Iron and Pine Preschool, in a nutshell...
At Iron and Pine Preschool, we strive to be a model example of what a Waldorf Preschool can be, with loving, conscientious teachers and a warm, nurturing environment. As teachers, we strongly believe in nurturing a child’s budding sense of autonomy and ability by providing them with a multitude of rich sensory experiences and the freedom to spend ample amounts of time, without interruption, exploring and discovering their world around them. When children understand their boundaries, and know that they are loved and cared for, they will begin to grow through measured risk-taking and by taking on challenges. We believe the world needs risk takers and within our classroom we try to create an environment that encourages growth in this area. Independence is a crucial skill and we strive to incorporate it in every aspect of our teaching. We view children as competent individuals who deserve our respect and understanding as they navigate through the beginnings of their life. The goal is to help a child build their inner controls and to develop lifelong habits of managing their own behavior.
We feel our role in a child’s life is to facilitate their learning and growth by observing how they interact and play within their environment, and tailoring our teaching focus accordingly. Developing/designing the environment based off of observed child interests is something we are specifically passionate about. We love carefully watching where, how, and what a child is exploring and then incorporating those interests into the classroom environment. We believe vehemently in purposeful teaching, child directed curriculum, and process art. We focus on placing objects and planning activities that directly relate to what the children are currently interested in and working towards developmentally. Loose parts, open-ended materials, and items from nature are highly utilized in our approach with children.
This is a special, magical time in a child’s life and we always strive to preserve an atmosphere of wonder and exploration in our classroom. We use both supervision and scaffolding to model real world skills to the students, seizing as many opportunities (without being overbearing or disruptive in their respective learning processes) for on the spot learning with impromptu open-ended questions. We believe in responding with positivity, respect, and enthusiasm to the needs of children, demonstrating that their thoughts and desires hold value and worth. We value acknowledgment over praise when interacting with children. Finally, we believe in the phrase "The child is strong, the child is competent, the child is my guide."
And in case you were wondering... "Why are you called Iron and Pine?" There is indeed a deeper meaning:
The "iron" symbolizes each child's unique individuality that we as teachers use to guide us in the child's growth. We do not have a "model human" that we wish to mold them into, instead we recognize that each child is a unique individual and their soul nature (iron) is our guide in helping them to grow. The "pine" represents, more or less, our gift to every student, where we give them the tools and the life skills that they need to go forth in life and "carve" themselves into anything they desire to be.