Our first day of school was on the late side this year, partly because of our Labor Day vacation, and partly because I just wanted to enjoy the last days of summer. I’ve been steadily planning and gathering resources both for our Waldorf-inspired homeschooling cooperative, and also for Kindergarten with Ella (and Preschool with Everett), and we officially began just before the Fall Equinox.
Our first day of Kindergarten was really sweet, although I have to admit, the first 5 minutes were a total disaster. Everett was crying, Ella was pouting, and I tried to “keep calm and carry on.” After a few songs we got back on track, and by the time I lit the story candle, we were all having a great time. We worked on a craft – a dragon puppet that we used during our simple Michaelmas celebration at school (inspiration from Mamaroots). We made the body with a simple fingerknit strand, and hand-sewed the head and tail from scraps of wool felt. With some assistance cutting the felt and preparing the needle and thread, Ella was able to work on this project fairly independently, leaving me to work on Everett’s beloved dragon.
The circle I will share below is the same one that I am leading with our homeschool cooperative. This year we have a group of 10 children, ages almost-three to six years old. We meet in the home of one of the families, and they have a beautiful, large, Amish built home and farm that is just perfect for our group’s needs. We have circle time and story in the living room, flow into the dining area for hand washing and snack, and then go outdoors for games, activities, and free play.
Last year I received feedback from some of the parents that their children (particularly the 5 year old boys) needed a bit more active energy in the circle, so I’m working to bring in a balance of high energy movement, quiet fingerplays, active songs, and centering verses. My resources are Freya Jaffke’s book Celebrating Festivals with Children, Donna Simmon’s Joyful Movement, and the Enki Kindergarten Curriculum.
(themes: spiders, apples, seed pods, Michaelmas)
Good morning dear Earth, good morning dear Sun
Good morning dear stones, and the plants every one.
Good morning dear animals, and the birds in the trees
Good morning to you, and good morning to me!
As days grow short, hearts grow bright.
Saint Michael with his sword
Shines out against the night!
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Way up high in the apple tree
Two little apples smiled at me
I shook that tree as hard as I could
and down came the apples
Mmm, they were good!
Verse with movement
Here stands the apple tree, strong and green
Here are the apples that hang between
A strong wind blows and knocks them to the ground
Here is the basket to take them all to town
Active Song (sung to tune of 10 little Indians)
Hop on one foot and then the other (x3)
That’s how we hop together
Step and hop and step and hop now (x3)
Soon we will be skipping
Skip and skip around around the circle (x3)
That’s how we skip together!
In a milkweed cradle, all snug and warm
Tiny seeds are hiding, safe from harm
Open up your wings now and hold them high
Come Mr. Wind and help them fly
One of the member’s of our group is fluent in French, and leads a 5 minute French immersion with greetings (Bonjour, Ella!), songs, and movement.
Our Michaelmas story was very sweet, and was drawn from this incredible resource -a free downloadable eBook, entitled An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten.