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#1 of 48 Old 01-31-2009, 04:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

I love so many things about the Waldorf education method and lifestyle, but I don't have the time to study all of it, so I just try to live with Waldorf principles in mind, and slowly learn more about it as time allows.

Anyway, my passion is early childhood, and I've been doing childcare on and off for over ten years. With the economy in such a rut, and my DP's company laying off thousands of employees, I want to start doing home childcare for preschool aged children.

What are some important aspects that I should be sure to include?

So far I have in mind:

-Sunlight and warm environment with elements from nature
-Daily and weekly rhythm
-Circle time
-Natural playthings (we've removed almost all plastic and synthetics)
-Open-ended play structure (Don't have room for playstands, but we have a Learning Tower that is used as a tent/fort/puppet theater)

Would really love some input on this.
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#2 of 48 Old 01-31-2009, 07:05 AM
 
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I think the important stuff is covered in your list. I feel like if you have strong rhythms and open ended play things you have the most important stuff.

I also thought of:

Mealtime with a verse/blessing and a set table
Bread making?
Handwork
Painting
daily outdoor time

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#3 of 48 Old 01-31-2009, 03:58 PM
 
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I'm doing the same thing! I am opening in May... I will have my daughter who will be about 2 1/2 months old when I start. I have one infant lined up who will be around 3 months old. I am now advertising for a couple of pre-school age children. I am going with Little Acorn Learning to get a good start. I don't know if you have heard of this. It's online... sort of like a Waldorf-inspired 'curriculum'. It's geared toward Waldorf-ish in-home childcare. Lots of great ideas for daily activities that support the rhythm of the day and the week. Each day has a different purpose. You can also get some good recipes to support a 'grain of the day' and do cooking projects. Outdoor time everyday is very important... nature walks would be great if it's an option. I live in a rural area, but we live in town. So, I plan to take a walk each day, but I don't know how much of a nature walk I can make it be living in town...

I plan to subscribe to this for at least a few months until I get set on a rhythm of my own. Seems like a good starting point... Do as much reading as possible. I have been collecting book after book to get a good understanding of what it is I'm trying to accomplish. I started with "Understand Waldorf Education". It was a very easy read, I enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. The chapter on pre-school is very informative. I have also been reading "The Well-Balanced Child" and "You are Your Child's First Teacher". I have heard "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge" is a good one... I haven't read it yet, but intend to get it soon.

Good luck!

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#4 of 48 Old 01-31-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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I am thinking about this for future when my kiddos are a little older. I happened upon this thread several days ago that has some good info:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...home+preschool

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#5 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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Definitely check out Little Acorn Learning. Eileen also has a great blog.

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#6 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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#7 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 05:44 AM
 
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I'd recommend starting a website and blog for your home daycare if you haven't already. It takes a while to get established, but my website is a huge source of client inquiries for me. Not many providers here have them, but some do.

re: open-ended play structure

I've discovered that hooks in the walls, and loops sewn into large cloths and playsilks, are a great, space-saving way of transforming a space without playstands. We have a learning tower too, and it gets used so much as a safe stool for 2 at the kitchen sink for handwashing and water play, that I never get to use it as a play structure!

I don't use the word "Waldorf" but have adopted similar ideas and practices. I spend a LOT of time outdoors with the children -- anywhere nearby for nature walks? We use sensory and craft materials from nature, and often gather them and return them/compost them ourselves.

We have a beeswax pillar candle that I light in the morning while we say a prayer/meditation. I find I have to (CAREFULLY) let each child have a turn saying a prayer for mom and dad at work and a thought for what he wants from his day and then blowing the candle out and I relight it for the next child, or else they quarrel over the honor of blowing out the candle.

I use music to cue transitions and moods an awful lot. Lots of little boys in my home, and I have taught them that we don't do wild jumping/exercise type of play unless the "jumping music" is on. So if they feel like burning off energy, they ask for the jumping music, instead of just jumping on couches. I also am collecting meditation/relaxation cds and classical cds to play in the background during indoor learning time and rest time.

I know someone who uses aromatherapy and incense to set moods in her childcare as well, but I am sensitive to scents, so don't do this.

