Parent & Child • Nursery • Kindergarten

Early Childhood Resources

Our Early Childhood teachers are committed to supporting you and your children during this period at home. We have prepared this page as a place to consolidate information and resources that may be helpful. Maybe you will take a bit of inspiration, or find a new resource. Take what you need, and jump past that which you don’t.  We recommend that you bookmark this page and save the link. We will update regularly with recipes, rhymes, stories, useful websites, and more.

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Statement

Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North American Diversity

In our work with young children from pre-birth to age seven, WECAN is committed to the ideals upon which Waldorf/Steiner education was founded. These include respect for the dignity of each individual child and family in honoring diverse race, culture, religion, national origin, socio-economic situation, gender identity and sexual orientation, family composition, and individual ability which form the backgrounds of their lives. Waldorf early childhood education is committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion as a pathway to social justice and to rectify the explicit and implicit biases that undermine creation of healthy social life in our society.

Waldorf education was founded in 1919 upon the insights of Rudolf Steiner, whose indications provide the foundations for a truly humanized education that recognizes the individuality of each person and the universal spirit living within every human being. WECAN affirms this educational and social truth. Any statements attributed to Rudolf Steiner which imply or suggest discrimination or judgment toward any race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality, or socio-economic group, are rejected. Such attitudes are contradictory and undermining to the goals of this education.

Working toward these goals requires committed inner work from the adults who care for our children. Teacher preparation and professional deepening call for each educator to engage in self-reflection that will ennoble inner attitudes to support diversity, inclusion, and equity. Recognizing and celebrating the differences that make us uniquely individual fosters healing and creation of new social life. We strive to create conscious, collaborative communities of parents, teachers, and children which strengthen the children in our care to meet future challenges with optimism, confidence, resilience, and tolerance and experience their lives as filled with purpose and meaning.

Parental Support

Recommended Reading

In an era of information overload, our hope is to hone in on content that information and empowering to you. Here in this section, we will share enlightening articles that are worth your time and consideration. Enjoy!

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Some Thoughts on Rhythm

by Susan Gray Weber

Life is full of rhythm!  Our bodies are full of it: our heartbeats, our breathing, our organs, for example, all have rhythms.  We walk rhythmically, and we talk with rhythm.  We dance and sing with rhythm, and we wake and sleep rhythmically. 

Children, especially, benefit from life rhythms.  They are in the midst of the process of creating and developing the rhythms of their hearts, their breath, their digestion. and sleep.  For them, the possibility to trust in regular times and sequences for the activities of their lives brings bodily health and security.  In the early months and years, it is the familiar that brings comfort – a familiar blanket, face, hand, or voice; a predictable sequence of events.  Regular sequences and times help a newborn baby settle into life, and give a secure foundation from which to get to know the world.  All the special people and places, the sounds and smells that greet her are new, and they are her life!  For the adult, caregiving may become repetitious and uninteresting, but for the child, it is the greatest joy.  Imagine the child’s joyful anticipation of special time with those who love her, taking care of her: after we eat, daddy will give me my bath, momma will help me to put on my pajamas, a familiar voice will sing to me and tuck me in bed.  This familiar sequence and pattern bring delight for the child, and as these sequences become a habit, they later become the source of discipline, because “this is just the way we do it”.

Rhythm also helps avoid over-stimulation and fatigue for young children, because the “breathing” of the day – now more active, now less active and quiet – refreshes their energy.  It also builds good habits for later life when the pace of our day and the stress of life make us forget to pace ourselves in a reasonable way.  This work – play – rest rhythm is a healthy habit for a whole lifetime!

Dr. Jane Healy, a Ph. D in psychology with a background in neurological development feels that a rhythmic home life is vital to developing thinking skills.  Establishing order from chaos helps develop neural pathways that create routes within the brain that enable us to think.  The nursery rhymes and finger games we play with our children, the lullabies and songs all help with this process, and it is their rhythm that both brings delight to the children and helps them to recall them.

The year turns round, over and over, bringing birthdays, family celebrations, travels to visit grandparents.  The toddler remembers these events and finds joy in their repetition.

Spending time in nature is a wonderful support to rhythm within our homes.  Getting in touch with the seasons brings happiness to children and renewal to us.  The young child begins to feel a security in the order of the year — first springtime with the tiny blossoms, spring bulbs blooming, puddles, and new leaves. Then comes summer with its fluffy clouds, green all around, lightning bugs . . . all at a pace that a very young child can absorb without stress and the confusion of hurry.  These slower rhythms of nature can slow us down as well – the breezes, the crickets, the bird’s songs, sunsets – and then our internal rhythms become slower, more peaceful, and healthy. 

As a popular song of the 1940s (I think!) says, “I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got rhythm, who can ask for anything more?”

How can we create or strengthen rhythm in our lives? Creating rhythm arises out of a balance between the adult’s awareness of the child’s needs and the child’s naturally emerging rhythm. We begin with the rhythm of waking, sleeping, and eating, for in the beginning this is all there is. As we observe closely, patterns will begin to express themselves, and we can support these patterns becoming an actual predictable, secure rhythm.   As our children grow, play is added, and bathing, and time outdoors.  Our children take their cues from the sequence of the day’s activity. “If I have just had my walk, now it must be time for my nap”, imagines the infant.  The repetition of this sequence brings joyful anticipation over time and a willingness to be guided toward the next activity of the day.

Parents discover that when a rhythm is created, far from compromising their freedom, life actually begins to give more freedom.  Children are more relaxed and comfortable, more secure, less anxious and stress-filled because they know that the adult they love and trust is guiding the flow of the day.  They relax into this security and often are less clingy or demanding.  They need not be preoccupied with making sure that their own needs are met and can be free to play imaginatively, to explore, to observe. The alternative is a child who becomes preoccupied and at times obsessed with gaining adult attention, with manipulating the environment, or with gaining access to food continuously because she does not know what to anticipate and trust throughout a day.  The child who knows, for example, that meals will come on a predictable rhythm, can spend energy on other things. 

With a rhythmic life, our children are gently guided toward order from the chaos of their first days of life.  We refine our rhythm and recreate it as our children grow and change and as we discover how best to support them.

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 children. Even pre-verbal children can sense profoundly the distress in our inner being.

But nothing brings stamina for life and daily wellbeing to our children more directly and strongly than surrounding them and immersing them into an atmosphere of goodness and joy. For us as adults, the message they seek from us is this:

“I am happy to be alive; I am interested in the world around me and I want to find a place for myself within it.”

Children are born with an openness to meet what their lives will bring. Despite their individual destinies and challenges, this openness is present and as the adults in the child’s world, we have tremendous potential to cultivate this openness.

For the child just beginning life, there is one single mantra that needs to guide those early steps and years: the world is good. No other belief will carry him forward through the tumbles and stumbles, through the mysteries of his encounters with confidence and eagerness. Without this overarching rainbow of trust in life around and above them, children shrink back into themselves, lose the shine in their eyes, forgo the impulse to experiment, to see things as the adults around them never have, to imagine new solutions to the simplest experiments – piling blocks, washing a dish, dressing themselves upside down.

The world is good – and therefore I enter into it, explore it, wonder, stop and look, touch, encounter, meet what comes to me with interest and growing confidence.

Fear paralyzes children – it reverses children’s natural gesture of trust, openness, and interest in the world. To develop in any way – cognitively, emotionally, physically – children need to be able to enter easily into life around them. They need to feel welcome, and above all, safe. For who of us is able to take risks, try new things, when we have a question about the safety of our surroundings?

There are times when circumstances beyond our control create uncertainty or worse for our families. In addition, we could also say that our times are, in fact, uncertain times. At the same time, however, our children are just beginning their lives. We owe to them their birthright: the world is good, and I am grateful and happy to be in it. It is a safe place for me to grow in. And later, much later, I will be able to take on its pain and burdens. But give me time, peace, and space in which to discover the goodness in life for myself, in which to grow strong, capable, brave, and enthusiastic for life. Protect me from the challenges of adulthood until I am ready.

How can we do this for them?

  • We can protect them from information that they cannot comprehend or digest – saving our adult conversations for later, turning off televisions and radios in their presence.
  • Give them the strength-building elements of rhythm, form in daily life, predictability, that reassure them of the goodness and security of each day.

