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Old 12-30-2013, 02:50 PM
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Heidi Heidi is offline
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Default My Day at a Waldorf Kindergarten

So...I finally got this written. I still have some editing to do for my class, but I thought you'd get the idea. I'm blocking out the school name, although it's not a big secret or anything. If someone googles their name, though, I'm not sure if they want my little take on things popping up.

My day at P** R** Waldorf School

I arrived at the Rosemary Kindergarten room on a cold day in early November. I was greeted outside by one of the teachers, Anne-Marie (pronounced Annamaria). She welcomed me to the outdoor play yard. The children were already busy running about or playing. A few children climbed over the hills, some ran in and out of a playhouse, and a group of about 6 children strode around, carrying sticks over their shoulders, singing “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go.” When I asked if they’d seen Snow White, the teacher said “Oh, yes, the 8th graders put on a play for them last week”. I had meant the movie, but I didn’t let on. I knew from my reading that “screen time” was not encouraged in the early childhood years.


I was introduced to the co-teacher, Heidi, and several of the children. There were 15 children all together, ages 2 ½-6, and they had the most interesting names: Zephyr, Helen, Hudson, Zane, and Finn, to name a few.


Soon, all the children had arrived, and the teacher sang “Come Follow Me”, to gather them together. They all got to the gate, and went inside the school to get additional cold-weather gear on and go potty if needed. A quick look inside the classroom showed me a somewhat dimly lit room that smelled absolutely wonderful. A huge table (enough to seat 20) was already set with plates, bowls, glasses, napkins and utensils. In the middle was a centerpiece of natural materials and candles. A huge stock-pot of soup simmered on the stove nearby (hence the delicious smell).


Once everyone had their “woolies” on, and a few more children were clear that I would be spending the day with them, the Miss Anne-Marie sang “Come Follow Me” again, and we set off. We walked through town about a mile to the forest. Periodically along the way, stragglers were encouraged with “Come Follow Me” again. I was told that the teachers often use song to encourage the children instead of just talking.


Once we arrived at the forest, the children all gathered on rocks around the teacher for a circle-time. Miss Anne-Marie brought out a hand-made troll doll name Netroll from under her scarf. Netroll then told a story about an adventure with a friend. Afterwards, the children sang a song with the teachers, and then were dismissed to go play.


At this point, the teachers kept busy doing simple tasks like cutting wood blocks with a handsaw (I was put to work as well). The idea is to keep the teachers engaged, and limit interruptions of the children’s play. Teachers only intervene when real help is needed (and asked for), or in cases of danger. The teachers also brought along hammers (each teacher carries a backpack with a first aid kit and a rotation of tools) for the children’s use, and periodically they asked for one to look for treasure in the rocks. Other children made things from sticks and leaves, made a house for Netroll, or climbed up and down trees and boulders. They mostly kept busy adventuring and talking to one another. There was a lot of playing, and no arguing, fighting, or tattling.



After about one hour of play, the Miss Anne-Marie sang the gathering song again, and we headed the mile back to the school. Once inside, woolies and boots were exchanged for “inside shoes”. I was asked by several children were my “inside shoes” were, but I had not been asked to bring them, so we compromised by letting me wear my extra-heavy slipper socks. We did try borrowing a pair or two of extra shoes, but my feet were, unfortunately, too big.


We went inside and everyone took turns washing their hands, then sitting down in their spot for lunch. Once seated, the teacher reminded the children to speak softly. Everyone got situated, and the teacher sang a quiet song. Then, a candle was lit, and a poem “Candle Candle, Burning Bright”, was spoken. Next, soup was served to everyone (an organic vegetable soup). Everyone waiting until all the guests were served. A basket of freshly baked whole-wheat rolls were passed around, and organic cheese was sliced and given out. Miss Heidi explained (quietly) that the children had helped her make the soup and rolls the previous day.


Once lunch was served, everyone placed their napkins on their naps and ate quietly. For the first 10 minutes or so of lunch, talking is discouraged so everyone may concentrate on their meal. Then, the children are invited to visit quietly with their neighbors (no shouting across the table). The children ate, and ate and ate! Some children had 4 bowls of soup, two rolls, and several slices of cheese.


