Prairie Flower is structured to provide a gradual transition from the life of the home. With a media-free environment, a wide variety of work is found at the preschool that encourages a sense of care and responsibility. We grind our wheat berries, bake bread, cut vegetables, sweep the floor, wash our dishes together, care for the plants, and feed our outdoor birds and squirrels.
The young child is essentially a doer and should be given every opportunity to be active in her/his environment. The notion that intellectual activity can somehow exist apart from our children's bodies is unfortunately deeply rooted in our culture. As adults we have this information stored in our minds, but a child needs the experience to make it "real". It is our whole body's senses that feed the brain environmental information with which to form an understanding of the world. And it is our movements that express knowledge and facilitate greater cognitive function as they increase in complexity.
Through experiences with active adults, children learn how things are made and can partake in work that strengthens their own motor development. Weekly artistic activities are done both as a group and individually, singing is heard throughout the day and stories are told orally.
Play is children's work. It is the foundation of creativity yet to come. For the young child play is a way of understanding the world, getting along with others, and is vital for emotional and future intellectual development. Children wish to enter actively into their world and at Prairie Flower Children's Center, they are given ample opportunity to manipulate and give expression to their ideas with handmade dolls, felted animals, kitchen supplies, logs, boards, and items that change with the mood of the seasons.
The young child learns through imitation. Because a child lives so deeply in the environment around him and imitates all he sees, the Prairie Flower teacher strives to create an environment in all details that is Good and Beautiful. They are greeted with warm, soft colors, and natural, simple playthings that welcome them to creative and imaginative play of endless possibilities. Baskets are filled with polished rocks, shells, silk and light cotton cloths to don as capes or for making structures on the playframes. The focus on imitative play and imagination develops the power of creative thinking, preparing children for the academics in later years.
The teachers cultivate a reverence for nature and for caring relationships and good habits, laying a solid foundation for a long life of learning.