I was once told that young children are very good observers, but poor interpreters. I, and many parents as well, have found this to be true. Whether it be the large world and its sphere of difficulties, political situations near and far, our professional work and its daily challenges, our own personal frustrations, angers, and fears – young children are not able to interpret any of these. None of these are a suitable menu for young children who cannot digest it. It all then goes inside of them to then be expressed in ways that we ourselves may not correlate with what they might have heard, for information about these realms of life will often bring anxiety, nervousness, fear, withdrawal, sleepless nights, or aggressive behavior.

As the adults in their lives, we have the possibility to stand there beside the children with confidence for life offering them a model for imitation. We lead them out into our world: we walk alongside them. We have seen much, experienced much. It is an amalgam of joy, of pain, suffering, discovery, celebration, disappointment – and at times of fear, questioning. All these experiences and feelings will have come to us by the time we reach parenthood. As adults, we have tremendous freedom to explore these feelings, to reflect upon our own experiences. If we as adults listen to the outer world as it often presents itself, how do we then find our own paths to believing confidently in the goodness of the world? It is of utmost significance that we strive toward this belief, for our children look to us for signals, for images of where to begin seeking their places in the world. They imitate our deepest inmost feelings and beliefs, and these carry them far as pillars of strength when they require it.

Take a walk, find your way into nature, hold deep in memory the most recent good thing we have encountered. Begin and end your day with gratitude for the good in our lives – however challenging this may feel at moments. Pick a tiny bouquet of wildflowers or seasonal things from the nature just outside our doors – the wonder of one snowdrop or crocus in spring bloom emerging through the receding snow, a single acorn, one brightly polished apple – each of these can remind us of the wonder and miracles of the universe. Look up at the stars in the heavens and ponder the miracle that all over the earth human beings are united by experiencing the same starry heavens above them. Find a poem, even if you have never thought of poetry as your interest – just a few lines – copy it onto a piece of paper and put it on your refrigerator. Recall a human relationship that has helped you along your way. And see if, step by tiny step, you can rediscover, in difficult times, that the world truly is good.

Rudolf Steiner offers us a verse that can bring us strength in difficult times:

Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking.

These five lead me to my goal These five give me my existence.

© Susan Weber Sophia’s Hearth Family Center March 2011.

Celebrate Spring with a May Day Tradition

How to make a May Day basket filled with flowers to celebrate Springtime and then go a-Maying in your community to bring joy to someone’s day.

By Melody Joy Elick of “My Kids Adventures”

Looking for a fun way to celebrate springtime with your kids? Want to share a May Day tradition that will make someone smile?

Surprise friends and neighbors with a May basket, a lovely (and secret) gift your family can make together.

In this article, I will show you how to make a May Day basket filled with flowers to celebrate spring and then go a-Maying in your community to bring joy to someone’s day.

Why Go a-Maying?

May Day is a holiday celebrated around the world on May 1. It’s especially fun for kids, since it involves making special baskets of flowers and mysteriously delivering them to friends and neighbors.

Going a-Maying is a fantastic way to get your kids face-to-face with all that budding, blossoming, good-smelling beauty of spring.

You’ve heard the saying, “stop and smell the roses.” This activity has you literally stop and smell the flowers, gather them, put them in a special basket, and secretly deliver them. What’s “springier” than that?

May Day is an opportunity for you and your kids to reach out to your community. Though this holiday is not as widely celebrated in America as it once was, there’s a good chance the older people near you know all about going a-Maying. Through this activity, younger people will learn about it too.

The most important part: a May basket from your kids will surely make someone’s day! And practicing and sharing this spring ritual can help ensure this beautiful tradition continues into the future.

What Is May Day?

May Day is part of America’s European heritage. It stems back to Rome and their annual Festival of Flora. This celebration of the summer solstice—and the new growing season—was a time of joy and hope after a long winter.

The way people celebrate has evolved over time to include Maypole dancing, electing a May Queen and King for your town and going a-Maying.

17th century English poet Robert Herrick wrote a poem about May Day.

wikimedia commons photo

“There’s not a budding boy, or girl, this day, But is got up, and gone to bring in May.” – from a poem by 17th-century English poet Robert Herrick.

Historically, when people would go a-Maying, they’d head out to the woods and fields to pick flowers, herbs, greens, sprigs and twigs, and collect them into baskets. Then they’d decorate their houses and the houses of their friends and neighbors with their literal “gathering of spring.”

This is where the tradition of making May baskets and leaving them on others’ doorsteps started.

When I was a girl growing up on a farm, my sisters and I loved this fun spring tradition. On May 1, our mom always helped us make paper baskets called tussie-mussies or nosegays. Then we went for a walk to pick flowers and other pretty vegetation that grew along our riverbank.

Spring. Flowers. Spreading cheer in your community. These things make May Day the perfect family tradition.

Let’s get started…

You Will Need

  • 1 large roll of heavy brown paper (kraft paper or the kind for mailing packages are good)
  • 1 large paper doily, like for cake plates (1 per basket)
  • 1 spool of ribbon (about 4 yards/3.65 meters)
  • Scrapbook paper (1 sheet per basket)
  • Black cardstock (1 sheet per basket)
  • 1 glue stick (extra-strength)
  • Scissors
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White gel pen
  • Ruler or a measuring tape
  • Flowers and greens

supplies

Ribbons and doilies and paints, oh my. You will need a variety of craft supplies for this project.

Preparation Time

15 minutes

Activity Time

  • 30 minutes to make the basket
  • 30 minutes for a nature walk to collect flowers and greens
  • 15-30 minutes for May Day basket drop-off

Location

  • Inside for the craft
  • Outside for the nature walk and going a-Maying

#1: Form a Sturdy Tussie-Mussie (or a Paper Cone)

To make a tussie-mussie, cut a 15 x 15″ (38 x 38 cm) square of heavy brown paper from the roll. Lay it face up so the curl rolls inward (toward the center). This curling will greatly help you form the cone shape you want.

Note: The “rollie-pollie” nature of the paper can make these first steps awkward, so you may need to give your child some extra help.

Next, glue a 12 x 12″ (30 x 30 cm) piece of scrapbook paper in the left upper corner, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) border of brown paper on the left and top edges. The bottom and right borders should be about 2 inches (5 cm) wide.

add paper to basket

Line the brown paper with printed scrapbook paper to add a nice spring color to your May basket.

From the top left corner, measure 10½” (26 cm) down the left side and mark the spot. Repeat this step on the top edge, measuring from the top left corner 10½” (26 cm) to the right. Mark this spot, too.

mark opening

Mark the places where both sides should meet. This will help you center the V-shaped opening at the front of the cone.

Roll the paper so the left and right sides meet at the two places you just marked. If you match these marks, it’ll help center the V-shaped opening at the front of the cone.

Pinch this spot with one hand, while gently squeezing the rest of the roll into a neat cone. The narrow end should come together, leaving little or no hole at the bottom. However, a small opening is fine, because you’ll be trimming and folding this part soon.

Now, turn the cone face-down to expose the seam for gluing. Again, these last couple of steps require a little extra parent help. Your kids may need you to hold the cone together while they spread glue on the exposed edge of the roll. Press the glued seam from the inside of the cone until it holds.

match two marks

Match the two marks, hold them in place and squeeze the rest of the roll into a neat cone.

To close the bottom of the cone, measure 5″ (12 cm) from the narrow end, then cut straight across. Fold the cut edge toward the back and glue (or tape or staple) in place. This end will be covered, so don’t worry how it looks if you use tape or staples.

cutting paper

Cut the first 5″ (12 cm) off the bottom of the cone. Then fold it up and glue in place.

Now that you’ve made the cone, it’s time to make the basket pretty!

#2: Decorate the May Basket

Glue the doily around the cone. Place the top edge of the doily about 1½” (4 cm) below the cone’s opening, so the doily hangs over the end of the cone.

Flip the cone over and glue the doily so the edges meet down the middle at the back. Then fold the extra over the end and glue in place.

add decorations

A paper doily gives the tussie-mussie a sweet, lacy look.

Next, make a “Happy May Day” tag for your basket.

Use a piece of black cardstock to make a chalkboard look. With a white gel pen, draw an oblong shape about 2 x 3″ (5 x 7½ cm). Cut it out and flip it over, so the outline doesn’t show. Then use the gel pen to draw white designs around the edge and write “Happy May Day.”

add vintage tag

Make your “Happy May Day” tag look like a vintage chalkboard. Just cut out black cardstock and write on it with a white gel pen.

Remember: Do not write whom the basket is from—it’s supposed to be a mystery!

#3: Attach a Ribbon to Hang the Basket

Since you’re going to be hanging these on people’s doors, you’ll need to add a ribbon as a handle.