Near the end of the meal, Miss Heidi shared a personal story about something her teenage son had asked for when he was sick (to build a fort in the living room). Then, Miss Anne-Marie told a story about some foxes they’d found while cutting wood at home. I was also prompted to tell a story (oh dear...put on the spot, I won’t share it here). Then, the children told a few little things, and soon lunch was over.


A high school girl came in to help with the dishes, and 2 older children were chosen to be her helpers today. Two more children were asked to set up the beds. They pulled out play stands, and arranged them carefully in groups around the room. Then, they used pastel sheets to create “walls” for privacy. The other children went back outside to play in the yard. The helpers joined them as they finished their work.


At 1:00, the children all went in to rest. Bathroom breaks, warm washcloths on their faces and hands, and lotion are part of the rest ritual. Then, the lights are turned off, and everyone lays down quietly for about 20 minutes. The teachers sit quietly and meditate during this time. By then, everyone is asleep, and the teacher might work on quiet handiwork while the children finish their rest. After a good 45 minutes, they gently wake the children, everyone goes potty, etc, and then they head back outside until school is over.

If I had only one word to describe my experience at the Pleasant Ridge Rosemary Kindergarten, it would be “lovely”. Happy children; learning, engaged in creative play, friendly to one another, well fed, exercised, and inquisitive. The book-work and seat-work and adult agenda can wait a little longer, perhaps.






PS: This school does "Forest Kindergarten" 2 days a week. The other 3, the time in the forest would be indoor free play, teacher-led projects, and story tie at the library. I have pictures, but if you want them, pm me and I can email them.

Last edited by Heidi; 12-30-2013 at 03:37 PM. Reason: edits made to original
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:07 PM
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melilley melilley is offline
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Sounds great! I could picture in my head what was happening, very well written! It's amazing to me that 2 1/2 year olds can do this!

I know you said you were going to do some editing, but I found these two errors:

Once everyone had “their woolies” on, and a few more children were clear that I would be spending the day with them, the Miss Anne-Maria sand “Come Follow Me” again, and we set off. We walked through town about a mile to the forest. Periodically along the way, stragglers were encouraged with “Co

and

The teachers also brought along hammers (each teacher carries a backpack with a first aid kit and a rotation of tools) for the children’s use, and periodically they asking for one to look for treasure in the rocks.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
So...I finally got this written. I still have some editing to do for my class, but I thought you'd get the idea. I'm blocking out the school name, although it's not a big secret or anything. If someone googles their name, though, I'm not sure if they want my little take on things popping up.

My day at P** R** Waldorf School


I arrived at the Rosemary Kindergarten on a cold day in early November. I was greeted outside by one of the teachers, Anne-Marie (pronounced Annamaria). She welcomed me to the outdoor play yard. The children were already busy running about or playing. A few children climbed over the hills, some ran in and out of a playhouse, and a group of about 6 children strode around, carrying sticks over their shoulders, singing “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go.” When I asked if they’d seen Snow White, the teacher said “Oh, yes, the 8th graders put on a play for them last week”. I had meant the movie, but I didn’t let on. I knew from my reading that “screen time” was not encouraged in the early childhood years.


I was introduced to the co-teacher, Heidi, and several of the children. There were 15 children all together, ages 2 ½-6, and they had the most interesting names: Zephyr, Helen, Hudson, Zane, and Finn, to name a few.


Soon, all the children had arrived, and the teacher sang “Come Follow Me”, to gather them together. They all got to the gate, and went inside the school to get additional cold-weather gear on and go potty if needed. A quick look inside the classroom showed me a somewhat dimly lit room that smelled absolutely wonderful. A huge table (enough to seat 20) was already set with plates, bowls, glasses, napkins and utensils. In the middle was a centerpiece of natural materials and candles. A huge stock-pot of soup simmered on the stove nearby (hence the delicious smell).


Once everyone had “their woolies” on, and a few more children were clear that I would be spending the day with them, the Miss Anne-Maria sand “Come Follow Me” again, and we set off. We walked through town about a mile to the forest. Periodically along the way, stragglers were encouraged with “Come Follow Me” again. I was told that the teachers often use song to encourage the children instead of just talking.


Once we arrived at the forest, the children all gathered on rocks around the teacher for a circle-time. Miss Anne-Maria brought out a hand-made troll doll name Netroll from under her scarf. Netroll then told a story about an adventure with a friend. Afterwards, the children sang a song with the teachers, and then were dismissed to go play.


