We thought a lot about how we would approach home ed for our family, and did a lot of research into the many ways other families chose to do it. We like a fairly autonomous approach but with a strong seasonal rhythm and connection to nature.
We definitely didn’t want a structured approach or any formal academics during the early years (if at all!) but I liked the idea of having *something* to inspire us.
I like making plans, developing ideas and being organised and so I had a look at what was on offer. Steiner/Waldorf Kindergarten stood out as exactly what we were looking for, it has a seasonal focus and a strong connection to nature, and is very gentle with no formal academics included at all. It also has the beautiful plans and handwork projects to keep me to feeling inspired. Result 🙂
People often ask what we ‘do’ so here is a bit about the Kindergarten plan we will be following from September…..
Waldorf Essentials Early Childhood and Kindergarten Course (so called because it is exactly that, an entire course!) is a wonderful digital resource, with the option for hard copies from the publisher. It contains detailed Kindergarten plans for children age 5/6 years old and 6 years plus. That’s two full years of Kindergarten plans.
The container stories included are original, written by Waldorf Essentials creator Melisa Nielsen for her youngest son. They follow a young gnome and his friends on a journey through the seasons and are a joy to tell. The accompanying, seasonal activities include modelling, crafts, recipes and more and are all fun and simple to follow.
There are a couple of options on how to print the content, you can either have it all straight in black and white like you get from the publisher, or the beautifully illustrated version. We chose to print the illustrated version and have the plans in a ring binder (each month’s plan stapled together and placed in a plastic pocket)
This is far from all you get though…!
The following resources are also included;
* The Foundation
In which you will find detailed, yet easy to absorb explanations on the nuts and bolts of Waldorf, this is a great place to begin your journey and I have already come back to it many times since we received it.
* Before the Journey
This is a beautifully written, seasonal series written from the perspective of a variety of mums with little ones, detailing how they approached their journey, including their questions, struggles and magic moments. This book is filled with little stories, recipes and ideas to help with the early years, it is like a warm hug when you are new to Waldorf, and, again, my printed copy has been reread numerous times already!
* Beyond the Early Years
A piece explaining the issue of ‘readiness’ when considering moving on to ‘Grade One’, this is very useful for those new to Waldorf and also as a reminder that it is O.K to wait for those ‘formal academics’ that are so often brought into question when you tell people you are home educating the Waldorf way
Containing a comprehensive recipe book (Bundle Number One already loves making tasty treats from this!) and a whole host of seasonal song sand verses along with a set of printable letter cards should you wish to display them as you approach Grade One (these are not ‘flash cards’, remember there are no formal academics during the Early Years and Kindergarten)
Wait, there’s even more…!
* Access to Handwork videos for you
All the help needed to be able to learn the necessary handwork skills. The early years are about you learning these skills in order to bring them to your child as they grow, don’t panic, it’s fun!
* Access to Circle Time videos and audio files
Showing the actions to the songs (beautifully performed by Melisa’s children) and allowing you to hear the tunes so that you can enjoy them with your little ones.
*Support from Melisa
Melisa is truly wonderful, always ready to help and support you along the way. As a mother of 5 children, all home educated, she really has been there! She is very responsive to emails and private messages and has also set up various social media groups where you can chat to others on the same path. She even has an option where she will come to your house! She has been a huge help to us already and it’s only the beginning!
If you are considering a Steiner/Waldorf approach for your family please check out Waldorf Essentials, we are so glad we did!