Wildflowers Waldorf Inspired Early Childhood
a caring environment with rhythm and wonder.
Childhood is the most important time in everybody's life. It is the time to plant seeds and lay a foundation. As a small, home-based early childhood program, Wildflowers is designed for families looking to expand their child's early development by fostering exploration, creativity, and sense of wonder while promoting their overall development and well-being.
Wildflowers children are a part of a worldwide community that nurtures children's mindfulness, socialization and meaningful connection to nature. Here children are surrounded by a calm, organized, chemical free home that provides an inner sense of warmth, peace, and beauty. These peaceful moments create healthy neural connections that are essential to developing young children's future abilities.
Wildflowers is not a large, commercial center or a traditional academic preschool, but rather a small, private, serene environment that allows each child to thrive in ways that matter for a lifetime. Wildflower's daily rhythm includes imaginative play, art experiences, storytelling, handcrafting, natural/organic snacks and rest time. Learn more!
We don't rush childhood
Inspired by the principles and practices of Waldorf Early Childhood, Wildflowers emphasizes the basics of "play-based - imagination-powered" child development by infusing arts and nature each day. Children at Wildflowers strengthen their personal and social development through weekly activities like gardening, water color painting, singing, seasonal projects, story telling, puppet shows and daily access to our beautiful, interactive outdoor play areas. Children are regularly exposed to Spanish as it is spoken daily our teachers.
Wildflowers children are given the time and space they need to create, engage, and explore at their own pace.
We don't rush childhood.
Decades of research in developmental psychology support our early childhood philosophy. Free play and imitation are the most effective ways for young children to learn and develop social skills, and emotional regulation. Through our blend of mixed ages, open-ended play, nature and art we promote the deepest kind of learning by encouraging children to become self-directed learners who explore, develop curiosity, and solve their own problems.
Wildflowers supports each child's unique, holistic development. Teachers are able to support each child's individual developmental needs due to our low adult to child ratio and small number of children enrolled.
Children laugh, learn and connect.
There is Joy, Humor, Happiness & mud!
Please find the documents you need in order to apply to Wildflowers below. If you need assistance with completing our paperwork, or if you have any other questions, please contact us via email.
Preschool is from 8:30am to 1pm. Full Day is until 4pm. (Extended care past 4pm may be available for an additional fee.)
We offer schedules of 2, 3 and 5 consecutive days (e.g. M/T/Wed)
We enroll children between ages 2.5- 6 years old.
The maximum class size is 12 children with 2 teachers.
New children start in June or September or when space becomes available.
Children must be generally bathroom independent before starting.
Application and Information Packet
Applications for enrollment are accepted year round and up to 18 months in advance. Enrollment priority is given to current school families, then alumni families and those seeking full-time spot. Remaining openings are filled by new families from our waiting list.
Tour/Interviews are scheduled after receipt of application, fee and questionnaire. To learn more about the process, download our 2023 Packet that explains the application process, tuition and fees and general information.
What makes us unique?
Unstructured, unhurried play, art infused and daily outdoor access
Wildflowers embraces the simplicity of childhood. Children receive warm, caring, personalized attention free from media, toxins, and life's pressures. We empower those we serve in building foundational, life-long skills supported by the long tradition of Waldorf Early Childhood. Together we form a partnership of care for your child.
We are located in a home, but the school has its own dedicated space completely separate from the family home. This allows us to have a home atmosphere without being in personal living space.
Simple, natural materials are used to develop imagination, concentration, coordination, language, and number skills that will be revisited in the elementary years. We are also all-weather people and are outside much of the day, every day! Our atmosphere is warm and homelike and our focus is on play and cultivating the imagination. Outdoor playtime happens everyday, rain or shine.
What will your child learn helping us bake bread, chop food or fold the laundry: measuring, counting, following directions, nutrition, sorting, color recognition, social skills, emotional regulation, the process of following a task through to completion, and language skills, to name a few!
Love and emotional warmth, rather than any particular early childhood pedagogy, create the basis for the children's healthy development. We strive to have these qualities live in our relationship to each other, in our relationships with the children, in the children's behavior toward one another and in our warm respect for each of you.
