Parent and Child Group
Parent and Child Group is designed for parents/carers with children aged 0 to 3 years. The sessions take place on Monday and Tuesday mornings between 9.30am from 12 noon during term time in the Community Room at St Werburgh’s City Farm. The groups are a coming together of families to share in a Steiner approach to support children and parents.
Each session begins with playtime and craft activities. The craft activity is there as much for the adults as the children, and the focus of the activity may be influenced by the current season or a festival/celebration. Festivals are celebrated in line with those celebrated at Kindergarten - though at P&C they are simplified for the much younger children. Some activities are much more child focussed, like painting and baking and others are to engage the adults, like sewing or felting. Other activites help children to see adults being practical, like polishing or mending, and children are encouraged to help- which they are usually very pleased to do.
"The rhythm of the morning holds my son in a place of security and beauty. When we leave we walk out into the world knowing a little bit of magic has been sown for the week to come." George & Abraham
Children are invited to get involved with the focussed activity, but they might be just as happy to play freely. In Steiner early years we wait for the child to want to join in out of imitation, so as they see adults working with their hands, they will join in when they feel ready. This part of the morning can be an opportunity for adults to connect and talk, though we ask parents to keep an eye on their child to make sure they are playing kindly and safely. This is a time of free play, but sometimes the children benefit from some adult support as they negotiate the sharing of toys and space. It can also be a really special time to sit at your child's level and play with them without distraction.
Our shared snack is around 11am. This is a special time for the children, we sit around the table together, a candle is lit before singing a blessing and sharing the food around the circle. By creating a calm and quiet time, adults sitting with their children we can help them to remain at the table until it is time to say 'thank-you for the meal.' Organic rice cakes with butter and savoury spread are provided, with fruit tea for the children and a choice of teas/coffee for the adults. Families are asked to bring a piece of fruit each week to share with the group.
At about 10.30 we all tidy up, led by some gentle singing and adults showing the children by example. We then sit together for seasonal songs, nursery rhymes and games suitable for the very young child. If your child still wants to play, do help them to join in by sitting them on your lap quietly. We can all help the children by being together in a circle, and the repetition from week to week of certain songs helps the children to know what to expect, and over time they begin to join in and immitate. Without the distraction of children running about, we can all breathe in some peacefulness. It also helps us move calmly to the tables for snack time.
Children's birthdays are celebrated at the Parent and Child group, if requested (at least a week's notice please.) Families can bring in a home bake (nut free) or special fruit to share at snack time. A special birthday song is sung and the child receives a handmade gift from the group leader, delivered by a tiny gnome. Celebrating birthdays can feel important to the older children as they reach the age where they will leave Parent and Child and move up to the Kindergarten.
There are plenty of natural playthings, including wooden toys, books, musical instruments, play frames, coloured veils, knitted animals and cloth babies. As there are lots of things to play with, it is helpful if toys and food are not brought from home with the exception of course of feeding bottles and security items like blankets and cuddlies.
After tidy up time, during which a couple of the parents are asked to help with washing/drying up, the children spend some time outside. There is the whole of the farm to explore as well as a playground by the farm cafe. The session ends by joining together again and singing a goodbye song. There is occassionally a puppet show or 'bakers shop' song on baking days.
Adults and children are invited to wear slippers indoors, especially in the winter. Please make sure your child is equipped with wellies, rainproof clothing when its wet, warm jumpers & hats in colder weather, and sunhats when it's hot. Unless weather is really poor, families are encouraged to venture outside to breath out again after the more held time sharing the snack.
Both groups are run by Jan Coles, a trained and experienced Steiner kindergarten teacher and parent & child leader.
Each group is limited to a maximum of 14 families.
If you would like to join one of our Parent and Child Groups, please contact Inga.