We made a soft place with cushions and some special soft toys and peaceful books tented off with playsilks and I call it the "peace place" where we go when we are frustrated or angry to calm down. I have fun modeling this for the children, and when I say "I am getting frustrated with X so I am going to the peace place for a rest till I feel better!" it usually ends with everyone happily piling in for a cuddle and story with me.

My one concern about starting a p/t program with only preschoolers -- I've found that there is much more of a market here for care for babies. You've done home childcare before - are you concerned about this in your area?
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#8 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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I appreciate learning from this thread because I am in the process of doing this too! I was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher for a local school district for the last four years, but I have always loved Waldorf and even though I found lots of ways to be nature-centered in my mainstream school, I am just ready to be on my own. I am working on setting up a website and blog, and am gathering supplies for the playroom/classroom. I have a huge sunroom behind my house that was just begging for the transformation! I am hoping to be ready to open in the spring.

Its been fun to gather supplies. I have found that thrift stores are a great resource! I have found wonderful wooden cars, trucks, wooden blocks, cloth blocks, cloth dolls, wooden bowls, twig baskets, a wooden art easel - lots of great "waldorfy" stuff for cheap. Some need a bit of reconditioning (I had my son sand a wooden toy helicopter to get rid of old yellow varnish and it is beautiful. We paid a dollar for it! There are some things I will have to buy new, but its given me a great start.

I find that the difference between a traditional classroom and a waldorf classroom has a lot to do with color. I am trying to stay with softer, natural colors rather than the ubiquitious primary colors that are in most early childhood programs. Its easy to get sucked into the world of brights! Natural materials keep you away from that too much. I also like mix and match baskets on a shelf filled with natural toys and item. I realized that everything doesn't have to perfectly match in a Waldorf classroom, but the overall feeling should be warmth, order, beauty. That is my goal for my classroom.

Its fun to know there are a few of us doing this! Maybe we can share ideas and pictures when we are ready?

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#9 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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great thread and great suggestions!
one thing you will want to look into if you want to call it a waldorf group ( not sure if you did but putting this out there ) is contacting AWSNA first. my friend tried to open up a waldorf day care and was told using the word 'waldorf' is illegal unless you have their permission. even 'waldorf inspired' is cutting it too close,apparently. they have regulations that need to be followed. they have some crazy rules i guess but doing this will not only keep you safe legally but will advertise your group to all waldorf parents nationwide!!
hth!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#10 of 48 Old 02-01-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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Yep, both Waldorf and Waldorf-inspired are .

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#11 of 48 Old 02-02-2009, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello everyone, and thank you for your replies. I'm so excited!

Zuzu, thank you for posting that thread. I read through it all and the information is invaluable.

I am going to start a website and a blog, because I'm also going to start selling on Etsy soon, so it will be really useful to me. And of course, reading all the wonderful blogs out there just makes me want to start one for fun!

My ultimate dream is to open up a play place where parents can come play with their children, or let them play while they sip coffee and whatnot, for a nominal fee. Not a daycare, but a parent-supervised free play environment. There are places around here like that but I'm always disappointed because the dress-up room is all Disney Princesses, the blocks and toys are all plastic, the snack bar is all sugar and junk, and the atmostphere is always super bright and overstimulating. I want to open a play place that is "Waldorfy" in nature, providing craft time and story time and other activities that are in step with the Waldorf philosophies, and one which has an environment that takes from nature in aesthetics and is tranquil in mood.

Anyway, that kind of dream is a long process to execute though, and takes some money upfront! So until we can afford to do that, I am going to do the home daycare route. However, as many of you also have expressed, I don't want to have a conventional Sponge-Bob-and-Handi-Snacks kind of daycare. Especially since much of my home is already natural in appearance and content, and I'm raising my daughter according to many of the Waldorf principles, I feel like this would be a good fit for me.