The first thing you have to do is reinforce the spots where the ribbon will come through the paper. Cut two 1 x 1″ (2½ x 2½ cm) scraps of the brown paper and glue them on the sides of your cone about 2″ (5 cm) from the top edge.

reinforcing ribbon opening

Reinforce where the ribbon will come through by adding an extra layer of brown paper.

Using scissors, carefully poke a hole in the center of each reinforced square. Since the angle will be a little tricky, you’ll probably want to do this step yourself.

Now cut a length of ribbon about 16″ (40 cm) long. Poke the ribbon ends through the reinforced holes you made. Knot the ribbon so it holds securely.

You may need to knot the ribbon twice to be sure it won’t pull through the holes.

knotting the ribbon

Knot the ribbon at both ends.

Trim off any excess ribbon, and you’re good to go.

#4: Paint Final Touches

This final decorating step should be done after the ribbon is added and all of the other handling is done. That way, the paint won’t get smudged.

Using the white paint, touch the tip of a paintbrush to the brown paper just above the edge of the doily, creating a row of dots that follows the scalloped edge of the doily. This adds to the lacy look.

adding white dots

Painted white dots add a fancy touch.

When you’re done painting, set aside the basket to dry.

It’s time to venture out into spring with your kids to collect flowers!

May Day Basket Alternatives: Even if you don’t have time to make a tussie-mussie for your May Day basket, you can still go a-Maying. Try one of these simple versions.

  • Cup baskets: Decorate plastic cups with stickers and add a pipe cleaner handle. Fill it with popcorn and candy and small flowers.
  • Colored paper baskets: Cut a basket shape out of cardstock or colored paper. Be sure to cut a hole for a handle. Have your kids draw a bouquet of flowers.
  • You can also make a printable May Day basketplant basket or appreciation basket.

#5: Go a-Maying!

Now comes the most beautiful part: gather flowers and share spring with your community.

Take a nature walk with your kids and gather flowers and other greens for your May baskets. Explain to your kids that they can only pick flowers from certain places… not from the neighbors’ yards.

gathering flowers

Add greens to your bouquet of flowers. They add texture and interest, as well as more options of what to gather on your nature walk.

A nature walk is a really good way to help your kids connect with and celebrate spring, which is what May Day is all about.

This part of the activity is also a nice opportunity to make memories with your kidsFrolic right alongside them, whether it’s down a jogging trail, through a park, in an open field, on a school playground—almost anywhere things are growing.

Note: If you live in the city or have limited space to pick flowers in your neighborhood, you can always go to a local farmers’ market and buy flowers to put in your May baskets.

Here’s a verse from an old folk song to keep you company while you frolic:

poem

This is part of the poem May Morning Dew.

No matter how you choose to gather spring into your baskets, once you’re done, you’ll be ready to spread spring around your community!

Before you head out, here are a few tips to help keep this May Day adventure safe:

  • No strangers. Obviously, your kids should approach only the doors of the people they know.
  • Two is company. This is a family adventure, so be sure to go along with your kids as they go a-Maying. It’s safer… and much more fun!
  • Front doors only. It’s customary to leave the May basket at the front door.

Grab your baskets and go a-Maying with your kids!

Just sneak up to the person’s door, hang the May basket on the knob

hang the basket

Be really quiet when you hang your May basket!

Ring the bell

Then run lickety-split

ring bell and hide

Have your hiding spot picked out before you ring the bell!

And hide!

hiding

Try not to make a sound!

You and your kids will want to watch from your hiding spot as the person opens the door and finds their surprise.

You better not get caught or you just might get a hug.

basket on door handle

Happy May Day!

Some Final Thoughts

Celebrate May Day and give your kids a glorious spring experience, which includes a craft, nature walk and outreach to family, friends and neighbors.

Your kids will remember this holiday activity, not only for the blossoms on the outside, but also for the joy they’ll discover blooming on the inside.

Working with the Sense of BALANCE

by Cristan Vineis

The Vestibular System

“Balance is not something that we automatically have; it is something we do.” Sally Goddard Blythe, The Well Balanced Child

As children gradually develop their sense of balance, they are gaining awareness of where their bodies are in space, which helps them effectively navigate and move around their environment with ease and control. Our sense of balance gives us our relationship to the three dimensions of space: above/below, front/back, right/left.

There are many ways children instinctively seek out this stimulation in their daily lives. Some seem to endlessly seek this type of sensory input. Then again, there are children who may actually avoid experiences that stimulate their vestibular system. These activities will help both types of children. By providing your sensory seeker with stimulation, you’re giving your child what they’re asking for. By gently offering the type of stimulation your child tends to avoid, you can provide opportunities for growth. Here are some ideas:

  • Nature walks- by walking on uneven terrain, children unconsciously and constantly adjust their balance- maybe try going off the path, take a trip to the beach and walk barefoot in the deep sand, or try out those jetties and great North Shore rock walls! 
  • Using a large physioball or beach ball, your child can roll over it, lie on top (on their belly or their back), sit and bounce, etc. 
  • Roll/slide down hills or barrel roll (arms at sides, crossed at chest or up over head) on a flat surface
  • Wheelbarrow rides- in an actual wheelbarrow, or with your bodies: one person holds the other’s legs while the second walks with their hands (ideally the feet are above the head) 
  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Rocker boards images here
  • Teeter totters- easy to make in your backyard: lay a long board over a fallen log
  • Tumbling: somersaults, cartwheels and other ways to get your child upside down: lay off the side of the bed/couch, hang from their knees from the monkey bars, do head/handstands
  • Swinging (hammocks, too)
  • Walking on thick ropes, balance beams, and fallen logs
  • Play “hot lava” at home- pretend the floor is hot lava and make your way around the room/house
  • Spinning- tire swings, office chairs, or just plain spinning on their feet
  • Climb trees
  • Ride bikes
  • Play bouncing lap games- see attached games

While many of these activities require parent preparation and guidance it is of course, best for your child to enter into these experiences out of imitation and their own will. Perhaps some slight coaxing and/or demonstration is needed. Certainly a light-hearted, fun-loving and interested attitude is required! Keep in mind that frenetic and crazy movement often brings the child quite out of themselves and can be unsettling. When their adult maintains a joyful yet calming presence, perhaps adopting an attitude of curiosity, the child then can better take in the movements and activities.  If your child refuses, don’t push. They instinctively know what they can handle. Try ratcheting the activity down a little. For example, instead of balancing on a log, try cracking a thinner stick on the ground by walking on it. Observe your child and how they engage their sense of balance while engaging with the world. And HAVE FUN!!

Examples of Daily Rhythms

Sample A


Sample B 

Wake
Breakfast
Morning Walk
Snack
Chores
Free Play
A Small Activity (art, cooking, washing)
Lunch
Rest or Quiet Time
Snack
Free Play Outdoors, Outdoor Adult Work (sweeping, raking, collecting, stacking, moving, beautifying, tidying, planting, washing, etc.)
Chores
Dinner
Bedtime Routine — teeth, clothes for tomorrow, pajamas, story, lights out


Sample C

“This is my not-so-pretty school at home schedule. I’m not strict about the time. It’s more about the flow. Also, I have a teen who will have some more time awake after the bedtime on the schedule.” —LittleRoundSchoolHouse.com


Sample D

Adult wakes and prepares for the day. Child wakes, dresses, breakfast, brush teeth. The following times are only suggestions.

8:30 – 10:00 – Free play (outside or inside), ending with tidy up. (A good time to bring “circle” activities if you like, such as songs, rhymes, finger plays…) 

10:00 –  Snack

10:30 – Outside play, walk 

11:30 – Prepare lunch

12:00 – Lunch, clean up 

12:45  – Rest (or Quiet Time, or Alone Time, or Book Time, etc.)

2:00  – Snack

Daily Activity (Craft,  Cleaning project, Letter writing to a friend, Do something nice for someone,  etc.)

3:30 – Free play (inside or outside, preferably same each day) ending with tidy up

5:15  – Prepare dinner —  eat dinner, clean up

Bedtime Routine: Get ready for bed, brush teeth, (7:15) story, (7:30) lights out) 

activities

Family-Friendly Crafts

Get hands-on with your child with these age-appropriate activities. Many of these crafts are introduced during the school year and enjoyed by all of the children. Set up the supplies in a way that enables your child to create in his or her own way at their own pace. Celebrate and encourage your child’s creativity by hanging up their art when it’s completed, surrounding yourselves with inspiration.

