Early Childhood

Parent Toddler, Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Programs

Our youngest children are nurtured in a warm, beautiful, and loving environment in our nursery, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes by early childhood teachers who are specifically trained to meet the needs of our youngest students.

Our early childhood teachers help your little one to feel secure, protected, and confident—grounded in the consistency of our daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms and activities. Through daily outdoor free play and creative exploration, we aspire to cultivate a love of—and respect for—our natural world.

Young children learn through imitation and play. Our teachers model respect and reverence in their interactions with your child. Our play-based curriculum is substantiated by research from the American Academy of Pediatrics that states play is integral for a healthy childhood, and necessary for social and intellectual development when formal academics begin in the grade school.

Children attending the Early Childhood program at the Waldorf School of Bend are prepared for future academic challenges as they engage their will through meaningful, practical activities and develop language through story, song, and verse. By the time he or she enters first grade, your child is ready and eager to experience the intellectual rigors of the grades curriculum.

Click here to read the Early Childhood handbook.


Our Pre-K class serves as an introduction into school life.  Children are guided in activities which the whole class are experiencing together, and begin to learn that there are times for free play, and times for working together.  Each day our experienced Waldorf Pre-K teachers guide the children in artistic activities and crafts, an imaginative circle time with songs, poetry, and movement, an engaging story presented in the oral tradition along with dramatic reinactment and puppetry, as well as extended time in free play both inside and outside. 

Nursery school

Our Nursery classes offer care for children 2 to 3 years old in a warm and loving environment.  The Nursery is a 'home away from home', where experiences like the smell of baking bread and the sound of a song being sung gently helps a child make the bridge of spending time away from home.  Our experienced Waldorf early childhood teachers hold a strong but flexible rhythm of the day which allows for plenty of time to play, to eat, to go potty, to rest, to hear stories, songs, and rhymes, and to be out in the fresh air.  The classrooms and play yard are filled with open-ended, natural toys and materials for imaginative play. Click here for more info.

The first time I entered an early childhood classroom in a Waldorf school, I knew I had found our family’s home away from home. I could not imagine a more nourishing environment for my daughter’s first experience at school. To be in an early childhood classroom at the Waldorf School of Bend, is an experience immersed in creativity, imagination and love solidly held in a structured and intentional rhythm. Here, the healthy development of the whole child is nourished, while children play, create and allow their natural curiosity to guide, they are learning foundational skills in movement, critical thinking, and social awareness that will serve them when the more challenging work of the grades comes. Because a child’s natural curiosity is encouraged holistically through the use of all their senses and supported through work and lessons that feel like play but are actually educationally foundational, children who emerge from a Waldorf early childhood classroom do so with a natural motivation and interest to learn.

Now, seven years later, my daughters have each graduated out of kindergarten and into the grades. The enthusiasm and curiosity they have for school and the pride they have in the work they do is a testament to Waldorf education and the respect and validation I believe they received in those early, formative years when their first impressions of school and learning were so lovingly and gently nourished.

Hilary McCormick

daughters in 1st and 5th grades

Meet the Faculty

Rachel Caldwell

Rachel Caldwell

Lead Kindergarten

Tess Vining

Tess Vining

Lead Pre-K and Parent Toddler

Niki Rainwater

Niki Rainwater

Lead Kindergarten

Jessica Marden

Jessica Marden

Nursery Lead

Jen Morgan

Jen Morgan

Nursery Lead


The Waldorf School of Bend offers a range of programs to support parents and their children. These include:

  • Parent and Toddler programsOur Parent-Toddler Classes offer a chance for families with the youngest of children to connect with each other and to learn ways of parenting in a gentle way.  The class is held by an experienced Waldorf early childhood teacher who guides parents and children in songs and games, a story or puppet play, baking bread, and play time both indoor and outdoor.  Parents will learn new crafts to make for and with their children, as well as many valuable insights into how to gently parent in today’s busy world. Click to register for Parent Toddler classes
  • Nursery School serving 2 to 3 year olds in a home-like environment with a  2, 3 and 5 day option
  • Pre-Kindergarten serving children from 3 to 4 years old with a 2, 3 or 5 day option
  • 5 day Kindergarten for children ages 4 through 6 with an emphasis on first-grade readiness particularly for our older Kindergarten students
  • Extended Care 
  • Summer and break, day camps 
  • After school music lessons

Outdoor Kindergarten

One day each week in fall and spring our mixed-age Kindergartens experience a whole day outside in nature. Outdoor Kindergarten days offer an opportunity to build important physical, social, cognitive and life skills that pave the way for academic learning later on.

Summer Break Camps

Cultivate a deep connection of nature through exciting, unique and challenging adventures each week. Our staff of energetic, creative and loving teachers are excited to provide fun experiences where children are encouraged to learn, grow and develop skills for school and life.


Congratulations class of 2020!

We welcome your visit to the Waldorf School of Bend! Experience our morning rhythm, and visit a main lesson in each grade. After your classroom visits, we are here to discuss Waldorf philosophy, answer questions, and explore whether the Waldorf approach is a fit for your child and your family. Because we visit classes in session, adults only please. There are other opportunities for your children to visit at our Open Houses. We have ongoing enrollment, based on availability, throughout the school year. 

During the summer, we have limited office hours Monday through Wednesday from 9am to 1pm. The campus is fully closed from June 22-July5.

To read more about how WSB is bringing distance learning to our students click here. To read more about COVID 19 and how it is affecting WSB, click here.

For more information about admission to the Waldorf School of Bend, please click here. 

Early Childhood

Virtual tours available now! We are enrolling for the 2020-21 school year and are here to help. Email Admissions Director Sarah Rucker at srucker@bendwaldorf.com for more info.


Thank you for your interest in the Waldorf School of Bend! Choosing the best educational environment for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent - and we are here to be of service.  The best way to get to know us is to come for a visit. We offer many opportunities through scheduled tours, open house events, and parent enrichment events.

We are truly grateful for the opportunity to provide Waldorf education in Central Oregon, and to witness our students transforming into powerful citizens. We look forward to welcoming new families to our growing school!

WSB does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, gender, income, marital status or sexual orientation in the administration of our educational policies, admissions or Board membership policies, financial programs and other school-administrated programs.

A note on special learning needs: the curriculum offered at WSB embraces many learning modalities and styles. However, it is not tailored to accommodate children who have special learning needs. While the creative and nurturing atmosphere of our classrooms may provide positive experiences for some children with special needs, WSB currently has neither the services, nor trained personnel required to serve a child with special learning needs. As with all of our enrollments at WSB, we look at each student application and family on a case by case and are happy to discuss any items you may have concerns about.

Applying to Waldorf School of Bend

Enrollment at Waldorf School of Bend is ongoing throughout the year for grades where space is still available. If you would like more information on our programs, please fill out our online inquiry form or contact our Admissions Director, Sarah Rucker. srucker@bendwaldorf.com or 541-330-8841.

Click here to download the Admissions process.

Download applications, teacher recommendation forms and transcript release forms:

Parent Toddler Program registration is open for 2019-20 sessions. Click here to download the registration form. For more information about our Chickadee classes click here. Please contact us regarding availability.

Parents and Guardians are strongly encouraged to attend a tour or open house and review our PARENT HANDBOOK prior to submitting an application. If you would like us to mail you a full enrollment package or if you have any questions, please call 541-330-8841 or email us at srucker@bendwaldorf.com.