At this point, the teachers kept busy doing simple tasks like cutting wood blocks with a handsaw (I was put to work as well). The idea is to keep the teachers engaged, and limit interruptions of the children’s play. Teachers only intervene when real help is needed (and asked for), or in cases of danger. The teachers also brought along hammers (each teacher carries a backpack with a first aid kit and a rotation of tools) for the children’s use, and periodically they asking for one to look for treasure in the rocks. Other children made things from sticks and leaves, made a house for Netroll, or climbed up and down trees and boulders. They mostly kept busy adventuring and talking to one another. There was a lot of playing, and no arguing, fighting, or tattling.


After about one hour of play, the Miss Anne-Marie sang the gathering song again, and we headed the mile back to the school. Once inside, woolies and boots were exchanged for “inside shoes”. I was asked by several children were my “inside shoes” were, but I had not been asked to bring them, so we compromised by wearing my extra-heavy slipper socks. We did try borrowing a pair or two of extra shoes, but my feet were, unfortunately, too big.


We went inside and everyone took turns washing their hands, then sitting down in their spot for lunch. Once seated, the teacher reminded the children to speak softly. Everyone got situated, and the teacher sang a quiet song. Then, a candle was lit, and a poem “Candle Candle, Burning Bright”, was spoken. Then, soup was served to everyone (an organic vegetable soup). Everyone waiting until all the guests were served. A basket of freshly baked whole-wheat rolls were passed around, and organic cheese was sliced and given out. Miss Heidi explained (quietly) that the children had helped her make the soup and rolls the previous day.


Once lunch was served, everyone placed their napkins on their naps and ate quietly. For the first 10 minutes or so of lunch, talking is discouraged so everyone may concentrate on their meal. Then, the children are invited to visit quietly with their neighbors (no shouting accross the table). The children ate, and ate and ate! Some children had 4 bowls of soup, two rolls, and several slices of cheese.


Near the end of the meal, Miss Heidi shared a personal story about something her teenage son had asked for when he was sick (to build a fort in the living room). Then, Miss Anne-Marie told a story about some foxes they’d found while cutting wood at home. I was also prompted to tell a story (oh dear...put on the spot, I won’t share it here). Then, the children told a few little things, and soon lunch was over.


A high school girl came in to help with the dishes, and 2 older children were chosen to be her helpers today. Two more children were asked to set up the beds. They pulled out playstands, and arranged them carefully in groups around the room. Then, they used pastel sheets to create “walls” for privacy. The other children went back outside to play in the yard. The helpers joined them as they finished their work.


At 1:00, the children all went in to rest. Bathroom breaks, warm washcloths on their faces and hands, and lotion are part of the rest ritual. Then, the lights are turned off, and everyone lays down quietly for about 20 minutes. The teachers sit quietly and meditate during this time. By then, everyone is asleep, and the teacher might work on quiet handiwork while the children finish their rest. After a good 45 minutes, they gently wake the children, everyone goes potty, etc, and then they head back outside until school is over.


If I had only one word to describe my experience at the Pleasant Ridge Rosemary Kindergarten, it would be “lovely”. Happy children, learning, engaged in creative play, friendly to one another, well fed, exercised, and inquisitive.



PS: This school does "Forest Kindergarten" 2 days a week. The other 3, the time in the forest would be indoor free play, teacher-led projects, and story tie at the library. I have pictures, but if you want them, pm me and I can email them.
Oh wow. For a minute there I thought I was reading a professionally written fairy tale story. That. Was. Awesome.

Thanks for sharing that. It really did seem perfect.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melilley View Post
Sounds great! I could picture in my head what was happening, very well written! It's amazing to me that 2 1/2 year olds can do this!

