HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY
After many years of early childhood teaching at The Waldorf School of Atlanta, while also raising two sons, Sara opened Sungarden Preschool in August, 2010, in her home. It began as a small playgroup with a few children, and grew to become a quality home based program for young children, that is fully state registered and also licensed with the City of Decatur.
Sungarden Preschool is inspired primarily through the philosophy and principles of Waldorf Education and Lifeways North America. Young children, ages 18 months — 4 ½ years, thrive in this holistic, home environment, while under the loving guidance of a warm and caring teacher. This comfortable, beautiful early childhood setting provides a safe, calm, and happy atmosphere for joyful, fun-filled, exploratory learning. Each child’s needs are honored and provided for, while seeds of respectful and peaceful interactions with others are sown daily.
Sungarden Preschool recognizes that play is the foundation for young children’s learning, and plenty of time is given to the children’s creative play, both indoors and outdoors. As young children delve into the joys of creative, imaginative play with their peers, they also have ample opportunities for a variety of other nourishing, multi-sensory experiences. These include discovering the wonders of nature and gardening; guided and self-directed movement; storytelling; seasonal crafts; singing, both cheerful and soothing; and quiet, restful times.
The children also cultivate important work habits through purposeful work, as well as tending to sound hygienic habits. They become more adept with practical life skills. In addition, special care and consideration is given to preparing healthy and wholesome meals. Community is fostered through seasonal family festivals and birthday celebrations.
As outlined above, all facets of the children’s’ development, namely physical, emotional, social, language, and intellectual, are given thoughtful attention to allow each child to flourish. On behalf of this health-giving learning environment, Sungarden Preschool protects children from the adverse effects of visual electronic media, and therefore offers no television, video games, or computers. Additionally, SGP greatly values that young children directly hear the human voice, both spoken and sung. For this reason, there is no recorded music at SGP. (see below)
Sara Michelson, Sungarden Preschool’s Director and Lead Teacher, cherishes her work with young children.
During creative, free play time, I marvel at the endless wellspring of imaginative capacities in the children while absorbed in their play. Play is truly their work. They thrive while playing, and also gain essential life skills to resolve inevitably arising conflicts. How grateful I am for this precious opportunity to actively support the right-and necessity-for young children to play.
– Sara Michelson
WHAT IS THE TRAINING AND BACKGROUND FOR THE TEACHER AT SGP?
- B.S. Physical Therapy, 1988
- Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate, 1996
- Lifeways North America Certificate, 2010 (Early Childhood and Human Development Training)
- Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher, The Waldorf School of Atlanta (WSA), 1996-1999
- Parent/Child Teacher for 8 years, WSA, between 2002 and 2012
- Created and led a parenting class at WSA, 2009 thru 2012
- Director and Lead Teacher, SGP, since 2010
- Mother of two sons
- Current with First Aid and CPR certifications
I am so grateful that Ms. Sara was there to show her how beautiful and good the world is!
She has a unique ability to give just the right words, encouragement, redirection or space.
My favorite aspect of Sungarden was how Sara nurtured the children. It shows in the kind voice she uses, the beautiful songs she sings, the stories she tells and the nutritious meals she serves.
His imagination was given space to flourish.
Sungarden was an answer to my prayers.