Flower Fabric Craft 

Butterfly Mobile (Part 1 & Part 2)

Waldorf Window Stars

Waldorf window stars have long been a favorite way to brighten our classrooms and homes. This is an activity that can be shared easily with little hands to bring happiness to our homes and community! Below we share this simple Waldorf window star tutorial with your families.  We would love to see your creations!  Post a pic on our Facebook page Waldorf Moraine Community Bulletin or post on your Facebook or Instagram and tag us as well as use #waldorfwindows.

Step 1: Fold 2 pieces of kite paper in half both ways so it makes 4 squares.

Step 2: Cut along the folds so you have 8 small squares.

Step 3: Fold from point to point to create a triangle. Repeat with each piece. Unfold.

Step 4: Fold in the 2 bottom sides so they meet in a straight line at the center crease.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 for remaining papers so you have 8 points.

Step 6: Start assembling by placing one point up with the folded side facing up. Swipe glue on and place 2nd star on top lining up corners at the center.

Step 8: Continue this way around the circle until you get to the last star. Glue it so that it is on top of the star before it and underneath the first point of the circle completing the pattern. Hang in your window, snap a pic and use the #waldorfwindows, and tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Finger Knitting with Mrs. Irvine

May Day Crown Craft Slideshow

Rainy Day Circle

Would you like to make your own rainy day “circle time” or “rhyme time” with your child?

Pitter-patter raindrops
Falling from the sky
Here is my umbrella
To keep me safe and dry

It is very easy to imagine some simple movements with your arms, body and fingers that you associate with the words.

Pitter pattering raindrops? Maybe wiggling fingers.
From the sky? Maybe arms up high and wide.
My umbrella? Maybe your arms protectively overhead.
Safe and dry? How about a hug!

Preparing this for your child is surprisingly doable. Then you can act it out together. Sing it out together!
You can work on a smaller scale, too; create a little hand game incorporating smaller, close-up hand movements.

And the rhyme goes on and can get more fun for the children!

When the rain is over
The sun begins to glow
Little flowers start to bud, and
Grow, grow … grow

Nature Spotting

Your home has always been the center of your child’s universe, and now it is more central than ever. A few weeks ago I started a nature spot on my mantle, hoping to bring little bits of beauty back from my walks. Today I wanted to pass along a simple, encouraging question from colleagues at a sister school in Hadley, Massachusetts, that prompts in that same direction, but is more open.

“What might make your home an especially nourishing place to be?” the teachers at the Hartsbrook School ask. “How can you care for yourself by creating very simple beauty, joy, and peace in your surroundings? A jar of branches from the yard? A candle on the table? A creative art space?”

As you strive to care for yourself and your family this week, can you think of a small, easy-to-implement way to care for yourself via home, your environment? Something that might nourish you? A flower in a vase, for example?

When classrooms at school are prepared, the teachers in early childhood strive for beautiful, gently nourishing environments, filled with play areas and workspaces that are simple, warm and inviting. We know that this is one of the reasons parents choose Waldorf education.

Now, I would be totally remiss, crazy even to suggest that anyone should try to replicate that environment at home! My home looks nothing like the Snowdrop classroom, and all I want for your home is that it looks exactly like…your home. But there is always an opportunity to bring something beautiful, something nourishing, something that makes you feel good and may also will draw your child’s attention or foster a peaceful environment.

That’s all. I hope that it may be supportive in some small way.

Sincerely,
James Kennedy

Natural Weaving

Slideshow & Videos

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Seasonal Poems & Songs

We use songs and rhymes that tell a story and relate to the current season. When words are combined with a simple melody, it evokes a deeper connection for the child. May you and your family enjoy these lyrics as much as we do.

Dandelion so yellow as gold
(hands on hips, swaying side-to-side)
What do you do all day?
(shrugging gesture)
I sit right down in the cool green grass
(sit down)
Til the children come to play
(use 2 fingers as legs of children coming to play)

Dandelion so yellow as gold
(hands on hips, swaying side-to-side)
What do you do at night?
(shrugging gesture)
I wait and wait till the cool dew falls
(hands in the air and then sprinkling down)
And my hair turns long and white
(touch your hair)

What do you do when your hair turns white
(touch your hair)
And the children come to play?
(2 fingers again)
They pick me up in their dimpled hands
(mime pick up a dandelion)
And they blow my hair away
(blow the “fairies” away)

Zoom a zoom a zee
Busy busy bee
Sipping at the flowers
In the springtime hours
Zoom a zoom a zee
Busy busy bee
Zzzzz zzzzz zzzzz zip! (clap hands)

In the garden growing up so high, the tall,
tall sunflowers reached up to

the sky.

They started as a tiny seed, each and every one,
and then they grew and grew
and grew

Up to their father, the sun.

Buttercups and daisies
Oh, the pretty flowers,
Coming ere the springtime
To tell of sunny hours,
While the trees are leafless,
While the fields are bare,
Buttercups and daisies
Spring up here and there.

Ere the snowdrop peepers,
Ere the crocus bold,
Ere the early primrose
Opes its paly gold,
Somewhere on the sunny bank
Buttercups are bright.
Somewhere ‘mong the frozen grass
Peeps the daisy white.

All the birds have come again
Come again to greet us
Robins, blue birds, thrush and all
Listen to their merry call
All the birds have come again
Come again to greet us

Verses:

I have made a pretty nest
Look inside, look inside
Hungry birdies with their beaks
Open wide, open wide
See the little birdies grow
Day by day, day by day
Till they spread their little wings
And fly away, fly away

Deep inside an egg so white
A little chick is tucked in tight
Tap tap tap he cracks his shell
Cheep cheep cheep
He peeps so well.

A caterpillar crawled to the top of the tree
(one arm is bent at the elbow with fingers splayed. Forefinger from other hand creeps up the “trunk”

“I think I’ll take a nap,” said he (she)

So under a leaf he began to creep
(fold “tree” hand at 90-degree angle with arm and inchworm under palm)

To spin a cocoon and to fall asleep
(at “spin” rotate two forefingers around each other. At “fall asleep” bring palms together under tilted head)

All winter long he slept in his bed

‘Till spring came along one day and said,
(raise head and hold up one forefinger)

“Wake up, wake up, you little sleepy head.
(two fists, one hand knocks on the other)

Wake up, it’s time to get out of bed.”

So he opened his eyes that sunshiny day
(make circles with both thumbs and forefingers, with other fingers extended — put them up to eyes, perhaps upside down)

He was a butterfly and flew away.
(link thumbs together and flap fingers up and down)

Rainy Day Song

“Pitter, patter, pitter, patter
Listen to the rain
Knocking on the window sills
And on the window panes
Sounding like the pitter pat
Of little fairy feet
Running down the garden path
Running down the street
Washing everybody’s house
And everybody’s shop
Pitter, patter, pitter, patter
When’s it going to stop?” 

My Lady Spring

My Lady Spring is dressed in green,
She wears a primrose crown,
And little baby buds and twigs
Are clinging to her gown;
The sun shines if she laughs at all,
But if she weeps the raindrops fall.

Who has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing through

A Simple Rhyme for Planting & Tending

We farmers plant the finest of seeds
With a pit-a-pat
Pit-a-pat
Pit-a-pat….PIP

And water them each day so tenderly
With a drippity
Droppity
Droppity…DRIP

For a longer version, used in the Kindergarten,
here is “A Growing Rhyme,” by J. S. Westrup: 

A farmer once planted some little brown seeds
With a pit-a-pit, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pat.
He watered them often and pulled up the weeds,
With a tug-tug at this and a tug-tug at that.
The little seeds grew tall and green in the sun,
With a push-push up here, and a push-push up there,
And a beautiful plant grew from every one,
With a hey diddle, holding their heads in the air.

A Morning Rhyme

Morning has come
Night is away
Rise with the sun and welcome the day
Birds bees and flowers
Good children all
Rise with the sun and welcome the day

Good morning, good morning
It is a ______ day (Let your child answer — don’t be surprised if it’s raining and they say ‘sunny’; the young child has a naturally sunny identity)
We will laugh and work and play on this
Sunny / rainy / day!

Ten Little Fishies

A Hand Washing Rhyme for Little Children by Susan Perrow 

I have 10 little fishies, 
That love the washing rule. 
They have so many swims each day, 
In water clean and cool. 

Each little fishy finger, 
Gets a soapy bubbly rub. 
From its head down to its tail, 
Then I rinse them in the tub.  

My fishies need to have 
Many swims and rubs each day – 
Before I eat my food, 
And after every play.