RE: Using the Waldorf name. I have already advertised on Craigslist (no takers so far ) and I worded it like this: "I used many elements of many different pedagogies in my approach, including Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia, and unschooling." I am not naming my business "Waldorf" or "Waldorf Inspired" or anything of the sort. In fact, I haven't named it at all. If I do, it'll probably be Natural Playtime or something like that.
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#12 of 48 Old 02-02-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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yay!! sounds wonderful!

oh eta its not just having 'waldorf' in the name but also describing it as 'waldorf'. hth!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#13 of 48 Old 02-02-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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thanks coutergopi I had no idea!



http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.org...p_Handbook.pdf

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_...q_starting.asp


basically waldorf, rudoplh steiner are trademarks and cant be used in any way without being a member jumping through a whole lot of hoops and paying money.....


I guess it is respectable to have such high standards, so that things don't get muddy and "waldorf" is not represented in inappropriate ways.
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#14 of 48 Old 02-02-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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Interesting fact: the name Montessori is not a trademark and any school can call itself Montessori. Maria did not overlook trademarks, as she was extremely business savvy. I suspect she wanted the movement to spread throughout the world as easily as possible, in order to transform societies and create positive change. Although Waldorf has spread across the world and is well known, this trademark issue has me wondering if this is why there are many more Montessori schools across the world compared to Waldorf schools. Any thoughts?

On a different note, I also plan to someday start a contemplative preschool and family childcare, and ideally with lots of outdoor space and plenty of room for children to mingle with chickens and bees. I already have some playthings, including Waldorf dolls, play silks, and a wooden play kitchen. I recently purchased a spring lyre, wooden children's bowls from Palumba, playstands, a barn, and a grain mill from nova natural. I am compiling a list of things to gather. I will make as much as possible, and much of the rest will be gathered slowly over time. Here is the list:

Books & Such(Earthways will prob get most use!): Irmgard Kutsch nature books, Little Acorn curriculum, Storytelling with Children, Mary Thienes' CD's, Baking Bread With Children, Sing Through the Seasons, Puppet Theatre, The Nature Corner, Movement Journeys

naturetable.com(we have the round nature table-beautiful!):Painting Boards and Drying Racks

wooden stepstool for bathroom

learning tower

various art supplies for children

fresh flowers

plastic bins for washing/rinsing dishes & drying rack

washcloths for rolling up with warm water & dr. bronners liquid lavender- to be given to children after they come in from outside play

wooden combs (have kids make felt holders)

water pitcher/tea kettle

cutting boards/knives

tools/tool caddies/bits of wood(kids can play with real tools as long as supervised closely)

candle snuffer-tree stump to put beeswax candle on for story time

rainbow adult broom(we have a children's rainbow broom)

aprons

ring time rug

old fashioned wisk for whipping cream

mini bread loaf pans

apple peeler corer slicer-I'll put apple on and let children do rest

food mill(apple musher)-once apples are cored and sliced, make applesauce with food mill once a week

small round children's table/chairs(for doll area)

stuff from communityplaythings.com:
Utility Cart(for art supplies)
shelves
Welcome Cubbies(I would put a basket up top for slippers, and clip on cloth bags for belongings)
rocking boat
We-Do-It bench(these would go in the building area with the playstands)

tons of baskets-regular & african woven

little basket for cloth napkins

pinecones, rocks, crystals, etc

have local potter make set of mugs

make:
basket of hobby horses
refrigerator
ironing board
make lots of stuff from "toymaking with children" such as farm animals, logs blocks

I will be getting a table from an unfinished furniture store and trim legs, then I will make chairs using the plan in Living Crafts Spring 2008 issue

Outside area:
sandbox/shovels-seashells
vegetable garden/sunflower house
wheelbarrows/garden tools
wooden planks
logs
bales of hay
tree stumps
galvanized buckets small and large(water can be put in to float bark/walnut boats in warm weather, in cold weather can freeze water to make ice table and chairs)
teepee
moon and stars fire pit(will light in morning for children to enjoy as they arrive in winter, and use hay bales as seats, prepare apple cider)
tire swing
lots of bird/butterfly/hummingbird feeders
wind chimes
walking blocks

a couple of wise ideas i've heard from a Waldorf teacher recently, dolls are not called dolls in her classroom, they are called little people, the idea being that a doll is an extension of a living being. also, scraps of leftover fabric used in art projects are not called scraps, they are called jewels......
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#15 of 48 Old 02-02-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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wow... can I be one of your preschool students?! That sounds so dreamy... I want to visit when all is said and done

