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: