Today we started our Steiner playgroup at our local Rudolph Steiner Centre. The environment is natural, beautiful and harmonious. We were grateful to have accompanied friends given that beginning something new amongst a group of people happily embedded the culture can be challenging. Our girls enjoyed the environment playing on rocking horses, with dolls and prams.
As someone with a background in education I have always been intrigued with Steiner Education, it seemed very mysterious yet wholesome. Some of the qualities of this education became more attractive to me when our daughter was born and again when my nephew attended, then sister began to teach in Steiner. So off we set...
During playgroup today I observed and learned a lot about K and myself as a mum. At playgroup we eat together after a ritual of singing action songs and hand washing. K found this tough as a morning grazer. She was really stretched. Repeating "eat, eat, eat", visiting the kitchen to appeal to the adults, sitting at the table and proclaiming "ready" and finally and desperately taking a doll to the table appealing to the world with "dolly eat" and tears. Eating at the Steiner playgroup is as a community. After holding hands together and thanking the sun and earth for our food, children handed a basket of wash cloths around, then took from the wooden platters fruit to their bowls, drank warm tea from glasses poured from a kettle at the table, then took wholegrain bread with homemade jam from the platters. It was magic watching this process so very new to our girls. Time to eat together was symbolised by a candle lit then dimmed as a sign to leave the table.
I realised that our eating times as a family could have greater ceremony, especially for a little girl who wants to leave the table when she is done rather than waiting for the rest of our family to finish. Also that providing platters from which she can choose then to move it to her plate, rather than having her plated served to her allows her to make more independent choices.
We explored the farm which is farmed on biodynamic principles. We explored the vege garden, visited the chickens and the pigs. K had her first electric shock grabbing the fence. She told me "more paddocks, more moomoos" observing the vastness of rolling lush hills and herd amongst it.
While Steiner believe in leaving the experiences with the children to live inside them, without questioning from the adults to attempt to reinforce learning, I think we will take some of our learning into our home. K and I will make our own table centre piece to reflect the season, complete with candle to light and dim to symbolise our family eating time together - maybe that will allow us to slow down, take stock and share the time together rather than eating and running.
I would love you hear your lens on eating time with your family.