Rebecca, wife to a hardworking PhD student DH and mama to one sweet girl (3), four angels in heaven, and joyfully welcomed our baby boy January 2010! blog link in profile
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#16 of 48 Old 02-03-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starspiral? View Post
Interesting fact: the name Montessori is not a trademark and any school can call itself Montessori. Maria did not overlook trademarks, as she was extremely business savvy. I suspect she wanted the movement to spread throughout the world as easily as possible, in order to transform societies and create positive change. Although Waldorf has spread across the world and is well known, this trademark issue has me wondering if this is why there are many more Montessori schools across the world compared to Waldorf schools. Any thoughts?

On a different note, I also plan to someday start a contemplative preschool and family childcare, and ideally with lots of outdoor space and plenty of room for children to mingle with chickens and bees. I already have some playthings, including Waldorf dolls, play silks, and a wooden play kitchen. I recently purchased a spring lyre, wooden children's bowls from Palumba, playstands, a barn, and a grain mill from nova natural. I am compiling a list of things to gather. I will make as much as possible, and much of the rest will be gathered slowly over time. Here is the list:

Books & Such(Earthways will prob get most use!): Irmgard Kutsch nature books, Little Acorn curriculum, Storytelling with Children, Mary Thienes' CD's, Baking Bread With Children, Sing Through the Seasons, Puppet Theatre, The Nature Corner, Movement Journeys

naturetable.com(we have the round nature table-beautiful!):Painting Boards and Drying Racks

wooden stepstool for bathroom

learning tower

various art supplies for children

fresh flowers

plastic bins for washing/rinsing dishes & drying rack

washcloths for rolling up with warm water & dr. bronners liquid lavender- to be given to children after they come in from outside play

wooden combs (have kids make felt holders)

water pitcher/tea kettle

cutting boards/knives

tools/tool caddies/bits of wood(kids can play with real tools as long as supervised closely)

candle snuffer-tree stump to put beeswax candle on for story time

rainbow adult broom(we have a children's rainbow broom)

aprons

ring time rug

old fashioned wisk for whipping cream

mini bread loaf pans

apple peeler corer slicer-I'll put apple on and let children do rest

food mill(apple musher)-once apples are cored and sliced, make applesauce with food mill once a week

small round children's table/chairs(for doll area)

stuff from communityplaythings.com:
Utility Cart(for art supplies)
shelves
Welcome Cubbies(I would put a basket up top for slippers, and clip on cloth bags for belongings)
rocking boat
We-Do-It bench(these would go in the building area with the playstands)

tons of baskets-regular & african woven

little basket for cloth napkins

pinecones, rocks, crystals, etc

have local potter make set of mugs

make:
basket of hobby horses
refrigerator
ironing board
make lots of stuff from "toymaking with children" such as farm animals, logs blocks

I will be getting a table from an unfinished furniture store and trim legs, then I will make chairs using the plan in Living Crafts Spring 2008 issue

Outside area:
sandbox/shovels-seashells
vegetable garden/sunflower house
wheelbarrows/garden tools
wooden planks
logs
bales of hay
tree stumps
galvanized buckets small and large(water can be put in to float bark/walnut boats in warm weather, in cold weather can freeze water to make ice table and chairs)
teepee
moon and stars fire pit(will light in morning for children to enjoy as they arrive in winter, and use hay bales as seats, prepare apple cider)
tire swing
lots of bird/butterfly/hummingbird feeders
wind chimes
walking blocks

a couple of wise ideas i've heard from a Waldorf teacher recently, dolls are not called dolls in her classroom, they are called little people, the idea being that a doll is an extension of a living being. also, scraps of leftover fabric used in art projects are not called scraps, they are called jewels......
This is a fabulous list! I think you pretty much covered it all!

Another book I would suggest that is FULL of examples/ideas is Heaven on Earth. I just love this book and it would be a great jumping point for you.

