Now Accepting Applications for Children 4 to 6 Years of Age!
We are a joyful inclusive community where a healing education embraces the whole child with warmth, encouragement and acceptance on the journey leading to each child’s full potential.
Is your child happy in school? Joy is your child's birthright!
We have created an environment where children can flourish.
Settled on a large, tree-filled property Raphael’s Garden is a therapeutic developmentally appropriate kindergarten, drawn from the Waldorf tradition. With a small class size, the physical and emotional well-being of each child is nourished. Our inclusive community welcomes a wide range of children and families, offering occupational therapy and parenting support as part of our kindergarten program. We are excited to share this magical opportunity with you!
Kindergarten was once an opportunity for children to socialize and become comfortable in a classroom setting. During what was usually a half-day program, students played outside, had ample creative playtime, and worked their way through social/emotional experiences at their own pace. This is no longer the case. Currently, most children are being formally taught far before entering preschool, and what used to be kindergarten no longer exists. Our young children are being overloaded with unnecessary information and sensory impressions, causing stress and anxiety. We can see that not all children thrive in today’s preschool/kindergarten programs, which are often structured in a way that does not provide children with the time, space, and support to meet their individual developmental needs.
About 15 years ago we began to see more and more children in our kindergarten classes who struggled to manage within the classroom setting. Our culture was quickly evolving, and as a result, technological advances, extra-curricular activities, and less time in nature were beginning to overwhelm children's sensory systems and hinder healthy development. Sensory and auditory processing disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum, and other challenges were emerging at a greater rate. Often there was one child, maybe two, in a class. Nowadays, we are seeing from a third to up to half of the class with these hindrances. Some of these students manage quite well, but many still need support in the areas of movement, learning, and social interactions. These children can take up much of a teacher’s time and energy, periodically causing disruption to the whole class. In fact, these behaviors and physical challenges must be met with patience, knowledge, and flexibility in teaching. Instead, most kindergarten programs push all children to move ahead at uniform developmental levels that don’t meet everyone’s needs. Although children develop within a spectrum at their own pace, kindergarten programs usually require them to sit still, give them less recess/outdoor time, inundate them with homework, and provide teachers who may not understand individual children’s needs.
We have created an inclusive environment for children to flourish. We believe that formal academics impede on a child's imagination, taking away important formative forces necessary to build a strong body and mind. At Raphael's Garden, we know that children learn through imitation and by doing. With a small class size, we support every child's development with physical activities such as woodworking, exploring the natural environment, digging, and building. Much of our movement curriculum comes from the insights of a variety of modalities including primitive reflex integration, the in-depth knowledge of a doctor of pediatric occupational therapy, and through the lens of Rudolf Steiner's curative education course. We value the importance of a safe, loving, and predictable space that engages learning on social, emotional, and physical levels. As our focus is on the whole child we also work with a board-certified nutrition therapist to offer organic, wholesome snacks. This innovative environment will give children a strong foundation for their future.
Developing as individuals within a community
Children come into this world ready to meet their destinies. Along the path, there are often obstacles or challenges each must face and strive to overcome. We offer a small class size of approximately 10 children which is a safe, loving environment that encourages children to develop - as an individual within our classroom community. Wherever your child is on their journey, they are met right where they are, inspiring them to move forward while maintaining age-appropriate expectations.
The indoor and outdoor space is designed to allow ample opportunity for physical activity. We will hammer, saw, sand, dig, build, craft, climb, jump, and much more! Why is movement a leading component of our school? Research and science show that the ability to move one’s body fluidly, without constriction or hindrances, is connected with learning. Good movement supports healthy self-regulation.
Carla Hannaford, Ph.D. explains in her book Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head, “We have missed a most fundamental and mysterious aspect of the mind: learning, thought, creativity, and intelligence are not processes of the brain alone, but of the whole body. Sensations, movements, emotions and brain integrative functions are grounded in the body.”
Children have an innate connection with nature. Walking in a meadow, climbing a tree, feeling the wind breeze through their hair, smelling a sweet springtime flower, and observing the change of seasons instills a sense of wonder. At Raphael’s Garden, we have ample outdoor time to explore Mother Earth and relish in all she has to offer. We sing, bake, create and explore through the seasons.