The Circle Play & Learn Academy is a lovely part-time school for Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-4. (In the fall of 2023, we will add Grade 5.) Our program is lovingly crafted to include music, art, dance, stories, free play, nature, and community building. Our loving teachers are gentle and encouraging, and our art supplies and toys are all-natural and of the highest quality. Scroll down for details about our philosophy, activities, curriculum, and more.
Circle Play & Learn Academy
The Circle Play & Learn Academy uses the Waldorf education pedagogy developed by Rudolf Steiner. This educational method is saturated in beauty and kindness, honoring each individual's spirit. It generates a loving, beautiful, and wholesome culture that nourishes the children, enabling them to excel in their education, social, and spiritual lives.
Our caring teachers gather the children into a class circle and lead them in unveiling their individual personalities and educational interests through a variety of:
art, craft, and handwork activities,
puppet stories and theatrical plays,
singing and playing musical instruments,
finger plays and hand-clapping games,
nature observation and appreciation,
community responsibility tasks,
dance and Eurythmy-inspired movement,
jumping rope and other traditional games,
and free play with beautiful, natural toys and the natural playground of the forest.
After we have received your Application Form, if we have any questions, we will contact you to arrange an Intake Interview.
Rates for the 2022-23 School Year:
Registration and Supply Fee: $275
Preschool Tuition: $2,115/yr or $235/mo K-4 Tuition: $3,600/yr or $400/mo
A 2-month Tuition Deposit is required at registration for those choosing the automatic monthly installment plan.
Most mornings begin with distant magical greetings from sweet tempered deer and colorful song birds. Our school meets in a beautiful, wooded, public park, and our students soon become well acquainted with the wonders of nature and the rhythms of the seasons. We develop a relationship with the park's Groundskeeper and learn about protecting and caring for the animals, plants, trees, and park structures.
Amidst the forest, the children's creativity soars. Not only do they develop fantastic story lines for their play, they invent amazing toys and tools using sticks, rocks, moss, and other items found in nature.
Our students have learned to recognize animal tracks, scat, and signs, as well as different species of plants and trees. They are adept at finding snails, salamanders, caterpillars, and butterflies. With a well developed sense of direction, the children forge trails and find their way based on the angle of the sun and the natural contours of the land.
Almost daily, we climb trees, swing on vines, roll down hills, hike long trails, build hideouts, and dig in the dirt. These activities help the children to develop physical strength and skills that lead to important brain connections, core strength, and dexterity that improve their ability to sit at a desk and write or read.
Frequently throughout the year, Circle Play & Learn teachers and students welcome families to celebrate a festival during the school day! This is a wonderful educational experience and joy-fostering opportunity for the children. Additionally, a few times a year, Circle Play & Learn celebrates larger festivals on weekends when extended family and friends are available to attend and rejoice together.
In preparation for the festivals, the students hear stories and have conversations about the festival. Then, they learn songs, skits, and poems to perform, and they create artistic decorations for the festival.
Festivals are exciting and they feel important, which makes the work and learning the children do more memorable and valuable to them! They will learn not only art, music, and literature through this experience, but also social studies, science, mathematics, and history!
Circle Play & Learn Academy's school year runs from the day after Labor Day to the day before Memorial Day. We also offer special programming in the summer.
Circle Play & Learn Academy will be held outside at a city park, regardless of weather (as long as the roads are passable). We do have access to an indoor location on site in case of extreme, dangerous weather conditions.
Our school days are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
Preschool is 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Kindergarten and Grades are
9:30 am - 2:30 pm
WHAT IS A COTTAGE SCHOOL?
Sometimes called a hybrid-school or a micro-school, a cottage school is a part-time private school for homeschooling families. Cottage schools are growing in popularity due to dissatisfaction with some aspects of public schools and the expense of private schools, along with a belief among today's parents that children belong with their families more of the time. Often, cottage schools use hands-on methods, mentoring from experts, small class sizes, and mixed-age groupings to help children learn more information in a shorter amount of time. It is the perfect option for many families who want an enriching and rigorous education in a gentle and respectful atmosphere.
At each grade level, Circle Play & Learn Academy teachers bring education to the children in age-appropriate ways that inspire a lifelong love of learning.
Using hands-on activities, with many manipulatives and real-world experiences, the subjects of science, math, language arts, social studies, and the arts become meaningful to the children.
Following in the Waldorf tradition, teachers present children with oral stories and original sources rather than textbooks...and the children create their own textbooks as a record of what they have learned. These Lesson Books serve not only as reference books for them to remind themselves the details of what they have learned, they are special keepsakes for years to come.
The Waldorf method excels not only in teaching children to memorize facts and poetry, it is especially strong in teaching children to think for themselves. Problem solving skills, creativity, and curiosity are highly valued in our classes.
We accomplish this freedom of thought by incorporating into our academic lessons a lot of games, group work, art, music, and love.
