Keywords: Waldorf/Steiner, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Structured
Children: Three – 8yrs, 5yrs, 17mths
My 5yr old daughter goes to a Steiner kindy three mornings a week. A big part of Steiner philosophy is that there is no formal learning until 7yrs-ish so neither she nor our youngest child do any homeschooling although they come along on trips and do their own drawing or painting at the same time as us. My 8yr old son reads to himself or plays until about 9.30am every morning. Then he does his chores and we go outside on fine days for biking, scootering, soccer, handball, games, etc; or if it is raining we do some yoga or other inside games. We have morning tea then we start ‘circle time’ where we light a candle, read some morning verses, poems, do movement and beanbag games, fingerplays and songs for about 15 minutes. We also write down our weekly Whakatauki (Maori proverb) to try and memorise. Some of the verses and songs stay the same all year but most change each week or seasonally. We have a 5 minute break then start the ‘main lesson’ which is focused on a particular topic or block (eg. maths, language arts, or nature) over the period of about a month, and relates to a yearly theme. This year our theme is saints, heroes, fables and folktales; and we use stories on these to explore our block (eg. maths, language arts, etc). The main lesson is 45-60 minutes and finishes with an ending verse. We have lunch and about an hour break then we do the ‘middle lesson’ which is time to do something with our bodies – on Mondays we go swimming; Tuesdays we play the pentatonic flute, learn about a composer, style of music or learn a new song to sing; Wednesdays we go for a nature walk or activity like gardening, looking at insects, birds, etc; Thursdays we learn French or Te Reo. The ‘end lesson’ is something we do with our hands – on Mondays we draw, Tuesdays and Wednesdays is craft, Thursdays is watercolour painting. Every afternoon we end with a story relating to the block we are working on or a seasonal story. On Fridays our structure is much looser and we often do baking or cooking and housework. My son is free to do some ‘natural learning’ so he often reads about and looks on the computer for things that interest him, or he plays outside.
Keywords: Unschooling, Waldorf/Steiner, Learning-Through-Play, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Unstructured
Children: Three – 7yrs, 5yrs, 3yrs
The way our day unravels depends largely on the weather, the seasons, our moods, and what’s planned for the day (such as playdates, catch up with local unschooling playgroup, sports activities, appointments, shopping, or the need for a home day). Every single day is different and brings different possibilities. Our day begins anywhere between 6am and 8am. My husband feeds the pets (a dog, three rats, three chickens, and a Flemish giant rabbit) and heads early to work. Once the girls and I are up, I usually prepare us a hot drink while they play with toys, draw pictures, interact with their pets, or watch children’s programs on TV. We have breakfast and our morning progresses depending on what we have planned – if we are going out then we get ready, if we are staying home then we talk about what we’d like to do. My three girls are still in the imaginative-play stage – this often involves their pets and can take up many hours! Throughout the day we also draw, paint, work on projects, and have big discussions started by a simple question. At around midday we have lunch together. Our afternoons bring much the same diversity as the morning – we might be heading out or my girls might return to the game they were playing before lunch. Sometimes my two youngest will play together while I work with my oldest on her reading – she will bring books to me and we’ll read one-on-one. There may be something the girls are wanting to learn about or they might watch Suzy’s World or other documentaries. My husband arrives home early evening to have dinner together as a family. After dinner the girls love to play with their dad and catch up with him. Slowly they start to feel tired so we transition into bed time, I help the youngest to bed and dad takes the two older ones. The time that the girls go to sleep varies for each. As I am writing this my oldest has just asked me what I am doing – I answered that I am writing about what we do all day. She said to me, “So you are writing ‘learn’?” What a great sum up of our typical day!
Keywords: Unit Studies, Waldorf/Steiner, Learning-Through-Play, Preschoolers, Unstructured
Children: Two – 5yrs, 17mths
The kids like to sleep till at least 7am so we slowly get up and have breakfast at around 8am then get dressed. My oldest likes to get dressed while listening to audio books. At around 9am we head out to her art class, or we go to my toddler’s Plunket playgroup. At other times we may go see a movie or go on a field trip. A couple of mornings a week I go to the gym while they play at the kids club. At midday we come home for lunch. After lunch my toddler has a nap and this is when my daughter and I do our “work”. We start with five minutes meditation and then writing practice. We also do a variety of maths activities (worksheets, computer games, money and time games or other activities) which my daughter loves. We will usually then take some time to explore some other topic which has caught her interest during the day/week. This ranges from amphibians, the royal family, evolution, volcanoes, etc. We may read some stories together. Then my youngest one wakes and we have afternoon tea followed by free play. After dinner and bath time, it’s story time. We read at least four books every night before bed – at the moment it’s lots of traditional and exotic fairy tales. The kids are in bed early, around 7pm. After that my husband and I catch up on some work, adult time, plan for the next day or just relax with a book.