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“Rhythm of the Day” in a Waldorf Kindergarten

Waldorf-kindergarten

As part of SimpleHomeschool’s ”A Day in the Life” series, I have contributed another guest post which appears today: “A Day in the Life of a Waldorf Kindergarten.”  I describe the “Rhythm of the Day” in a Waldorf kindergarten classroom. Or more specifically, a day in my Waldorf classroom. The picture I give is of a typical “Soup Day,” as the children would fondly refer to Tuesday.

Cooking in a Waldorf Kindergarten

© Sarah Baldwin

Names of the days of the week are a meaningless abstraction for young children, but the children in my class knew that Rice Day was always followed by Soup Day, and then in turn comes Bread Day, Millet Day and Oatmeal Day.

The children also knew that on Rice Day we painted, on Soup Day we chopped vegetables, on Bread Day we kneaded dough, on Millet Day we colored with beeswax crayons, and on Fridays we polished and cleaned our classroom. It was all part of the “Rhythm of the Week.”

Seasonally, the children would experience the “Rhythm of the Year” by preparing for and celebrating the festivals of the year—Michaelmas in September, All Hallow’s Eve, Martinmas, Advent, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and May Day. Festivals are a much more meaningful way for a child to mark the passage of a year than dates on a calendar.

Waldorf May Day Festival

© Sarah Baldwin

As human beings, we are creatures of rhythm—from the moment we are born, our hearts beat, our blood pulses, and our lungs beat to a steady rhythm. We give children a gift and nourish their healthy development by being mindful of a young child’s need for rhythm, and offering them consistency, and the comfort of knowing what comes next, as we move through our days, weeks, and years together with them.

How do you find ways to honor the rhythm of the days, weeks and years with your children? Do you find it challenging to be consistent? Please share your suggestions and struggles!

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Childhood, Parenting, TV and Media, Waldorf Education

Weekend Reading

Well, September 1 has come and gone. It was the date I had hoped to get the new and improved Bella Luna Toys website live. I didn’t make my original goal, but I am determined to open its doors to you before the month is over.

Plugging away around-the-clock, as I am—editing product descriptions, uploading photos, and adding scores of new natural Waldorf toys—has left me with very little time to do much writing. (Even though I have dozens of ideas percolating!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with some interesting reading for the long weekend. Here are a few of my favorite blog posts from the past week on the themes of childhood and parenting.

Did you know that spanking is illegal in Sweden?

spanking Sweden

Photo by Linda Aslund

Today on her blog Not Just Cute, Amanda Morgan writes about Sweden’s anti-spanking laws, and offers gentle suggestions for positive discipline (that won’t require calling in law enforcement officials!).

No Spanking in Sweden

Watch What You Say! Young Children Affected by “Racy Talk.”

One of my favorite sites focused on children and media (and my favorite guide for learning what movies may not be appropriate for children and teens) is Common Sense Media. This week, Caroline Knorr addresses a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that determined that “racy talk” and suggestive innuendo doesn’t go over young children’s heads. (Another pet peeve of mine when it comes to Disney movies.)

Racy Talk: Kids Are Listening (and Learning)

Are Our Fears Making Us Crazy?

Another of my favorite bloggers, Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Kids writes about the insane ways in which we behave, propelled by our fears of the all the possible dangers that are waiting to befall our children. On a lighter note, she addresses the absurd comment of a produce distributor that watermelon seeds could pose a choking hazard.

Kids! Watch Out! It’s — God Help Us — a Watermelon Seed!

And more seriously, she recounts a young man’s experience of being harshly and unfairly disciplined in high school for carrying a pocket knife. In his native Switzerland, it was customary for children to carry pocket knives to school. What, I wonder, would public school officials think about the many Waldorf early childhood teachers I know who give a pocket knife to each of their students on his or her sixth birthday? Call the spanking police, no doubt!

The Most Insane Zero Tolerance Story Yet

There you have it. Now I need to batten down the hatches in preparation for Tropical Storm Earl, which is scheduled to hit the coast of Maine this evening. I hope the weather is better where you are, and that your Labor Day weekend is full of play!

What blog posts have intrigued or inspired you this week? Please share your links!

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Block Crayon Drawing
Art, LifeWays, Photographs, Waldorf Education

Teaching Block Crayon Drawing and Watercolor Painting

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching several sessions to LifeWays students who had come to Maine for the east coast training. The experience allowed me to take a welcome break from the endless data entry I’ve been doing to ready the new Bella Luna Toys website. The LifeWays Child Care Training is a comprehensive training to give students the understanding and skills they need to transform themselves and their work with young children, and is inspired by Waldorf education and the insights of Rudolf Steiner. These students teach in Waldorf schools, childhood centers, pre-schools or home programs.

Among the classes I taught were crayon drawing with beeswax block crayons, and wet-on-wet watercolor painting, as practiced in Waldorf education. I had a marvelous week preparing for the class, immersing myself in form and color! With thanks to Madrona Wienges and her camera, I am able to share images of our classes with you.

Sarah Baldwin Teaches Coloring

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings

Coloring with Beeswax Block Crayons

Coloring with Beeswax Crayons

Birthday Pictures

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings

Scott

Painting with Stockmar Watercolor Paint

Waldorf Watercolor Painting

In addition to the Stockmar Beeswax Crayons, Stockmar Watercolor Paint, Waldorf art supplies and the book Painting With Children which are currently available from Bella Luna Toys, I am excited to be introducing new resources for coloring and drawing when the new site goes live. Stay tuned!

Have questions about drawing or painting? Leave them here, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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