Early Childhood

Hummingbird Garden

Early childhood is an intensely rich time of learning. The world is a fascinating and amazing place for them—full of things to be touched, smelled, played with, and fully experienced through their senses. It is also the time when the vitally important foundations are laid in both brain and body for later social and intellectual development and formal learning. Waldorf education is designed around the simple idea that in order to learn and develop in a balanced way—physically, emotionally and mentally—children need to be engaged through their head, heart and hands. The Urban Prairie approach emphasizes what modern scientific research is now showing us: that we learn with the whole body, promoting children’s natural curiosity and their ability to learn.

Two little girls in the Urban Prairie Waldorf Early Childhood program laughing while one girl pulls the other around in a toy wooden wagon.
A group of 6 Urban Prairie Waldorf Early Childhood students use their imagination and creativity to stage a puppet show.

The Power of Play

UPWS places a high value on imaginative play as an essential part of healthy growth and learning. According to Dr. David Elkind in his book, “The Power Of Play,” “play at every stage of development improves IQ, social-emotional functioning, learning, and academic performance.” “Just playing” is in fact what nearly all developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, and education experts recommend for children up to age seven as the best way to nurture their development and prepare them for academic success later in life. Outdoor playtime is a regular part of our preschool program, regardless of the season. When the children are outside, nature provides the toys – crunchy leaves, gnarly sticks, smooth stones. We provide space for children to be children—make things, create, dream, get dirty, and grow.

Early Childhood Skills

Rooted in Movement – vigorous movement prepares the way to more skillful thinking. Experiential Learning – children discover the world with their senses and through that exploration, they learn the simple, perceptible connections of the natural world.

The Path to Reading – children playfully learn a language and become at home in it through songs, rich stories, verses, finger games, and rhymes.

Imagination and Creativity – open-ended toys and free play stimulate children’s imagination and flexibility of thinking.

Social Education – Through mixed-age free play, children learn how to navigate social situations with their peers under the loving eyes of their teacher. The children also hear stories inclusive of many different cultures, experiences, and traditions, strengthening their empathy and giving them an appreciation for the greater community.

Give your child the gift of an unhurried childhood at Urban Prairie.

6 early childhood students playing outdoors in a leaf pile. The children are gathered in a circle and throwing leaves in the air and laughing.

A Quest for the Golden Stone

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Our Programs

Parent & Child Programs

Play Groups for Toddlers

(1 – 2 1/2 Years Old)


Parent & Child Programs

Early Childhood

(2 1/2 – 6 Years Old)

Parent & Child Programs

Grade School 1 – 5

Parent & Child Programs

Middle School 6 – 8