But what of the kindergarten,
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose.
A time for childhood…
This is what we have to offer time to play. ‘When you can walk and when you can talk you can play and when you can play you need someone to play with so one day you came to the kindergarten and found friends to play with and then we knew you were three.
This is what we do at and after we have worked outside too we wash hands and listen to story before we say goodbye now.
But what of the kindergarten,
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose.
A time for childhood…
‘When you can walk and when you can talk you can play and then you need someone to play' Each morning the children find the kindergarten just the same as every day. The seasonal table may change to show the season and the purpose of the work on the table may be for seasonal craft or preparation for a birthday celebration or festival or baking but as you arrive you are greeted,
“Good morning, Good morning,”
Good morning now,
Sing, dance and do!
Settling in to the kindergarten group
When you can walk and when you can talk you can play, then you need friends to play with.
The first term of kindergarten for a child is a time when a child is moving from mostly being at home looked after by family to be with a group of children and a teacher. The child has to separate from the family member and in a loving environment be able to begin to share and take turns. This is a healthy progression for a child to move from ‘I’ to ‘We’, which is the only way a child can later in life begin to empathise. As a parent you have to trust in another adult caring for your child. This hand over has to be in trust because you cannot know what happens during the kindergarten hours. It has to be out of trust as questioning a child does not always get a true picture but certainly an imaginative one! The child is looking to the adult to have made the decision and to trust it is right. If you have any concerns, that is to say a conversation with the teacher alone, not with the child, usually is enough for you to trust in the process.
The getting to know the teacher begins with a home visit during the first term. The insight in the family life gives a good starting point for what the child may bring into their kindergarten life. This is not done in a way of judgement but of observation of the child in the family situation. The morning for all new children gives the children a relaxed time with a family member present so that they are not worrying about being left but can get a feel of the kindergarten environment. This is followed with some time in an afternoon in the kindergarten for the child and parents to see the toys and equipment without other children to consider.
The following times in the kindergarten are what I call ‘an hour of the child settling in’ whilst the parent goes to the café for a drink. This only really has to be some time while the parent is out of the kindergarten room and it can be that the child remains for the full morning up to story time. For three year olds it can be too much to come back into kindergarten for story and better that a parent is waiting at the gate at 12 noon when the other children go in for story the 3 year olds leave. At this time of the day it is particularly important that the children do not have to wait. Usually by the end of the first term the three year olds are ready to stay for story.
The next hour for the outdoor time means arriving at 11am to go straight outside and again the parent will go for a drink at the café to pick up again at 12noon. These two periods are often enough for the child to be ready for a full morning. The first morning we still ask for the parent to be nearby. It is better that a child goes home feeling like they want to stay for longer rather than staying for longer and wanting to go home. The success of settling in period is for the parent to think of the kindergarten as the child’s space and not really enter into it in terms of engaging with the activity too much. The teacher and kindergarten children will guide the child in this and the new child will be reassured that you trust in this interaction. During kindergarten hours if the child directs a question to the parent it is reassuring and easier for the child if the parent suggest the teacher answers the question. If parents have the mindset that they are visiting for an hour it does not make it easier for the child and the child is likely to expect you to stay. It is often nice, for the parents themselves to be in the kindergarten but the longer they are does not make it easier for the child.
The summer is a time of long days in the sun with bare feet and in the wilderness of a beach or wood or field. The children usually grow particularly tall during the summer. When harvest has been done and the season turns to suggest autumn is on the way it is time to work. This work will be of the farmer and miller man to prepare flour for bread making. This leads to harvest celebrations and the Michaelmas loaf.
The Importance of rhythm in the kindergarten
We are surrounded and supported by rhythm all around us – day/night, weekly rhythms, monthly rhythms and the seasonal rhythms of the year. Everything that lives has a rhythm because all living things breathe. Breathing is the archetypal rhythm – breathing in a contraction, breathing out an expansion. We need to balance the two in order to feel healthy.
All the activities that we do throughout the kindergarten session are part of a rhythm. For example, the children breathe out in to free play time and breathe in when drawn together for circle time. In the kindergarten years, the balance needs to be more time for breathing out and shorter times for breathing in (adult-led activities). This balance changes slowly as the children move through school so that teenagers can healthily spend much more time on focused in-breathing activities and much less, during the school day, on social out-breathing.
Rhythm helps us feel secure. Especially for the young child, it makes the world feel like a safe place that is to be trusted. A child who feels safe is able to learn, explore, be creative and take risks within the safety of a healthy rhythm. Rhythms rely on regular repetition for their very existence. When your child first begins kindergarten, it takes time to settle him in – it takes time for him to learn the rhythm. The more often he attends, according to your agreed schedule, the shorter the settling in time will be.