I know you said you were going to do some editing, but I found these two errors:

Once everyone had “their woolies” on, and a few more children were clear that I would be spending the day with them, the Miss Anne-Maria sand “Come Follow Me” again, and we set off. We walked through town about a mile to the forest. Periodically along the way, stragglers were encouraged with “Co

and

The teachers also brought along hammers (each teacher carries a backpack with a first aid kit and a rotation of tools) for the children’s use, and periodically they asking for one to look for treasure in the rocks.
Thank you. My 16 year old proof-reader caught the first one, but not the second.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:56 PM
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I so so so want to send my daughter to a Waldorf school.... That sounds sweet and beautiful.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:07 PM
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SilverSabre25 SilverSabre25 is offline
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You mentinoed the school name in the last paragraph

Sounds lovely--no, heavenly!!
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:46 PM
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What a great day! I'm so happy you got to experience than and shared it with us!!
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:57 PM
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I live about 20 miles from this Waldorf school and recently contacted them about subbing or volunteering....this sounds wonderful!
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:58 PM
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Something to consider:

http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-...h-waldorf.html

The positives are in line with what I saw. I did not spend enough time there to judge this blogger's perception of the negatives. It's a different perspective, though, so I thought it was fair to share it. For those of you considering Waldorf for your own children, I think it's important to be able to investigate the philosophy from all sides.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:51 AM
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I love this story of your experience. It sounds really beautiful. I'm drawn to Waldorf for the things you wrote about (trusting kids, helping preserve the innocence of childhood, free play outdoors, beautiful and natural surroundings), BUT I also agree with the article Heidi posted. There are some pretty weird parts of Waldorf.

Personally, all of the talk of gnomes and the lyrical dance they have every child participate in and the recorder playing and the May-day festivals with ribbon waving... all of that is just not my kind of thing. It would feel weird and forced to go along with that part of Waldorf culture. I also think there is some of the "Are you Waldorf enough?" comparison that goes on among families. I wouldn't want to have to prove my Waldorf-ness constantly.

I have a friend who grew up on a Waldorf commune out East. It was a community of families. None of the adults worked outside of the community. They earned a living by caring for developmentally disabled adults in their homes. So my friend lived in a house with his family and a few developmentally disabled adults, just like everyone else he knew in his village. 100% of everything in that village was Waldorf---no one had anything but handmade toys, there was one car that they shared, all natural medicine, all bartering and trading, they had their own Waldorf school... and so on.

My friend now has completely rejected his upbringing. He went to college for economics. He believes in a very corporate, free economy... very "suit and tie"... very "Wall Street." Interesting, I think!!
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:45 AM
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Wow, Heidi. Thanks for that story, very interesting.

I'm fascinated by this type of education, it just sounds so idyllic and sweet. Based on my experiences with Waldorf kids, my main concern is that they're simply unable to navigate modern day life. Everyone that I've met seems to have some issues adjusting to the "real world".

It would be hard for me to do that to my kids, as I see my role as preparing them to live without me.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:45 PM
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Ok wait...what? Organic vegetable soup and nobody said "I hate this?" They all laid quietly for 20 minutes and at least 4 of them didn't get right back up to use the bathroom even though they'd gone 5 minutes earlier? Not a one of them yelled "Finn pushed me, he took a toy away from me!" ?
Surely this was a make-believe story.

Honestly, thank you for sharing, it did sound like a lovely day!!
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
Ok wait...what? Organic vegetable soup and nobody said "I hate this?" They all laid quietly for 20 minutes and at least 4 of them didn't get right back up to use the bathroom even though they'd gone 5 minutes earlier? Not a one of them yelled "Finn pushed me, he took a toy away from me!" ?
Surely this was a make-believe story.

Honestly, thank you for sharing, it did sound like a lovely day!!
No, there was an AMAZING lack of conflict! Most of them are 4's and 5's, with a few 3's and 6's peppered in.

The teachers really put it back on the kids when it did occur once, though. Something like "why don't you go back and talk to so-and-so, and if you can't work it out together, come back and see me". The answer..."ok"...and off she went. They worked it out, and no blood!
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:15 AM
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Default Thanks for the info!

Thank you for posting!! (....and Oh God, are do we have to be that strict on spelling in this group?? Because you can best believe I will drive you all MAD! LOL, is there a spell check on this thing??)
.... back to your post, thank you!
I am truly for alternative education, but as someone who is madly in love with Montessori, I am glad someone posted the link to that article and I completely agree with this article. I hope to incorporate some Waldorf concepts into my daycare classroom but overall the deep rooted beliefs are mystical and based on fantasy. Nice, but I agree that children when asking for the truth deserve to hear the truth. Good point made from a natural science and historical stand point. As a lover of the arts, thought, I see image of a Waldorf class and it looks stunning. So, along with some Reggio; this is a good place to find tid-bits of ideas that inspire us to springboard...but I wouldn't stay there. If you catch my drift.
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