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Sanderling School (Waldorf in North Coastal)

1578 S. El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024

(760) 635-3747


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Waldorf

From the Director:

The curriculum places equal emphasis upon all the developmental areas. Creativity is encouraged through a variety of hands-on learning and sensory experiences. The year is organized into seasonal themes, which form the loose structure around which the various skill areas are interwoven and integrated. This gradually develops through the Nursery/Kindergarten years.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Not Applicable
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Not Applicable
Time & space more

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  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Singing
Visual arts more

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  • Watercolor painting; beeswax sculpting/modeling; baking; finger-knitting; sewing
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Eurythmy - a form of expressing speech and music through artistic movement
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

A. Cognitive and Creative Development Language and pre-reading readiness are developed and informally encouraged through the use of stories, games, dramatic play and role-playing, singing, finger plays, and puppetry. Pre-math skills are nurtured through rhythmical activities during circle time, sorting objects into ordered baskets during clean up time, measuring ingredients for food preparation, creative play with sand and water, balancing and building with wood and stone. Science and nature skills are based on play with natural objects, observation, seasonal activities, gardening, and through measuring and pouring. Artistic and creative skills are nurtured through watercolor painting, drawing, beeswax modeling, the creative use of colored cloths, and the setting up of environments and building structures with the raw materials available. Music appreciation and development occurs throughout the day as the teacher sings, hums and plays instruments, and during opportunities to sing together. B. Physical Development Circle time develops skills of coordination, rhythm, timing, balance, control, and directionality. This strengthens auditory and memory skills, spatial awareness, coordination, self-expression, perception and balance. Outdoor play develops large motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Fine muscle and eye-hand coordination are developed through participation in activities such as crafts, food preparations, creative play and clean-up. C. Social Development/Emotional Development Social skill development will be enhanced and actively fostered by means of organized group activities, socialization during snack, lunch, outdoor playtime and throughout the day. The sharing of toys, taking turns with craft materials, preparing food, completion of craft projects, and dramatic play foster a strong cooperative sense. D. Nurturing the Inner Life The view that the child already possesses an individuality that will unfold as they develop engenders in the teacher a reverence for what each child brings and an enthusiasm to understand and provide for the needs of each child. It is through this genuine human connection that we can truly grow together.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Teachers consider each child as an individual, with his or her own gifts and strengths to bring to the class. The mixed-age classroom allows children in different developmental stages to experience various roles, and encourage each other in their activities.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our mission at Sanderling Waldorf School is to give every child the gift of self-knowledge that is grounded in a life-long love of learning.

Recognizing each individual as a unique expression of body, soul and spirit, our faculty engages the child's physical and emotional intelligence as well as the intellect through a developmentally appropriate curriculum. Students gain practical skills, a firm foundation for sound thinking and moral judgment, and hold a healthy connection to nature and their fellow human beings. Thus they may emerge as adults with a strong social awareness, a keen sense of purpose and the ability to meet new challenges with creativity and responsibility.

A Typical Day

Typical Daily Rhythm of the Nursery/Kindergarten (can vary)
8:45 - 9:30 Outside free play
9:30 - 9:45 Wash hands
9:45 - 10:15 Large snack brought from home
10:15 - 10:30 Morning Circle
10:30 - 11:20 Creative play, artistic activity of the day
11:20 - 11:40 Tidy & wash hands
11:40 - 12:15 Story
12:15 - 12:45 Snack, prepared in class for each day

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We hold regular Parent Education nights, featuring topics and speakers dedicated to enriching parents' understanding of Waldorf education; child development; and other topics of interest. While we do have regular parent-teacher conferences, parents are encouraged to contact their child's teacher directly at any time with questions or concerns. Our monthly school newsletter includes regular updates from the teachers about classroom activities; teachers send their own semi-monthly newsletters to parents, as well. We also offer a vibrant parenting class called Parenting With Imagination, which helps parents better understand their child and themselves through book study, drawing, poetry writing, painting and clay work.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Each Nursery/Kindergarten classroom has a teacher and an assistant. This allows at least one adult to focus specifically on any children who may be experiencing separation anxiety. One class begins its day on the playground, where separation often is easier as children hurry to begin playing. Typically, most separation issues are over by the second or third week of school. Teachers handle these issues on a case-by-case basis and work closely with parents to help children quickly overcome them. If a child is inconsolable for any reason, and the teacher determines it would be best for him or her to go home, parents will be called.