Cedarwood's Extended Day program provides a fun, engaging, and structured environment promoting indoor & outdoor free play activities as social-emotional enrichment.
Complementary to the Waldorf curriculum, free play is a form of experiential learning for the lower grades students. By definition, it is play, undirected by a teacher, expressed through the creative imagination of the students.
Building forts and fairy houses, free drawing, modeling with beeswax, and imaginative stick play are all examples of free play encouraged in this program. Through peer-led activities such as these, the child not only draws inspiration from the mixed age environment, but also acquires important problem-solving skills.
It is our belief that if we are to cultivate creativity in our students, we must allow space for it to develop and mature. After school play in a peer environment is an ideal scenario for the lower grades students to internalize the classroom content of the day. By including free play in our lower grades pedagogy, we are strengthening the students' will forces, deepening our ability to tap their unique genius. Paradoxically, after a school day's work is done, it is oftentimes the lack of stimulus from teachers that best supports the development of children in this age group.
With this in mind, a teacher's intentional holding of this program is paramount in establishing a hygienic social environment beneficial to students. A daily rhythm anchors each of our afternoons together. In addition to free play, this rhythm includes movement games, story, drawing, snack, and rest. An engaged teacher is keen to group dynamics and will introduce pedagogical stories, group games, and chores at varying times throughout the day. Through these activities, the teacher is modeling for the students the etiquette of work and play.
Cedarwood's Extended Day program has been in development by grades Full Day, Extended Day, and Break Camp teacher Bobby Smith since 2008.