Advice on Waldorf "inspired" home daycare? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 48 Old 02-09-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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Also, just an update on my daycare status. We pulled up the carpet discovered some water damage in our sunroom's subfloor and are in the process of replacing that. Its been a cascade effect, the more we pull up, the more we have to replace. Arrrg...this may take a while. : DH is working his tail off bless his heart.

I am working on getting my thrift-store finds in shape. And I was thinking of dyeing some playsilks with kool-aid. Anyone know a good resource for undyed silks?

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#32 of 48 Old 02-09-2009, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, just an update on my daycare status. We pulled up the carpet discovered some water damage in our sunroom's subfloor and are in the process of replacing that. Its been a cascade effect, the more we pull up, the more we have to replace. Arrrg...this may take a while. : DH is working his tail off bless his heart.

I am working on getting my thrift-store finds in shape. And I was thinking of dyeing some playsilks with kool-aid. Anyone know a good resource for undyed silks?
Dharma Trading Co is great for undyed silks. I dyed mine with food coloring and we really enjoy them. They find a purpose every day!

I am actually posting right now on my laptop from the local play place and I have SO many ideas to create a better one! The employees here all have their kids with them (how awesome that they have found a job that doesn't separate them from their children!) but unfortunately I find myself babysitting inadvertently! I bring my daughter to play here and then I have to manage the others who are playing around us. Often they play too rough or are rude to my DD, or they'll need help with something, and their moms are just standing at the counter chatting. : I did not pay admission to watch their kids!!

Anyway, when we come here I am so inspired to open a play place that is better managed and has a much more calm/natural atmosphere.
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#33 of 48 Old 02-09-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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Thanks for the link to the Ikea rug...I think I'd need several of them to cover the area I want..maybe I could link them together somehow? I think I'd like to have several 5 by 7 rugs rather than one huge unwieldy 20 food square one.

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Also, just an update on my daycare status. We pulled up the carpet discovered some water damage in our sunroom's subfloor and are in the process of replacing that. Its been a cascade effect, the more we pull up, the more we have to replace. Arrrg...this may take a while. : DH is working his tail off bless his heart.

I am working on getting my thrift-store finds in shape. And I was thinking of dyeing some playsilks with kool-aid. Anyone know a good resource for undyed silks?

Sorry to hear about your renovation woes...it often cascades like that, doesn't it? We redid our basement after some floods and had to put a lot more into mold-proofing our home than we thought we'd have to at the outset.

I second Dharma Trading. Even with the Cdn dollar and shipping/customs costs, it is STILL reasonably cheap. I just did a bunch of silks, the 35 inch square ones and some canopies, including some for a preschool I'm involved with. I used mostly paste food coloring, because I couldn't find any koolaid colors besides orange, pink and purple -- also did some in tea, which turned out a lovely golden color.. I also have used the Rit dyes for a few silks in darker/brighter colors that my dd wanted for her room -- I'd like to make a moon and stars canopy and will use Rit for the deep blue, probably.

I bought a couple in heavy weights -- so luxurious!

My next Dharma purchase will includ some handkerchief sized ones for juggling, etc. and a few chiffon 35 inch squares. And maybe some chiffon material to make a canopy.

Ok, I have a question, Nolimom (or anyone). What would be the indoor large motor activities in a Waldorf-inspired childcare/play place? My two younger children are boys and really NEED a lot of exercise, especially when we can't get outside due to bitter cold. When we go to any play space, they are all over the indoor play climbing structure, which usually looks a lot like the ones in outdoor playgrounds, except for the swings. I don't know if I would pay money to go to a play place that didn't have a climbing structure like that to really physically challenge and wear them out, honestly.

Here we have little tikes slides and teeter totters, riding toys, ball pit balls in an old dinghy, Rodi horse and hop balls, all of which are primary colored and plasticky. I'd love to phase out at least some of these as indoor toys. Would you use these in your daycares/play places or something else? What kind of things would substitute?

