A Review: “Kindergarten With Your Three To Six Year Old” by Donna Simmons

This is a spiral bound book of 100 pages  by Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources,  and it really is a book that you can turn to time and time again.  I have even  had parents who are not Waldorf homeschooling  tell me how valuable they thought this book was for the Early Years and homemaking with small children!    So, I think this book would be worth the addition to your library.

I love Donna’s Introduction.  One thing she wryly notes, “Let’s not forget that Waldorf Kindergartens are based on what a healthy home environment should be like!  So it seems an odd reversal that parents now seek to make little Waldorf kindergartens at home!  You do not need hundreds of verses, scores of songs, stacks of fairy tales to “do kindergarten”:  you need strong and nurturing family rhythms; opportunities for open-ended play; the will to include your children in household tasks; and the courage to tell stories to your children.” 

This book, as Donna remarks herself in the Introduction, is not a set curriculum to tell you what to do everyday.  She goes on in this book,  however, to provide tools for you to establish a healthy homelife, which is really what the Kindergarten Years should be about.  She talks extensively about the major “points” of Kindergarten:  physical activity, developing the senses, the idea that the small child is one with his or her surroundings, imitation, creative play.  She even  has a chapter as to what to do about people outside your family – what do you do about neighbors, people wanting your children to watch TV or play video games in these Early Years, how do you do play dates?

One of the most valuable sections in the book is the section on “Family Life.” In it are many examples of rhythms, how to create a strong family rhythm, how to work with multiple children because homeschooling is first and foremost about family, how to choose toys, what to do about electronic media, ideas about discipline and about children with special needs. 

One chapter is entitled “A Typical Day” and runs through several different rhythms and then goes on to discuss how to do different components of the rhythm – household chores, morning walks, story times, creative play, bed and rest times.

She has recipes for making salt dough, how to wet on wet watercolor paint, how to make a nature table, cooking with small children,  ideas for crafts and handwork, coloring and drawing, and how to choose fairy tales and tell them. 

I think a very valuable section of this book is “The Six Year Old” chapter.  As many of you know, I think that the six-year-old Kindergarten year is very, very important and that the child  should be seven for most of first grade.  This chapter provides some very excellent ideas regarding how to structure that six-year-old year, projects to include, what to do with academic interest in the six-year-old year and answers to other challenges that are unique to the six-year-old year. 

There is also a Questions and Answers section, and a section that includes a scattering of fairy tales, traditional rhymes and seasonal verses, music,  and a section on what to read next to educate yourself as to Waldorf education and Waldorf parenting. 

Here is link to look at this book yourself:  http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/early-years/kindie.html

Happy reading,

Carrie

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9 thoughts on “A Review: “Kindergarten With Your Three To Six Year Old” by Donna Simmons

  1. Hi Carrie – this book sounds wonderful & I wish I had read it when my kids were kindy age. They are now Grade 1 and one comment you wrote that struck me was, “homeschooling is first and foremost about family.” I think this is an excellent point. With just about any *method* of homeschooling, it is easy to get overwhelmed by perfectionism and offering everything as flawlessly as the books we read advise and sometimes, in the search for perfectionism, we forget that family *is* or *should be* always first. I am so guilty of this as I spend so much time trying to keep on top of books and blogs and school preparations. So this is a wonderful reminder to keep focused on the little ones and don’t underestimate the value of what is going on around us in our every day life! :D…our children are growing so quickly and I don’t want to have any regrets of missing life as it was unfolding…thanks for this reminder!

    Blessings,
    Jen

  2. Hi Carrie!
    Thanks for this review. I have Kindergarten With Your Three to Six Year Old, and refer to it daily. It is such a wonderful resource. I’m now anxiously awaiting Joyful Movement, and the Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers, which I’m hoping will be a wonderful supplement to the Kindergarten book. I wish I had discovered all of this many years ago, but I guess it is never too late to start. :)
    Take care,
    Alissa

    • NEVER too late to start Alissa! Never! This is such a healing path! The Waldorf Curriculum Overview book is one i refer to quite a bit for various reasons, and I’m sure you saw my review on here about Joyful Movement?

      Blessings – Carrie

  3. Hi Carrie,
    I’ve only been learning about Waldorf for the past few months, and I’m finding it incredibly healing. My daughter was supposed to start Kindergarten (public school) this past September, but I felt a very deep resistance to sending her. She just turned 5 in September, and would have still been 4 when she started. I started researching homeschooling, stumbled across Waldorf, and haven’t looked back. I’ve felt so lost over the past few years… knowing that I wanted nothing more than to be at home with my children, but not really having any sense of direction or purpose with them. Always wondering what I was supposed to DO with them all day. I always felt like I was failing at the whole stay-at-home mom thing. Now I realize that all I really had to do was BE with them. Include them in my life. And that’s really what I’ve done all along. Since discovering Donna’s book I suddenly feel like I have permission to do just that. Such a refreshing way to look at raising children. I guess I always compared myself to daycares and preschools, where kids are entertained all day long and felt guilty for not providing my own children with so much “fun”.

    I’ve recently joined the forum over on Christopherus, and I am learning so much. I guess I should post a formal introduction. :)

    Thanks so much for your blog… it is one of the very few that I subscribe to, there is an absolute wealth of information here. I’m off to find your Joyful Movement review. :)

    Alissa

  4. Hi Carrie
    Thanks for the review. Since your post about the early years resources I found a good secondhand copy of “You are your child’s first teacher’. It sounds as if this book by Donna Simmons might be a good follow up book in a few months.
    As Alissa I was also feeling as if I needed permission to ‘just’ be a stay at home mom. Before I had my kids (in my mid thirties) I was a career women and it feels as if society, friends and family are excpecting you to go back to ‘usefull’ full time employment sooner than later.

    I realised part of my baggage is that I was raised by a career mum and I have never had a role model of what it meant to be a stay at home mom. The expectation was that I would be a career women and was put of having kids for many years.
    The interesting things is I have never enjoyed any of my previous jobs as much as I do enjoy being at home.

    Thanks for helping me (and I am sure many others) gain these insights and through the change of becoming a joyful stay at home mum (and who knows maybe eventually a homeschooler)

  5. Pingback: Waldorf In The Home With The Five-Year-Old « The Parenting Passageway

  6. Pingback: New To This Blog and Considering Waldorf Homeschooling For Kindergarten? « The Parenting Passageway

  7. Dear Carrie,
    I know this is an old post, but I was considering purchasing this for my 3 year old.
    Can you please tell me if the curriculum is “culture-neutral”?
    Will I need to make a lot of changes to adapt it to our (Indian) lifestyle, food habits, seasons, festivals, stories etc?
    Or should I just work around all the pointers you’ve given in your various kindergarten posts, and create my own “curriculum”?
    Would appreciate your opinion please.

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