What Is a Waldorf Kindergarten? 2nd Edition

compiled and introduced by Sharifa Oppenheimer


Many color photos


From Nancy:

What a joy this book is! It has been several years since the only book that had actual photos and descriptions of daily life in a Waldorf kindergarten went out of print–and the loss as been palpable. This beautiful little book fills that gap in a wonderful way and goes even further in describing the goals and ways of kindergarten education within the Waldorf approach. I am so happy that this book has found its way into print, and am confident that it will find its way into the hearts of parents and teachers and emerge as beautiful environments in which young children will grow and be glad.

Through a compilation of articles originally published in various WECAN newsletters, we adults are invited into the life of the kindergarten, and into a deeper understanding of the rhymes and reasons for things being as they are. Each step of the way, we are also treated to photos that make clear what is being spoken about, and empower us to go forth and do likewise. Prepare to enter the world of delight and wonder!

From the Publisher:

“Baking, washing, sweeping, mending, singing, painting! Imagine the scent of bread baking, the warm sudsy water for washing the dishes, the muscle power of sweeping, the fine eye-hand coordination of mending and sewing. Imagine the visual education in the dancing watercolors. And if you have had the great pleasure of sitting in the midst of children’s creative, imaginative play, you will know the happy sound at the heart of this beehive of activity.

All this beauty given to the children is ‘nutritional.’ Their senses are stimulated, and through free movement and imitation of the adult the experience is digested. It then becomes their own, nourishing their growth toward freedom.” —Sharifa Oppenheimer

Research shows that three essentials are necessary for the young child’s learning: a broad palette of sensory experience, vigorous and fine movement in response to sensory input, and the opportunity to imitate what the child sees modeled in the environment. These activities are the backbone of the academic foundation that parents look for in an early childhood program.

What Is a Waldorf Kindergarten? includes chapters on the typical day in a kindergarten, handwork, human development through art, circle time, fairy tales, seasons and festivals, and much more. This collection of insightful articles by experienced early-childhood educators brings both an overview and a deeper understanding of these essentials at work in the daily life of the Waldorf kindergarten.


Foreword by Joan Almon

Part One: An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten

  • Introductions by Sharifa Oppenheimer
  • “A Day in the Life of the Kindergarten” by Ingeborg Schöttner
  • “Handwork in the Kindergarten” by Dora Dolder
  • “Human Development through Art” by Freya Jaffke
  • “Circle Time in the Kindergarten” by Nancy Foster
  • “Fairy Tales and the Image of the Human Being” by Helmut von Kügelglen
  • “Choosing Fairy Tales for Different Ages” by Joan Almon
  • “The Seasons and Their Festivals” by Joan Almon

Part Two: A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten Introductions by Sharifa Oppenheimer

  • “Stages of Development in Early Childhood” by Freya Jaffke
  • “Kindergarten Education with Mixed-Age Groups” by Freya Jaffke
  • “The Significance of Imitation in the Development of the Will” by Freya Jaffke
  • “Considerations about Kindergarten Readiness” by Joan Almon
  • Afterword: “Meeting the Needs of the Times” by Cynthia K. Aldinger


This edition replaces the first edition.

This content was originally published in the two volumes, Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten and A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten–still available as set for a special price: Waldorf Kindergarten Special

112 pages, 7.5″ x 9″, 2015

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