Thursday, September 5, 2019

September - Stone Soup

Our Early Childhood class started up this week!

As I wrote last year, 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 has typically 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.

Singing is the traditional way that the classroom teacher (or parent) helps to carry the rhythm of the day. Instead of nagging your child to put on his/her shoes, you simply sing the song that goes along with putting on shoes. Muscle memory associated with the song kicks in and everyone automatically begins to do it. Picturing the children putting on their shoes helps too!

Here are the songs and verses I use for transitions:

Songs & Verses for Transitions

    cleaning up after indoor play
    "This Is the Way We Tidy Up"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    laying out the sunflower quilt for circle time
    "A Ram Sam Sam" song
    from the Seven Times the Sun CD, track 17

    beginning the circle
    "Good Morning, Dear Earth" verse
    "Morning Verse"
    from A Child's Seasonal Treasury, page 13

    at the end of the story
    "Snip, Snap, Snout" verse

    washing hands
    "This Is the Way We Wash/Dry Our Hands"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    sitting down at the table
    "Here Are Grandma's Spectacles"

    "Blessings on the Blossom"
    from The Singing Day, track 23

    ending snack and preparing to go outside
    "This Is the Way We Put On Shoes"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    lining up at the back door to go out/in
    "All in a Row"
    from The Singing Day, track 11.

    goodbye verse
    from A Child's Seasonal Treasury, page 14

These transition songs and verses stay consistent throughout the entire school year. The progression of verses, songs, and finger plays for each Circle Time stays for about a month. The story we do stays for a week or two, with the follow up activities to that story changing daily.

To help children who are new to me, I am using a familar Circle Time. They would have already seen these verses & finger plays during Picnic & Play.

Circle Time

Tuesday, September 3

Today we had plenty of free play indoors and out to help everyone transition joyfully into the space. We also practiced carefully washing veggies with a wonderful assortment of produce from the Neighborhood Co-op (rainbow beets, turnips, carrots, assorted colors of cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, zucchini, yellow summer squash, cucumber, and brussels sprouts).

Thursday, September 5

Our first Stone Soup! Today's ingredients were olive oil, red onion, chicken broth, butternut squash, broccoli, carrots, yellow summer squash, assorted colors of cherry tomatoes, and brussels sprouts. To celebrate this special soup, we had our Snack at the dining room table (instead of in the kitchen). It was a wonderful meal.

And, of course, there was a stone in the soup (this heart-shaped stone).

Many thanks to everyone who contributed a vegetable! We will make Stone Soup every week on Thursdays throughout the school year. The special heart-shaped stone waits patiently each week in a little basket on my shelf (if you ever hear your child talk about the one-eyed chicken basket, yes, that's a real thing).

This week has been simple & sweet, with an emphasis on helping the children feel comfortable with me, become familiar with the space and the classroom routines, and begin to build new friendships with one another!

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