I could sure use some insight. I am currently a head teacher in a busy, over-filled toddler (1 1/2-2 1/2 year old) classroom. The classroom is a mess of plastic, primary colors, and harsh lighting. The yard is a slab of concrete, a mess of even more plastic toys, the only view offered is that of a parking lot. The atmosphere is chaotic and all the noise and activity frightfully over-stimulating. It is no wonder that the my students won't stop hitting/biting/crying and my teachers are over-whelmed and stressed.
After hearing about Waldorf schools, then reading my first Steiner book; I fell in love with the Waldorf method. To me, it now seems like the anthroposophic method is the ultimate gift teachers can give to their students. I need to incorporate it into my classroom, but don't know where or how to start. The owner of my school is a penny-pincher, I can expect no help from her. And I myself only make a small amount above minimum wage.
I need all the suggestions you wonderful people have on cheap Waldorf activities and decorations. Thank you for your help!
The Bending Birches blog is a good place to start for frugality and also doing a children's garden. She is in training to become a Waldorf teacher and may be able to e-mail with you about suggestions. I wish you well!
Mothering an Autumn (08) , a Spring (11) , and another Autumn! (Nov. 2013)
Taking what works and leaving the rest
How much control do you have over what's in the room? Like, would you be allowed to paint or get rid of some toys? I think clearing out the room would be the most helpful thing. Once most of the bright plastic toys were gone, it would be easy to change the mood of the room with a few natural play things. Baskets (can be found cheap at thrift stores) filled with things like pine cones, smooth rocks, and smooth sticks or branch blocks. Hanging cloth draperies on the walls would help deaden the sound. Maybe you could find some solid pastel sheets at Good Will, that would work for this purpose.
I think it's great that you care enough to try and change the environment for the children that are in your care. So many places for young children are a complete sensory overload, that are stressful for adults, let alone little ones. Yet no one seems to get this is why you have a room full of crying toddlers.
My blog, where I write about homeschooling, crafting, and just about everything else: www.s-thefiveofus.blogspot.com My Etsy shop, where I sell Waldorf inspired, natural toys: www.etsy.com/shop/SteppingStoneToys