Chickadee Hollow

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April 1, 2020

I had the most amazing walk yesterday evening.  The creatures in the woods have really woken up. There was a cacophony of animal sounds, both bird and beasts.  Earlier in the day I noticed little red flowers had opened on the ground cover in parts of the woods and the pussy willows had appeared. This reminded me that the forsythia will be getting ready to bloom.  I recommend everyone take some clippers outside and snip off a few branches of both pussy willow, and the forsythia before it blooms.

A few parents have mentioned that they are hoping that I might share with them some ideas to bring Waldorf Kindergarten activities into the home.  Well I encourage you, if you have the room, to make a seasonal nature table.  

 

Seasonal Nature Table Project

A seasonal nature table is a wonderful way to connect your child with nature and the rhythms of the year.  It encourages reverence for the earth and teaches children to see beauty in things found in nature.

In Chickadee Hollow the nature table is more interactive than in the upper grades.  It is still held with reverence though; the main items need to remain on the table only the smaller animals, birds or fairies and gnomes can leave temporarily but they need to be replaced thoughtfully.  

A nature table can evolve slowly over time, reflecting how the environment changes as time passes.  This time of year I try to find a summer green coloured cloth to be the base. Then I layer that with a spring green then I look around at nature and see what colours I am seeing.   Hmmm, a lot of brown and only a hint of green. As the season changes colours get stripped away revealing the next colour. Yesterday the snow came back and then it melted away. Treasures you find on your walk can get added, a stone, a sea shell, an acorn or a branch.  I like to place the forsythia on the nature table so the children can watch the forsythia bloom and grow leaves. To the young children it is magic to witness this. Driftwood makes great caves for little animals, a piece of bark makes a great boat.  

Creating a nature table with your child allows for quality time spent with your child. Later when the nature table is complete and you are stuck in the house because it is raining, your child can gently play with the enchanting scene you have created.  You can say to your child that this is our special nature table and the things on it stay on it but you can gently play with it.  

A nature table can be a source of inspiration for many craft activities.

Time can be spent making little people or creatures to add to the nature table.

Go to:   STORY OF THE WEEK    |    CRAFTS

March 24th, 2020

I saw at least 20 robins today. For me, seeing robins is a sure sign that spring has come.  

On this spring day I find myself thinking how I can best support my classroom families and their dear children.  I found myself thinking about all the amazing teachers I had and some of the wise words they shared with me. I am sure parents must marvel sometimes when you come into the kindergarten and see all of these wee children playing so harmoniously. I love my job and these are a few of the tools I use to make our days wonderful. The words that are highlighted will lead you to different articles you may find of assistance, click on them if you wish to delve into this topic a bit deeper. They are written by writers much more skilled than me.

 
Developing a rhythm of the day and week helps the children feel more secure and content.  Children like to know what will happen next. Take time to think about what this might look like for your family. For a three and four year old it is so important to make sure that they don’t get too hungry, too tired or stay up too late for if they do, their bodies will cry out in a very loud way. 

Having a rhythm makes the time spent with the children joy-filled and considerably less stress on the parent.
Daily Rhythm at Home and its Lifelong Relevance


Find time in your day to fully be with your child.  Take a walk in nature, play a game or sit and draw, eat a meal together.  Make it part of your rhythm of the day. If you can spend 20 quality minutes with your child, your child will give you twice or three times that or more to do your work if you are working from home. Other things that assist a parent to be able to work from home is creating things your child can be responsible for. Having things child height, and accessible will allow them to be more self reliant. Easy access to water or fruit is one way to allow yourself time to work.  Let them know they can help themselves. Purposeful work helps to mark our day. Children who are 3 or 4 can set the table if plates and bowls are within their reach, they can bring in the kindling, Kaitlin Brown told me she has Lada take care of the baby (Lada is the baby) When she comes to ask for anything Kaitln just says I thought you were taking care of the baby. They take pride in being helpful and these chores mark the rhythm of the day.


Singing is also like magic to get little ones to transition into a different activity.  The
come follow me along song we sing to bring the children to the forest  also works when we want them to go to the bathroom or if I need them to follow me to the office or upstairs. They all stop what they are doing and follow. 
Listen Here 

The Clean up song works as well but of course with the adult also cleaning up alongside the child.  Please do not expect your young child to do cleaning up all by themselves. It can feel very overwhelming to them but it is important that they help.   
Listen Here

If your child is having a hard time transitioning from play to clean up the two minute time keeper seems to work like a charm.  Example a child is playing but we need to move from this activity to something else. Ask the child would you like to play this game for 2 more minutes and then we clean up? Usually they will agree.  Two minutes is not long to wait for an adult but seems sufficient time for a child to transition from the activity. This works especially well if you have a wrist watch.


