I’m back from Not-Back-To-School Camp and hitting the ground running. The forest kindie starts Monday – and this weekend is my husband’s birthday. Full days ahead.
Here’s what I prepared today for the parents of the children in my forest kindie:
Forest Kindergarten Framework
(adapted from Devana Came’s Waldorf Parent-Toddler Group)
- Children learn from imitating adult actions. All parents (not just the instructors) need to be conscious of what they are doing and saying during the forest kindegarten. The children will follow suit. To keep adult converstions directed and uplifting, there will be a bookclub discussion beginning in the third week of class.
- Uninterrupted exploration and play is crucial to the Earthroots mission of nature connection. Parents are invited to practice being “benign parental presences.” Please bring a handwork project (knitting, sewing, etc) to keep your hands busy and productive.
- Sing, sing, and sing! Many transitions between activities will be sung.This is to allow the child to remain in a creative dreamy space rather than a logical thinking space.
- Songs are sung on the pentatonic scale (a melodic scale that is easily imitated by children). Most songs are very simple and can be made up as needed.
- There is a breathing-type (in-and-out) rhythm to the activities overall. An animated/vigorous activity followed by something gentle/calming. The same rhythm should be created within each activity too.
- Each child brings a piece of washed organic fruit or vegetable (already diced) to contribute.
- One parent will be assisting each week with simple snack prep and other light duties.
- Children arrive 30-45 mins before circle time for Morning Game
- Opening Circle
- Wilderness Exploration
- Hand Washing
- Community Snack
- Main Lesson/ Story
- Quiet Sitting
- Native Skills
- Closing Circle
Opening Circle: The children are sung into the Circle by the instructors, so that there is an intentional beginning to the playgroup. Using the breathing approach, brisk active songs will alternate with quieter songs. Activities at this time are seasonal. Songs will change monthly
Wilderness Exploration: Parents will be involved in book discussion and handwork projects while the child play and explore the area nearby. Children are free to observe and join the adults if they wish. The parent assistant will be preparing the snack (an organic grain, bowls, spoons will be provided). Children may assist if they want. One instructor will be with the adults and one instructor will be with the children.
Hand washing: The children will be called by song (“Time to wash your hands”). There will be a bowl with soapy water, another with clean water. The children wash their hands with assistance as necessary. A towel is there for them to dry their hands.
Snack time: The instructors will sing the children to community snack (“Welcome to the Table”). The group sing a non-religious food blessing (“Earth that gives us… Sun who makes it….”).
Outside Time: The children are free to leave the table when they have finished eating and go outside to play. During this time parents should be supervise their own children so the instructors can prepare for the following activities.
Main Lesson/Story: The teacher sings the children in for story time. The children sit in front of the instructors, but behind a long rainbow silk or scarf. The story is always spoken (not read). The story will address one letter of the alphabet each week. The same story will be told on Monday and Wednesday. After the story, the children will be guided in kinesthetic and sensory activities to explore the shape and/or sound of the letter (running the shape of a giant “A”, tracing the shape in the sand, making an “A” with three pine needles, etc)
Lunch: After another round of handwashing, children and parents will eat lunch (each provides own)
Quiet Sitting: Children and parents will sit back-to-back and sit quietly for a time. We will begin with 5-10 minutes and increase the time as children learn to still their minds and bodies and observe what it around them.
Native Skills: Games will hone sensory awareness and motor skills.
Closing Circle: The songs for the closing circle will remain the same week to week. The same routine every time lets the children know it is time to go and formal activities have ended. Once you have passed under the silk bridge, you are welcome to leave.