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!


1116 Oak Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520
Phone: 482-6064
email:  jennybirdsongmama@gmail.com
Contact person:  Jenny Johnson

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 9:00-1:00 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.


The Children’s Garden
777 Jaquelyn St, Ashland OR
Days: Monday – Thursday, mornings
Teacher: Claire Marie
Contact: 541-482-5441
Email: childrensgardenashland@gmail.com

Located 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).

Children's Garden
Chrysalis Cottage
126 N 1st Street, Talent, Oregon 97540
Phone: 541-535-1031
email: nancynphilipy@msn.com
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 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.


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.

Creekside Cottage


Evergreen Expeditions
Waldorf Outdoor Education
Permaculture for Children
Ashland, Oregon
Phone: 541-890-9575
Email: evergreenexpeditions@gmail.com
2015-2016 school year: 9:00-2:00 Monday-Thursday Ages 2 – 7

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 three loving teachers in the wonder of outdoor play and learning. Join our 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!

Ami C Evergreen, Emma Schauer, and Joseph Seda Saine

evergreen expeditions


Forest Preschool & Kindergarten
Lithia Park
Ashland, OR
MondayFriday 9am – 1pm with Aftercare 1-3pm
One, two, three, four, and five-day options
Welcoming ages 2 – 7 years.
Now enrolling for the 2015-2016 school year.
The Forest Kindergarten offers a full Waldorf experience, outdoors. Fall, winter, and spring, in all weather, children will enjoy seasonal activities, woodworking, watercolor painting,  clay modeling, circle time, singing, forest walks, and creative free play. They will delight in nature stories and fairytales told around the fire where they will eat their snack and warm their tea.
Each week, we will spend three days at Lithia Park discovering the quiet secrets of Nature as the seasons unfold and two days on the Farm caring for our animals and gardening. The Farm will house our traditional Waldorf classroom and will serve as our home for festivals and family gatherings.
Led by Waldorf and state certified, experienced teachers, Jennifer Janota and Michael Wilt, who have taught at various Waldorf and public schools in North America for 20 years and bring a rich life experience and deep love of nature to the children.

JW Preschool B
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
Email: mijourney@charter.net

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.

Peace Garden Preschool & Kindergarten – “Gan Neve Shalom”
Havurah Shir Hadash
185 N. Mountain Avenue
Ashland, OR. 97520
Phone: 541-488-8887 or 541-301-2398 (cell)
Contact Person:  Leah Avital Cohen, leahavital1318@gmail.com

We have an intimate mixed age group of nine 3-5 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 circle, stories, and gardening. Leah Avital 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. To check on space availability, call Leah Avital at 541-488-8887 or Cell – 541-301-2398.


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
Email: paulalynam@playfulconcepts.com

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.

stone soup


Stars and Moon and Sun
Parent and Child Classes
1160 Prospect Street
Ashland, OR
Phone/Email: (541) 261-9770 and kalearose@msn.com
Contact Person: Jennifer Janota

Thursdays, 9 – 11. Birth to 3 years with parent or caregiver.

Creating a warm, nurturing, and supportive environment for young children ages birth to three years and their parents/caregivers. In a peaceful environment, we will engage in: circle time with delightful songs, rhymes and lullabies, seasonal handwork projects, simple puppet shows, and discussions on early childhood development, as well as practical childcare and parenting questions. Simple toys made of natural materials are provided for the children for imaginative play. Stars and Moon and Sun is a special gathering place, where parents find community and meet and learn from each other’s experiences, as well as explore the Waldorf approach to family life with an experienced Waldorf early childhood educator. Led by experienced and certified early childhood Waldorf teacher, Ms. Jennifer, of the Forest Kindergarten.

janota 2
Sunflower Cottage
164 Sixth Street, Ashland, OR
Email: karen.sunflowercottage@gmail.com
Contact: Karen Michelle Loop

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.