I wish all of you luck in your businesses! There will be some lucky children out there to have you in their lives!

Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#17 of 48 Old 02-03-2009, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a comprehensive list, Starspiral. Thank you for posting.

I have noticed that there are "Montessori" schools a dime a dozen around here. It's too bad that they can claim to be Montessori without having any certification. It just makes it more important for the parent to research adequately.

I am not up to shelling out a ton of dough to become a WECAN member, though it's good to know the opportunity is out there, should I one day be involved in a school.

For now I think I will advertise Natural Child Care, and when listing the different pedagogies I study, include Steiner/Waldorf. I cannot imagine that simply letting people know that I study the methods could be a trademark infringement...?

I found an old gift Visa card from several months ago, and it had enough on the balance to order used copies of Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and Children at Play. The used copies are so inexpensive. I love recycling!!

I also ordered the February Little Acorn curriculum, and plan to print it out today and begin implementing it tomorrow. For now I am letting the children play freely.
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#18 of 48 Old 02-03-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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I think that listing pedagogies is fine.

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#19 of 48 Old 02-03-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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Thanks starspiral, for posting your list. It was inspiring; I'm sure with such a clear vision, your plans will be realized fully before you know it!


Quote:
Originally Posted by starspiral? View Post
apple peeler corer slicer-I'll put apple on and let children do rest

food mill(apple musher)-once apples are cored and sliced, make applesauce with food mill once a week
I have an apple peeler and the toddlers and preschooler will use it all day if possible. I canned quarts of applesauce from the apples they peeled -- I'd love to have more than one peeler!

The copyright information is interesting, thanks for sharing.
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#20 of 48 Old 02-03-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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loving this thread so far.

I've been inspired this morning to write a description of services/ flyer type ad (for my ABA "natural" program haha) that i will open next month.

It took an hour to write a page, thank god for naptime haha but I think having to creatively describe things instead of just using waldorf inspired was good and actually opened up new doors for me to do as I feel is best not as steiner would've necessarily, more inspiration than following directly... which for my purpose is helpful and sort of .


I'd love to hear updates preferably with pics haha of everyone's progress as we all start on our journeys
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#21 of 48 Old 02-04-2009, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post

I have an apple peeler and the toddlers and preschooler will use it all day if possible. I canned quarts of applesauce from the apples they peeled -- I'd love to have more than one peeler!

The copyright information is interesting, thanks for sharing.
Like this? DD absolutely loves it!!
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#22 of 48 Old 02-04-2009, 01:33 AM
 
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Like this? DD absolutely loves it!!
This is the one we have

Where did you get yours? I can't see all of it, but it looks really sturdy and a little simpler than ours.
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#23 of 48 Old 02-04-2009, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the one we have

Where did you get yours? I can't see all of it, but it looks really sturdy and a little simpler than ours.
Mine was a hand-me-down but the original owner bought it from Pampered Chef. It is actually exactly the same as yours, but with a C-clamp instead of a suction cup on the bottom.
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#24 of 48 Old 02-05-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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Any suggestions for incorporating outdoor play in the middle of winter? I live in MN and just can not figure out how to do this realistically with littles. Granted....I am not a big outdoors girl to being with, so it may partically be motivation : , but it is COLD outside!


Like the last couple of days where freezing! Like 10 degrees.

How do you make that work?

Is there something I could be doing to substitute like play near a curtainless window or something? :

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#25 of 48 Old 02-05-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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not sure if this will help but my 3yo goes out no matter what weather. today it was -17 with the wind chill factor and she was still out. she only goes out though if 1 of our dogs goes out with her. my baby and i stay inside and watch her from the window while getting housework done. but yeah so its the dogs that get her outside

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#26 of 48 Old 02-05-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I cannot go outside leaving babies inside or send preschoolers outside without me. This is per agency rules - I would personally be ok with my own preschoolers outside in the back yard with me watching, but I can't do that with other people's children.

So the cold tolerances of the littlest bodies are my limiting factor. We usually would make it out at 10 F, but not much colder than that.

It helps to have a reason to go outside.