We attempt to model an atmosphere of gratitude, reverence and wonder for the children, believing that this, rather than our outer expectations for their good or polite behavior, will grow naturally in them. We hope that the capacity for love, which we believe is deeply embedded in each and every child, will grow in this natural way as a gesture from them toward the whole world.
As the only Associate Member of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) in the Treasure Valley, Wildflowers is proud to be part of a committed community of educators worldwide who uniquely support families and children. (WECAN’s mission is to foster a new cultural impulse for the work with the young child from pre-birth to age seven.)
Holistic & Caring
Mindful & Respectful
Play & Nature Based
Our Curriculum is inspired by the early childhood development theories of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) as practiced in 1500+ Waldorf-based kindergartens and preschools worldwide.
Our atmosphere is simple and intimate with daily activities worthy of our children's unquestioning imitation and plenty of creative free-play indoors and out. Waldorf education can first be understood by observing the developmental stages in the life of human beings. The first stage is from pre-birth to age seven, and this is the stage with which we primarily work.
Wildflowers nurtures children’s healthy development. We do this primarily, by providing nourishing organic snacks, playthings and activities with a connection to the natural world. Indoors children play with cloths and handmade soft toys of wool, silk, and cotton, as well as wooden objects with different textures of smoothness and roughness. These playthings assist in the development of their sense of touch, in their learning about the different qualities inherent in those objects. Children also have many opportunities to move—for fun as well as for the development of their large and small motor skills and their sense of balance. We provide them with a protected, shaded yard containing sandboxes and toys, mud kitchens, swings, and logs for climbing up, jumping off or looking under.
THE PLAY SPACE
The space created for the young child is very important. We believe that the room, in a Waldorf program, is the curriculum. We have artistically created spaces, in which young children can unfold their individualities—their gifts and uniqueness—and begin the long process of socialization. We offer an aesthetically pleasing environment where everything has a place. Although anything and everything can be moved around during playtime, there is order and calmness created for the children when the room is set up with their play in mind.
Play is the child's self-education. Using natural materials and open-ended toys children create their world together. We are non-toxic, eco-friendly and sustainable in as many ways as possible. During the preschool years we seek to awaken and support the child’s creative and playful nature and to nurture their sense of wonder and gratitude.
As part of Wildflowers children build community, develop relationships, and become comfortable expressing ideas and needs within a group and to the adults.
Our Waldorf inspired curriculum is built around a daily rhythm of activities and routines designed to provide continuity, stability, and sound social, emotional, and cognitive growth. With the help of verses, songs, stories, and puppetry, children are guided through a daily and weekly routine of activities including baking bread, cooking soup, and tending the garden as well as artistic activities such as watercolor painting, beeswax and beeswax crayon coloring.
OUR NATURE TABLE
A focal point of our space is the nature table, or seasonal tableau. This is a surface between our rooms where we bring something of the natural world inside—a reflection of what is happening in the life of Mother Nature. Characters, such as Prince Autumn, King Winter, Mrs. Thaw and Lady Spring are personified as felt or wool puppets, and all come in their time with little creatures, stones, nuts, leaves and flowers to help the children learn about the natural world in a developmentally appropriate way.
Wildflowers day has a rhythm all its own, formed by the developmental needs of the children in attendance. There will be a daily, a weekly, and a yearly rhythm, with birthday celebrations and family festivals along the way.
Within our daily and weekly rhythms, there is repetition. There are lullabies for sleeping, songs during playtime and songs for tidying up. Seasonally, we sing simple songs and recite poetry and nursery rhymes in English and Spanish. As the children hear the songs and stories repeated over time they become more confident and comfortable in not only singing the songs with us or alone, but also in participating in the activities which the songs accompany. The table is set the same way each day. The same foods are usually served on each individual day of the week. The days come to be known as yellow day or bread day. The children delight in looking forward to what each day brings; the word, Wednesday, cannot in itself engender the same delighted feeling.
Reverence for nature, for our rooms and for each other is practiced by showing respect. We show respect for Mother Earth, for example, by raking, gardening, weeding and shoveling while playing outdoors. In our spaces Mother Earth, Prince Autumn, Lady Spring—to name but a few—are personified in stories and as wool figures on our nature table to welcome in each season. For the young child, any activity can be filled with reverence —in folding a cloth, in pouring water or in eating lunch with friends. We model this for them in our relations to you, their parents, through the stories we tell, and through how we treat the toys and the objects in our room.
