A family setting serving ages 3-6
At Sunseeds, we strive to create a family-like atmosphere for children where the younger children look up to the older ones while the older children learn to be kind and helpful to the younger ones.
We have a regular, predictable rhythm to our days, weeks, and our year. In this way the children find joy and security in knowing what to expect each day. We alternate between teacher-led activities and times where the child is free to engage in self-initiated play.
At Sunseeds, children sink deeply into imaginative play. We understand that the rich experience of healing play is the foundation for building a healthy intellect. We work to create a safe and friendly space for the children to play with joy, enthusiasm, and kindness. We have one hour of self-directed play indoors each day, and at least one hour of self-initiated play outdoors every day, rain or shine.
We have “painting day,” “baking day,” “drawing day,” and “soup-making day.” Thus the children engage in artistic activities and activities that engage their minds and their hands throughout the week. Other daily activities include beeswax modeling, woodworking, and gardening. In addition, we work together to make seasonal handcrafts in such mediums as wet-felting, finger-knitting, hand sewing, and embroidery.
We offer circle, ring games, finger plays, and story time, educating the child through playful singing games and imaginative stories and puppet shows. Circle time involves large and small motor movements along with singing rhymes which teach alliteration, vocabulary, simple math, and literacy skills. During story time, we tell our stories by memory rather than reading them from a book, thus engaging the child’s imagination and helping to build artistic, vocabulary, and literacy skills.
We also weave into our daily rhythm celebrations and bring attention to the changes in the natural world. We celebrate seasonal festivals, have a nature table indoors which reflects the seasonal mood, and our circles and stories are oriented towards the changing seasons and the deep wisdom found in nature.
We play outdoors at Sunseeds at least an hour each day in every kind of weather. We know that children who play outdoors will develop cognitive and physical skills that will serve them for a lifetime. We strive to instill a love for nature in the children at Sunseeds through our nature-based curriculum and through our days playing, rolling, climbing and frollicking outdoors. The children learn from watching the seasons change in the trees, rocks, water, sand and forests surrounding Sunseeds. We strive to guide children to find joy and comfort in the simplicity of playing in sun, sand, dirt, mud and rain.
Young children respond to kind, loving, yet firm communication and it is with this awareness that discipline is approached in a Waldorf early childhood setting. It is with a knowledge that children in early childhood naturally imitate their caregivers out of a pure love that motivates a Waldorf teacher to strive to be worthy of a child’s imitation. Therefore, first and foremost, a great all-pervasive love is the foundation of all discipline within the classroom at Sunseeds.
Disruptive behavior is always guided in a gentle, non-threatening, yet effective manner, (“calm yet firm” briefly states our approach). The rhythm of the day helps to “hold” the children as well and there is generally less need for disciplinary measures when a regular routine or rhythm is practiced. When disruptions or conflicts between the children occur, each child is given the freedom to express her needs while the teacher is near and listening. If guidance is needed, the teacher models positive conflict-resolution skills or uses creativity to redirect the situation.
Mother Nature provides us with seasonal rhythms and within her fold we live into weekly and daily rhythms. The Waldorf Early childhood curriculum is founded upon rhythm. What a wonder it can be to notice the changes in the outdoors as we move from summer into autumn, autumn into winter, winter into spring. As we celebrate the seasonal rhythms at Sunseeds, we have special seasonal festivals to mark the “soul mood” of each season. In this way, the child learns to take notice of all that is rhythmical and ever-changing within Nature. Within this fold of Mother Nature’s rhythms, a daily and weekly rhythm is also held. At Sunseeds we have painting day and drawing day, baking day and woodworking day. Rhythms like these help to foster a sense of security in the children as they come into the classroom each day. We always follow a flow of activity that alternates carefully between expansive activities into more contracting activities. It is the understanding of Waldorf Early Childhood educators that children thrive when they can move from more active or busy activities into more restful or dreamy activities and then back again. Routine or rhythm helps the children feel safe and secure; for in rhythm, children always know what is coming next.
8:45-9:00am Arrivals in Garden Play Yard
9:00-9:15am Nature Walk
9:15-9:25am Transition Games/Coats and Shoes Off
9:25-10:25am Morning Activity and Indoor Play
10:15am Bathroom Time (for older children)
10:25am Clean Up and Circle Time
10:45am Snack and Rest
11:30am Outdoor Play
12:45pm Story Time
1:00pm Goodbye Circle/ Pick-up Time
Monday: Rice porridge snack, Painting
Tuesday: Oatmeal snack, Drawing
Wednesday: Millet snack, Bread Baking, Beeswax Modeling
Thursday: Vegetable Soup Snack, Woodworking, Long Walk