I love Wednesdays! By the time Wednesday arrives I am usually tired and a little tangled. K and I pack up for our morning playgroup visit at our local Rudolf Steiner School. We are always greeted with smiles and warm tea. The hillside upon which the school and farm sit is always sun drenched and we are immediately surrounded by living and growing produce. Not only does the environment brighten my day, the time to watch my daughter grow does too, along with the mind and soul nourishing connections I get to make with the people at play group.
K (21months) is making huge social development growth at the moment - a stage that is wonderful to observe. She has always been one of those children who love the attention of adults so to see her interact with other children is beautiful. Today was one of sharing, tolerance, listening and watching for her peers needs, turn taking, pushing carts together. She and her new friend Maddie (two) pushed their cart so fast down a slope that K hurt her foot. She cried. She really cried - for Mum. However she bravely accepted the offer of Maddie's teddy and and cuddle from her. All sorted they moved on to "peke peke" into the sand pit together. Holding hands to circle time, K sang and made the actions to our songs then enjoyed our shared morning tea. Just beautiful to watch.
Our group of parents are diverse but share the common interest into that which is Steiner. Today I had two enriching discussions.
What is your constitution?
Maryanne - first time Mum and first time Steiner - er, just like me shared why we were contemplating this type of learning environment for our children. She explained her awesome relationship with her friend who is a naturopath. Maryanne's son has a sulpher constitution. He is quite, a thinker and approaches his world quite uniquely. With a constitution of this type she is exploring the more holistic approach of Steiner for him which may allow his strengths to flourish, where state school may inhibit him by placing stress on him. I just love how we can if we choose grow to understand how we as individuals are made up and deeply care about directions we can take or offer to our children. This small seed has given me the motivation to revisit the naturopath path I begin a year ago. Perhaps understanding my daughters and my own constitution will strengthen my parenting.
Recently our media has given attention to the concept of "unschooling". I think it is great that people are challenging and raising strongly based philosophies of life which they hold. "Unschooling" is not new. The principals of the concept are shared by Steiner I think. My teaching philosophy also. However the way schooling has been designed years ago on a factory based model has been restrictive to unschooling concepts which I believe are enduring. Our second discussion at playgroup today was a sharing of what it is about Steiner education that is of benefit. I heard concepts being shared such as holistic, creative, stage development rather than age development, the child first, allowing children to be children, recreating, social development of great importance, warmth, awareness of our world and others. These concepts sit well with me, they are concepts to which are achievable in the state school sector however, it takes courageous teachers. leaders or communities to embrace these - in my opinion.
I really do love our Wednesdays for re grounding me in the pursuit of what I value and strive for - organic growing and learning.