Originally Posted by MyLittleWonders
One thing I wuold do before "cementing" any rhythm, so to speak, is really watch your dd's energy levels - at least right now your 3 year old. When does she want to play on her own (or is successful at it), when does she seem to need time with you ... think of your day as breathing ... there are times you are breathing in and times you are breathing out ... there is an ebb and flow.
Yes! I cannot say enough how just relaxing, letting go of the clock, and watching for my own family's natural rhythm (and giving those rhythms room to take place) has helped create a more peaceful environment around here. We aren't on anyone else's time, even a recommended schedule by a Waldorf site or book, but our own. I have discovered my daughter's rhythm (when she's more tired, when she's more wound up, when she is usually ready for a snack, etc.) When things start getting crazy around here it is *usually* when I've tried to force something or when we've been going against that natural flow of our lives. I've also become more aware of my own rhythms ... and that sometimes these things gradually change, too.
As far as schooling and when to start actively teaching, from what I've read Steiner believes in waiting to introduce more set "teaching" until the child starts showing physical signs like losing the baby teeth, the dimples on the back of the hands becoming knuckles, things like that. Even then, from what I'm reading, it is supposed to be teaching that blends into your natural day - gently led into one activity or lesson, not so much "okay, now we'll begin our math studies for the day" kind of thing. Most consider starting anything before 7 to be too early.
Now, that said, my daughter is only 5 but has taught herself to read in the past few months and knows a lot of math functions (though she doesn't know that she's adding or subtracting) from day to day life. Kids really are little sponges and even though she isn't showing all the "Waldorf" physical signs of readiness, *I* believe she is ready and so I'm encouraging her own natural pace of reading and learning. I'm not drilling her or anything like that, just answering her questions, letting life flow at it's own pace, and giving her the room she needs to build these skills. I don't believe in waking up that learning instinct too soon ... but I also don't want to stifle it once it has begun, even if it is before she looses her baby teeth, ykwim?
That said, I also believe that Waldorf can be more than just a teaching method but is also a way of life and parenting. I really like the Waldorf Curriculum
site (it has free preschool units and if you follow each unit sort of step by step takes you through building a Waldorf playroom, building a library, adding new toys, learning about coloring, form drawing, watercolor painting - when I first discovered Waldorf I felt like I had to rush out and buy everything and convert our household at once! Slow & steady really is the key ... and I like the WC preschool materials because they reinforce that slow, gradual change and build up toward Waldorf education
) and I also like Annette's materials
(her books even have suggestions for Babies & toddlers - which my dd and I have loved making & doing together for her baby brother!) and the Christopherus materials another mama suggested earlier. There is also the Waldorf in the Home site
which has a lot of articles about Waldorf parenting and setting up a Waldorf home, which I think relate especially to the early/ preschool years.
I also really like the Seven Times the Sun and Beyond the Rainbow Bridge books. I wouldn't say I embraced them both 100%, but I did find much in both that I felt reflected our lives and that I could take and apply to my family. Our library has copies of both, but I did find them worth purchasing, too.
Sorry to have been out of this thread for so long, but wow! What great discussions have been happening here!
It has been a real pleasure to go back and read - wonderful!
I've been still doing a lot of cleaning, organizing, and decluttering ... I can honestly say that now I'm at a place where I can tell this is making a difference in our home life. It is a little daunting sometimes how much this rests on me and what an effect I have on the rest of the family when I get out of sorts or let things slip ... but at the same time very rewarding when the little steps that I am taking also ripple out and benefit us all as well. Children learn so much through play and I feel better knowing that I am setting up a richer, more peaceful play environment for mine. (well, one baby step at a time, anyway! Gotta start somewhere, right?)
I bought a blank, high quality paper, spiral notebook to use as a blank main lesson book and Boo and I have been loosely using Oak Meadow's kindergarten materials, blended with AM's Seasons of Joy, and also some of the things I'm picking for us from the All Year Round book. We've finally had some snow, so we've been doing more King Winter stories and have changed our Nature Corner over to reflect the snowy Winter going on outside. We've been reading Harry Potter together at night, too (okay, no so Waldorf LOL) and Boo was so tickled by the "Hogwarts" song that the first school year starts off with that we've been singing it to each other before we do our OakMeadow language or number lessons
Okay, I've rambled, so off I go ... welcome to all the new folks!