Fill your house with wonderful smells.  The kindergarten teachers know that fresh baked muffins and bread help to create a sense of warmth in the home and classroom.
Muffins are so quick to make. I will share my Heart Bread Recipe. It is also a very quick and easy recipe that the children love to eat, love to mix and love to roll out with a rolling pin. They also love that it is heart shaped. Added bonus there is not much to clean up.


If you need time to prepare meals either involve your child or create a little play kitchen so they can be cooking in their kitchen alongside you.  Most of the kindergarten children love chopping vegetables with supervision. I usually cut cucumbers and carrots long and into quarters so they have a lot to hold on to and a lot to cut. 


A wise teacher once told me that when a young child hears us speak they take it in, it goes down to their feet, back up to their head, back down to their feet and back up to their head. Then they will truly know what they just heard. So do be patient with your child. They do not yet have the capacity to answer questions as quickly as an adult. 


Keep your questions simple, choices minimal for those children who like to choose ie. “would you like to wear the red sock or the blue sock?”  You would be amazed at how many young children actually feel more content having those decisions made for them. They feel their needs are being taken care of.


In Difficult Times: How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children? –by Susan Weber
In difficult times such as these it is not easy to feel the goodness in life. In an external crisis, our urge is often to listen and see the news and to share our feelings with other adults. As a consequence, it is easy for the children around us to be exposed to things that they cannot understand, to become fearful about situations they will never see and cannot change even if we think that the media or adult conversations are not attended to by the childrenRead More

Your children may be wondering why they are not at school with their friends.  If you are wondering how to speak about our current situation. Please filter the information, keep it vague and positive they do not need to know anything  that might be upsetting. It is alright for them to be blissfully unaware. 

Here is a wonderful link to a short talk which is so worth the time. Close your eyes and listen. It has great suggestions for the health and well being of the parent as well as the child.

Kim John Payne, writer of Simplicity Parenting. 
Listen Here


If you are finding your children are saddened that they must stay home you might like to use a therapeutic story. You may have already read this story and shared it with your children but I am posting it again. In the Kindergarten, stories are repeated many times over the course of a week or two.  The story gets the chance to really live in the child. Some children memorize it. We teachers learn them by heart sometimes they are performed as puppet shows by us or the children

The Little Gnome who had to stay home  By Susan Perrow
Read the PDF Here

 

 

Good morning Kindergarten Families,

We look forward to connecting with each family by phone in the coming days to check in and learn from you how we can best support your family at this time.

Plans as of now would include:

– parental education on how to create a Waldorf inspired home atmosphere.

– the value of rhythm in the young child’s life. Creating a daily, weekly and seasonal rhythm. 

Establishing a new rhythm is difficult. So start by anchoring this new rhythm with four cornerstones – waking time, coming together to eat, nature walk, and bedtime. Choose simple anchors that you want to do that is easy for everyone to do. It can even be as simple as reading one small picture book, drinking a cup of tea together, or lighting a candle and saying a simple verse at meal times.

– the importance of a daily nature walk. We strongly encourage each family to be practicing a daily nature walk in your local area. This is a time when we can all connect with the greater world, it gives us inspiration and cultivates a love for nature and an eye for true beauty. Sunshine, exercise and fresh air are some of the worlds greatest healers and need to be part of our lives every day. 

– We will be sharing articles and videos from Kim John Payne’s simplicity parenting. 

-ideas for keeping community spirit in this time of social distancing. We want to stay connected to you and for the class and school to still feel like a thriving community. We had hoped that small groups (less then 5 people) could come to the school and help care and tend for our school during these times.  The gardens will need tending, spring clean up indoors and outdoors, as well as just walking the land or playing in the forest area. With a state of emergency being announced yesterday we don’t think meeting in small groups is something we can do any longer. Small children really do not understand the concept of social distancing when they are playing. We are open to ideas and thoughts?

– We would like us all to support each other and actively create connections to each other.  How can we connect and support each other? How can we support each other physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually during these times? We all have something to offer our greater community.  One beautiful example of this that comes to mind is Bayport Home Farm who have committed to growing food for this community and are now offering delivery options for their vegetables as well as offerings from Taproot and Elmridge farms which in turn will help support the school as a small fundraiser.

