Several of you have asked on Instagram, whether I could write some more details about our waldorf routines. I already shared some thoughts about Emmi Pikler and she really has a great influence on how we see children and our relationship with them. But all in all we have many other influences like Maria Montessori and Jean Liedloff. And one big influence that mostly shapes our days and routines and also the atmosphere we live in is by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf pedagogy in Germany.
Me and my 3 years younger brother actually visited a normal school and thus didn’t experience the waldorf pedagogy personally. But if I could have chosen, I would have wanted to visit a waldorf kindergarten and school. Kindergarten and school times are periods of my life I would rather forget and that are constant memories of cold, envy, pressure and loneliness.
I have watched my 4 younger siblings visit the waldorf kindergarten/school and always admired the magical and warm atmosphere in there. There is no pressure and a lot of freedom to develop and still (or maybe just because of that) they grow into independent, joyful, confident and curious beings, who learned how to learn and who found their place in this world.
With Rhythms we feel save, supported and alive. We move with rhythms as we dance through the seasons with all other beings like plants and animals, who adapt to the eternal repetition of nature. We use pranayam exercises to heal and to gain back energy during yoga sessions with the rhythm of our breathing. Our body follows a biorhythm in food intake, digestion, hormonal cycles and activation levels.
The waldorf pedagogy has shown how precious these rhythms and repetitions are for small children. The natural rhythm is given by the shift of the seasons and weeks and thus the daily routine just adapts with certain activities.
Since we still live at home with J, we chose to integrate these rhythms into our daily life. We always have a nature table that we create together with our little one, by collecting nature goods and crafting. We choose seasonal colors to decorate this table with silk clothes and kind, friendly things. We always integrate candles to give it the power of an altar. We don’t believe in god as in christian religion, rather than a universal energy that we welcome with nature’s givings.
Since J was 18 months old, we created a weekly calendar based on what we know about the waldorf routines. These calendars are freely created and differ from kindergarten to kindergarten. But there are some characteristics that repeat everywhere. The anthroposophic pedagogy assumes that very young children have no imagination of yesterday and tomorrow, but live in the very day. How mindfully spoken! Thus children need something special and magical in every single day to be able to recognise it. This is easily reached with daily food and activity routines.
I really like the image of Wednesday as potato day or Thursday as soup day. But we weren’t yet able to accomplish that in our daily life but are constantly trying.
We rather have a fixed routine for every day, which I want to outline shortly. Of course the calendar changes a bit through the seasons, but that makes it even livelier.
Our Waldorf Homeschooling Calendar
Monday: Sweet day
This is where we bake cake, prepare raw truffles, energy balls or hot vegan chocolate. It is a wonderful welcome to start the week satisfied and joyfully.
Tuesday: Crafting and Coloring
Here we prepare treasures for our nature altar, craft christmas stars or just use brushs and colors on Aquarell paper.
Wednesday: Stocking day
The middle of the week is my favourite day. Here we prepare Ghee, broths, wild herbal salt or ferment sauerkraut. There are endless possibilities. Sometimes we just fill up our refrigerator with self cooked beans, quinoa or veggie patties to use for the rest of the week in salads or sides. J loves everything that goes on in our kitchen. He has a foot stool since he was 12 months old to reach everything on the counter.
Thursday: Magical Stories
This day we visit the children’s library or just stay at home to build us a palace of our books on the sofa that we read while drinking tea and eating cookies.
Friday: Cleaning day
The flat is brought into a glittering and gleaming castle… no that is actually not what it looks like. Before the weekend we like to do the laundry, vacuum (J helps with his broom) or change the sheets. In waldorf tradition Friday is the day to prepare the weekend and to slow down. And since we have visitors nearly every week, this is how we spend that day.
Saturday and Sunday
Of course we are not a kindergarten and thus we also enjoy the weekend together. We always have one slow, unplanned day. And as you might know if you followed me for a while, we also have our weekly nature trip. This is where we stand up very early to fill our backpack with egg sandwiches and hot tea and drive to an unplanned nature spot. We always explore something new and this is the perfect day to regain all energy after a long week.
Don’t get caught by your calendar!
This might sound like it were the best thing to vanish in an uncountable number of dates and routines, but this is definitely not what it means. To develop freely children absolutely need a mixture of routines and free play. This free play is a core quality of the waldorf pedagogy and can of course also be found in many other modern pedagogies.I have already written some lines about that the other day when I told you about our Pikler Play Time and I will soon write some more about that. Try to have your days mixed and always “plan” some free time for all of you, where you can enjoy mindful minutes with each other.