What Are Caregiver & Child Classes?

A quick guide to the beginning of our Early Childhood Program


In Waldorf education, the concept of Caregiver & Child classes refers to classes or groups designed to support the relationship between parents/guardians/caregivers and their young children up to around three years of age. These groups begin at varying ages, depending on the school. Some Waldorf schools begin their Caregiver & Child programming with newborns, and a few Waldorf schools even offer groups for expectant parents. At Brooklyn Waldorf School, we provide groups for caregivers with children from seven months to three years old, around the age of entry into our nursery program. For many families, these classes are often the introduction to Waldorf education, which emphasizes the importance of nurturing the whole child – the head, heart and hands – in a developmentally appropriate manner.

One of the distinguishing features of Caregiver & Child classes in Waldorf education is the engagement of parents or caregivers. Adults attend the classes alongside the children, actively participating in various activities and experiences designed to foster bonding, communication, and understanding between caregiver and child.

Our Caregiver & Child classes align with Waldorf pedagogy, taking a holistic approach to child development. From the beginning, our classes recognize the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of human experience. The Caregiver & Child sessions address cognitive, physical, and emotional developmental needs in a nurturing and supportive environment. 

The classes incorporate daily rhythms and rituals designed to provide a sense of security and ease for the caregiver and child. These may include activities such as circle time, singing, storytelling, creative play, and outdoor exploration, all of which help establish a sense of rhythm, routine, and wonder in the child’s life. 

Waldorf education strongly emphasizes working with nature and natural materials. Caregiver & Child classes often include outdoor activities that provide opportunities for young children to explore and interact with the natural world while with their adults. The classroom is peaceful, light-filled, warm, and inviting. There are high-quality toys made of natural materials, such as wooden blocks, play silks, knitted toys, wooden trucks, and handmade dolls, for the children to engage with. A table with small chairs and stools is set for when it’s time for tea and bread that the children help bake at the beginning of class. The fragrance of the bread fills the room.

BWS also values creativity and artistic expression as essential components of learning and development and incorporates arts and crafts activities for the children and adults to explore. 

Lastly, Caregiver & Child classes support the caregiver-child bond and foster community among families. Adults can connect, share experiences, and build supportive relationships within the school and broader community. 

Caregiver & Child classes in Waldorf education provide a nurturing and enriching environment where parents and caregivers can actively engage with their young children, supporting their holistic development and laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

Our Caregiver & Child teacher, Dawn, is an experienced and welcoming Early Childhood instructor. She has been part of the school for six years, first joining as a parent, bringing her child to what was then called Parent-Child class. Dawn started at BWS as a teacher in 2019 and has led our Caregiver & Child program since 2020.  Before joining BWS, Dawn taught kindergarten and first grade here in NYC and Boston. Dawn brings her deep respect for all wise and capable infants and toddlers and their loving caregivers, past teaching experience, completed Waldorf Early Childhood teacher training, and her own experience as a parent of two children to our Caregiver & Child program. As a teacher, Dawn enjoys deepening her knowledge of children ages birth to three and creating and sustaining an inclusive and inviting community for all grown-ups and children attending her classes.

You can find more information about the program, schedule, and the registration form on our Caregiver & Child page.