Each little fishy finger, 
When I have used the loo, 
Enjoys two soapy rubs, 
Such important work to do! 

Each time the fun is over, 
I shake the water free, 
Then dry the fishy fingers, 
That all belong to me!

1, 2 buckle my shoe
3, 4 shut the door
5, 6 pick up sticks
7, 8 lay them straight
9, 10 a big, fat hen

We’re dancing, we’re dancing
Around the May pole high
Colors of the rainbow
Our ribbons do fly
Dear children take a ribbon please
Today May flowers all are we
Around, around, around
A garland we do weave

food

Recipes Enjoyed By All

Parents are always eager to learn the recipes we prepare each week for the children. We encourage you to include your child in the cooking process and enjoy your time together in the kitchen. When comes to setting the table or cleaning up, your child may be motivated to help! Welcome their assistance with your appreciation as you lend a guiding hand.

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Pizza
Make dough (see huck-a-buck bread recipe) or buy pizza dough. Your child can forms their own pizza shape. Place the dough on a foil-lined baking sheet and top with marinara and mozzarella. When cooked, cut into slices and maybe top with ground salt, black pepper, oregano, hot pepper flakes etc.
Tacos & Beans
Chop carrots, red, green, yellow peppers, celery, and/or fresh tomatoes. Remove the stems from “power greens (combination of spinach, kale etc.). In a pot, sauté olive oil, garlic, and onion. Add the veggie mix, and a can of pinto and black and kidney beans. Then add greens. Cook together until tender. Scoop into hard taco shells and top with optional grated cheese and salsa.
Mrs. Hill’s Honey Cake Recipe

Enjoy with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dry Ingredients:
2 ½ cups organic white flour

1 ½ cups organic whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup organic butter

¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
2 ⅛ cups organic yogurt (I use Trader Joe’s vanilla yogurt)
1 tbs vanilla

Add dry ingredients to wet; beat 100 strokes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes in a greased and floured pan (time varies according to your oven).

Many teachers use a bundt pan, but I like to use muffin tins. The batter is so dense that it’s a bit tricky baking with a bundt pan. Muffin tins allow for more even baking. Enjoy!

Millet Burritos

In a rice cooker or in a pot, cook 2 parts millet, 1 part red lentils together with 8 parts water and some olive oil. Feel free to include chopped onions, celery, butternut squash, and salt. (We often have leftover chopped vegetables from soup day, which we add right to the millet mixture)

Serve the millet mixture in a flour tortilla wrap, with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced tomatoes and avocado, and salt. 

Oatmeal Recipe

Cook oatmeal according to package directions. You can use steel-cut or rolled oats. You can add 1-2 Tbsp of butter at the end of cooking to make it creamy, or add 2 Tbsp of yoghurt the night before and soak overnight. Oatmeal is versatile and can be eaten with sweet toppings, savory toppings or fresh applesauce.

Sweet toppings:
yoghurt,
maple syrup
raisins
pumpkin seeds

Savory toppings:
toasted sesame oil
pumpkin seeds
diced carrots
sweet corn
edamame

Fresh Applesauce
Skin and chop apples (generally 1 apple per person). Boil about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pan and add apples. As the apples begin to cook down you may need to add more water or not depending on water content of apples. Cover and cook until soft. Add cinnamon if desired and then mash with potato masher.

Stone Soup Recipe

Soup Day Song

The soup varies according to what types of vegetables you have on hand and you can put anything you want in it. The children are all excellent choppers and many of them are quite adept at peeling carrots and potatoes. When we sit down together to chop the vegetables we sing:

Chip, chop, chippety, chop,
Chop off the bottoms
And chop off the tops
What we have left we’ll put in the pot
Chip, chop, chippety, chop

The children know this song, so maybe all you’ll have to do is say the first couple of words and they might sing it for you!

Recipe

• 1 medium onion, diced
• 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
• ¾ of lentils
• 2 bouillon cubes
• 1 tsp salt
• assorted vegetables

Saute onion and garlic in a large soup pot or dutch oven until translucent. Add 8 cups of water, lentils, bouillon cubes, and salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add vegetables that take longer to cook (eg. sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots). Simmer for 20-30, until tender. For the last 5 minutes of cooking, add vegetables that cook quickly (e.g. broccoli, greens, peppers, mushrooms, etc…).

For a thicker soup, a portion of the broth and ingredients can be blended in a blender and stirred back into the soup. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Mrs. Hill’s Huck-a-Buck Bread

The silver rain, the shining sun,
The fields where scarlet poppies run,
And all the ripples of the wheat
Are in the bread that we do eat

 So when we sit for every meal
And say a grace:  we always feel
That we are eating rain and sun,
And fields where scarlet poppies run.

—A. Henderson

Ingredients

• 2 cups water
• 1 tsp. honey
• 1 Tbsp. yeast
• Organic white bread flour
• Organic whole wheat bread flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• ½ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup molasses
• ¼ cup honey

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of honey in warm water. Add yeast and let sit until frothy. Use a large ceramic bowl and warm the bowl (run warm water from the tap to warm the bowl and then empty bowl). All the ingredients will be added to this original bowl. 

In a separate container, combine 4 cups each of white and whole wheat flour.  Stir in salt.

In a separate container, combine oil, molasses, and honey.

When the yeast mixture is frothy, pour oil/sweetener mixture into yeast bowl and stir. Add flour/salt dry mixture to this wet mixture and stir/fold in the flour as you go. Do not add all the flour in one fell swoop.  Use hands to combine and/or a dough hook. Knead for 10 minutes.  Add more flour if it is too sticky to handle.   Add more water if it’s dry and clumpy and will not hold together. Turn in butter bowl (if desired).  Let rise approximately ½ hour in warm (not hot) place free from drafts.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Punch down dough, knead and form into desired shapes.  Place on lightly buttered baking sheets or into buttered loaf pans.

Bake for 12–14 minutes (approximate time). Bread is done when golden and sounds hollow when rapped with your hand. Remove from baking sheets to cool. Enjoy with honey butter, of course!

One Pot Rice with Vegetables
Chop up vegetables such as onions, carrots, sweet potato, beets. This is a wonderful job for the children to help you with.
 
Measure the whole brown rice and water according to package directions but add extra water (about 1/2 C). The children can help measure the rice and water.
 
Add the vegetables to the rice and cook all together.
 
Serve with a splash of tamari (soy sauce).
Kale Chips
If you have not tried to make your own kale chips yet, they are a fun project. The children can be involved with tearing the kale into bite-sized chunks and then rubbing the coconut oil (or olive oil) onto the leaves. It is a lovely sensory experience for them and helps our dry skin after all the hand washing we are doing right now! In the nursery, we cook the kale at around 375 until crispy (around 20-30 minutes) for timing reasons.
 
However, Zoe posted a recipe for kale chips from America’s test kitchen which used a cooler oven (200), wire racks, and longer cooking time (1-1.25h). This means the kale will really dry out well and be crispy. However you choose to make them, the children love them!
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Blessings

Our daily blessings have become a special tradition. It’s during these moments that we come together in unison and turn our heart and minds toward the spirit of gratitude. Such moments create a feeling of reverence, especially as you include the lighting of a candle.

Kindergarten Snack Blessing

A blessing on the blossom
A blessing on the root
A blessing on the leaf and stem
A blessing on the fruit
Blessings on our snack and on each other

Kindergarten Lunch Blessing

Earth who gives to us this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Sun above
Earth below
Our loving thanks to you we show
Blessings on our lunch and on each other

 

Further Reading

Books We Love

play

Games & Activities

A Fairy Went A-Marketing — By Janene Ping

Old Raggy — A Guessing Game

 

Old Raggy is a game designed to explore the sense of touch. In an opaque bag, put items that feel different eg, a ball, a small car, a rock, a paper clip, a wooden block, a piece of coral, a spoon, a cottonwool ball etc. Have your child close his/her eyes or use a blindfold, and then reach into the bag to pull out one item. The goal is to guess what the item is by feeling it, before opening their eyes. You can use prompting questions such as: is it smooth, scratchy, soft etc.

Old Raggy is a game the children loved to play on days when we spent a little more time inside when it was very cold. When they heard the “Old Raggy” song (above), the children would gather around in a circle to wait there turn to pull an item out of Old Raggies bag.

Butterfly Puppet Play

Pick a “Sit Spot”

Jon Young, a renowned naturalist, educator, and co-author of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, advises children and adults to find a special place in nature, whether it’s under a tree, by a creek, or a field. “Know it by day; know it by night; know it in the rain and in the snow, in the depth of winter and in the heat of summer,” he writes. “Know the birds that live there, know the trees they live in. Get to know these things as if they were your relatives.” In addition, building a fort, den, or tree house can help children with problem-solving, creativity, planning, and a sense of security and place.

