Early Childhood

Waldorf Early Childhood Programs | Ages 13 months - 5 years

The Waldorf early childhood programs at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia consist of our Forest Parent and Child Program, Nursery for children ages two-three, and a Mixed-Age Early Childhood Program for three-five year old children.

Each class is tailored to meet the nuanced development of the growing child. We provide families the opportunity of extended care and our early childhood programs have been certified by WECAN.

Mixed-Age Early Childhood Program | Age 3-5 years

At the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, our beautiful homelike environment is carefully curated for the developmental needs of the young child. Warm, nurturing and intentionally filled with beautiful, natural elements. Your child's day will breathe with a natural rhythm. Playing and working together in mixed-age groups, our play-based program will provide your child firm foundation for our grades program.

Taught by Waldorf teachers who are trained in Waldorf early childhood education and qualified by WECAN, our programs nurture and protect the young child’s sense of wonder and imagination.

Daily Activities build a firm foundation in the senses through the practice of culinary arts, crafting, self-care, and rest. Self awareness is expanded in the experience of the seasons, festivals, and through a rich community life. Language development, math, storytelling, and creative and performing arts are promoted through daily participation in music, art, games, and movement. Outdoor play provides limitless unplanned possibilities for discovery, and fosters a relationship with and love for the natural world.

Weekly Activities include Painting, Cooking and Baking, Handwork, Drawing, and Eurythmy.

Sample Snack Rhythm
Brown Rice and Sunflower Seeds
Bread Day
Quinoa and Roasted Carrots
Homemade Granola, Yogurt and Apple Sauce
Soup Day

Program Options: 

Our beautiful mixed-age early childhood program serves children ages 3-5 years with a small class size that includes a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. There are a handful of spaces available on a half-day basis from 8.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. and a limited number of three-day spaces, Monday through Wednesday, offered on a first-come-first served basis. Doors to our classrooms open at 8.15 a.m. and the program begins at 8.30 a.m.

5 day - Monday - Friday, 8.30 a.m. - 3.15 p.m.
3 day - Monday - Wednesday, 8.30 a.m. - 3.15 p.m.

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Nursery Program | Age 2-3 years

At the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, the nursery program allows children to develop at their own pace in their physical, emotional and social well-being. The environment of the classroom and outdoor playground are developed intentionally to be rich with beauty and wonder with sensory experiences that encourage awareness without excessive stimulation.

Teachers have received training in the Emmi Pikler approach to caregiving and Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf approach to education. Teachers design a rhythmic schedule that supports the child’s natural internal rhythms; this provides the child a sense of peace and security in the group. The study of the Pikler approach to care giving influences teachers’ one-on-one moments throughout the day developing strong bonds of trust between the teacher and child. The curriculum allows for the child’s personal creative initiative to blossom as they bring their own ideas into free, open play.

Large and small motor skills, oral and receptive language, musical gifts, social awareness, love for the natural world and the beginnings of self-care abilities are some of the skill sets that young children learn as they play and work among respectful and observant teachers.


The nursery is for children ages 2-3 years with a small class size that includes a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. We offer 5-day, 3-day, and 2-day enrollment options. Doors to our nursery classroom open at 8.15 a.m. and the program begins at 8.30 a.m.

5 day - Monday - Friday, 8.30 a.m. - 3.15 p.m.
3 day - Monday - Wednesday, 8.30 a.m. - 3.15 p.m.
2 day - Thursday - Friday, 8.30 a.m. - 3.15 p.m.

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New! Forest Parent and Child Program | Age 13 months to 3.5 years

Register now for our new six-week Forest Parent and Child Program commencing April 24th, 2021.

Outdoor play for prolonged periods has been shown to have a positive impact on children's development, particularly in the areas of balance and agility, but also manual dexterity, physical coordination, tactile sensitivity, and depth perception. According to studies, this can lead to fewer injuries due to accidents and improves a child's ability to assess risk.

Our Forest Parent-Child Program is located on our beautiful wooded campus close to the Wissahickon park system that includes trails and streams. Our outdoor classroom space includes a shelter for both rainy and sunny days.

Each week, your child will take part in open play, fostering creativity, imagination, and emotional development.  Parents an caregivers can observe their children's adventures, and join together to discuss child development, parenting issues, and Waldorf education. With support from our welcoming community, families can embrace this exciting and challenging time in their child's life.

The Forest Parent & Child Program at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia is offered on Saturday mornings from 8 am - 10 am on our beautiful campus for a 6-week session. The cost of attending is $150 for six sessions. The program will take place outdoors rain or shine.

One caregiver from each family must attend a new family orientation meeting. The child to caregiver ratio must be 1:1. Younger siblings of participating children can accompany caregivers until they are of crawling age.


The Spring program is currently sold out, but please request more information below, if you are interested in future sessions.

Request More Information