Kindergarten and Preschool ~ The Timeless “Children’s Garden”
The Spindlewood day is designed to create a balance between individual and small group creative play and more structured large group activities such as games, meals and story time. Children experience the Creative Arts including watercolor painting, beeswax crayons and crafts. They learn Life Arts such as cooking, cleaning, woodworking, repairing and gardening. Each child receives individual attention by way of the Nurturing Arts which include hair brushing, face washing, assistance in dressing and undressing for outdoor play, and warm foot baths on very cold days. And children practice the Social Arts which include creative play and games, interpersonal awareness and skills. Our daily rhythm also provides a balance between active times and rest times thereby nourishing each child’s sense of health and well-being. Our typical day looks like this:
Arrival – The morning begins between as children are welcomed by the teachers and say good-bye to their caregivers or parents at the waving window.
Creative Play – For young children, play is work, through which they make the world their own. To stimulate healthy imaginative play, the child needs time, a quiet, positive atmosphere, and play materials taken from nature that allow open interpretation. Such play is supported by the adults who are engaged in meaningful, practical tasks of life, so that the children can see and experience the purpose and process of these activities.
Cooking – During this time, the children also participate directly in the kneading of bread dough and the chopping of vegetables for the morning snack.
Creative Arts – In preparation for seasonal family festivals, the children use many modes and mediums such as watercolor painting and crayon drawing, as well as simple handwork like finger crocheting, sewing and woodworking. (These activities encourage each child’s natural sense of beauty, color and the development of their fine motor skills.)
Clean-up Time – All playthings and materials are returned to their places and the table is set. (This activity teaches children to take care of themselves and their materials, their environment, and begins to develop organizational skills.)
Circle Time – A period of condensed artistic activity led by the teacher. Songs and verses through the seasons are sung, played and explored with gesture and movement. Hearing and seeing, feeling and imagining, moving and acting are all intertwined and become a whole through the child’s participation. The older children act as models because they know the movements and songs from the previous year. This strengthens their self-confidence and gives the younger ones an incentive to imitate them. (Without any direct verbal instruction, the children acquire complex social and sensory skills which give them a deep sense of satisfaction.)
Short Rest, Hand Washing and Snack – The children eat together, family-style, with the teacher and assistant teacher. Afterwards, they help clear the table and wash their dishes. (There is an emphasis on gratitude for the food and on table manners.)
Story Time – Children love stories and fairy tales. These carefully chosen tales contain a lot of wisdom and life experience, profundity and cleverness, thoughts and logic, expressed not in abstract terms, but in images. These stories delight the soul by painting entire landscapes and countless details, but it is the child herself who creates these pictures in her own imagination as the teacher presents a puppet play or tells the story by heart.
Outdoor Play – We go outside rain or shine to run, climb, swing, sled, dig, push wheelbarrows, pull wagons, visit the frog pond and jump rope. We also do some real work like watering the animals and collecting eggs. (This nourishes the child’s sense of joy, builds physical development and a sense of connection to nature.)