Wildflowers is OUTSIDE everyday, rain or shine for as long as possible. Being outside in nature provides the children with fresh air, lots of sensory experiences, and a sense freedom. They can breathe in and live more slowly to the pace of Mother Earth and the seasons.
Wildflowers children freely play outdoors, as much as possible every day all year round with leaves, soil and sand, water, sticks, bugs, pinecones, seeds and whatever else they find. They become fully engaged which builds their powers of concentration, imagination, and friendship.
CREATIVE FREE PLAY
Childhood is a time for learning through activity, for experiencing nature's wonders, for growing socially, for playing creatively and imaginatively, for singing, talking, quarreling and even for crying, for running, and for laughing.
Young children are naturally active because their rapidly growing bodies require activity for healthy development. One of Wildflowers' premises is that the children's play is the most important part of day and is their “work”. It is the way that they learn about life and its abundant wonders and struggles. They need to be left free to play in order to learn about sharing, taking risks, role modeling for each other and resolving conflict. When conflict does arise, we believe it is our role as their teachers to help to facilitate their play by providing each child with our understanding towards their personal situation and with imaginative pictures for how things might be resolved, rather than by our use of explicit guidance.
CARE OF SENSES
The world is learned through our senses. Young children are total sense organs. Like little sponges, they soak up everything around them. It is because children are so open to sense impressions that they are so easily over- stimulated. Children need to have experiences that they can make sense of in order to build up capacities for discernment. When they are little, they are still learning where the world begins and they end. It is important for them to have both the experience of feeling united with the world and the experience of slowly and consciously separating from it. It is in precisely this way that they have the opportunity to become individuals while still remaining in a relationship to the world from which they are separating themselves.
Wildflowers offers opportunities in which the children can experience the world but still be protected from too much stimulation. We hope, in offering these things, to provide a way in which they can healthily develop boundaries for themselves. An important aspect of our program is the emphasis on bodily care: dressing; bathroom independence; hand washing and the importance of a good nap or deep rest!
Read about 33 Reasons to Choose A Play-Based Preschool
Year Round Outdoor Play
Wildflowers children have LOTS of outside time every day. We dress for the weather and children enjoy the changing of the seasons that make Boise special.
Creativity and Expression
Each week children learn through wet on wet watercolor, beeswax creations, baking bread, beeswax crayon drawing, puppet storytelling, and seasonal crafts.
We provide a sensory-rich environment for children to discover what lies in the world. Both indoors and outdoors, children are in contact with the natural world. We have open-ended toys and give ample time for social development.
WECAN Associate Member
WECAN is committed to protecting and nurturing childhood as a foundation for renewing human culture. As an Associate Member program we demonstrate that we are on the path toward standing as an example of Waldorf early childhood education through working with the WECAN Shared Principles, which form the basis for our work together in association. Learn more about WECAN.
Here For You
Children are surrounded by a calm and organized place that provides an inner sense of warmth, peace, and beaty.
"We encourage children to explore and gain a sense of the world around them. Children who graduate from us are joyfully prepared for the next stage of their young lives." Owners Laura and Richard
Wildflowers was founded in 2019 by Laura Henning, who has spent the past 30 years as a leader and educator of children, teens and adults in various capacities. Laura is an Idaho native, who spent 11 years in the Seattle area and 9 years in Peru with her husband and two daughters before returning to Boise several years ago. She is incredibly proud of her children and can been seen cheering them on the soccer field, driving them to music practice, cooking dinner together, gardening and generally enjoying the simple things in life with them.
Laura holds bachelor degrees in psychology and philosophy and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care from Seattle University. She is a lifelong learner who is passionate about helping children grow naturally and holistically and for the past 13 years she has dedicated herself to Waldorf education.
Laura loves supporting parents in the most important job they will ever have. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and training about child development and families. She is knowledgeable about topics around nutrition, homeopathy and she is a Certified Simplicity Parenting Family Life Group Leader for parents in the Treasure Valley.
