaquelyn St, Ashland OR
Days: Monday – Thursday, mornings
Teacher: Claire Marie
Contact: 541-944-9777
Email: childrensgardenashland@gmail.com

Children's GardenLocated close to the Siskiyou Waldorf School in the south end of Ashland, the Children’s Garden welcomes 4 to 6 year olds to a magical and nurturing early childhood program.

Claire Marie, a kindergarten and pre-school teacher for over 35 years (most of them in a Waldorf setting), has transformed the ground floor of her home into a cozy haven for children, with hand-crafted wooden furnishings and natural playthings. For outside play, the 3/4 acre property has a large lawn, flower gardens, fruit trees, tree house, play house, and its own creek meandering through. Everything, inside and out, is designed specially for the children, to support their development and create a secure, home-like environment.

The program at the Children’s Garden is grounded in a Waldorf early childhood philosophy. The rhythm of the day includes integrative movement and song, imaginative play, purposeful work, organic snack, rest, artistic activities, story telling, puppet plays, and outside play in the garden.

The Children’s Garden also offers afternoon Sewing Circles (for ages 6-8 and 8-11). Return to list…


Chrysalis Cottage

126 N 1st Street, Talent, Oregon 97540
Phone: 541-535-1031
email: nancynphilipy@msn.com
Contact person: Nancy Rush-Yates

CrysalisMayDayChrysalis 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 30 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. Return to list…


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 CottageCreekside 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. Return to list…

FolkSoul Farm

Ashland, Oregon
Phone: 541-727-1177
Email: hanyazwick@gmail.com
2017-2018 School year: 9:00-2:00 Monday-Thursday Aftercare enrichment program 2-3:30
Ages: 2 – 7

The FolkSoul Farm is a holistic Waldorf based early education program on a 15 acre working farm. The program integrates outdoor education through daily wilderness and farm experiences with traditional Waldorf story telling, songs, celebrations, beeswax modeling, wet on wet painting, daily rhythm and handwork. The children follow the cycle of the seasons spending the warm months almost entirely outdoors then nesting in the deep of winter. Classroom spaces include the shade of a majestic oak, a wild apple orchard, a teepee on the side of the creek, a wood barn full of sheep, goats, and a dairy cow, and the cozy sheepskin rug in front of a fireplace. Family participation includes seasonal festivals, parent teacher conferences, 2 camping trips, and Family Farm Friday work parties and crafting sessions.

Lead teacher: Emma Schauer (Waldorf early education certified teacher with over 6 years teaching) Assistant teacher: Sophie Heyerdahl (completing certification in 2018) Program support and outreach: Hanya Zwick.  Return to list…

Forest Preschool & Kindergarten

Lithia Park
Ashland, OR
Phone/Email: (541) 261-9770 and forestkindergarten.ashland@gmail.com
Monday Friday 9:05am – 1pm
JW Preschool BWelcoming ages 3 – 7 years.

The Forest Kindergarten offers a full Waldorf experience, mostly outdoors. Still a rarity in the US, our outdoor-based program is modeled after similar programs now thriving in Europe. Each morning, the children begin the day in our warm, beautiful classroom at Briscoe Elementary School. In addition to the Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum, nature is at the foundation of our program. Over the course of the year, we discover the quiet and subtle secrets of Nature as the seasons unfold. Beeswax modeling, baking, woodworking, watercolor painting, fiber arts, circle movement, singing, forest walks, harvesting wild edibles, storytelling, and puppetry all enrich the early childhood experience in daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms. The children’s senses are nourished and the joy and wonder of childhood are nurtured, creating an openness toward life and learning. Cultivating a mood of reverence in all that we do, the children learn through imitation and creative play. Fostering community, our traditional Waldorf classroom serves as our home for festivals, parent evenings, and family gatherings.

Led by Ms. Jennifer who holds a B.S. in education and is a certified Waldorf early childhood educator with 20 years teaching experience. She brings a rich life experience and deep love of nature to the children.

