Every year I try to write a series of posts on planning and tackle each grade that I have been through so far. I do this because each year as my children grow older and I do this longer, I have fresh insights. It also means I have gone down some paths more than once since I have multiple children. It is interesting to go back and look under the “Homeschooling” tab on the header menu and see how my perspective has changed over time.
At any rate, I wanted to write about Kindergarten today. The heart of Kindergarten in a Waldorf School is daily rhythm, and the circle time. There recently was a whole series regarding rhythm on this blog, so I will leave you to put “rhythm” in the search engine box on this blog and review the posts that come up. Rhythm is the most major component of not only homeschooling, but life. Please do go back and look at that if it is an area you are trying to establish.
Now on to the other component of many Waldorf kindergartens: circle time. The circle time in a school is a way of building a social community, a way of bringing the foundation blocks of literacy and mathematical skills to the children, a way of bringing in movement and an awareness of the body.
At home, the circle time between you, your kindergarten aged child and the cat and dog may not be as effective as a circle time in a Waldorf School. Some families have a circle time and it works well for them; some scatter verses and fingerplays throughout the day as they transition from one activity to the other.
My big point to you all is, though, that MOVEMENT needs to have a high place on your list for the kindergartener. You will not have a classroom of 18 other children for your kindergartener to run around with at home, and what I am observing in many of the small children today (public, private or homeschooled!) is that they are sedentary even at such a young age.
Can your five or six year old ride a bike with no training wheels? Climb a tree? Swim? Gallop and skip?
Make it a priority to get out into nature and cross logs, roll down hills in meadows, wade in rivers and streams, get dirty and play in the mud and the sand, walk barefoot on sand and pebbles, inhale the scent of the pines. This is not only good for our sedentary children, but for those children who have a lot of nervous energy and chatter.
Give them movement through real work – helping with cooking, gardening, and baking. Sing with them, love them, give them sound emotional and physical warmth.
I have written so many back posts about kindergarten and the early years, but I just wanted to give you a small taste of what was on my mind today.