A family who has sent their child to Forest Friday and are friends of the school are seed savers and a good source for garden seeds  Chris and Garrett’s website: www.yonderhillfarm.ca   (Incredible Seeds is currently over-extended with orders.)

– Also in our plans is to send care packages to each child with recipes, handwork activities, colouring, painting, stories and songs so that we can build a bridge between the children’s experience at school and their experience of “School Away From School.”

-It is important to refrain from speaking about the situation in front of the children. They don’t need to know, or at least they don’t need many details and they certainly don’t need to hear about it constantly. Children can live through many trying situations and be blissfully unaware of what is happening. Please only convey to them in very basic terms answers to questions so they remained joyful, happy, and unworried. This helps us as parents, too. For perhaps we can’t control the world outside but we can control the world inside. In fact, that is what a Home is – a place where we should be able to feel safe. This is something within your control. 

With warmth and love,

Miss Moni

Crafts

Gnome and his home
You might want to make a little Gnome and his home, the main character in the story I posted last week.
Open the PDF Here

More craft ideas coming soon!  Check back often.

Story of the Week

I would like to share one of our favourite stories for Spring, one year we even made this into a Puppet Play.

The Root Children Wake Up

All winter long the trees are bare, the wind is cold and the fields are empty.
But very early in the spring the Sun begins to grow warmer, the air softer and the sky bluer. And boys and girls grow happier though they cannot tell just why. Down underground something is happening.
Something secret and wonderful.

The root children who have been sleeping soundly all winter are awakened by the Earth Mother. She comes with her candle and her little firefly helpers and tell them they must be up and at work for it will soon be Spring. They are very sleepy at first but soon begin to stretch and open their eyes and be glad that it is time to wake.

Wide awake at last, in their root house, the root children work busily on their new Spring dresses. Each chooses the colour they love best – violet, yellow, blue, white, orange or red – and with needle, thread and thimble, sew happily till their work is done.

Above them, in the little village by the sea, the children are learning carols to sing at Easter, and every day the sky and water are growing bluer.

The root children take their dresses to show the good Earth Mother, where she sits comfortably with her tea and her knitting. Her busy ant helpers are about her. She is pleased when she sees how well each little root child has made their Spring dress.

It is time to be ready, for above them the ice on the little brook has meltedand the water is slipping merrily over its pebbles. In the barns the sheep and lambs feel the Spring air and wish to be in the green fields again.

While the little root girls are sewing Spring dresses, the root boys are busy with their share in making ready for Spring. They wake up the sleeping insects – the beetles, grasshoppers, lady bugs, crickets, bumble bees, fireflies, and June bugs. They sponge them and brush them and paint their shells with bright Spring colours, while the fields over their heads are growing greener and the leaf buds on the trees were swelling in the warm Spring air.

Then when all is ready, Spring comes!

First the meadow grasses fare out over the country side, green and lovely, waving in the wind.

Then the busy insects, eager to do their work in fields and woods and gardens, sing and humming and leaping.

Next the good grains push their heads above the ground.

Last and most beautiful of all, come the flowers in a sweet ad gay procession – snowdrop and star-grass, forget-me-not and aster, violet and dandelion. They all come.

Out they troop joyfully out of their earth home into the lovely world, where birds fly in the blue sky above green meadows.

The flower children scatter far and wide. Some choose the deep woods and bloom shyly under the trees. Gay butterflies hover above them, scarlet mushrooms brighten the moss, and the slow snail creeps out of his house to play, glad that Spring has come again.

Others hurry to the pond side and play there all day long, Spiders spin lovely webs that shine in the sun. The reeds wave and rustle in the passing wind, and dragon-flies dart hither and thither.

And so they play all summer long, until a day comes when the air is chill and the leaves, turned red and gold and brown, are fluttering down to earth. The flower children come running over hills and valleys, from meadows, woods and brookside, back to the Earth Mother, who welcomes them to their warm earth home to rest and sleep the cold winter through, until Spring comes again next year!

From a Picture book by Sibylle v. Olfers with text by Helen Dean Fish

Get In Touch

Contact your class teacher if you have any questions or requests regarding Distance Education during COVID-19.

 

MONIKA WILDEMANN – Chickadee Hollow
monika.wildemann@waldorfns.org

KAITLIN BROWN – Robin’s Nest
kaitlin.brown@waldorfns.org

MARGARET FORSEY – Parent and Tot
parent.and.tot@waldorfns.org