“If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole loving being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and power to the service of the world.” -Rudolf Steiner

Return to list…

Little Gnomes Nature School

North Mountain Park Nature Center
Ashland, OR
Phone/Email: Anouschka Andresen: 541-631-1167, Shannon Clery: 541-890-1717 and littlegnomesnatureschool@gmail.com
Monday Friday 9:00am – 1pm

gnomes schoolLittle Gnomes Nature School is a fully outdoor school program for children ages 3 to 6 years, offered in partnership with North Mountain Park Nature Center. Our program blends the nature immersion model with Waldorf early childhood philosophy. Traditional songs, ring games, stories and crafts tailored to the outdoor experience will shape our days, while child-driven inquiry and exploration of the natural world will guide our free play and inspire our curriculum and activities.

Little Gnomes Nature School provides children with the opportunity to fully engage all of their senses with the natural world through the seasons in the diverse and inviting setting at North Mountain Park. Our program will build physical strength and coordination and foster confidence, imaginative play, environmental knowledge, and a deep and lasting heart connection to nature. Our school days will happen throughout the year in all weather, which will require a commitment from families to support the children with a positive attitude and the right gear. Hours are 9 am – 1 pm, with 3 and 4 day program options.

Return to list…


Peace Garden Preschool & Kindergarten – “Gan Neve Shalom”

Havurah Shir Hadash
185 N. Mountain Avenue
Ashland, OR. 97520
Phone: 541-488-8887
Contact Person:  Leah Avital Cohen, leahavital1318@gmail.com

GanNeveShalomWe have an intimate mixed age group of nine 3-6 year olds. Our hours are from 9 – 1 Monday – Thursdays.

Peace Garden 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 compliment each other and imbue the children’s daily experience with the values that create a strong and loving community; gratitude, giving, respect, and kindness. Our families are of diverse traditions and spiritual paths. Our mornings follow a nurturing rhythm filled with the delight of indoor and outdoor creative play, baking, cooking, watercolor painting, arts and crafts, felting, sewing, singing and movement, and games circle, stories, gardening, and the nourishment of healthful organic snacks and meals. Leah Avital taught in diverse classroom settings in the San Francisco Bay Area for nine years before relocating to Ashland and opening this program in 2001. She is credentialed in Early Childhood Education with a background in Waldorf education. For more info call Leah Avital at 541-488-8887Return to list…


Robin’s Nest

Ages: 3-6
Teacher: Rebecca Mehta
Contact: (619) 922-8067
Email: mamasaidsing@gmail.com

robins-nest preschoolRobin’s Nest is a nature/Waldorf inspired preschool. In this “home away from home” your child will be nourished by the natural rhythms of life and engage in activities that respect and honor childhood. Our days consist of expansive times such as free play, circle games, singing, and reflective times baking, crafting and listening to stories.

The seasons provide our rich and ever changing curriculum. Caring for our animals, collecting and processing food and herbs, planting our garden and spending days in upper Lithia park all create the foundation for our connection to the Earth and respect for all of life.

Organic snacks and lunches are lovingly prepared. Festivals, birthday celebrations, and parent evenings all build our school community and create a strong support for our parenting journeys.

Rebecca is a mother of two and received her training at a Lifeways Early childhood center in California. Return to list…

The Secret Garden

Days: Monday to Thursday with Friday being nature day, where we usually meet and explore Emigrant Lake or neighboring trails.
Hours: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (Aftercare available until 2:30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).
Ages: 2-6
Years in Operation: 12
Cost: $5,500 per 10 month year (5 days)
Teacher: Paula Lynam & Dave Nourie
Contact: 541- 482-5543
Email: paulailynam@gmail.com, stone soupdavenourie@gmail.com

The Secret Garden is nature and play based, incorporating the natural and nourishing rhythms associated with Waldorf early childhood education.  These practices support healthy family culture and flourishing social, emotional and physical development. Children love to learn the seasonal songs, stories, games, finger plays and crafts, while they form friendships, explore, create, imagine, eat our gluten/soy free local meals, and celebrate life together with joy and wonder.

WECAN & Lifeways affiliate, State of Oregon Child Care Division License #CF501849

Dave and Paula are certified experienced Waldorf Early Childhood teachers who thoroughly enjoy their days working together with the children and their families.   Paula has her Masters in Waldorf/Holistic early childhood education and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Applied Eco-Psychology/Art Therapy.   Dave, a wiz-bang BMX Flatland rider, performs, competes and offers bicycle classes and camps.

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Sunflower Cottage

164 Sixth Street, Ashland, OR
Email: karen.sunflowercottage@gmail.com
Contact: Karen Michelle Loop

sunflower_cottageAt 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. Return to list…