Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monthy Waldorf EC Observation

..As a pre-requisite for the Waldorf Early Childhood teacher certification program I have applied for, I have been observing in a variety of beautiful Waldorf classrooms...

This month I was lucky enough to observe in Valerie Thomas' Kindergarten classroom at Kimberton Waldorf School.
The drive was over an hour, but well worth it...

 The small kindergarten building was decorated beautifully for the season....

Valerie's classroom included open ended playthings at their finest...
Chunks of wood, hollow blocks, tree stumps, irregularly shaped bowls, and ropes were the main "toys". 
Valerie spoke with me for much of the morning about how she strives for playthings which are suggestive in nature...
She mentioned the kitchen playset and how she is careful to not "set it up" solely as a could be many other things...

She also expressed that some teachers don't place dolls in a cradle as this is suggestive that "this is where a baby sleeps." Children sleep in a parent's arms...on the floor, in a bed...

All morning long, I observed the children building, tearing down, working together, bickering, and solving. I watched Valerie (just as the children call her and as she refers to herself) use a firm touch with the children while guiding them...I listened as she used an emotionless voice while dealing with distractions. Most notably, I watched as she comforted a child who had just taken a decent fall from a freshly built structure. She sat him on her lap, instructed one child to fetch an ice pack from the freezer, another to bring some boo boo cream, another to bring the child a glass of water. The children were involved in the healing process and there was a calm in the room. "I hope he's ok!" said one child to another. 
This was incredible!
"Strong and sturdy hands" was a phrase which Valerie used throughout the day..."Are your hands strong and sturdy to carry the cups?" she asked a child who was having trouble that morning...
"Take care with our things" was another phrase used when play became a bit destructive...
"Take care with my precious Sarah", in a somewhat flat tone when another child was becoming rough...
I especially loved this. She didn't express this in a sing song kind of too sweet manner...rather, her voice was matter of fact and serious. Her Scottish accent only added to the beauty in her voice, as well, in my opinion:)

During morning circle, a Eurythmist entered the room to lead the circle. The children wore Eurythmy slippers as they moved about the space while listening to a seasonal story with many flowing was a joy to watch. The language and gesture was beautiful. The story ended with a built in "and until I see you next..." and the instructor exited the room at this. It was the smoothest transition I have ever seen.
I am more than intrigued by Eurythmy and how it can assist young children particularly. I experienced a few hours of Eurythmy and Spatial Dynamics this past summer, but I am eager to learn more. I'm excited to say that at the end of January 2012, I'll be attending a weekend intensive Eurythmy course in New York. That's something to really look forward to after the holidays are over (always a kind of sad time for me..)

I look forward to returning to Valerie's classroom one day soon for another inspirational morning. 
You can really tell that the children in these classrooms are a part of something special and that it has affected their very being. They are instructed to do very little (such as "cleaning up"); they take cues from the teacher and her assistant. There is no clean-up song; it just happens. While I was folding a large blanket with the help of a student, he noticed that the corners were twisted. It took him about 5 minutes to figure it out, but he didn't quit. I stood there silently with the other end in my hand, listening to him talk himself through the process. I thought of how rushed clean up time can be and how it sometimes seems like a race with no reverence for belongings....throw this here, shove that into a basket or toybox,  just get it done.
The time is taken; the time is there.
This is one of my most favorite aspects of Waldorf EC education!!

Well, on a totally different subject, it seems that my camera is lost. The part that is frustrating me like mad is the fact that I am almost 100% sure that it is somewhere in our house. Gah!!
Feeling anxious at the thought of having no way to capture holiday photos, I checked craigslist for a used camera on Monday evening. I've been looking to upgrade and I found what I believe to be a great deal for a wonderful camera. It is an Olympus Camedia E10 and I bought it last night:)
If only I could figure out how to use it correctly!
Wish me luck!

Ps- I have taken the above photographs with the permission of the teacher. This is her space and her own designs. Please respect this and do not copy these photographs to another site or use them in a way which would disservice the teacher. Many thanks and love to you:)


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post. It sounds so amazingly beautiful. Makes me feel even happier about our decision to send our kids to our local Waldorf school, thank you! Kelly

  2. What a beautiful space! Everything looks so peaceful, my children are teens, but it makes me want a room like this anyway!! I love the wood, and the beeswax candles. What a lovely environment to have children in! Thank you very much for sharing!!

  3. I always love to see the Waldorf Schools that you visit. We only have one school here (the one we visit at Christmas) and it's an hour away!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~ joey ~
    ps. I've been crafting with walnut shells and reliving my childhood! It would be a great project to do with the playschool kids!

  4. I love how all the kids were involved in in the gealing process that is very sweet also the strong and steady thoughts are great, thank you as always for sharing x x

  5. There is nothing more magical and calming to me than a Waldorf Kindergarten room. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one in Chapel Hill, NC and I honestly could've moved in! I admire what you are doing and wish you the best!

  6. "Strong and sturdy hands," I love it! A perfectly simple and meaningful reminder.

    Hope you enjoy your new camera.

  7. What a lovely and calming post. Thank you for sharing this enchanting experience with us!

  8. That all sounds very lovely. I love the "strong and sturdy hands" idea. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. oooooo .... i can't wait to start my observation mornings ! i can feel your gratitude in the post ... much light and peace to you :)

  10. This was wonderful - thank you so much for sharing. I wonder how many of us will be using the "strong and sturdy hands" in our daily speech from now on. :)


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