If a child does not attend kindergarten in a regular repeated rhythm, then the healthy value of rhythm is lost, the child may feel insecure about attending and it could be a healthier experience for him not to attend at all. There is something about a rhythm of three days that is important here and three day rhythms are worked with throughout the Steiner Waldorf curriculum. If a child attends kindergarten for a minimum of three days per week, then this is something that the child can feel comfortable with right down into his body. This means that when he wakes up in the morning, he does not usually have to ask, ‘Is it a kindergarten day or not?’ because his body knows. Irregular attendance and attendance schedules of less than three days a week or at more than one setting does not allow this comfortable feeling of security to develop.
As a child settles into kindergarten, the social group of children becomes important to him. Regular rhythmical attendance helps him to find his place in this social group and make good connections. This becomes even more significant for the older children in kindergarten. It is hard for a six year old, for example, to really take on his full role of responsibilities and privileges, as well as the social status that goes with the role of being the older one, unless he can attend a minimum of four and preferably five days per week. In addition, six year old play involves ideas that change and develop form one day to the next and if a child is not able to be part of a group of older children meeting and playing together several days in succession, he will miss out on this process.
Sing, dance and do!
The aim of the kindergarten is to allow the children to learn through their imaginative and imitative faculties and to develop their natural potential within a secure and calm environment.
The activities are both practical and artistic with an emphasis upon creative play to enhance emotional, social and physical development and problem solving abilities. There are many opportunities to develop listening, speaking and phonological awareness (the foundation for reading) and basic numeracy skills. We have a very good Ofsted report that we can forward to you if required.
There is a rhythmic alternation between the child’s time of creative play and outdoor time to the teacher led circle time and story, this being comparatively short at this age. Until a child is three years old they are not expected to remain within the circle.
Good morning now.
Wake body, wake mind!
Work, play, seek, find
Eat breakfast, dinner too,
Sing, dance and do!
For snacks and lunch we use the best ingredients, sourced locally from the finest organic suppliers. The emphasis is on local produce from sustainable sources and that every child can enjoy good food. Local means less travel, less pollution and regenerating resources back into the local community.
We want to offer the extra hours to reduce the amount of time the younger children spend in the car for journeys for school pick up but we ask that the lunch is booked in advance with the kindergarten leader. Any extras to the confirmed sessions will be invoiced monthly but must be paid before booking the following month.
All soaps, laundry and cleaning products used are environmentally friendly. Wherever possible we endeavour to use locally crafted items.
The children of One End Street start at 9.00 until 12.30pm, five mornings a week. The number of mornings is negotiated according to the age of the child, the needs of the parents and availability. A minimum of three mornings is asked so that the child can experience the repetition of the rhythm of the morning.
To benefit fully from the rhythm and repetition of the kindergarten curriculum through the seasons we recommend children attend from 3 years old to 6, gradually increasing the number of mornings. We settle in a 3 year old gently and prepare the 6 year old for school.
The clear rhythms of morning and weekly timetables support the children’s learning new skills and give a sense of security.
9.00 - 10.30 Creative play
Tuesday Baking biscuits
Wednesday Seasonal Craft
Thursday Make & knead sourdough
Friday Bread shaping and baking
Every morning the children are fully involved in snack preparation, laying the table, washing up and setting up for storytime. Seasonal activities are integrated into the creative play time.
10.30 Circle time
10.45 Wash hands, snack time
11.00 Toilet and preparation for outdoors
11.15 Outdoor Play
12.15 Storytime and Goodbye
AFTERNOON (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
1.30 Creative Play and Seasonal Craft
2.45 Wash hands
3.30 Storytime and Goodbye
The afternoons offer a more restful time than the work and play of the mornings. Younger children will have an opportunity to rest while older children participate in gardening or a seasonal craft. For snacks and lunch we use the best ingredients, sourced locally from the finest organic suppliers. The emphasis is on local produce from sustainable sources and that every child can enjoy good food. Local means less travel, less pollution and regenerating resources back into the local community.
We want to offer the extra hours to reduce the amount of time the younger children spend in the car for journeys for school pick up. Lunch is booked in advance with the kindergarten leader. Any extras to the confirmed sessions will be invoiced but must be paid before booking the following term. All soaps, laundry and cleaning products used are environmentally friendly. Any clothes the children change out of during time at kindergarten are washed and ironed for the following day. Wherever possible we endeavour to use locally crafted items. The birthday present given to each child is made by a member of staff and the choice of gift is relative to age of the child and season when the birthday falls.
THE PRACTICAL BITS
FROM HEAD TO TOE
Plain slippers are worn inside the kindergarten. It is helpful if each child has a special pair, which may be left at the kindergarten.
The winter weather can be a challenge for both children and teachers at outdoor time. When warmly dressed the children can thoroughly enjoy this time but unsuitable clothing can reduce children to tears in a short time. It would be useful to do a head to toe check. Experience has taught us that the best criteria is ‘does the clothing keep the child both warm and dry?’ Frequently clothing does only one or the other.