If it is really, really cold outside you can blow bubbles with bubble solution and they freeze. Very interesting.
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#27 of 48 Old 02-06-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I cannot go outside leaving babies inside or send preschoolers outside without me. This is per agency rules - I would personally be ok with my own preschoolers outside in the back yard with me watching, but I can't do that with other people's children.

So the cold tolerances of the littlest bodies are my limiting factor. We usually would make it out at 10 F, but not much colder than that.

It helps to have a reason to go outside.

If it is really, really cold outside you can blow bubbles with bubble solution and they freeze. Very interesting.
I would love to try that sometime! (the bubbles thing)

Of course we rarely get below 20F around here, but I think it's important to remember to dress yourself warm enough. I will bundle up my DC just fine, but I don't own a good winter coat. So when I get outside, I am immediately miserable. This makes it easy to find excuses to stay indoors, and then my poor girl doesn't have outside time for several days in a row!
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#28 of 48 Old 02-06-2009, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there something I could be doing to substitute like play near a curtainless window or something? :
I think that is perfectly suitable, especially if you bring outdoor items inside. Set up a nature area with plenty of sticks/rocks/pinecones and open the curtains, light a fire, make some nice tea or cider... I have wonderful memories from childhood of staying cozy indoors while enjoying the view out the window of the rain or snow.
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#29 of 48 Old 02-06-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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I find that the difference between a traditional classroom and a waldorf classroom has a lot to do with color. I am trying to stay with softer, natural colors rather than the ubiquitious primary colors that are in most early childhood programs. Its easy to get sucked into the world of brights! Natural materials keep you away from that too much. I also like mix and match baskets on a shelf filled with natural toys and item. I realized that everything doesn't have to perfectly match in a Waldorf classroom, but the overall feeling should be warmth, order, beauty. That is my goal for my classroom.
I was thinking about this comment.

I have been trying to move away from the primary colors as well, as much because I've been in early-childhood mode since the late 90s and I'm getting a little tired of the "decorated by fisher price" look as because of the desire to have more natural materials around my home and children.

I have been looking around my home with a critical eye...

I've been recovering some beanbag chairs and cushions with softer colors and am happy with how that looks. I have a canopy with a pvc pipe frame that I drape silks and parachutes over for a playhouse, and I've been sewing sleeves for the pipe out of canvas I already have on hand to soften the plastic look. I can't justify the budget to replace that with something like wood playstands at this time, but will be yard-saling for something that might work.

I have a really sturdy and functional train table with Thomas logos all over it, which is going to be repainted this summer. My dh made a wooden insert for it to replace the logo Island of Sodor tabletop which is finished with a clear finish but left the natural wood color.

The other major block of primary color left in my playspaces are the interlocking foam mats on the playroom floor. They are wonderfully functional, keep the uncarpeted lino-flooring-on-concrete floor warm and soft and safe for tumbling and active play. We need that, since we live in a cold climate and sometimes can't make it outside for weeks on end in the bitterest cold.

But the bright reds, yellows, blues and greens are setting my teeth on edge.

Anyone have any good "natural material" or even just "softer color" suggestions for replacing or covering up that flooring material? I have to cover an area that is about 20 feet square and would prefer not to do wall-to-wall carpet. I don't think carpet alone would be soft enough --maybe carpet on top of the mats?

I saw a giant shaggy 100% wool carpet at a yard sale for a song a few years ago and passed it up because it was slightly stained and I didn't have a way to get it home. Really regretting that....
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#30 of 48 Old 02-09-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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Anyone have any good "natural material" or even just "softer color" suggestions for replacing or covering up that flooring material? I have to cover an area that is about 20 feet square and would prefer not to do wall-to-wall carpet. I don't think carpet alone would be soft enough --maybe carpet on top of the mats?

I saw a giant shaggy 100% wool carpet at a yard sale for a song a few years ago and passed it up because it was slightly stained and I didn't have a way to get it home. Really regretting that....

What about this http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10093942 from IKEA. Its a wool flokati rug just like you described and is a very good deal for the price (trust me I've been looking, its half what I've seen at "discount" stores) I think it would make very nice natural soft flooring.

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