“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.


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.


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


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.

Kathy Striegal 
Poppy Preschool Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Angie Perez
 Lavender Preschool Lead 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.

Gehisa Avila
Lavender Preschool Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon.

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 Maloney
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.