Wildflowers Early Childhood
Welcome to Wildflowers - an environment with rhythm and wonder that feels like home.
Childhood is the most important time in everyone’s life. This is the time to plant the seeds for dreams and imagination. Our focus is on rhythm – through our daily activities and our experiences of nature. Children form a “family” that helps each other grow and blossom in a home-based preschool program. We work and play with our friends.
Wildflowers is not a large commercial center or a traditional academic preschool, but rather a small, private, peaceful environment that allows children to thrive in ways that matter for a lifetime. Wildflowers is a nature-based program. We have natural handcraft toys made by crafters and teachers enliven their senses and imaginations.
Your child deserves the highest quality of care. Here they will be part of a Waldorf inspired environment that nurtures exploration, mindfulness, socialization and connection to nature. Current cognitive studies show that play-based early education is the most academic program possible for young minds.
As the only Associate Members 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.)
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 infusing arts and nature each day. Through our daily activities together, we strengthen our social skills. Gardening, painting, singing, art projects, story telling, puppet show and games are just a few of our daily activities. Our program celebrates the diversity of cultures and languages. Both English and Spanish are spoken.
Decades of research in developmental psychology support our unique focus in early childhood. Free play and imitation are the most effective ways for young children to learn and develop social skills, and regulate their emotions. Through 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.
The blend of mixed ages creates an intimate, family-like atmosphere that enables children learn important social skills and emotional health. Our toys are carefully selected for a peaceful, enriching environment where children learn naturally. Our daily connection to the outdoors inspires environmental stewardship and organic play. As part of our high-quality and holistic care, we strive support health through serving organic, plant-based foods, some of which we grow ourselves.
Little children learn through play. They approach play in an entirely individual way, out of their unique configurations and out of their unique experiences of the world in which they live with their families. Based on our daily observations of the children we continually work to create an environment that supports the possibility of their healthy play. At Wildflowers children have the time and space they need to create, engage, and explore at their own pace. We don't rush childhood.
With our 1:6 ratio of adults to children and a maximum of 12 children we are able to build relationships and provide attention to each child.
Wildflowers provides a healthy space to support each child's unique holistic development. Our staff creates a warm and loving environment with a consistent rhythm that is respectful of each child. Children love daily access to our beautiful, interactive outdoor play area & gardens.
There is Joy, Humor, Happiness & mud!
What makes us unique?
Unstructured, unhurried play and daily outdoor access
Wildflowers is a Waldorf family childcare associate of Waldorf Early Childhood of North American - WECAN. We are located in a home, but the preschool has its own dedicated space that is completely separate from the family home. This allows us a home atmosphere without being in someone "home".
A nurturing environment that is rhythmic in nature ensures a strong sense of consistency and security - essential to the healthy development of the young child. Simple, natural materials are used to develop imagination, concentration, coordination, language, and number skills that will be revisited in the elementary years. We are 100% media free and naturally focused. We are also all-weather people and are outside much of the day, every day! The atmosphere is homelike and the focus is on play and cultivating the imagination. Outdoor playtime happens everyday, rain or shine.
Wildflowers Child Care embraces the simplicity of childhood. Children receive 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.
At Wildflowers, we know that children learn best from real-life experiences. What will your child learn helping us bake bread 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! We spend our days in free play, singing songs, watching stories, working in the organic garden, and practicing healthy self-care. Spanish is also woven into the day through song and games as well as weekly yoga.
Our whole-child curriculum is based on human interaction and developmentally appropriate activities that foster healthy development and a passion for life and learning. Together we form a partnership of care for your child.
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 try 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.
Young children live in their senses; all that they learn comes from their direct and immediate experience of daily life. Through creative exploration—action, and interaction with everything around them—children acquire not only the rudiments of intellectual knowledge but an abiding appreciation for the world they have entered.
Mindful & Respectful Care
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 Preschool, in all ways, seeks to nurture and protect children’s healthy development. We do this primarily, by providing nourishing organic snacks, playthings and activities with a connection to the natural world. Indoors, they have 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. As children also need 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 yard containing a sandbox and sand toys, 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, including providing organic snacks (some we grow together in our garden). 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.
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 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.
As part of Wildflowers, children build community, develop relationships, and become comfortable expressing ideas and needs within a group
WILDFLOWERS PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM
Children in morning preschool have a curriculum 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 drawing.
Wildflowers Preschool's 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 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. 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 room, Mother Earth, Prince Autumn, Lady Spring—to name but a few—are personified in stories and as wool figures sitting 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. We will be spending as much time outside as possible. In warmer months we do almost everything outside.
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.
Preschoolers 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.
Children freely play outdoors daily all year round with leaves, soil and sand, water, sticks, bugs and whatever else they find. They become fully engaged which builds their powers of concentration, imagination, and friendship.
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!
AFTERNOON CLASS AND FULL DAY CARE
Wildflowers offers the option of an afternoon class for children aged 3.5 to 6. This class offers all the same aspects of our program except our morning activity and circle. Children participate in indoor and outdoor free play, seasonal crafts and snacks.
Full Day Option is available for families. It allows children to continue the rhythm set in the morning with lunch time, nap or rest time, crafts and more indoor and outdoor play.
We accept children ages 2.5 to around 6 years old.
Waitlist applications are accepted a year up to 18 months in advance.
Morning Preschool, Afternoon Class or Full Days are 2, 3 and 5 consecutive days (like M/T/Wed).
The maximum class size is 12 children with 2 teachers.
Children must be able to independently use the bathroom before starting care. Extended care may be available for an additional fee.
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
Aesthetic domain environment, children are surrounded by a calm and organized place that provides an inner sense of warmth, peace, and beaty.
Looking for more information about Wildflowers? Get in touch now.
"We allow children to explore their self-awareness 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."
In the last ten years owners Laura and Richard have founded two other Waldorf inspired schools (Peace Valley Charter in Boise and the other in Peru). Now through Wildflowers they offer a 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.
Wildflowers founder and director, Laura Henning, has worked with children ages 0-18 in various capacities for nearly 30 years. An Idaho native, Laura lived in Peru for 9 years with her husband and two daughters. She is a lifelong learner who is passionate about helping children grow naturally and holistically. The past 12 years she has dedicated herself to Waldorf education. Laura holds bachelor degrees in psychology and philosophy and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care from Seattle University where she lived for 11 years.
Laura loves supporting parents in the most important job they will ever have. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience about children and families, especially through the work of Kim John Payne and Simplicity Parenting, homeopathy and other topics.
Richard (Tio), Laura's husband and co- teacher is a Peru native and brings the gift of Spanish language and culture to the children. His first career was in microfinance. Now he is inspired by the education he is receiving through his Waldorf Teacher Certification and brings a wonderful element our school. He loves looking at life through children's eyes. He can be found coaching his daughter's soccer team, jogging along the canal behind their house or cooking Peruvian food to salsa music.
Here is some great information to learn more.
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
Waitlist Application and Tuition Info
Applications for enrollment are accepted at any time. Enrollment priority is given first to current school families, then alumni families. Remaining openings are filled by new families from our waiting list. Tours and interviews are scheduled after receipt of application and questionnaire. Download our 2022 Waitlist Application, Tuition and General Information via the link below.