Pinka Penka — A Simple Guessing Game

Opportunity for clear, kind and fun language sounds from the adult, which soon translates to the young child exploring those sounds herself. I use it with three- and four-year olds, but children of all ages love it.  Here is how to play. 

With a small item hidden in one hand, hold out two fists, one on top of the other.

 Switching fists up and down in rhythm (basically 4 times per line) say clearly (and with feeling 🙂 the rhyme: 

Pinka, penka, pick, pen,
Schmidt is a sick man.
Where shall he go for care?
Upstairs? Or downstairs?

Wait for the child to choose “upstairs” or “down.”  

The child usually points and says upstairs or downstairs. The game is not over yet. Once chosen, prepare to open the chosen hand. Don’t be disappointed if the “wrong” hand is chosen! Just open that hand with anticipation, show the open empty palm and say,
“He is not upstairs, He has gone out!” 

Then put that hand down, open other palm and and say,
“He is downstairs without a doubt!”

 If the “right” hand is chosen first, open that hand in anticipation and just say,
“He is downstairs without a doubt!” 

 If they like, I do let the children pick up the stone/acorn/twig out of my open hand at that point, but a few moments later I hold out my cupped hands for them to return it, so that we can play again or someone else can have a turn. Like anything, this can be done 101 ways. Some of the children like to do this game for each other. If they want to play it for you, with you, try experimenting, observing what happens if you choose not to correct them when/if they say the rhyme incorrectly, but but just play the game and enjoy it. 

Hide the Thimble Game

You will need a thimble. (…bet you didn’t see that coming!)

One person hides the thimble in a room while the others close their eyes or exit the room.

When ready, the hider calls everyone back into the room and the search for the thimble begins.
The hider can give clues such as “you’re getting warm” when someone is near the thimble and
even “you’re getting hot” when very close, and then “you’re getting colder” as they move away
from the thimble.

Once the thimble has been found, another person becomes the hider and so the game goes on.
If you don’t have a thimble, something around the same size will do nicely eg an old-fashioned
key, a particular crystal or gem etc. If the hider is taking a long time to hide the thimble, you can
count to 30-50, or sing a short song or nursery rhyme.

Backyard Adventures

Gnome Homes – Make a spot for a gnome to visit out of natural materials. It could be a place to sleep, read a book, or even a restaurant.

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt – Can you find an object for each color of the rainbow? One object per color.

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Stories to Share 

The Spring Adventure of Fluffy Tail the Rabbit
by Suzanne Down

The old hollow tree had fallen to the ground a long time ago, and soft, soft moss had covered it up so well you could hardly see the little doorway that led inside.

One day, Fluffy Tail the Rabbit was hopping along that very same old hollow tree looking for good things to eat, when he nearly fell right through the small round doorway.

‘Oh my’, he called out, ‘I wonder who lives here?’

He peered inside the dark hallway. He did not see a thing. ‘Is anyone at home,’ he called into the hallway.

Up in the tall oak tree nearby, Robin was watching Fluffy Tail. She sang out…

‘Welcome spring today ho hey,

I’m glad you’ve come along this way,

Your help is needed, follow me,

Into the hollow tree and see’

Robin flew down and perched on the hollow tree. ‘Fluffy Tail, don’t be afraid, come with me, your help is greatly needed!

Fluffy Tail looked in the long dark hallway, he twitched his nose and thought…

‘I will be brave,

I will be strong,

I’ll follow true to Robin’s song.’

So in flew Robin, Fluffy Tail close behind, down, down the old hollow tree. Down, down the great big roots into the earth. Down, down the sweet smelling early spring soil, until, there, in the distance Fluffy Tail could see the golden glow of a lantern.

Right away he felt better, and as they got closer the narrow pathway opened up into a great room full of ladybugs and beetles of all colors and sizes. In the corner by the lantern was a round woman dressed in browns and greens with the kindest face Fluffy Tail had ever seen.

‘Thank you Robin, for bringing a fine helper,’ the woman said, ‘and welcome to you Fluffy Tail!’

All at once Fluffy Tail knew who she was. She was the great and wonderful Mother Earth. He bowed to her with gratitude.

‘Fluffy Tail, she said, ‘as you can see I am preparing everyone for Spring. But I have so many beetles and ladybugs to clean, I will never be ready on time. With your fine fluffy tail, you could help me! Will you do that?’

Fluffy Tail went to work at once, he washed and polished blue beetles, green beetles, red and black ladybugs, even yellow ladybugs with his soft and very fluffy tail. The bugs gleamed and glistened! You could see your face in them, they were so shiny! Fluffy Tail was tired, but it felt so good to be helpful.

Before long, all of them were clean and shining bright, ready for Spring! Dear Mother Earth asked Fluffy Tail to lead the procession through the hollow tree and out into the meadowland. The tiniest red ladybug asked Fluffy Tail if he could ride on his back. Fluffy Tail blushed a sweet pink of happiness, and said, ‘of course little ladybug’.

One by one they marched up the long hallway, through the sweet earth, marching over the roots and along the inside of the hollow tree. One by one they proudly marched out the little hidden doorway into Spring.

Fluffy Tail led them all, hippity hop, thumpity thump, wiggling his tail all the way. Once they reached the spring meadow, the little ladybug flew up and all around singing, ‘hurray for Spring!’ How happy they all were.

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Grandma's Hat

Grandma’s Hat
by Suzanne Down
A “protecting story” with a sense that all is well with the world: exactly what the young child needs – JK

 

Once there was a grandmother who loved to garden.  It was a lovely summer morning, and she went outside to work in her garden.  The garden beds were already overflowing with fresh, colorful vegetables and flowers.  Butterflies and ladybugs nestled on the leaves and blossoms, and bees happily buzzed as they sipped the sweet nectar.  Grandmother knelt down to weed the rows of carrots and beets, and then started to pick enough lettuce for a salad for lunch.  Already the sun was hot, and she took off her straw hat to cool off.

Suddenly, a gust of wind whirled and twirled over the garden, and picked up her hat and blew it here and there, high and low!  Grandmother started to chase after her hat,  she reached high, she reached low, but the wind blew it higher and higher, and finally away from sight.

‘Oh my old straw hat,’ laughed Grandmother, ‘ it was a good hat for many years, now it deserves a little adventure!”   She kept on laughing as she picked up her basket of lettuce, and went inside to make her lunch.  ‘What a fun little tale to tell my grandchildren!’

Meanwhile, the wind blew the hat far away from the garden, over a forest of aspen trees, and finally settled it down in a lovely peaceful meadow full of summer wildflowers.  It was a happy place to land, and the hat was content to sit there and enjoy the blue sky, and sweet smells of the flowers.

Summer turned to Autumn, and the golden leaves of the aspen trees fluttered in the breezes and settled down all over the meadow, and covered the hat with a blanket of gold. 

Autumn turned chilly and soon after the first frost, beautiful white snowflakes fell over the land, and the hat was covered with a blanket of white snow.

The snow fell all through the winter months, and the hat rested still, under many blankets of snow.

The spring sun began to warm the snow, and slowly, slowly, the snow began to melt, and the straw hat was able to peek out at the meadow in springtime.  The rains of spring came, and the grass greened, and spring flowers started to grow all over the meadow.  Some of the grasses and flowers started to grow in and out of the straw hat.  The hat was pleased to become so lovely. 

And when summer came again, with the sun high in the sky, and long hot days filled the meadow, the straw hat had become a beautiful garden.  How happy the little hat was.  Then one day a little mouse appeared in the meadow.  When mouse saw the straw hat garden, he thought, ‘ this might make a fine house for me’.  Mouse went closer and climbed all over the straw hat, and even nibbled a little hole in the hat, like a window, and looked inside.  Oh my, what a big room and high ceiling there was.  Yes indeed, mouse had found a wonderful house. 

He went all through the meadow gathering soft feathers, and flower petals, he went into the forest to find some moss, and brought them all back to his new house, and went through the little window and made a soft nest to sleep in on the floor of the big room. 

When his nest was finished, mouse looked out the window of his house.  The sun was beginning to set, and the last warm golden rays of sunshine settled on the meadow, and on the straw hat house.  Mouse looked out for a long time, until the night sky began to grow deep blue, and the stars twinkled over the meadow and the straw hat house.  All was well, and mouse was happy in his new home.  He had one last look out at the beautiful world and said, ‘Good Night Meadowland’.  Then he settled down in his wee soft cozy nest, in the big room with the high ceiling of his new straw hat house.  How peaceful it was.

