Dear Robin’s Nest Families,
I hope you all had a fantastic week with the most blessed Sunday full of sunshine. I will be doing doorstep drop offs today and tomorrow: the new story of the week as well as some new handwork projects. Usually our stories in the kindergarten are held over many weeks, first being told orally, then as a puppet show, and in the last week, we do our stories as a class play. The children really are able to live into the stories and really enjoy acting it out as a play with their classmates and me as narrator.
In the Waldorf tradition, and also in mainstream early childhood classrooms, it is important to note that the artistic experience is one with the main goal being focused on process not product. When we undertake an experience be it painting or a small craft, we have to let go of our adult mind that wants it to be just perfect, of wanting to know what it is supported to look like and of our perfectionist nature. We want to feel free in our experience. This is important for our children to see and for you to feel. Waldorf education is almost like a training of the brain in a way to be able to see the world from a holistic and artistic point of view to see the beauty in all things. I realize that many of us did not have this experience as a child so it may take some active work on your part to let go of expectations that you have for yourself. You may never have sewed in your life and now feel like I am asking you to do that. Of course, your handwork project won’t look the same as someone that spends all their free time on handwork projects, you are learning, and your hands are learning new skills that they have never done before.
This is an image of some little Christmas elves created some years past that my children had made in imitation of me. Is one more perfect than the other? No, not really, they are all expressions of the same thing. So have fun with the handwork projects and if the instructions say to make a gnome and you make a dog that is also okay. It is more about exploration with the materials than a final product.
On this note, we will transition to the topic of our exploration of rhythm. It is important that we are not putting unrealistic expectations on our own children as we look at rhythm. It is said that 2/3 of a child’s day should be spent in free play. The in breaths (focused adult lead activities) such as the story are very short in comparison to the out breath of free play. So, if your children are happy playing that is the best place for them to be and where most of their learning comes from.
How is everyone’s rough draft and observation of their family rhythm doing? I know I personally observed a few things this week. My personal observations were around finding a work/family time balance which caused me to decide to keep the weekends free from any work/homeschooling activities. With Saturday in my home being house cleaning day and Sunday being a day of rest. Chores are a part of every classroom at our school and are a great way to share responsibility for caring for a space. In our kindergarten the children all do chores right after lunch. Washing dishes, drying dishes, putting dishes away, wiping down tabletops, changing the bathroom towels, sweeping the floor, getting the face clothes ready and putting the chairs on the table are some chores your child does at school. Each child is assigned a chore daily. They all look like busy little elves and it is one of my favorite times in the kindergarten as we are all working together caring for our space in joy.
For the home, I draw little pictures (for my non reading children) and each child signs up for different chores that they are happy to do. Keeping the chores to one or two a day seems manageable for children of the kindergarten age and the most important factor being that when we work, we work out of love not duty. I have attached last Saturday’s chore list from my family so you can get a picture.
Side by side: and
Sunday holds a quality of rest and new beginnings. I often say, “We cannot DO unless we rest.” To have action we need to have nonaction or to breathe out we need to breathe in. Sunday (or depending on your family’s natural rhythm) would be that day. It is for appreciating all we have and being with those we love. Sunday’s are a wonderful time to take a long family walk in nature (perhaps with a packed picnic!) and to just be with each other in gratitude. This day is the pause before the new beginning. You could do your meal planning for the week (I am even having my children sign up to make breakfast one day a week) or set some realistic goals for yourself of what you would like to accomplish this week. Take some deep breaths, get fresh air and fill yourselves up with joy for the week ahead. Be easy on yourself and those around you as we all learn to navigate these interesting times that we find ourselves in.
I also would like to send out my overwhelming thank you to all the people in our community that are doing so much work in support of our community. I know Aly(Skye’s mother) has been putting a tremendous amount of time and work into updating the website to include a new section on School Away From School. My utmost gratitude goes out to her and her family in helping the school at this time while balancing her own family life. Caitlin Rooney has also been bridging the teachers’ content to the needs of the website which is a blessing to the faculty.
I encourage each one of you to reach out to one or more of your class parents in some way. Small little acts of kindness really help keep us connected as well as uplift spurts and create goodness in the world.