She is deeply committed to Waldorf education and helping children and families grow into their capacities. With her husband's support over the past ten years, she founded two other Waldorf inspired schools (Peace Valley Charter in Boise and the other in Peru)
Richard Zavaleta (Tio to the WF children), Laura's husband and co- teacher is a Peru native and brings the gift of Spanish language and culture to Wildflowers. With his degree in Business Administration, his first career was in microfinance banking for 20 years. Two years ago, he decided to leave the financial world stress behind and became co-owner of Wildflowers. He brings a lively and balanced element our school and he loves looking at life through children's eyes. He continues to be inspired by the education he is receiving through his Waldorf Teacher Certification in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
When he's not at WF, he can be found coaching his daughter's soccer team, jogging along the canal behind the house, cooking Peruvian food or washing the dishes to salsa music.
Through Wildflowers they both offer a unique, personalized, high-quality early childhood center with dedicated space in their home in the Borah Neighborhood. Together they bring a balanced and peaceful approach to early childhood in the Treasure Valley.
Our daughter is so happy to go each day. We love listening to the songs she learns each season, especially in Spanish. She has made great friends. Wildflowers understands our family values.
WF Parent - 4 year old
We are sad to leave this phase of our life. It's been a blessing to have this community. Our child was safe, happy and growing every day. The art, outdoors and socialization was perfect. The relationship to the teachers will be with us forever.
Graduated WF Parent
Wildflowers has been great for our family. We love the values Waldorf brings. We love the art, outdoor time, no media, healthy food and play! It's a special place in all of Boise. We are thankful for the personal, knowledgeable care of our child.
Wildflowers is a warm and caring home away from home. We couldn't be happier about finding this school for our two children. They are growing at their own pace without any stress.
Parent of 2 WF children
Learn more about Waldorf early childhood values and educational model
This video is a good broad overview https://youtu.be/B-ZSeepDmPE
Download a great article on saying "good job"
Waldorf in a nutshell video
"Using The Extraordinary Power Of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids."
Family Life Parent Classes
Based on the book "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne, Family Life Parent Groups help create a simpler, more balanced home life for you and your family.
About Family Life Parent Groups
Simplicity Parenting Family Life Parent Groups bring together small groups of like-minded parents to explore “the extraordinary power of less.”
As the pace of life accelerates, with too many choices and too little time, children and parents alike feel the pressure. Parents feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and worried. Children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, and even be diagnosed with behavioral problems.
But by incorporating the simple principles they learn in this class, parents can begin to create the balanced, connected home life we all want for ourselves and our children.
Parent Groups are led by Laura Henning, a Certified Simplicity Parenting Group Leader and are held in person and consist of three gatherings of approximately 2-1/2 hours each.
If you'd like to be informed when the next class opens up, please click the button below to send us an email with your name, email and age of your child(ren). We’ll add your name to the interest list and let you know as soon as registration opens.
Thank you for you interest, and we hope to see you in an upcoming class!
About Simplicity Parenting
A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children, offering inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
Streamline your home environment.
Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter-as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
Schedule a break in the schedule.
Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child's daily torrent of constant doing.
Scale back on media and parental involvement.
Manage your children's "screen time" to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
Join Our Interest List
Please click the button to send us an email with your name, email, and phone number. We'll let you know as soon as the next class becomes available.
Simplicity Parenting Family Life Parent Workshops bring together small groups of parents to explore “the extraordinary power of less.”
By incorporating the simple principles they learn in this workshop, parents can begin to create the balanced, connected home life we all want for ourselves and our children.
Participants are limited to 20 (individual parent or a couple) to maximize the learning.
As part of the registration fee you'll purchase course materials that includes:
One-year access to the Parent Gathering videos with Kim John Payne.
Downloadable audio from the videos
Convenient, online format
PLUS BONUS ...
90 day access to the Parent Group Forum
You will learn:
How simplifying can help you create a balanced and connected home life and help nurture your child’s wellbeing
The importance of balance between your child’s inner and outer world in order to let them thrive
Principles of simplifying the environment for your child
Six keys to creating rhythm in your family life
Ways to filter the outside world to let children be children
Values-based family life
If you are interested in learning more about Wildflowers, please get in touch.
6420 W Randolph Drive, Boise ID 83709