Rhythm is most important for the first seven year period of life. In the kindergarten we have a daily rhythm which is 'breathing' between more concentrated inward activities and more relaxed outward activities. The same basic daily pattern gives the children security and they know what to expect.
We begin by making bread rolls or hanging out the daily washing. This is seen as an inward breath - a time for calm and concentration. Children may choose to partake in this activity or enter into free play.
Then we breathe out - the children play freely inside with toys of natural materials such as wooden blocks, handmade dolls ,dress ups, sheets and structures for hut building and items from nature such as shells and pinecones. These allow for the children to fully use their imagination and keep them in touch with materials of a ‘true nature’.
Another inward breath comes with morning tea. After we have said our blessings we eat our delicious bread and fruit. This is a time for sitting and eating - sharing a meal with friends.
Then we breathe out again as the children play outside. The outside environment offers many opportunities for large body movements eg. climbing, lifting, digging, pushing, pulling, running, jumping whether it be in the sandpit, in the ‘forest’ , in the log play area or at the building table. It also offers a real vege garden and chicken house. Caring for the chickens and planting, growing ,harvesting and eating the veges provides meaningful examples of real life interdependence.
When everything is tidied away we come together again for another inward breath. We sit and share a nutritious meal. Circle time follows and a story is told and then it is time for farewells for the younger children who are in the early stages of their kindergarten journey. Those spending the afternoon with us settle into ‘camping time’ where they rest quietly.
The later part of the afternoon offers the children the opportunity for free play in which ever environment they choose. Our day concludes with a shared afternoon tea. We welcome parents and caregivers to join us for this time if you arrive early to collect your child.
Because the rhythm is so important for the sense of security of the children, parents are able to help settle children with a remark “I will be back after story-time or after afternoon tea”.
We welcome visitors at any time during the kindergarten day, however we request that you refrain from entering the kindergarten during our 'camping' time that usually begins at 12.30pm. This is a time where the children sit or lay quietly, restoring balance and energy for an afternoon of play. If you’d like to join us for story time, please arrive before noon. We also welcome you to join us for lunch, especially on special days; birthday's etc. Please let our kindergarten team know that you will be joining us so we can make sure we've got lunch waiting for you. Lunchtime is usually at 11.30am.
The stories told in Steiner kindergartens are simple, short and repetitive. Simple props and felted characters are used as a focus for the children. The story is told by heart by a teacher which allows the child to fully connect with the imaginative elements in it. Often there is a simple verse or song. Usually a story is told for 3 weeks, which allows the children to become familiar and comfortable with this. To learn more about storytime click here.
The Importance of Play
Play is the child's way of working. They are concentrating and learning and if we intervene without permission we can break the spell and the magic is gone. So when our children are playing it is recommended that we resist playing with them - they will come to us if they need help. We find much enjoyment in standing back and watching them get on with it.