Rethinking the “Pre” in Preschool

 

~ By Meg Freeling

What needs to precede school life for young children? At this time when curriculum is being pushed to ever-younger children, Meg Freeling encourages us to begin rethinking the “pre-” in pre-school so children’s earliest experiences support them optimally.

Considering aspects suggested by the letters “P-R-E,” she encourages caregivers to serve young children by becoming worthy models of

  • Protection, Play, and Possibility
  • Rhythm, Relationship, and Reverence, and
  • Earth textures, Eating together, and the Emerging “I”

She writes: “When teachers weave the values, qualities and attitudes of these experiences into a tapestry of loving activities with young children, they help give those children inner strength and allow each to unfold in all his or her mystery and delight. May more pre-schools become places where such attention to the young can thrive.”

Ideal for early childhood educators, caregivers and parents, to deepen their understanding of the principles that lie behind the LifeWays and Waldorf approaches to nurturing young children.

As an adjunct at Ashland University’s Columbus Campus (OH), Meg works online and by phone with LifeWays students to help them earn up to twelve graduate level credits for their LifeWays training. She founded Waldorf Education Columbus and helped create the Waldorf-based pre-school, Briar Rose Children’s Center in Columbus, Ohio.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Alternative Education and a Certification from Sunbridge College (NY) in Waldorf Administration and Community Development.

“Splendid!  Meg Freeling has given one of the most unique and compelling renditions of the meaning of the prefix ‘pre’ in preschool that you could ever hope to read!  If educators, parents and all those who care for young children were to embrace, or at least entertain, the possibility that ‘pre’ means ‘before’ rather than ‘preparation,’ what a difference that could make in the way we honor the natural unfolding of childhood.  Preschool would acknowledge the developmental awakenings, explorations and expanding consciousness of children in their early years of life that are categorically different from any other stage of development.  Thus, it would provide a focus on what naturally comes before school rather than what must happen to prepare for school. Imagine a culture that recognized protection, play and possibility; rhythm, relationship and reverence; and earth texture, eating together and the emerging ‘I’ as the fundamental components of education in the early years.  Wow!”
—Cynthia Aldinger, Founder of LifeWays North America

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