Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Waldorf Kindergarten.

After my musings on achieving a better balance between childminding and spending time with Rye, and having time to pursure my pleasures - I've also been thinking about our daily rhythm, which frankly has been non-existant and the days have been semi chaos for far too long.

I needed the chaos to encourage myself to realise that my current "laid back parenting", wasn't fulfilling our needs.  The children seemed to have stagnated; their play is frequently based around running around, screaming, teasing, screaming some more and a degree of silliness that I was finding increasingly difficult to tolerate.

I also had been reading Carrie's blog over at The Parenting Passageway, and from there searching the net for information on Waldorf Kindergarten, reading my own notes I'd taken when reading books on the Waldorf approach etc, and late last night I wrote a daily rhythm - initially I got a tad carried away, and timetabled every minute from 8:30am-7:00pm.  Laughed at myself for such ridiculousness; that sort of schedule would simply have me clock watching and was far too rigid for what I truly wanted.

Finally, I created a rhythm based around the routine already in place for my mindee.
  • Arrival:  Songtime / Yoga.
    • Free play / outdoor play.
  • Snack time 
    • Activity / project suitable for both children.
    • Free play / outdoor play
    • Tidy up before lunch.
  • Lunch.  (C naps for approx 2 hours after lunch)
    • "Main Lesson":  Seasonal Crafting.
    • Quiet time / stories.
  • Snacktime
    • Park/ nature walk/foraging.
    • Song & music 
  • Teatime
    • Storytime.
 Once my mindee leaves after teatime, there will be a quick tidy up and then the countdown to bedtime, which involves "connecting playtime", an idea based on Playful Parenting, in which Rye has my sole attention for 15-45 minutes (depending on how long tidy up takes) and he chooses the play/activity and I join in and follow his lead; the idea behind this is to renew the connection between us and simply for us both to have some dedicated fun time together. 

I've noticed Rye has taken some developmental leaps very recently; his verbal skills are wonderful and he's a   lot more chatty - LOL sometimes it feels like he never stops yakking!  He's finally using the pedals on the tractor, he's found a way to swing himself on the swings:
He can achieve quite a height with this "tummy surfing" technique... we'll gloss over him propelling himself competely over the swing seat moments after taking this photo - lol.  It was, a beautiful swan dive.  His fine motor skills are very good too.
But as I say, the children seem to be stuck in a rut.  Their play quickly spirals into squabbling and silliness and they spend an inordinate amount of time running in and out of the house screaming at each other - enough to send me searching for chocolate or alcohol.. heck both!  There are moments of loveliness of course.  During tidy up time C will pick up the train tracks and give them to Rye who is waiting by the basket to put them away, same with the cars.

I'm also very aware that Rye will be four in four short months, and while I have no intention of introducing academics; I do want to encourage activities, crafting, building up on his knowledge of nature, and help him gain more confidence in his abilities.  Encourage and give oportunities for further development of gross and fine motor skills; essentially the building blocks of more formal academic work - the way the years are passing, he'll be 7 before I know it :-)

Naturally, my plan to implement the new rhythm went awry this morning because I slept in and it was the sound of the rubbish being collected that propelled me out of bed, mere moments before my mindee's mum knocked on the door.  I'm not a morning person, it takes me a while to vanquish the fog of sleep and feel an ethusisam for the day - so today's rude awakening set things back rather dramatically.

Not a complete loss, I had last night actually planned today's "main lesson", including, finally, painting the clay cut outs etc Rye and I made weeks ago!  Neither planned activity happened but I was determined to do something with Rye; so we did enjoy outdoor play; both in the garden and the park; and I made a mental note to go back in the next day or so to harvest some of these beautiful hawthorn berries.
Rye helped to prepare lunch, while C looked on anxiously; I think she thought she wasn't getting any food.  Then while she napped, Rye and I re-did the season table to fit in better with Autumn's early arrival:
After lunch tomorrow, once C has gone home, Rye and I will pop into town to pick up a few crafting supplies.  I would like to us to make a big tree to go behind the season table, from which we'll hang leaves, leaf rubbings, leaf banners, etc.

And after that I decided it really was time to cut Rye's hair; he's shouting "Smile".

Ahhhh much better, can see his eyes now!

I'm hoping adding rhythm to the day, while still allowing for flexibility to go with the flow when required, will revitalise the children's play and their imaginations and renew the fun and joy of our homelife.


mamaUK said...

I can't wait to hear how this goes for you!

Joxy said...

:-) I'm looking forward to watching it all unfurl too. I do hope Rye and my mindee, too, flourish... plus new skills for me to learn.. they aren't the only ones who've become a bit stagnant ;-)

sue said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and your routine sounds lovely. I'm going through a bit of a turmoil at the moment as Charlie starts a steiner kindergarten next Tuesday and will go for 3 days 10 till 2 but I'm so wondering if leaving him is the right thing, although I know we're lucky being able to send charlie there.
Oh n Rye looks gorgeous with his new haircut :)

nocton4 said...

wonderful post, am loving your seasons table .. welcome autumn .. always love xx

Stephanie said...

Lots of people are thinking "rhythm" right now.I think maybe it's the change in seasons that's causing us to take a look around and re-assess.
What's missing?
What's working?
How to fine-tune it?
The trick for me is to make it easy to flow into and out of things... which means being prepared...

I feel a post coming on! :)

Joxy said...

Sue - Oh, I'm sure Charlie will love it, from what I understand the "classrooms" are very warm and inviting; homelike. I would consider it for Rye - assuming I could find the fees if we lived closer to Canterbury.

Nocton4 - Thank you :-) Sounds a bit daft but the room feels sooooooo much better since tidying and re-arranging the season table.

Stephanie - hehehe, I was thinking to myself last night that it must be the Autumn air bringing a touch of retrospectiveness to the senses ;-) I'm beginning to have a new appreciation of preparedness :-) Look forward to reading your thoughts when you blog, too :-)