(This is geared specifically to preschool/kindergarten ages)
Some Waldorf schools will send out a letter to parents of prospective children ages 3-6 to explain the goals of a Waldorf Kindergarten: to nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity, to instill confidence and discipline, and to encourage reverence for a world that is good. Letters such as these also often mention children that thrive in a Waldorf preschool/kindergarten environment may share certain traits. For example, this may include little to no media exposure, healthy sleep rhythm, the ability to follow and comply with teacher’s directions, being independent in the bathroom, etc.
I have been mulling this over quite a bit. What are the goals of a HOMESCHOOL Waldorf kindergarten? What kinds of families really thrive in using this type of education, designed and made for schools, at HOME? I am sure those of you who are experienced Waldorf educators will come up with many ideas! Please feel free to add to this list in the comment box as I think my list is just a beginning.
The goals of a Waldorf HOME kindergarten program, in my opinion:
To encourage connection to the family unit as a whole (and siblings to each other) and the belief that home and family are inherently good
To encourage reverence for something higher than themselves if that is within the spiritual framework of the family, reverence for the nature outside his or her door, reverence for the neighborhood or block or piece of land the family lives on and for all the plants, animals, rocks and stones and people within this.
To see the home (their world) as a predictable place where they make a contribution through work.
To continue to foster wonder.
To develop the twelve types of play and the twelve senses; protection of the senses
To be able to develop stillness and the ability to find quiet within him or herself
To be able to develop care of the self
To be able to develop the beginnings of social interactions with trusted and loved family members, friends and community members
The kind of family that really may thrive in Waldorf education at home:
Limits media to no media
Understands the importance of rhythm in the day, week, month and year for the health of the child and feels this is freeing, not constricting
Feels that adults can hold loving authority for the small child and doesn’t feel conflicted about this
Understands the importance of regular sleep and mealtimes
Places a value on play and nature in all kinds of weather; views natural objects as stimulation for play
Places a value on the child following the parent’s lead through imitation
Places a value on telling stories, singing, whole food “slow” meals, gestures of peacefulness and unhurriedness in household tasks and does not see household and land tasks as something to be hurried through and done but as the foundation of nurturing and love and care for the world
Is not overscheduled and values having a “slower” life
Has a rich emphasis on inner spiritual development of the adults and the unfolding development of the child; doesn’t feel in a rush for the academic life of the child
Has an emphasis on observing children and the ability to love children fully and presently
Places a strong value on respect toward each other in the family; both from the children toward the adults and the adults toward the children and is able to modeling resolving conflict in a healthy way.
Please feel free to add your own thoughts to this list!
Love this Carrie. I want to print it off because even though mine of 7 and 10, I feel like it is still a relevant reminder of where I want our motivation to be.
Since returning from Taproot, I have been mulling over the mother’s role during the kindergarten years and the need/pressure to “get down to it” with academics and such. I think this year/years should be seen as “grace years” for the mother. This is a time to really work on yourself and your own inner work without the job of preparing main lessons.
Yes, these can be overwhelming years in regard to how much care the children still need – especially if there are infants, babies and/or toddlers in the mix. However, I agree with you and think the focus should be on the home, on inner work and on building the family foundation. The time for academics will come soon enough.
Love to you.
Dear Carrie, I was wondering if you could list some Christian books you have read with your children to help them grow in faith that I could use at bed time or at our morning prayers time when we are all together. My children range form 6 to 16. Thank you for your posts/blog, It is a real help to me! I am homeschooling in England.
That is a large age gap to be sure and probably what your high schooler needs to grow in faith is probably at this point very different than what your six year old needs. Still, reading through all the Gospels can work for all ages; for the younger ones I have done Leading Little Ones to God and Step Into the Bible and 5 minute Animal Devotions. For my older girls I have used Polished Cornerstones which has many book recommendations as well. We read a lot about the life of different saints according to our church calendar and also series about missionaries. I don’t know if that helps! Hope so.
thank you for replying Carrie. that is really helpful! yes the age gap is sometimes overwhelming. it’s a constant challenge….. but we seem to cover everyones needs over all I think/hope! I tend to gear it towards the older ones in the morning and my six year old at her bedtime…. many many thanks for all the recommendations i will look them up.