Inside Willow Tree
Inside the kindergarten we have an environment that is designed for creative, imitative play. We have houses and dens built from wooden clothes horses, with cloths draped over them as walls and roofs, we also have fleece mats that the children can move to have soft places to curl up and play on. The children love our large wooden blocks that are used to build castles, boats, elaborate slides or skate parks, or anything else that has taken a child’s fancy. With these the children are learning about construction, sharing, turn-taking and balancing as well as their individual experiences they learn from in their play.
Smaller resources such as shells and conkers are stored in baskets on shelves accessible to the children, and are used in imaginative ways during creative play. We have a collection of handmade puppets, animals and dolls that are regularly played with.
For the children who want to be busy with something other than play, we always have crayons and paper available for mark making and drawing. There are also daily teacher led activities. In keeping with the principles of Steiner Waldorf early years education where children learn through imitation, the adults are always busy with a meaningful activity, which the children can join in with.
An example of a weekly rhythm is that on Monday we have baking where all the children will bake something to take home. On Tuesdays we make soup which is shared by all at snack time. On Wednesday we have seasonal craft activities, Thursday is painting day and Friday is our day for cleaning, polishing and mending. We vary the order of these activities each term so that all the children can experience them.
Fig is the kindergarten dog and she comes to play often. She likes to play catch with the children and encourages running games as she enjoys being chased. The children benefit from her presence, learning to be calm and gentle around her as they build their confidence around handling an animal while teaching her tricks. She has a crate inside for a quiet rest and only joins the children’s play in the garden.