Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Rhythm: Monday Morning Garden

This past Monday, I was excited to begin my new program for children aged 20-30 months.
I am calling it "The Monday Morning Garden"....

This program had many families interested right away. I discovered rather quickly that there are many families who are looking to slowly transition to day cares, other caregivers, or wishing for a few hours of free time. Finding quality and loving care for children this age is challenging and expensive. Have you ever been to the 2-year old room in a day care? It is almost always a place of chaos. There's a lot of yelling and frustration. And with a room *full* of toddlers, there is just never enough loving care and attention from even well meaning caregivers.

The Monday Morning Garden runs from 9am-12pm. I am thinking that this is just enough time. We play, blow bubbles, sing constantly, mop, sweep, dust, enjoy snacks together....and by the time I look at the clock, it is nearly time to go!

Of course, there are challenges with this age group, but I am looking at them in light  of child development. In the mindset of a 2-year old, anything they see, or want, or have, is theirs. There is certainly some grabbing and fussing. There are favorite playthings which each child so dearly wants ( rocking horse, pictured above!). I remember the 2-yr. old day care teachers where I was employed always exclaiming, "S-h-a-r-e!!!" in a sort of taunting voice. It's such an overused "command"....
They don't know what it means. And sharing is a difficult concept to learn! It's hard. In fact, I don't even think you can teach it! It should be modeled, as everything for this age group is learned and digested through imitation.
As a care giver, I can share my crayons with you...
I can share my broom....
I can play with some blocks with W, then give them to little H without her even asking.

It was a beautiful morning together, and I still can't believe how smoothly it went. I can only hope this will continue! I will be working on a very loose rhythm for the young children, which will mostly consist of indoor/outdoor play, snack, songs, and diapering/personal care time. What I am really focusing on now, is making sure that all of the playthings and spaces are consistent. I want the children to learn where everything is, and I want them to be secure in the fact that things will be pretty much the same every week. (i.e. potty learning station here, lambskin for diaper changes here, basket of blocks here.) Of course, having minimal supplies and playthinsg really helps in this arena!

For some of them, this is their first experience away from home; away from their mamas. I so understand how this can be difficult for both the children and families. I really try my hardest to convey love and comfort to the children, especially those who are making this transition for the first time. I found that speaking softly, holding them in my lap, kissing heads, and...saying "whoopsee daisy!" has helped tremendously. We had no tears from anyone all day.....
Except for my W, who cries for me when I am giving out attention to others.
I know it is hard for him.
With this program and an extra day added to the playschool rhythm beginning September, our "together time" is going to be crucial.
I cringe when I think of how overstimulated  he sometimes becomes during the day. He is still so young. However, playschool and the Monday morning garden are such fantastic opportunities for me to work from home, remain with my son, and save a lot of money for my waldorf training. I'll be funding my education almost entirely through these programs, and I'm more than grateful. We've got a newly opened bank account for my savings, and I couldn't be more thrilled. $20,000. In the end, that is how much it will be.
We're a family, and we do what is best for each other and our future together.
We'll make it happen.


  1. So impressed by your attitude to make it happen. And the new program sounds wonderful. I'm sure your little guy is getting so much out of having other children around as well. It looks like such fun, I wish I could visit!


  2. Oh gosh, I wish you were here and I could send Ginger along. It would be just perfect. There is not enough of this kind of easing into care. Being an army family and having no relatives to take care of her, Ginger has been with me pretty much 24 hours a day since birth and boy do we have separation issues. Her meltdowns when I leave her with DH for even an hour are epic.:)

  3. what a sweet new little group:) Good luck with the new children and extra playschool days

  4. Congratulations on your new Monday gathering of little ones! Reading your post brought to mind one question...do the two year olds in your care like to pull things down and throw them around? How do you handle this?

    My twenty eight month old does this almost constantly. If there is a dishcloth hanging on a hook, a book on a table, a toy on a shelf, crackers in a bowl. Gently asking him to pick it up always gets a defiant NO! By the end of the day, the house is in chaos.

  5. Another step closer to your dreams being fulfilled! I'm so excited for you!
    ~ joey ~

  6. Your program sounds wonderful, Rebecca! And it's so great you're able to use it to fund your training.

  7. Rebecca, this looks wonderful! A year ago I was babysitting a second two year old a couple days a week while her mom was in school and it was the best thing! We had such a wonderful experience for everyone involved. I cried and cried when I had to leave that family in our move.

    This sounds like it will be just wonderful! These kids are definitely lucky to have such a wonderful place and such a wonderful caregiver! It will be wonderful for W as well! My W still considers the little girl we watched to be his best friend in the world even if they did have quite a few spats along the way. Not all days may be smooth and easy...it's the age group, but you will do so well with them and you have such a solid background now to draw from.

    This seems like such a win-win situation for you. Added experience for you while you fund your teacher training and you are providing such a wonderful experience for these children and their families!

    As always, many blessings to you my friend!


  8. I find you so inspirational. I love your attitude. I have a little...no big... dream of starting a forest school and following your journey is really making see that all I have to do is DO IT! Thanks so much Rebecca, hugs Lx x

  9. Hi Rebecca - lovely -- i have been doing at home care for nearly 10 years now --and it is my dream to open a waldorf care center in my area -- with mixed ages in each room .... there i said it -well typed it -- out loud ... in home care has been wonderful and gratifying to provide.. wishing you the best as you embark on this journey of learning through play and nurturing.... light and peace

  10. I loved reading about this. I wish we lived closer and I could send my Esther Maple your way. It seems like such a peaceful environment.

    You are inspiring to me!

  11. This little program looks so wonderful, you have such a great attitude! I love stopping by and seeing the children playing in your gorgeous pictures. Best of luck with and what a great way to start your week!

  12. Just wondering what resources you use for songs and fingerplays. I have a 2 year old and feel limited to what I knew as a child

  13. You must be growing so skillful in creating space for little ones--I was able to relax more around sharing and high expectations for "civilized behavior" from two year olds when I learned that a big part of their desire for the object in use by a friend comes from their developmental focus on imitation. Of course they want to do whatever someone else is doing!


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