The Kindergarten is a carefully structured environment which aims to nourish the creative faculties of the young child and provide meaningful opportunities for personal and social learning.
Our curriculum is informed by an understanding of the developmental needs of the young child. Time is given for the child to unfold at their own pace. Teaching is by example and learning is integrated rather than subject based.
Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten’s identify rhythm as an important educational principle. Children need the reassurance of continuity and regular events punctuate the Kindergarten year, week and day. Seasonal activities provide the theme for our songs, stories, poems and crafts as we follow the cycle of the year celebrating what each day brings.
The week has its own regular rhythm of recurring activities such as baking or painting, which helps the child to orientate themselves in a familiar pattern of events. We are a community of ‘doers’ and our work is a combination of practical and artistic activity. We clean, cook and garden. We bake bread together and prepare our food. We look after our friends and our environment, mending toys and polishing the table. Children love to help and develop a wide range of motor skills through engaging in such activities.
The presence of a working adult creates an atmosphere which helps the children to become independently active in their own play. Creative play is an essential ingredient to everyday, allowing the child to learn through investigation, exploration and discovery.
The structure and security of the Kindergarten forms the foundation for emerging self-confidence, building a bridge between home and the world outside, and laying the foundation for a healthy social life.
Baking Day in Kindergarten
Play and Daily Activity 9am
It is Monday, and today it’s a baking day activity. After the children have hung up their coats and put on their slippers they come into the room and join their teacher who is already beginning preparations for bread making. The younger children often join in this activity, helping to stir the yeast in the jug of warm water or making flour pictures on the table. The older children often measure out the ingredients and mix the dough once the yeast is ready.
Some of the children are already in play, setting up home or creating a landscape inspired by natural materials such as silk cloths, pine cones and shells, arranged in their familiar baskets. The children move around the room independently, resourcing their play from their own imagination and planning the game with their friends. The teacher observes, supporting the flow of creative play through a combination of focused attention to her work and mindfully responding to what is unfolding in the room. Social integration is practised through play and sharing their experience of the world with each other.
The children wash their hands, put on their aprons and it is time to make the bread. We lay the table and some children distribute the raisins and sunflower seeds. The teacher sings the familiar baking songs as she begins to share out the dough. We work from the whole group experience to the individual one, and soon everyone is busy making their own creation.
Tidy Time 10.30am
The teacher gives the children some warning that it is nearly time to tidy away, so not to wrench them unsuspecting from their busy imaginary worlds. Tidy Time is an integral part of the morning’s activity. We work together to return everything to its rightful place. The teacher is mindful of how she tidies and the children imitate her gesture.
Ring Time 10.45am
Once the bread is in the oven and the table tidied, we gather on the carpet for Ring Time. We sing seasonal songs, play games, dance, move and sometimes begin to prepare for activities that are coming up. For example, we practise walking with our pretend lanterns before we have our real ones at Martinmas, or practise dipping candles in preparation for Candlemas.
Snack Time 11am
After the children have been to the toilet and washed their hands, we eat our snack together. It is always rice on baking day. The children quickly orientate themselves in the week by living with familiar patterns that are experienced rather than discussed.
We say a blessing and light a candle before eating together. One child is the waiter and takes the food around, another child hands out the spoons. We listen and we are heard in a social gathering.
Play Time 11:30am
Now it is time for the children to go outside, which is part of every Kindergarten day. The children play, run, climb, sweep the leaves or help with the gardening. It is a time to test our physical limits, stretch our limbs and develop new skills. We often go for walks exploring the nearby woods and streams. The children are dressed for the weather and we really test the capacities of our outdoor clothes!
Story Time 12:40pm
The day closes with story time. A story is told, sometimes presented as a puppet show. Stories are carefully chosen and repeated many times, gradually becoming embedded in the child’s imagination.
Home Time 1pm
We sing our home time song and the children are handed back to their parent or carer. They take with them the bread roll they have made in a paper bag.