“When what we introduce into the children’s world of ideas and feelings is in line with the direction of the developmental forces of a given stage of life, we strengthen the entire developing person in a way that remains a source of strength throughout that person’s life.”

—Rudolf Steiner

Our Early Childhood program is an extension of the family experience, providing an intermediary step between home and formal schooling for your child.  The goal is to provide a warm, calm, secure, and aesthetic environment in which the imagination and creativity of the child will flourish.

Preschool

Our Parent Participation Preschool provides a unique opportunity to share in your child’s experience and develop a more knowledgeable approach…

…to your child’s education. Through interaction with experienced teachers as well as other resources, parents receive instruction and guidance to increase their knowledge and skills related to the children and the flow of the classroom. Thus, parents grow in their own abilities to be educators both at home and at school, and the community experience provides a healthy social example for your child. 

Who can participate in the classroom? A parent, legal guardian, stepparent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or adult sibling. Having consistency helps the children feel comfort and gain age-appropriate thriving.

Kindergarten

The quality of Waldorf schools’ physical environment in early childhood is integral to its goals for the children. The feeling of warmth and…

…security is largely created by using natural materials like wood, cotton, and wool in the construction of the decor and toys. In this living-room-like environment are placed toys, which the children can use in open-play to imitate and transform the activities that belong to everyday adult life. There may be a wooden scale and baskets for children to pretend they are grocery shopping; a pile of timber stands ready to be constructed into a playhouse, a boat, or a train; a rocking horse invites a child to become a rider; homemade dolls lie in wooden cradles for children to create a pretend family and play house. The effect of this beautiful arrangement of decorations and toys is the feeling of stepping out of the business and clutter of modern life into a sanctuary where the children may breathe easily, relax, and play according to the impulses of their hearts. The children become more respectful of one another, move with greater self-assurance and grace, and are much more open in their creative self-expression. This kind of growth, this kind of unfolding of the imagination and creativity through free play, art, drama, music, oral recitation and dance are essential to our time.

Structured group activities consist of singing, reciting poems, and doing body movements. These activities are an engaging and fun way to lay a foundation for academics by developing memory and concentration. A love of reading begins with wondrous and adventurous storytelling by the teacher with story puppets. Arts and crafts consist of watercolor painting with the three primary colors to impart a true appreciation of the nature of color. Sculpting with beeswax, drawing with beeswax crayons and helping with baking prepare for nimble fingers that are ready for writing. Participating in cleaning, organizing, cooking, and gardening imparts critical skills for the real world. The 3 R’s in Waldorf education are reverence, repetition and rhythm.

Early Childhood Faculty:

Mele McCabe
Poppy Preschool Lead

Teacher

Mele earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Cal State University of Long Beach.

Prior to that, she taught high school English in Tonga for six years and taught Tongan language to Peace Corps volunteers for three years. After three years working as assistant preschool teacher at Maple Village, she is now in her fourth year as the lead teacher of the Poppy Preschool class. She has three children and enjoys watching them grow. Her hobbies are reading, landscaping her home, having tea with her friends and neighbors, listening to music, and walking.

Yocsandy Vega 
Sweet Pea Preschool Assistant Teacher & EC Aftercare Assistant

Yocsandy was born in Acapulco, Mexico. Her family migrated to U.S. when she was 3 years old.

She loved the way her preschool was taught in a play based manner. It was lovely. When she began kindergarten in the U.S. she missed her old school so much and wanted to go back. All her life she had asked herself what she needed to do to go back to her previous school setting. She never found the answer as a child, but she loved the outdoors and stayed busy outside most of the time; playing jump rope and hopscotch. She worked for 5 years in a creative curriculum school which she liked but it was still not what she was looking for. Her Waldorf journey began in 2014 at Pasadena Waldorf School, when she started working in the preschool. She worked there for 3 and a half years, where she meet wonderful people and fell in love with Waldorf education. She then worked as a one-on-one aide to a child with special needs in the first grade alongside Cesar Cazares. This change had a major impact in her Waldorf journey. She saw first-hand the impact it had on children as well as herself. When she started in that classroom she only knew how to draw stick figures and by the end of the year she was drawing real figures. She said to herself, “If this education did this for me as an adult, I can only imagine all the possibilities it has for children.”

