childhood

Celebrate the Seasons with a Waldorf Teacher

Join us on Saturday, December 9 from 10:30am-12pm for a special seasonal event. Spend time in our beautiful cozy classroom on a cold December morning, while children play and adults have time for conversation. We will make felted acorns and learn some verses about Little Jackie Frost and King Winter. We'll also share a bowl of warm oatmeal together. Slow down, connect with new friends, and allow your little ones some time for an unhurried, magical morning.

Please register with Barbara Mann at 845.356.2514 x326 or bmann@gmws.org.

felted acorns.jpg

Why Waldorf? (Part 6 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Marieke Duijneveld, a Kindergarten teacher who has three children in the school and is herself a Waldorf graduate from the Netherlands.

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of Marieke with her family.

I love teaching in the Early Childhood Section of Green Meadow Waldorf School because working out of anthroposophy brings out the best in children and in me!  I love to constantly reflect and ask myself the question: "Why I am doing what I am doing?" It's inspiring for me to be thoughtful regarding every moment I create in my class: how can I best offer a program that serves the individual child in their development?  What craft, movement, story, song, snack, and ritual will help them become who they truly are?  

That’s what I try to give the children: a foundation for the future, growing the roots to be strong, interested, brave human beings that will meet the world with love, joy, and resilience. It’s a real honor for me to provide that gift of a Waldorf environment; I’m convinced it’s the best way to start the "career" of becoming a healthy adult!

Play is essential for young children

This article from last year in The Atlantic sheds light on one of the many reasons that play is essential for young children. The author, pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, notes:

"Like many other American parents, I had an obsession: academic success for my child. Only, I was going about it completely wrong. Yes, my daughter would later go on to test above average with her academic skills, but she was missing important life skills. Skills that should have been in place and nurtured during the preschool years. My wake-up call was when the preschool teacher came up to me and said, “Your daughter is doing well academically. In fact, I’d say she exceeds expectations in these areas. But she is having trouble with basic social skills like sharing and taking turns.” Not only that, but my daughter was also having trouble controlling her emotions, developed anxiety and sensory issues, and had trouble simply playing by herself!

Little did I know at the time, but my daughter was far from being the only one struggling with social and sensory issues at such a young age. This was becoming a growing epidemic. A few years ago, I interviewed a highly respected director of a progressive preschool. She had been teaching preschoolers for about 40 years and had seen major changes in the social and physical development of children in the past few generations."

At the heart of Green Meadow's Early Childhood program is our understanding that self-initiated play is critical to healthy development. As soon as children learn something new, they start to play with their new capacities, practicing and testing their skills until they tackle more and more difficult tasks. Therefore, ample time for creative play is part of each morning.  

Open-ended toys made from natural materials, like silk scarves, knitted wool puppets, wooden blocks, and acorns collected from nature walks, nourish the child’s developing senses. With these natural items, children may flex their creative muscles and imaginative capacities, and further develop their emerging fine motor skills.  In addition, involving moveable structures that they can explore in environments that invite movement helps to develop gross motor coordination. We believe that creative play is the child’s most important developmental tool, whether to discover new skills, work with experiences, or express emotions.

Our children benefit from a rich variety of outdoor play spaces.  In addition to our beautiful playground, they experience the natural wonders of the forest, field, farm, garden, pond, and woodland stream, all within walking distance of our classrooms.

Rain or shine, ample opportunities exist for developing strong, healthy bodies.  Depending on the time of year, children sled down snowy hills, climb rocks in the Rocky Dell, and balance on fallen trees in the Fairy Woods. Munching on autumn apples in the orchard or tasting a maple tree’s sweet water in late winter can foster a lifelong respect for the earth and a deep appreciation for nature’s bounty.

Read the rest of The Atlantic article.

Come to Morning in the Nursery/Kindergarten on March 4.