Reading the comments left by visitors to this blog is always a happy occassion for me. I have learned and gleaned so much from all of you, and it's nice to make this more of a conversation than anything. Recently, an annonymous reader asked me some tough questions in the comments section...they really have me thinking...
I've been visiting this space for a while now. Trying to inspire myself and become more familiar with the Waldorf world. My children actually attended a Waldorf inspired school not far from the River Valley school. During their puppet shows I found my children to be the only disruptive ones : Constantly trying to grab for the props and talk out. How do you deal with this issue...or how would you if you were faced with it? I asked my sons teacher and she didn't answer- just looked at me as if I should know- quite intimidating and I felt, demeaning :( How did you deal with W coming over to nurse? Did you interupt the show? Would love your help!!!
That is a tough one! And certainly a weighted question that I don't have a perfect answer for. I am sure many of you have been faced with a situation like this; I know I have many, many times.
If a child is very young, such as under the age of 2.5, it is so very hard for them to control their impulses. Their arms and legs go everywhere, and what they see is what they want. A puppet show is one of those events in which everything looks so inviting, and of course they want to see, touch, and experience. When I am telling a story, I rarely interupt for, well...interuptions. The playschool children are between the ages of 3.5-6, so they have already learned different levels of self control. I speak in a quiet voice so they know to listen, or they will surely miss something! The younger children need a different approach, and that's when we get creative...and patient.
Our purposeful work for today's Monday Morning Garden was baking cornbread. We took turns mixing and pouring, which the children really love. They do tend to get "grabby" and excited to wait until it is "their turn," but I keep my voice at an even tone and move slowly. I also give everyone a bowl of flour and water to play with. It does get messy, but this comes with the territory! A wet rag is fun for everyone to help clean up with. With everything we do, and in every situation, I try to remain calm and...well, musical. Singing or humming a melody helps calm the children down. A few strums on the lyre also works wonders.
When W "interupted" my puppet show to nurse, I wasn't surprised at all. In fact, it has been much more of an involved interuption in the past. During my Spring puppet show, W had a massive diarrhea explosion/leak from his diaper and it went all over the fluffy blanket the children were sitting on. I had to act quickly, as there were major health issues at hand. A few minutes and a clean diaper and blanket later, the show went on, as it always does. I don't think I ever regained the magical feeling of storytelling after this; I was distracted by the pile of laundry sitting behind a closed door in our bedroom. These things happen, and I suppose the children see it as they way of life. What they need to see most in a sitaution like this is a sense of calm and "I'll take care of it. You don't need to worry. I am in charge, and we are safe."
When faced with an "interuption" during a puppet show or storytelling, I try to quickly think of why this child is calling out or approaching the set up. Do they have an idea for the story? Have they just had an "a-ha" moment? With children over the age of 2.5-3 years, it may be a good idea to have a chat with them before a puppet show or story. You'll know what to say! "Let's all talk about it after we see the whole show!", " We will sit and listen so we don't miss anything!"
Very young children may benefit from a different kind of puppetry, such as Lap Puppetry, where the backdrop/stage is the teacher and the props are held very close to her...
I found these photos through a google image search, but I have seen this kind of puppetry live. It is very beautiful and so magical to watch!!
I hope this helps those of you who may have some questions about these challenges!
My little boy loves puppet shows. Just like the 2-year old he is, he also loves to nurse and touch everything around him. During the first few minutes of our show, he was giggling uncontrollably. By the end, he was wanting me. What did I do?
You won't be surprised when I tell you that I nursed him through the conclusion of our show. It wasn't easy or comfortable, but the playschool children are used to it. I know that one day W will begin to understand that he must sit to watch, but until then...the show must go on.