I do have a twin bed mattress, covered in white mattress covers front and back which is used constantly as a jumping place -- I'd like to get some sheets for it and tye dye them or something. I also have a Bag-the-bed king sized bean-bag type chair, which was expensive but is great kid furniture and serves as a mountain/climbing place. I also have some old couch cushions covered in fabric.
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#34 of 48 Old 02-10-2009, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aubergine, At my apartment we obviously don't have room to house a play structure. However, there is a community playground in the complex which I make use of. We also take "nature walks" around the 'plex because it's got a lot of trees and low brick walls for climbing. (Unfortunately there's also a lot of dog poop! I complained to the office.) Indoors, we do stretching games, wrestling matches (with DD; I don't feel comfortable wrestling with other children), and jumping on pillows. There really isn't much room for anything else. When I start bringing more kids into the apartment for childcare, I'll probably have outdoor time at least twice a day so they can exercise their gross motor skills.

If/when we open up a play place (this could be many years in the future but we're researching all it involves now) we would set up an outdoors-style structure probably, like this play house. We also might have a climbing wall or something, and definitely a mat/cushion area for lots of jumping and tumbling. Unfortunately most tumbling mats are made with primary colors, but I'm sure a canvas cover could be sewn up pretty easily.

In my dream play space, I'd love to have an outdoor area, too, with a play structure maybe, but mostly just lots of tree stumps, wooden planks, large rocks, etc. for natural play. Of course all of this stuff would be inspected frequently to make sure it is safe.

But for now, we'll just have to navigate the complex grounds and try not to step on dog poop.
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#35 of 48 Old 02-10-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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But for now, we'll just have to navigate the complex grounds and try not to step on dog poop.
I so hear you about that...I started doing childcare while on my mat leave with my first. 10 years ago, I was taking my dd and my friend's toddler to the playground in our apartment complex, which was separated from the garbage dumpsters by only a fence. Extremely stinky in hot weather and not a thing could be done about it : Not so much dog poop, but way too many cig butts on the ground....Lots of benefits to an urban area, so much to interest children, so much that they can learn, but hard to deal with so much that is just not child-friendly.

I guess I'm in a little bit of a different place than most of you on this thread. I have been doing a full-blown home daycare business for 7 years now. I am established in my community and turning away potential clients for lack of space. I've had two more children while running my home childcare and am now looking to the future, when they are a little older. Instead of going back to work outside the home, I'd like to maximize my income potential through the home daycare, because I love the work and it is a great fit for my family life. I am taking courses towards an early childhood certification that would qualify me to be a preschool teacher here, and reorganizing/upgrading my home daycare equipment and practices in preparation for offering a really excellent program (and raising my fees )in a couple of years when my middle child is in elementary and my youngest is 4.

I first learned about Waldorf practices about two years ago. I have learned from other philosophies as well, and I don't think I would ever want to get a strictly Waldorf certification/education. I think Waldorf is a beautiful way to live and raise children. I think it would resonate very strongly with prospective clients, as well as being good for my own family, if I could incorporate a lot of the signature Waldorf ideas in my home.

I've been working on this gradually over the past year or so. So far, I've eliminated a lot of the visual "noise" in my home, like the educational posters, the Little People empire, the MIC "character" toys and books and costumes, bright red beanbag chair covers, etc. I've replaced toy storage plastic bins with baskets, and just plain gotten rid of a lot of toys, focusing on quality, and ideally handmade quality, with what I've kept. We started spending as much time as possible outside, and started doing nature walks in the bush near our house. But it gets below zero F here for days or even weeks on end in winter, and most of my daycare children right now are super-active boys, hence my obsession with indoor large motor activities .

We've been using more natural/organic/local foods, done more scratch cooking with the children, and have begun using natural materials in crafts and activities whenever possible. I made a deal with a local beekeeper at the farmers market last week to buy some beeswax, and raw honeycomb, which I'll use as a science activity with the children -- and maybe I'll figure out how to make homemade modeling wax! Will be going next month to visit my aunt's farm, near a woolen mill and I plan to arrange to pick up some roving to dye, some wool, felting supplies and maybe a raw fleece. They also sell wool-stuffed sleeping bags and pillows, etc. and I'm drooling to get a look at them and see if there is anything I could adapt to home-daycare use...

