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Our Approach

The concept of Sprouts Nursery PlaySchool seeks to blend the best elements from the Waldorf Philosophy with the Montessori Approach. According to a paper by Elizabeth Daniels & Carmen Gamper in 2011, entitled “ The Yin and Yang of Montessori and Waldorf in Early Childhood Education” blending the two models addresses the shortcomings of each one and serves parents and children the best.

Traditionally Montessori education doesn’t encourage imaginative play. On the other hand, in a conventional sense, Waldorf education, letters and numbers are hardly formally introduced. This is because Montessori didn’t find “pretend play” necessary for the children at her schools, and Rudolph Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf did not feel that young children were ready for a formal education until the age of 7 or the beginning of first grade, to give their physical bodies ample time to form and to develop the capacity to endure the rigors of structured learning. Montessori taught that the child must learn to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Yet children spontaneously engage in imaginative play as a form of tension release from the world, as a way to make sense of real-life experiences. Also, imaginative play helps heal trauma and grief in small children.

 

Children today need play in school, where it can be supervised and nurtured. Therefore, it is wise for Montessori parents to offer space for imaginary play that is simultaneously healing and educational. Using natural toys for open play and creating an environment rich with possibilities, but without a strict structure, could be beneficial, as could telling children fairy tales and allowing them to enact stories. Waldorf parents could benefit from offering some handcrafted materials for conceptual math and language development. Since, let’s face it, children, who are ready and eager to learn, absorb abstract concepts from their home environments wether we want them to or now. This is because most parents are inclined to teach their children their letters and simple numbers, due to the traditional emphasis on these foundational aspects of education. 

Overall, no one educational method can substitute for a loving and caring home environment. It is proven that the children who usually do the best in school are the ones whose parents are actively involved in their education. After all, you are your child’s first, and most important, teacher.

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