Saturday, March 24, 2012

Peering over the Garden Gate,,,

Two weeks ago, W and I began attending our local Waldorf school's parent-child class, Garden Gate.
This has been long over due; I have been wanting this experience since he was 6 months old, but the timing was never right.
We are so glad and thankful to finally be a part of this group!

The group consists of about 7 parent-child dyads and is held within the school for 2.5 hours each week.
I wasn't sure (of course) how W was going to handle the group--- would it be too much for him (another group in addition to our playschool group, too much time in the car which I am always conscious of, etc.)?
As it turns out, he loves it.

I believe the smooth transition is partly because so much of what we do during the class is familiar to W (story time, circle, candle and blessing, even laying on a may seem silly, but the small details like this, I think, have added to a sense of security and familiarity in a place away from home...)

I've also noticed changes in some of his more usual behaviors within a group during the class...he's not hitting, crying, or "whining" and he's mostly following what the group does, such as bringing dishes to the table, sitting, resting, etc.
I think it is helpful to be in a "neutral" space...none of the toys are "his"; the teacher is a the main ego in the room, not me. 

It's been such a great experience thus far and will serve to prepare him for his time in the nursery, should that come about in our life.
When we talk about the class, I'm opting not to call it school as I think it just sounds odd to say to a 2-year old, "Ok! We're going to school!"...I'm calling it "River Valley", the name of the school, and his eyes light up right away. When I remark, "We're going to River Valley today!", the response is always a huge, open-mouthed smiled followed by "We're running and jumping!!"

 Special thanks to Garden Gate teacher, Amanda for allowing me to take photographs of her lovely room.
If you'd like to post these photos on Pinterest, please be sure to respectfully use the caption, "River Valley Waldorf School".

In closing, don't you think Garden Gate is such a beautifully descriptive title for the class and age group? It reminds me of a very young child, curiously looking over the gate to lush garden, seemingly humongous in size. They're not ready to go in yet, not just yet. Now is the time to just gaze over the gate at what lies ahead...


  1. Thank you (and your teacher) for the wonderful description of the parent-child-class and the fotos.
    While you were mentioning Ws change in behaviour, I was thinking that for your son, it must be a very intese situation - having you concentrate all on 'himself' during these 2.5 hours group time. Besides, all new children, all new people ... don't new situations always give rise to development of new, more fitting patterns of behaviour?

    Love and Blessings,

  2. What a beautiful space! You two are so lucky to live near and be able to attend! Looks like so much fun.

  3. I love these images, they're so idyllic and what childhood should be-love it!

  4. Miss Amanda is amazing! And the photos you took are so beautiful! :) I'm glad you are loving the class.

  5. So glad you are enjoying the class. My daughter and I have been attending one for just about a year now and love it. Next year she will move into the Nursery 2 days a week, but this year I still get to enjoy being there with her.

  6. It's wonderful to hear your experience with a parent/child class. I have been exploring the idea of training to lead these, but my own experience with group settings and small children were stressful--for me and my elder daughter both. I agree, though, that it makes a big difference to have the presence of a teacher guiding the space/group. My experiences have all been of mothers co-creating a playgroup, and somehow I think that is just more complicated for everybody. Wish I could talk to you about your insights in this over tea!


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