(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!