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Although Rudolf Steiner did not design curriculum for preschools, he did publish writings about early child development from his philosophical perspective. In modern times, “Waldorf-inspired” preschools are widely available, especially in areas where there is one or more Waldorf schools. These preschools work in harmony with the young child’s special needs and abilities, as described by Steiner and as observed by Waldorf teachers and parents.

In the Boulder area, preschools are available at Shepherd Valley, Shining Mountain, Blue Sky Preschool/Kindergarten, and Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. In addition, there are quite a few in-home Waldorf-inspired preschools, which in many cases accept only up to six children. When my son was four, he really needed a very small group to be comfortable, so we found an in-home group for him. Some other children are naturally gregarious at a young age, and can benefit from a somewhat larger group with more people to make friends with. Both Shepherd Valley and Shining Mountain keep lists of in-home Waldorf-inspired preschools, which is how I found the one we used.

A Waldorf-inspired preschool has a big emphasis on play and opportunities for developing socially, developing the imagination, as well as physical development. They typically have times for coloring with crayons and for water color painting. They generally serve healthy whole-grain snacks. Each preschool will have its own style and personality, and it can be worth checking out several to find the best fit.

When I was looking for a preschool, that is exactly what I wanted. Since there is evidence to support Steiner’s philosophy that teaching reading and math skills at an early age is not only unnecessary, but actually harmful, I was happy to have a place where my child could make friends and play in a nurturing, caring environment, without his attention being diverted to academic activities that I believe are more appropriate for an older child.

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