If I were starting from scratch today, knowing what I know now, I'd do a lot of things differently. However, since I do have a complete home daycare set up already, and a lot of my supplies and equipment are totally functional, although not very Waldorfy, I am planning a gradual general upgrade. I don't think I'll ever buy another bin of foamy letter stickers, but I will use up the ones we have, rather than tossing them, to give a small example. And it doesn't seem very environmentally friendly or frugal, to get rid of the better-quality plastic toy kitchen that I got in perfect shape 3rd hand for free to make way for an expensive wooden one. Though if one falls into my lap, or my kids want to help me make one when they are a little older, I would be very happy.

So, I've been working on a list of natural/Waldorfy wants for my home daycare. I plan to really hunt for bargains at thrift stores/garage sales over the next couple of years, but buy only what I love and what really fits into my vision. At the end of that time, perhaps I'll pay retail for the rest of it, . Like a pp, I've found some great wooden toys here and there, but some of them did need sanding down!
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#36 of 48 Old 02-11-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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Drooling over how pretty these are...

http://custom-play-structures.com/

I am trying to create a more whimsical outdoors. With the snow melting, it is NOT looking real pretty :

What are your suggestions for the ground in an area that grass does not grow well? Should I just leave the dirt? Pebbles? Wood chips? Wild flowers?

We also have 2 dogs that potty in that general area.....so I am not sure what would be best.

The dirt is...well....dirty!

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#37 of 48 Old 02-12-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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Angelbee, those play structures are gorgeous!

We are still a couple months away from the melt, but I do think that very early spring is my least favorite time of the year for all the yuck that is revealed when the snow goes.

Could you plant something pretty bur invasive there, like creeping jenny or mint? I think "invasive" is a wonderful quality for a plant, lol! Suits my own gardening skills, personally.

We stripped out the sod and put pea gravel down under our old swingset, and that looks good and works as a play foundation. I"m also thinking of tidying up an awkward corner by laying down rocks and homemade stepping stones and trying to grow moss or maybe hens and chick in-between them. I thought that would be a good place for a fairy house or two...could also be prety low maintenance
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#38 of 48 Old 02-12-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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Anyway, when we come here I am so inspired to open a play place that is better managed and has a much more calm/natural atmosphere.
I do this when we visit our local indoor playground too. I find myself imagining how I would improve it if I could buy it. One thing I wish for constantly is sinks for handwashing in the food area.

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#39 of 48 Old 02-14-2009, 09:23 AM
 
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Here are some pictures from my DD's waldorf-inspired home nursery school!

One thing that I think makes this school so magical is that there are TWO adults/teachers and a helper (one of the teacher's homeschooled daughter) with eight children.

I've spent some time in the classroom (every chance I get actually!! ) and I've noticed how beautifully things flow...one teacher is in the kitchen cutting vegetables with a small group of children, while the other is facilitating open-ended play in the classroom...or one teacher is helping children to use the bathroom and wash up, while the other is getting out silks and puppets for story time....one teacher (or the helper) brings a child in from the yard to use the restroom, while the rest of the group plays outside.

So anyway, FWIW, my suggestion for those of you opening new programs is to consider partnering up with someone (another mom who wants to learn more about Waldorf, a college student who needs some classroom experience, a older homeschooled student etc.) if possible. I think it really enriches the experience for everyone, and makes things a lot more enjoyable and managable for the adults.
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#40 of 48 Old 02-14-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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So anyway, FWIW, my suggestion for those of you opening new programs is to consider partnering up with someone (another mom who wants to learn more about Waldorf, a college student who needs some classroom experience, a older homeschooled student etc.) if possible. I think it really enriches the experience for everyone, and makes things a lot more enjoyable and managable for the adults.
Thanks for sharing--what a beautiful place!

I think taking fewer children and having older helpers is an excellent suggestion. There is a Waldorf-inspired home daycare I know of near me that runs with a ratio of 1-4 as well. They also don't take children under, I think, age 2 or 2.5, making it more like a Waldorf preschool. It looks like your dd's school is also for older children and that the teacher doesn't have little ones of her own in the group -- that makes a difference, too!

