Thursday, September 6, 2018

First Week of September ECE

ECE is a teacher-speak abbreviation for Early Childhood Education.

In Waldorf Early Childhood classrooms the curriculum is driven both by the developmental needs of the individual children in the class and the natural rhythms of the seasons in the outside world. This requires the teacher to both look inward and outward when lesson planning.

Because the class content is so tailored to the group, you can't buy pre-prepared Waldorf Early Childhood curriculum. You must look at the child in front of you. I am, however, happy to share what we are doing and a few resources in case the post serves as assistance or inspiration for others.

Our daily rhythm this week has been as follows:

We begin at drop-off with about 45 minutes of inside free play. Then we clean up and transition into our circle time with plenty of movement and then a story. We finish the story and move into hand washing and singing our grace and eating our snack. We work together to do an activity which is a natural offshoot from the story and then we move into a long stretch of outside free play. At the end of the morning we come in and pack up shoes, lunchboxes, and water bottles and play games while we wait for pick-up.

Songs, Verses & Movement


Our story was "The Little Wooden Mixing Bowl" from The Breathing Circle, page 124. I told this story with no props. Our follow up activity was my favorite no-cook Chocolate Play Dough recipe. Since you add boiling water you need to wait for a little bit before kneading it. For this, I used a trick I learned at the Little Red Hen Baking Party at the Waldorf School of St. Louis. I gave each child a little bit of flour on their piece of waxed paper and told them they could draw pictures in it while they waited for their dough. This worked wonders. Then when they got their dough, they eagerly kneaded in the raw flour. We sang verses 1 and 2 (and you can make up your own action words) of "We Roll It, We Roll It" from The Singing Day, track 19.


I retold "The Little Wooden Mixing Bowl," this time with a prop. I simply passed out bowls from my series of Rainbow Nesting Bowls from Grimm's so that each child had one and I had one. We started by placing the bowls behind us. As I told the story and the little bowl gets taken off the shelf, we brought our bowls into the circle and placed them in front of us, and as the story went along we used our hands and our own bowl and gently acted out all of the things that happen to her. It was a lovely tactile experience!

Our follow-up activity was making Bubble Stuff. I first asked the children to predict what they thought the ingredients in Bubble Stuff might be.

Z - water, milk, soil

S - milk, bubbles, salt

M - bubbles, soap

C - soap, water

I showed them the dish detergent and glycerin which we would be using, along with water. Since I found three recipes and couldn't decide between them, I thought we'd just make all three and test them out and decide on our favorite. This idea was a big hit with the boys. We used recipes from Home Science Tools (this one ended up being the winner), "Blowing Bubbles" on pages 122-123 of Earthways, and "Soap Bubbles" on pages 115-116 of All Year Round. I do recommend Earthways though for having lots of useful teacher tips for blowing bubbles indoors on a wet day. And we made the bubble wands from All Year Round and they were awesome! Make a circle of wire and add a handle and then wrap WOOL yarn tightly around the wire until you've completely covered the entire circle. Dip it in the bubble stuff and you will have a gigantic bubble!

The Best Recipe: Gently combine 6 c water - 1 c dish detergent - 2 T glycerin


I told the story of "The Enormous Turnip" using a beautiful set of handmade wooden figures from Anne Moze of Hutton Road, along with a gigantic wool turnip which I needle felted. After snack we practiced washing vegetables with our new fruit & veggie scrub brushes. These brushes have two sets of bristles, helpful for produce with thinner or thicker skins. I asked the children which of the vegetables they could name. Some they knew and some were unfamiliar. Here was our list of nine types of veggies for washing:

acorn squash
butternut squash
bell pepper
cherry tomato

Before we started our vegetable washing work we did the beautiful verse "To Meet a Task" and while we were washing we sang "I Will Work with Joy." The children know that starting next week we each be bringing in a vegetable on Thursdays so that we can make Stone Soup. They're very excited!

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