Garden Full of Joy & Love

Garden Full of Joy & Love
By Kristin Hughes

 

Once upon a time, tucked behind a school was a little garden. And every day of the week the dear teachers at the school would take the children to this garden to do their good work and play.

Oh, how the children loved this garden! They would dig, rake, and sweep every nook and cranny. They would dutifully collect acorns for Squirrel Nutkin and his family. They would slide down the slide and roll down its hill. They would play hide and seek and journey through the bushes with one another. They would make cakes, soup, and delicious mud muffins for each other and the teachers. Each day they played there they filled the garden up to the brim with love and joy.

The teachers and the children would sing songs and tell stories in this garden and always sitting close by was the house wren. She would fly from branch to branch getting just close enough to see the children’s smiles and hear their laughter.

One day just as King Winter was leaving the land, the house wren came to the garden and the children were not there. She cocked her head to look closer and see if they were hiding in the house or the shed. She peeked deep into the tall bushes and behind the trees, but there were no children to be seen. The songs and stories the teacher told were now only whispers in the wind.

Day after day the house wren came to the garden and day after day the flowers grew and soon bountiful blooms opened on the tops of their stems. The trees began to open their leaves and the grass on the hill grew more green.

The house wren missed the sound of the children’s laughter and the songs and stories… 

One fine day, when the sun was beginning to rise in the east, as it always does, the house wren flew quickly to the garden wondering if, perhaps, she would see her friends. But alas, they were not there. As she flew closer she saw that Lady Spring was in the garden wearing her primrose crown and a dress made of flower petals. This made the house wren happy. “Good morning, Lady Spring!”, tweeted the house wren. Lady Spring replied in song, as she always does “Spring is coming, spring is coming, birdies build your nest”. Lady Spring looked at the house wren and smiled and said “You know what to do to fill this garden with joy, wonder, and beauty, just like the children and the teachers did!” The house wren did know in her heart what to do for that was the song the teachers and the children sang when they did their good work and played in the garden. The house wren searched and searched for just the right place to build her nest. She gathered twigs and straw, dried grasses, and pine needles, too. The whole while she sang the song the teachers and children had taught her. “Spring is coming, spring is coming, birdies build your nest”.

When the nest was ready, the house wren laid her eggs and settled on top of the nest to keep her eggs warm and safe. On the day the eggs hatched, the baby birds brought joy and love into the heart of the mother house wren and to the little garden tucked behind the school.

Kristin Hughes
Early Childhood Teacher
Waldorf School of Princeton
Princeton, New Jersey

Chicken Little

By Michael Mansur

 

Chicken Little was in the woods.
A seed fell on his tail.
Chicken Little said, “The sky is falling. I will run and tell the king”

Chicken Little met Henny Penny.
He said “The sky is falling Henny Penny”
Henny Penny said “How do you know Chicken Little?”
“Some of it fell on my tail.”
“We will run,” said Henny Penny. “We will run and tell the king.”

They met Turkey Lurkey.
Henny Penny said “The sky is falling Turkey Lurkey.”
“How do you know Henny Penny?”
“Chicken Little told me.”
“How do you know Chicken Little?”
“I saw it with my eyes.
I heard it with my ears.
Some of it fell on my tail.”
Turkey Lurkey said, “we will run. We will run and tell the king.”

They met Ducky Lucky.
Turkey Lurkey said, “the sky is falling Ducky Lucky.”
“How do you know Turkey Lurkey?”
“Henny Penny told me.”
“How do you know Henny Penny?”
“Chicken Little told me.”
“How do you know Chicken Little?”
“I saw it with my eyes.
I heard it with my ears.
Some of it fell on my tail.”
Ducky Lucky said, “we will run. We will run and tell the king.”

They met Goosey Loosey.
Ducky Lucky said “The sky is falling Goosey Loosey.”
“How do you know Ducky Lucky?”
“Turkey Lurkey told me.”
“How do you know Turkey Lurkey?”
“Henny Penny told me.”
“How do you know Henny Penny?”
“Chicken Little told me.”
“How do you know Chicken Little?”
“I saw it with my eyes.
I heard it with my ears.
Some of it fell on my tail.”
Goosey Loosey said, “we will run. We will run and tell the king.”

They met Foxy Loxy.
Goosey Loosey said, “The sky is falling Foxy Loxy.”
“How do you know Goosey Loosey?”
“Ducky Lucky told me.”
“How do you know Ducky Lucky?”
“Turkey Lurkey told me.”
“How do you know Turkey Lurkey?”
“Henny Penny told me.”
“How do you know Henny Penny?”
“Chicken Little told me.”
“How do you know Chicken Little?”
“I saw it with my eyes.
I heard it with my ears.
Some of it fell on my tail.”
Foxy Loxy said, “we will run. We will run into my den and I will tell the king.”

They ran into Foxy Loxy’s Den.
But they did not come out again.

The Little Gnome Who Had to Stay Home

by Susan Perrow — March 2020


Susan Perrow is a therapeutic storyteller, author, teacher trainer and parent educator. This story was written for use with young children who are required to stay home during the current C-19 pandemic. The song at the end has been left open for parents to create more verses with ideas from the children. The story can be changed to suit different situations – e.g. mother tree could be father tree or grandmother or grandfather tree. The main character could also be changed (e.g. the story could be about a mouse stuck in his little house, or a bird that must stay and rest in the nest).  The story’s aim is to encourage acceptance of the current ‘social distancing’ situation, and to help motivate the children to find and enjoy activities that they can do within the home.

 

Little gnome was confused.

Why did he have to stay home?

Didn’t everyone know how little gnomes love to roam!

He couldn’t go to gnome school, he couldn’t play with his friends in the forest, and his friends couldn’t visit him.

Little gnome was stuck in his tree-root home.

At least he could look out his window through the rocks and the tree roots. He was surprised that there was so much to see. Little ants were scurrying by, brightly coloured beetles were climbing up and down the fallen leaves and floppy-eared rabbits were hopping in and out their burrows.

But even with all these things to watch, little gnome was growing impatient. Why did he have to keep on staying home? It didn’t make sense to him why he could not roam.

Then Mother Tree whispered to him:

‘Things are not as they used to be – but trust me – soon you will be free – trust me, trust me.’

Little gnome knew in his heart that he could always trust Mother Tree.

Mother tree was as wise as wise could be. Mother Tree carried the wisdom of the whole forest! Mother Tree knew all about everything. The birds and the wind were her friends and messengers. They visited her every day sharing the news of the big wide world. Little gnome could hear when the birds came by. He could hear them singing high up in the branches of Mother Tree.

Little gnome could see when the wind was visiting. He could see the branches swaying this way and that. He sometimes had to close his window to keep out the leaves and dust stirred up by this busy friend!

Everyday Mother Tree continued to whisper to him:

‘Things are not as they used to be – but trust me – soon you will be free – trust me, trust me.’

So little gnome had to trust, and little gnome had to wait. Soon he knew he would be free again to leave his home amongst the rocks and tree roots. Soon he knew he would be free to roam once again in the beautiful forest.

And while he waited, he was surprised how many things he could find to do in his cosy little tree root home.

Little gnome can dance
Little gnome can sing
Little gnome can paint and draw And do somersaults across the floor.

Little gnome can dance
Little gnome can sing
Little gnome can clean and cook And curl up with a picture book.

Little gnome can dance
Little gnome can sing
Little gnome can build a fort And play hot lava on balance boards

Little gnome can dance
Little gnome can sing
Little gnome can………………... And ………………….

The Family Weaver

by J. Metha


Once upon a time in a green valley in the hills there lived a little girl called Eileen. She lived with her father and mother on a small farm. Her father grew potatoes and kept pigs and sheep and a little grey donkey to pull the cart. Her mother spun wool from the sheep and wove it into fine cloth with patterns all along the edges in blue and green and red.

Eillen had a small room of her own underneath the roof of the cottage. When she awoke in the morning she lay in bed listening to the sparrows twittering: “Ti-wit, ti-wit, wit, wit, ti-wit”, they said. Then she jumped out of bed, put on her clothes, splashed her face with cold fresh water from a wooden pail and skipped down the stairs to greet her mother with a kiss.