Circle Play & Learn Academy is a program for homeschoolers, which means that it is ultimately up to the parents to assure that their child is meeting all of their learning goals. In Kentucky, a homeschooling parent gets to decide what those learning goals are for their own child and how they will address them. Each of our families handles homeschooling outside of Circle Play & Learn time in a different way -- from using structured pre-packaged curricula to unschooling. Whatever works for you is what you get to choose!
Fortunately, during Circle Play & Learn time, the children are given all of the most important lessons for their grade level. Most of the time, no outside schooling time is needed! This leaves the families free to make school at home as fun and interesting and laid-back as they want!
Our teachers are always happy to discuss a child's progress with their parents. We keep you informed so that you can either carry on with practicing our lessons at home, or you can turn your plans to other topics rather than repeating what we've done. We also give suggestions any time we see an area in which some special work would be helpful for your child.
While we don't give tests or grades at Circle Play & Learn, we do see our students' intellect and curiosity coming alive. Their progress and achievements impress us every week!
Imaginative Free Play
Our school days are filled with opportunities for children to explore and express their imaginations and creativity, develop and navigate social interactions, and move their bodies in ways that build brain connections, gross motor skills, and dexterity.
Each day, preschool students experience more than an hour of free play time. Our K-4 children get at least 2 hours of free play time on 5-10 acres of natural parkland. We also take the groups on long walks over the extensive park trails.
Not only are our children playing a lot, which is the true work of childhood, they are not just playing with plastic toys that are made to be or do something specific. They are playing with nature-made manipulatives that open up endless possibilities for the imagination.
Our teachers hold the space for the children without intruding upon or forming their creative and social experiences during free play time. Whenever the children need help with negotiating sharing or other disagreements, the teachers gently guide and inspire the children to figure out how to use kindness to stand up for themselves, express their needs and desires, and build strong bonds of friendship.
Please click the links below for further information about the concepts upon which Circle Play & Learn is built.
Additional links that may be of interest to Waldorf-inspired families:
Additional links that may be of interest to homeschooling families:
Although Circle Play & Learn is designed as a drop-off program to give homeschooling parents a well-deserved break and opportunity to embrace their own endeavors, parents can find enjoyment, community, and support in their involvement with the cottage school.
Parent are always welcome at school to participate in their child's school experience.
Families are requested to serve as a Family Helper two weeks per year, donating a healthy snack and helping the teachers as needed.
Our Circle Play teachers communicate with parents daily regarding their child's experience at school.
Additionally, families are encouraged to attend schoolday festivals and community festivals at Circle Play & Learn Academy.
From time to time, we welcome friends from the community to share their expertise with our students. We have been honored to host animal and bird experts, librarians, firemen, artists, builders, artisans, and more!
Our own teachers are experts in many areas, but community guests make an inspiring impact on our children, helping them build their ambitions and goals for the future, as well as connecting them with the broader community.
In the Anthroposophical spirit of Three-Fold responsibility, Frankfort School of Ballet is generously donating administrative staff and classroom use for Circle Play & Learn, as well as sponsoring Financial Aid.
If you, your relatives, or your business would like to make a donation to Circle Play, please submit it to FSB at your convenience. With your generous donations, we can enhance and expand the programming for your children.
In the Waldorf tradition, the teachers stay with their classes through the years as the children rise through the grades. It is our intention that the Circle Play & Learn Academy continue into future years, evolving as the children grow older into upper elementary, middle, and high school classes.
ACADEMIC OUTCOMES FOR WALDORF EDUCATION
Nearly 100% of Waldorf graduates attend college or university
47% choose to major in humanities or arts
42% choose to major in sciences or math
89% of Waldorf graduates are highly satisfied in their choice of occupation
91% are active in lifelong education
92% place a high value on critical thinking
Prepared for Success: University of Chicago economist Judy Lubin researched the characteristics essential for success in the 21st century. Her findings were published by the Waldorf Research Institute. What sets Waldorf graduates apart?
Waldorf School graduates are able to think for themselves and translate their new ideas into practice. They both appreciate and practice life-long learning and have a highly developed sense for aesthetics.
Waldorf School graduates value lasting human relationships—and they seek out opportunities to help others.
Waldorf School graduates are guided by an inner moral compass that helps them navigate the trials and challenges of their professional and private lives. They carry high ethical principles into their chosen professions.
Stanford University conducted a multi-year, rigorous analysis of Waldorf education that resulted in a 139-page report (December 2015). Stanford found significantly higher positive student achievement outcomes on standardized state assessmentsby Waldorf students, greater engagement and significantly lower disciplinary action and truancy. These results held across the subsets of African American, Latino and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
A study titled Educational Experiences at Waldorf Schools by professors at the University of Düsseldorf, reached the conclusion that pupils at Waldorf schools are healthier, more motivated to learn, more confident and are less stressed by school than pupils at mainstream schools.
While fame may not be the best measure of success, renowned individuals offer a glimpse into the many ways a Waldorf education prepares every student to discover and pursue his or her passion with dedication to outstanding achievements, however they define success. This is only a partial list of alumni from Waldorf schools around the world: