When we discovered the warm and inviting classroom of Lisa and Nathaniel Santa Cruz, we instantly fell in love. Wondergarten is a Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool that seeks to enrich the lives of children with goodness & beauty.
At Bella Luna Toys, one of our missions has always been to share the beauty of Waldorf education. The rare glimpse into the classroom that Lisa & Nathaniel share each day on Instagram does just that, and in such a lovely way. Let's take a journey through their day!
When children first arrive at Wondergarten, they have the option of playing with a variety of natural toys, play dough, beeswax crayons, blocks, books, and other essential Waldorf toys. According to Lisa, “Morning playtime is an essential part of our program, as it provides children with the opportunity to develop their imaginations, relationships, and problem-solving skills through creative, free play.”
After a morning of playtime, the children transition by cleaning up and preparing for the daily ritual of circle time by singing Ring around the Rosie.
In Waldorf schools, circle time is a special time to celebrate the season with stories, songs, and creative movement. Each school puts their own spin on this special time and at Wondergarten, they add piano and guitar and dancing as they introduce their story of the week. After this joyful movement and song, the children transition to lesson time.
The main lesson of the day typically fits one of three rotating activities; life skills, baking, or creative arts. According to Lisa, “lesson time and the development of life skills help children feel a sense of belonging, responsibility, and accomplishment as they contribute to various life-based activities.” From baking bread to wet on wet painting, each activity is directly tied to the season and helps foster community.
After cleaning up together and preparing the table, the children gather for snack time, which according to Lisa “is a delicious and nourishing part of our day.” As they eat, Nathaniel’s “Gnomes of Wondergarten” stories are told aloud, accompanied by engaging visuals and puppetry. As children finish their snacks, they wash and dry their dishes, put them back on the shelf, and get ready to go outside.
“Outdoor playtime is a highlight of our day, and we spend at least an hour outside each day, rain or shine, to build resilient bodies and a strong connection to the natural world.” Once outside, children play and work in the garden, run and play in the field, create muddy and treasure-filled concoctions in the mud kitchen, and love “collecting buckets of water and dumping them into ditches they've dug in the playscape to create lakes and rivers.” Wondergarten has even created a track where children can ride trikes “in little caravans, playing out stories of trains and fire trucks.”
After a full day of play, nourishing food, fresh air, and gentle learning parents pick up their children from outside, and the day comes to a close. We are so glad to see Wondergarten open up their beautiful enviornment to share more about Waldorf education with the public. It is a beautifully peaceful way for children to learn and grow. To see more, follow Wondergarten on Instagram @wondergarten_earlychildhood or visit their website here: Wondergarten.net