I am personally looking forward to running my own daycare with a ratio more like that in the future , after my sons start elementary, with no more than 3- 4 daycare children during the day, and then the boys coming in after school . My youngest will be in kindergarten in 3 years. My dd will be homeschooling for jr high at that point (this is our plan for her brothers eventually, too, if they want it) and she will also be around. We've already discussed having her help out with menu planning, lunch prep and cleanup as a part-time job.

I'd love to find a provider near me who would be open to working together. I have neighbors who also run home daycares, but we would never be a good fit. Maybe placing an ad on an attachment parenting list would work.

There is a lot I love about having a mixed group, including an infant, toddler, preschoolers. I love a baby or two in the mix -- I've already contracted to care for twins a year from now that will be 12 mo! I wonder how much Waldorf could be done with a mixed age group including the providers own very young children?
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#41 of 48 Old 02-14-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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I am still abit caught up about going outside. Since Mon, we have only been out ONCE. It was way too icy.

Today it is 10 degrees. That is pretty cold.

I need more ideas regarding bringing the outdoors in on these types of days.

Any suggestions?

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#42 of 48 Old 02-14-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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AngelBee, these are activities we do every winter:

Big bin of fresh snow in the kitchen (sensory table or roasting pan baby bathtub or rubbermaid bin works great), pass around the mittens, enjoy building with it, playing with toys in it and watching it melt. You could have the children build little snowmen and move them outside and line them up to greet the parents.

Freeze colored water in muffin tins (silicone works best if you have it). Put loops of string in the cups before they freeze, then pop the frozen ones out. Dash outside and hang these ornaments on the trees.

Mix colored water and pour in every pan in the house ( be warned plastic containers may split in really cold weather) Stick them outside the back door. WHen they are frozen, bring them into the kitchen and build an ice sculpture on the table. Move outside when it is melty enough to stick together. Or dash outside and build a sculpture.

Do experiments on what makes ice melt faster -- sprinkle with sand, salt, cover with a black tarp and a white one...etc.

Make a winter painting (we do them for every season). Mix colors to match the landscape as closely as possible and paint on a brown or grey background. Look out the window for collage inspiration. Dash outside and collect stuff from the yard that one could glue on the painting -- we found some tufts of fur that we decided were rabbit fir, as well as some bits of straw and twigs and a few old leaves from parts of the garden sticking up from the snow. One boy wanted to glue ice on his picture -- the experiment didn't work so well, but we all learned from it!

Cut a small branch of an apple tree and put it in a pot with water and rocks. It will leaf out and you might even get some blossoms on it -- a beautiful Easter tree.

We have a collection of childrens books about playing in the snow, winter in the woods, Jan Brett's The Mitten, Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Robert Munch's books about Inuit folklore and Thomas's Snowsuit etc. We read a lot of wintery books, act out the stories inside, listen to books on cd -- don't know how Waldorfy this is, but I couldn't do without it!

We learn about a part of the world where it is not snowy, like Hawaii or Australia and have a beach theme week where I crank the heat (and swallow the bill) and the kids wear bathing suits and leis and we eat some tropical fruit (again, maybe not so Waldorfy, but they stay warm and it gets us through).
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#43 of 48 Old 02-14-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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REALLY great ideas! :

Thanks!

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#44 of 48 Old 02-16-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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This thread is so inspiring, this is something that I desperately want to do at some point, either in the near or more distant future. I currently work as an assistant in my local Waldorf kindergarten. My daughter is 20 months, and although I love the work it's hard to leave my own child to look after other people's children. Becoming a childminder (the word used for home based childcare providers in the UK) seems an ideal option, and I would love to offer (fairly loosely) Waldorf inspired childcare for under 3s, as that's not something that's available around here (it is hard having to send my daughter to a plastic filled overly stimulating childcare settings...although she seems to love them...). However, it seems there are far more legal loopholes to setting up as a childminder over here, as you have to become Ofsted registered and approved before you can do anything at all, and since September, you have to prove you are meeting Early Years Foundation Stage goals, several of which conflict with Waldorf principlpes (ie, you will be seriously criticised by inspecting bodies and deemed as failing to meet EYFS requirements if you do not have programmable toys and IT available to babies and toddlers This has put me off somewhat, as well as some worries over whether I would be able to get permission from other memebrs of my housing co-op (I have a self contained flat but the grounds are communal), especially as there are hugely stringent regulations over the height of the fences/plants that are growing, and lots of other things, just to be able to allow the kids to play in the garden.
Anyway, it is still an eventual goal of mine, and I would be really interested in seeing how other people do with their beautiful and inspiring ventures! Especially if there is anyone who has managed to do this in the restrictive UK childcare environment?
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#45 of 48 Old 02-16-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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Just wanted to be totally upfront and honest in saying that I am a homeschooling mama to ds8, dd7, ds4, dd2, and due in April with a dd.

