Thursday, October 25, 2018

October - The Harvest Gift

Our story this week was again taken from the lovely anthology of stories contributed by Waldorf teachers across the United States, Tell Me a Story: Stories from the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America edited by Louise deForest.

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time


  • "The Harvest Gift" from Tell Me a Story, page 68
  • Sunflower Seed activities
  • Egg in Vinegar science experiment

More activities around the idea of the Harvest this week. I had a sunflower head filled with ripe sunflower seeds and a long pair of tweezers so that the children could carefully pick them out. I also had some roasted salted seeds in shell which they could practice carefully cracking with their teeth and opening to get the seed from inside. The children also loved learning our new "Jump High, Jump Low" verse and walking on their hands as wheelbarrows while a friend held their feet. It was a perfect tie-in to our story about the Harvest basket. This story features a sweet little angora rabbit who gives her fur as a gift. I purchased some absolutely beautiful pure white angora fiber from Homestead Happenings's Etsy shop. We were delighted at its softness!

Eggs were also in our story's Harvest basket, contributed by the chickens, and so we looked at chicken eggs and compared them side by side with duck eggs. I peeled a bit of the duck egg shell back to reveal the intact membrane and we set up an experiment to dissolve the shells with vinegar to be able to see right into the eggs. It was amazing to see the bubbles rise from each shell as the vinegar began to work right away...


  • "The Harvest Gift" from Tell Me a Story, page 68
  • Sunflower Head still life paintings
  • Butter making

At the start of the morning I introduced an art project which the children could choose to do during their indoor play time. We again read Vincent's Colors by Vincent Van Gogh, this time looking for his sunflower painting. Then I showed them several of Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers in a vase, and then of his cut sunflowers (Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings by Walther & Metzger, pages 476 - 477 and page 281). Zac had wanted a Van Gogh book to look at in his bedroom, so I got him Van Gogh: His Life & Works in 500 Images by Michael Howard from the library. He ran to get it, so excited that "his" book had a painting of cut sunflowers too (page 155).

With these in front of us, along with the sunflower head we had been examining yesterday, we did our own still life paintings of sunflowers. I set the sunflower seed-filled head on a lime green background and provided three colors: citron green, Naples yellow, and primary yellow. We also talked about the terms "still life," "landscape," and "self-portrait."

After all of the painting and playing was done and we had finished our Circle Time movement and story, we sat down for Snack. In our story the cow brings some of her milk to add to the Harvest basket for the farmer. We looked at milk and cream side by side, and I explained that they are mixed up together in the milk that comes out of the cow. At the grocery store they are sold separately. We talked about churning cream into butter, looking at the picture in Little House in the Big Woods (page 31) and reading Laura's description of the churning process (pages 31-32). We made our own butter using a pint of organic heavy cream and a large half gallon jar, taking turns shaking the jar as hard as we could, listening as it became silent (whipped cream) and then noisy again (butter floating in buttermilk). Then we tasted our fresh delicious butter on a piece of bread and drank some buttermilk.

The children noticed the beautiful color of the fresh butter, a special color which Van Gogh also talks about. They asked me about its slightly bumpy texture, and so I explained that butter is shaped in a mold before we buy it from the grocery store. We read again from the Laura Ingalls Wilder chapter where she describes Ma molding the butter (pages 32-33).


  • "The Harvest Gift" from Tell Me a Story, page 68
  • Honey and Honeycomb tasting

Today I retold "The Harvest Gift" using wooden figures: the little rabbit, the busy hen, the black & white spotted mama cow and sweet baby calf, the industrious bees and their tidy hives, and the joyful farmer bending over to discover the gifts. I used one of the little rainbow nesting bowls to represent the Harvest basket. We are so fortunate that our circle time quilt is covered in sunflowers. As the bees buzzed all around on the cloth, the children really felt like they were visiting sunflowers... just like in our story!

At Snack we had a real feast. That feeling of the generosity of the Harvest must really be in the air! To go along with our story, we tasted some honey (and some honeycomb) on bread.

And, of course, today was Stone Soup day. Here was our list of group contributions to the Stone Soup this week:

icicle radish
summer squash
delicata squash

We also got to taste some raw cauliflower and compare it to the cooked.

Thank you to the moms, dads, and grandparents who offer us so much support each week!

It is wonderful to have extra pairs of hands for special projects like Stone Soup, for lessons, and for play together. I appreciate it so much! I know that the children also feel the expanded circle of love and caring. Today we were also blessed by donations of several extra sweets for the children to enjoy: cookies and a pie.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

No comments: