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"With so many choices when it comes to parenting, it can easily feel overwhelming. Choosing Prairie Hill's Early Childhood Program for our children is one choice I never question. Every child would be so lucky to grow in an environment that nurtures love, compassion, self-discovery and joy."

- KATIE ERDMAN, PHWS parent

A complete childhood:


In our Kindergarten, childhood is protected, play is essential, and relationships are nurtured. This leads to children who are confident, self-aware, and balanced as they enter the rigorous academics found in the grades. Pre-academic skills fostered by our play-based curriculum include sequencing, sensory integration, eye-hand coordination, vocabulary, memory, abstract thinking, and other basic skills necessary for the foundation of academic excellence. In this loving and creative environment, the children are given everything they need to prepare for the next phase of school life.

The Waldorf Kindergarten is modeled on the home, with the teacher being the loving and guiding authority. The majority of our Kindergarteners' day is spent outside in our extensive outdoor classrooms. Here they have freedom to explore, an outlet for their vibrant energy, and a deep appreciation for the world around them. A gentle rhythm carries them through their day, with more exuberant activities balanced with calming ones. The rich social environment of a mixed-age group provides opportunities for emotional growth and maturity. 

Your child will enjoy:


  • Learning stories, poems and songs by heart
  • Helping prepare healthy meals and snacks
  • Practicing good manners with their classmates
  • Learning to resolve conflict with compassion
  • Exploring nature year-round
  • Plenty of time for creative free play
  • Participating in cleaning and chores
  • Developing their own games and stories
  • Lavender foot rubs at nap-time
  • Creating art projects with natural materials
  • A schedule designed to create a gentle transition to first grade

    Our Kindergarten teachers:


    Jenifer Minor Lead Kindergarten Teacher

    Jenifer Minor

    Lead Kindergarten Teacher


    Jenifer Minor began her studies in child development and anthroposophy in 2016 as a student with the Great Lakes Waldorf Institute. Native to Wisconsin, she was attracted to the reverence, beauty, and love that Waldorf education brings to the world. Prior to beginning her studies with Great Lakes, she lived in Minneapolis and then New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree in flute performance. More recently, Jenifer held an Early Childhood position at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miss Jenifer enjoys gardening and being in nature, creating and attempting new handwork projects, connecting with people, and spending time with her tabby cat, Zorro.

    Miss Jenifer warmly greets the children with open arms and an open heart each morning. Her calm and loving demeanor provides a strong foundation for the day's activities as she leads the children through their daily and seasonal rhythms. 


    Leslie Gutkowski Lead Kindergarten Teacher

    Jana John

    Lead Kindergarten Teacher


    Jana John graduated in Corinne Lorian’s PHWS Class of 2006 and later went on to study theatre and psychology at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2014. Jana has spent the better part of the last decade, working with children in various creative and wholistic settings (A Week on the Farm, First Stage Children’s Theatre, as well as working with families in the community in early childhood as well as after-school care). She holds certificates from Yoga to the People, Bikram Yoga College of India, and The Ivy Standard Yoga Institute, and co-opened a yoga studio on Milwaukee’s west side, in the spring of 2018. She has continued to feel drawn to the Waldorf School community, and feels that her childhood, adolescent and teen years spent at Prairie Hill are the primary source of shaping who she is and what she values, today.


    Her classroom philosophy very much mirrors her teaching philosophy in both the yoga and theatre settings. “In nurturing the whole child, we encourage an ongoing union between mind and body, self and others. I believe that finding the balance between movement and rest, laughter and stillness, is an essential but fluid scaffolding within which the child can learn and grow in ways that feel most unique and authentic for their individuality.”


    Stanlee Maliszewski Lead Kindergarten Teacher

    Annie Cooley

    Lead Kindergarten Teacher


    Annie Cooley recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee in the Fall of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in English as a Second Language. She has enjoyed working at Prairie Hill for the past three summers for the Summer Garden Program, as well as during the springtime as the Willow Tree Kindergarten Assistant. Annie began her journey with Prairie Hill back when she was three years old - attending Wonder Garden. She later graduated from 8th grade in 2012 and has since been drawn back into the beauty of Waldorf education.


    She believes that allowing students to explore their curiosity and imagination in the natural world is crucial to healthy childhood development, and is there to ensure they have the tools to do so. Annie strongly takes into consideration the whole child and teaches with a purpose based on the needs of her classroom.

    Additional information:


    4 years to 6 years old. This mixed-aged class includes younger and older students to provide a rich social environment. Classes are filled on a first come/first serve basis.

    3 Day Kindergarten (M, T, W) 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

    5 Day Kindergarten (M, T, W, F) 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m & (Thursdays) 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

    5 Half Day Kindergarten (M, T, W, Th, F) 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Drop-off opens at 7:30 a.m. & After Care Available


    Apply:


    Students intending to join Kindergarten are required to spend time in one of our classrooms. For more information please get in touch with our Admissions Coordinator at 262-646-7497 or [email protected]


    Go To Admissions