We are looking into doing respite care for a family, doing foster care, and maybe taking a child or two in for daycare.

So I hope that is ok that I still hang here.

Oh...I also own a dance academy and coach a dance team. I am constantly seeking ways to run those programs in a way that is nurturing to the children and young adults.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#46 of 48 Old 02-16-2009, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to be totally upfront and honest in saying that I am a homeschooling mama to ds8, dd7, ds4, dd2, and due in April with a dd.

We are looking into doing respite care for a family, doing foster care, and maybe taking a child or two in for daycare.

So I hope that is ok that I still hang here.

Oh...I also own a dance academy and coach a dance team. I am constantly seeking ways to run those programs in a way that is nurturing to the children and young adults.
I don't see why you wouldn't be welcome in this thread. It's not exclusive. Just ideas bouncing back and forth between people who are interested in Waldorf style daycares or preschools run out of the home.
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#47 of 48 Old 02-17-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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It looks like your dd's school is also for older children and that the teacher doesn't have little ones of her own in the group -- that makes a difference, too!
Yes! My DD's school is for kids 3 1/4 to age 6.

My DS was in a waldorf-inspired home program last year that sounds more like what you are talking about. There were three children (sometimes four) including the provider's young toddler.
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#48 of 48 Old 02-17-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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However, it seems there are far more legal loopholes to setting up as a childminder over here, as you have to become Ofsted registered and approved before you can do anything at all, and since September, you have to prove you are meeting Early Years Foundation Stage goals, several of which conflict with Waldorf principlpes (ie, you will be seriously criticised by inspecting bodies and deemed as failing to meet EYFS requirements if you do not have programmable toys and IT available to babies and toddlers This has put me off somewhat, as well as some worries over whether I would be able to get permission from other memebrs of my housing co-op (I have a self contained flat but the grounds are communal), especially as there are hugely stringent regulations over the height of the fences/plants that are growing, and lots of other things, just to be able to allow the kids to play in the garden.
Anyway, it is still an eventual goal of mine, and I would be really interested in seeing how other people do with their beautiful and inspiring ventures! Especially if there is anyone who has managed to do this in the restrictive UK childcare environment?
It is wonderful that you have the experience of working in a Waldorf Kindergarten! Is there any way of contacting the inspecting bodies and asking directly about whether there is a way to reconcile media-free Waldorf principles and the apparent requirement for IT/electronic toys? I mean, it sounds like Waldorf is a recognized educational philosophy in your community if there is a K run on that principle....

I would also ask what the reasons are behind that requirement and what the minimum you would need to have to meet requirements, if it can't be gotten out of. Maybe you could get by with one electronic toy gathering dust in the corner and a computer running a slideshow of children's artwork once a week, or something

I have been visiting an Australian home daycare forum that has some providers on it from the UK. I am just amazed by the some of the regulations you all have to follow to do home childcare over there in the UK (not to mention in Oz). Not that some of the rules aren't for the good, but more complex than I have to deal with, for sure. The site isn't particularly crunchy, but maybe some of the UK providers can address your questions.

I know someone who ran a home daycare in a condo development where it was officially against the bylaws. She and her dh got on the condo board, worked hard to serve the best interests of their community, and eventually got the no-home-daycare regulation changed. Maybe you might be able to do something similar in your situation? Is there a co-op board you could volunteer for?
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