Child Development

Words of Waldorf Wisdom

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Honouring the Individual and Cultivating Social Emotional Awareness and Skills 

At the foundation of the Waldorf kindergarten is the hope that each child will experience an atmosphere of loving kindness, care and acceptance to nurture and support the unfolding of their unique individuality. Through meaningful interactions, social experiences and celebrations, our hope is that each child will receive seeds for the future to support the lifelong cultivation of gratitude, reverence and appreciation towards human life and the natural environment. As Waldorf Kindergarten teachers we strive to know and understand each child as an individual with special gifts and to receive each child daily with acceptance, compassion, understanding and love. We also strive to cultivate and nurture a healthy social life in the classroom supporting the emotional needs of individual children and the wellbeing of the whole social group. 

Seasonal festivals, birthday celebrations and cultural celebrations are special moments in time in the Kindergarten. Each festival or celebration provides a rich opportunity and experience to connect in a deep and meaningful way to honour each child, to build the social fabric of the class and to connect with the rhythms of the natural world. Festivals and celebrations nurture a child’s sense of security in the world, supports their sense of wellbeing and strengthens their social emotional connections with their friends, family and class community. 

In the Kindergarten, social-emotional awareness, interpersonal skills, communication skills and social behaviours are cultivated, developed and practiced through self-directed imaginative play, morning circle, daily practical activities and direct social modelling from the teachers. 

Self-directed imaginative play supports and develops:

  • receptive language skills (listening to a friend’s ideas)

  • expressive language skills (sharing ideas and expressing emotional needs to your peer)

  • problem-solving and cooperation skills (taking turns, sharing materials in a fair manner)

  • self-regulation (emotional, behavioural and attention)

  • sense of self and identity (honouring individuality and connection with peers)

  • opportunities to explore social role models, experience different ways of being and explore emotional range and expression 

Morning circle provides social learning opportunities:

  • to develop an awareness and sense for the whole group (morning greeting & listening to peers’ sharing their thoughts, feelings and needs in the circle)

  • to experience social cohesion and social harmony (singing, reciting, marching, clapping and moving together as one group)

  • to learn how to approach and navigate through various social circumstances, social conflict and dynamics (listening to stories that indirectly address social dynamics in the classroom and provide social skills and solutions)

  • Social ring games supports turn taking, social connections and leadership skills

Daily practical and social activities provide opportunities:

  • to experience and practice nurturing and caregiving skills (helping a friend when they are injured with a tissue and hug)

  • to develop a sense of service  (serving peers at the snack table, volunteering to help hold the door for the class, helping a friend tidy)

  • to work cooperatively with peers in small and large group activities (teaching a friend how to wind wool, taking turns sweeping the floor, sharing tools & resources)

 

Social characteristics (patience, honesty, generosity, empathy, forgiveness and kindness) and social behaviours (taking turns, serving others, table manners and respectful language) are consciously modelled by the kindergarten teachers for the children to imitate, learn and practice together. We recognize that each child is learning and developing social skills and awareness of the other based on their individuality and we provide lots of opportunity and time to learn and practice how to work and learn harmoniously together. Love, acceptance, role modelling prosocial behaviour, story telling and social games help nurture and develop social emotional awareness, social skills and compassion for one another in the Sungarden and Stargarden Kindergartens.