Under the doorstep lived a family of little mice and Eileen always put out some crumbs for them. The first thing she did in the morning was to see if they had eaten the crumbs. Sometimes they had, sometimes they hadn’t and sometimes they left a small half-eaten crust. Then Eileen could see the marks of their tiny teeth all around the edge.

Next she went to say good morning to the pigs, and scratched their muddy backs with a twig. The pigs loved to have their backs scratched and they grunted with pleasure when they saw Eileen coming. “Garrum, garum, garrum,” they said. Afterward, Eileen ran back into the house to have her breakfast.

After breakfast, it was time for mother to begin her weaving, so Eileen helped in the house. She swept the floor, wiped the dishes, dusted, and polished until everything gleamed. When she had finished she ran out to play in the meadow behind the house. There she watched the butterflies and the bees visiting the flowers and listened to the birds singing. Sometimes she followed the butterflies
into the wood.

One day she wandered further into the wood than she had ever been before. She watched to work of the squirrels and the birds busy amongst the branches. Presently she came to a babbling brook and as she listened to the song of the water
she heard a little voice.

“Oh dear, oh dear, what shall I do?” it said, “My shuttle has fallen into the water. What shall I do?”

Eileen looked around her and there, sitting on a fallen branch beside the brook, was the tiniest little man she had ever seen. He came not higher than her knee and he had a long grey beard, which reached, almost to his feet. He was looking so sadly into the water that Eileen wanted to help him.

“What is the matter”? She asked

“My shuttle has fallen into the brook,” said the little man, “I am much too small to fetch it out. I should be carried away by the water.”

“I shall fetch it for you,” said Eileen. There and then she took off her shoes, waded into the water, and picked up the tiny shuttle from the bottom of the brook.

“Thank you, Eileen,” said the little man. “If ever you are in trouble and need my help, then call on me and I shall see what I can do.” Then he sat down at his loom, which stood close by, and went on with his weaving, Eileen watched him tossing the shuttle back and forth. As she looked closely she saw that he was not weaving with wool, but with spider threads. The cloth he was weaving was finer than the finest silk and the sunbeams streaming through the branches made it shine all the colours of the rainbow. Quietly Eileen slipped sway and ran all the way home.

The next day Eileen’s father had to take his potatoes and some pigs to market. In the morning he harnessed the little grey donkey to the cart and loaded in the boxes of potatoes, which Eileen had helped to pick, and two small pigs. He took food and a blanket for the night. It was a long journey to the town and he would not return until the next day, bringing with him the man who would buy mother’s fine cloth. So the little cart set off up the road with Eileen running alongside until she was too tired to run any more. Then she stood and waved until father was out of sight.

When Eileen came back to the house, mother was sitting in a chair, looking tired.

“What is the matter, mother dear,” asked Eileen.

“I am not well,” said mother, “I think I shall go to bed.”

“I shall look after you, mother,” said Eileen. She took her mother a cool drink and tucked in the blankets for her. Soon she was fast asleep.

Then Eileen remembered the piece of cloth. Her mother was ill. Who could finish the weaving in time for tomorrow? She sat down and thought and thought. Then she remembered the little weaver in the woods.

Quietly she tip-toed out of the house and off she ran across the meadows. Soon she came to the brook and there sat the little man, tossing his shuttle back and forth and humming a little tune as he worked.

“Hello, Eileen, “ he called, “what can I do for you?”

Mother is not well,” said Eileen, “she has been weaving a piece of cloth which must be finished for tomorrow. Can you help me?”

“Do not worry,” said the little man. “You go home now and you will see what you will see.”

Eileen felt much happier and ran quickly home again. “Do not worry about the cloth, mother, “ she said. That night they both slept soundly

In the morning Eileen didn’t wait to listen to the sparrows, she ran down the stairs as fast as she could. There sat mother, quite well again, gazing at the finished piece of cloth which lay by the loom. It was the most beautifully finished piece of cloth she had ever seen. All along the edge were delicate patterns in blue and green and red.

“Who has woven the cloth so finely, Eileen?” asked mother.

“It was the little man who sits and weaves by the brook in the forest,” Eileen told her mother how she had helped the little old man.

“He was one of the fairy folk,” said mother. “You must not forget to thank him for his kindness to us all.”

By and by father came home from the market and with him came a tall man on horseback. He paid a good price for the fine piece of cloth. Eileen told her father about the fairy weaver and then she slipped away across the meadow and into the wood. She searched high and low but nowhere could she see the little fairy man.

“Thank you. Fairy Weaver,” she called. “Thank you for your help”. A little breeze sprang up among the branches and the brook babbled and sang to her. Then Eileen knew that he had heard.

A Flower To Be Found

by Mary Mansur, kindergarten teacher at our school for many years


Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Alice who loved flowers. Wherever she went, if there was a flower to be found, she would find it.

One sunny day in early spring, Alice was playing in her yard when she noticed something purple poking its head up through the brown earth. It had been a snowy winter, and even though it was April there were still patches of snow on the ground.

As she got closer, she saw that it was a beautiful purple crocus with a sunny yellow center. “Oh how beautiful!” thought Alice. “I have to show this to Mother.” So Alice picked the crocus and ran with it inside. “Mama,” she cried, “This is for you!”

Her mother was at the sink washing dishes. As she turned around she first noticed Alice’s beaming smile, and then she saw the beautiful flower she held in her outstretched hand.

Mother’s heart was filled with appreciation for her daughter, for her gift and for the beautiful flower. “Oh, thank you!” said Mother, as she warmly and gently accepted her gift. “It is so beautiful!”

Together, Mother and Alice found a vase just the right size, filled it with water, placed the flower in it, and set it on their table.

 Alice said, “Oh Mama, the flowers are so beautiful, I am going to pick them all and give them to you!”

“I’m sure you could,” said her mother, “because if there is a flower to be found, you will find it. But did you know that there are hundreds of other little girls in our yard right now who are looking for flowers for their mother?”

Alice ran to the window to look out. She saw her sandbox and the large maple tree. She saw Coal, her grey cat, lounging on the sidewalk soaking up the sun. But she didn’t see any people. “Where, Mama? I don’t see anyone.”

 “Let’s go take a closer look,” said Mother.

So out they went into their yard and Alice led the way to where she had found the flower. There were crocuses and snowdrops and many other flowers just beginning to poke their heads up through the earth.

“Where are the other girls you were talking about?” asked Alice.

“Hmmm…. Let’s stand and watch for a minute and maybe we’ll see them,” answered Mother.

So Alice and her mother stood enjoying the feel of the warm spring sun on their faces, the gentle spring breeze blowing in their hair, and the sound of the birds singing. It wasn’t long before a honeybee lighted on one of the flowers. She took a few steps into the golden center. She moved around and it looked like she was tasting the flower. Sometimes she would take a good long drink. Alice noticed that the honeybee’s legs were getting covered with gold.

“This is one of the little girls I was talking about,” explained Mother. “She can’t bring the whole flower back to her mother, Queen Bee, so she brings the sweetest and tastiest parts. And that flower will have nectar and pollen to share with the bees only as long as it is blooming and growing on the earth.”

Just then Alice reached down to pick another flower but stopped when her mother said, “You know, Alice, just one single flower is enough to make me happy. But the bees need hundreds and hundreds to make their mother happy. Let’s leave the growing flowers for them, and you know what? Whenever you wish to give me a flower, just come get me and share them with me here.”

Alice liked that idea and smiled as she watched the honeybee fly up into the air.

“I think we’ll be sharing a lot of flowers with these honeybees,” she said.

Mama gave Alice a big hug, “I think so, too, because you are very much like them. If there is a flower to be found, you will find it.”

Free Workshop

The Power of Rhythm In Your Child’s Daily Life

(and how to harness it for conflict-free transitions)

 

Access this Free Mini-Workshop on Rhythm

by Kim John Payne’s Simplicity Parenting Team

 

In this workshop, you’ll learn how . . .

To use rhythm to provide natural structure during a child’s day
To Avoid arguments and tantrums that result from a child’s disorientation, with the aid of rhythm
Rhythm helps not just your children but you as a parent

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Further Reading 

With the overwhelming amount of blogs and content online, it can be hard to find the best sites that the best fit for you and your family. Below is a list of our favorite online authors and blogs.

• Janet Lansbury

Beginning Well

Waldorfy (includes a Podcast too!)

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Parent & Child

khill@waldorfmoraine.org

Stephanie Irvine
Daisy Nursery

sirvine@waldorfmoraine.org

Cristan Vineis
Sunflower Kindergarten

cvineis@waldorfmoraine.org

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