Kathleen Rinden
Larkspur Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Kathleen has been a Waldorf kindergarten teacher for 20 years. It is her passion to bring Waldorf…

…It is her passion to bring Waldorf principles and values everywhere, not just in Waldorf settings. In 2016 she expanded her focus to include parent coaching, consulting, and home visits to support the creation of organized spaces for families and children as well as leading storytelling workshops for parents and teachers. With her background in Child Development and Family and Child Therapy, she has the opportunity to work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, family homes, counseling centers, and clinics. Lately, she has felt especially drawn to the art of storytelling and writing. She is delighted to be at Maple Village and to work with the Larkspur Class.

Elaine Black
Larkspur Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Elaine is a Long Beach native. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in English—Creative Writing in 2014.

She then came to work at Maple Village in the fall of 2014. She was originally hired as a part-time assistant in the Sunflower kindergarten but fate pulled her into the grades as an aide. For the past five years Elaine has served as a one on one for many children in the grades program. She is grateful to have worked alongside and learned from so many talented grades teachers. Elaine has worn many hats during her time at Maple Village and you may have seen her supporting students in various classrooms, on yard duty, tutoring students, and teaching in extended care over the past years. In the Spring of 2018 she completed her foundation studies in the program offered by the Waldorf School of Orange county. In completing this program she has furthered her knowledge of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy. Elaine is excited and grateful for the opportunity to step into a kindergarten assistant position with the Larkspur class. She looks forward to continuing to grow and learn during her journey at Maple Village.

Charlotte Guest
Sunflower Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Charlotte serves as Maple Village’s Sunflower Kindergarten teacher. She fell in love with Waldorf education the moment she first …

…stepped into a kindergarten class and knew this was the work she was meant to do. She chose to attend Emerson College, a Waldorf training center in England, after high school where she completed a year-long orientation program focused on anthroposophical studies. She then earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education at Naropa University in Colorado, were she focused her studies in Waldorf Education. After teaching at a Waldorf inspired preschool, Charlotte and her husband relocated to her hometown of Encinitas, California, where she began working at the Sanderling Waldorf School. She served as a kindergarten assistant and director/lead teacher of both Sanderling’s aftercare program and summer camps for five years. During this time, she had had her eye on Maple Village and when a lead Kindergarten position opened up, she applied and was over the moon happy to be hired. Charlotte will be starting her sixth year at Maple Village Waldorf School. In that time she has had a baby, completed her Waldorf certification, and has fallen more in love with Maple Village’s vibrant community. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her two year old son, fiber crafting, reading song and fairytale books, being in nature and exploring Long Beach.

Angie Perez
Sunflower Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Angie was born, raised and educated in Colombia. She earned her BA degree in Social Work.

While in college, Angie gained experience working with kids with behavioral challenges. Currently, she is working toward her Waldorf teacher certification. In her free time she enjoys cooking, a passion discovered while living in Italy for many years. She also likes reading, feeling the wind in her face while she rides her bike, traveling and learning more about different cultures. She also enjoys singing to her cat. By living in different countries she became trilingual, she is fluent in Spanish, Italian and English… and basic Portuguese. Angie started her career at Waldorf as a little after care assistant and playgroup-bridge assistant/lead teacher at Waldorf School Orange County. She fell in love with the Waldorf education the second she first observed a kindergarten class, and knew that being a teacher here was a job with purpose, and a role that would bring her joy every day. Angie has a smile and warm attitude whenever she goes. Lately, she is interested in the art of storytelling and therapeutically approaches for children with sensorial and social challenges. She now lives in Long Beach where she enjoys its diversity and sense of community.