The most common complaint is itchiness or lack of real insulating quality. Best are lined hats with earflaps that fasten under the chin. Hoods are not sufficient for warmth and they fall back and restrict the child’s line of vision.
Summer sunhats are compulsory.
Jumpers, which can be kept on for indoor play, could be topped with a padded all-in-one suit. If wearing thin rainproof suits layer must be provided for warmth.
Waterproof and padded gloves are the best for wet muddy play, Knitted mittens can then be kept for wearing at hometime.
Tights for both boys and girls, topped with thick socks, not summer weight (ask for Patapon sock knitting pattern). Wellingtons with thin socks mean that the toes suffer terribly. The best choice are the ski-boot type with fleece lining. Check that boots are large enough for thick socks.
All children should have a labelled bag with spare change of clothing - (socks and tights, vest, pants, trousers and top)
THERE WILL BE SPARES OF ALL OF THE ABOVE IN THE KINDERGARTEN. PLEASE WASH THEM AND RETURN THE ITEMS PROMPTLY FOR THE NEXT DAY.
Please check hair regularly with a comb and ask for a natural oil to put in the hair if lice are found. The only way to keep them at bay is to check regularly.
There is a library of books on parenting, childcare, craft and family issues available in the office. You can join with a fee of £5 (this is used to buy more books). Books may be taken out through a member of staff who will sign the Library book for you to borrow any books. Please return promptly and sign with a teacher to note the return. Any non-returned books will be charged on the extras account at the end of term.
If your child’s birthday falls on a kindergarten day, a small celebration will be held. Birthdays falling out of term are usually celebrated when the child next returns. The birthday present given to each child is made by rhona and the choice of gift is relative to age of the child and season when the birthday falls. The handing out of birthday invitations can be painful or confusing for those children not invited. Please give invitations discreetly and if possible directly to the parents concerned.
A great problem of One End Street would be to pull up outside on the double yellow lines. Please share journeys wherever possible and use the no return, 30 minutes parking and walk to One End Street. A child arrives in a much better frame of mind for work and play having walked even for a short time.
These are the most valuable form of communication. Please check them at least weekly. A calendar for term dates and events will be in the window next to the gate. Notices of immediate nature will be posted for festivals and outings. Indoors there are official notices (registration documents, insurance and training certificates) also our daily and weekly planning.
We are aware of the importance of sharing information between parents and teachers, only in this way can we truly meet the individual needs of the child and allow parents to feel confident that their child is happy, safe and thriving in the experience we offer. There are a number of ways in which you can keep informed about our activities and your child’s well being and share with us the important information which might affect your child’s experience in the kindergarten.
The welcome morning at the beginning of the year is planned to meet each other, both children and parents with staff. The children can get a feel of the place and will find something they are interested in which they often come straight to on their first morning. In the following few weeks there will be a parents’ evening for any questions to be asked, to explore possible ways of settling in new children and to introduce the fundamental principles and practice of One End Street.
Throughout the year we will have evenings for study or guest speakers to share child development of particular interest to parents of young children. Any suggested topics can be given to staff. Parents’ evenings throughout the year aim to be a sociable event as well as informative.
The Social evening, in the summer term, is an informal gathering in the café, which allows us to celebrate being part of The Children of One End Street community. Picnics and Sunday brunches in the summer are an introduction for new families to the kindergarten community. Regular newsletters and emails will be sent and information will be kept up to date on the website.
The book, ‘Free to Learn’, published by Hawthorn Press is written by Lynne Oldfield for the purpose of giving parents accessible information on the principles and practice of Waldorf kindergartens. It describes in detail the experience, which your children will encounter, and is a recommended read for new parents.
Personal contact Marie remains in the garden until the last child is collected at the end of each morning session. This is primarily to ensure that every child is handed safely back into care of parents. Although supervision of the children remains the priority at this time, it is still an opportunity to ask questions and, or pass on information, of a more immediate, uncomplicated nature. Arrival time in the mornings is not suitable for discussion, as the teachers need to concentrate entirely on settling in the children and to focus on the activities they are preparing. However, if you need to pass on urgent information, for example, a change in collection plans, there is a space next to the signing in sheet and pen for a note to be written. We will ensure that it is read at the first opportunity. Please signal to the teacher that you are leaving a message. Medical forms give us a consciousness of possible signs or symptoms a child may have of illness. Any accidents during kindergarten hours will be reported to you but also please tell us of any accidents at home so that we can be vigilant and check on the child during the session.
If you need a longer, more private discussion, do not hesitate to make an appointment for a meeting. This is best arranged by telephoning Marie on 07970829890 between 4pm and 5pm, Monday to Friday.