Our daily rhythm alternates periods of concentration and expansion, as if in a breathing rhythm where there is inhaling and exhaling. In the inhaling or breathing-in phase the child directs her attention to an activity that basically relates him to himself (drawing, water painting, eating…). In the exhaling or breathing-out period, the child relates mainly to the surrounding world (free play, gross motor movements etc.). For each breathing-in period the child needs a breathing-out period and so a pattern and balance is established.
In our weekly rhythm teachers strive to give a rhythmic structure to individual lessons as well where we reflect on a subject we explored the days before and follow that with presentation of a new element. Whatever has been taken in on one day is remembered and reflected on the following days. This builds a growing rhythm and a deeper sense of understanding of a subject.
Young children are in deep harmony with nature and our seasonal rhythm connects us more to the natural world. Nature is a world of rhythms - the rising and setting of the sun, the flowering of trees, the change of seasons... when we provide supporting rhythms for children, we harmonize their being, thereby aiding the development of their inner rhythms of sleep, digestion, circulation etc. Monthly themes, block study, seasonal festivals and celebrations reflect and support our connection to the seasonal rhythm.
“Children depend on the rhythmic structure of the day–on its predictability, its regularity, its pulse…. By surrounding a young child with a sense of rhythm and ritual, you can help them order their physical, emotional, and intellectual view of the world. As little ones come to understand, with regularity, that ‘this is what we do', they feel solid under their feet, a platform for growth. Such a stable foundation can facilitate their mapmaking: the connectedness that they are charting in their brains, in relation to other people, and in their emerging worldview.” (Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne)
We highly recommend reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne for inspiration to create more rhythm in your children's life at home!
We also recommend the blog Rhythms of Play for more inspiration in how to create healthy rhythm and routine in your life at home.
Here's a look at how we learn through rhythm at The Children's Garden:
Our daily rhythm is a gentle guide to the flow of our day. We do not adhere to a rigid time structure for the day but we do generally follow the same order so there is a natural predictability of what comes next. This natural predictability helps support positive transitions for the children - if they know what is coming next they feel more ease with the flow of the day:
Creative Free Play
Gross Motor Free Play
Lunch (Morning) or Snack (Afternoon)
Special Classes: Yoga, Music, or Cooperative Games
As children arrive we have art projects and materials for the children to interact freely with. Our art projects are process based - please read our blog Raising Creative Thinkers with Process Art and Learning with Loose Parts for more details!
In our opening circle we unite as one group, connect with each other through singing and various greeting activities and move our bodies in brain smart ways that enhance our ability to learn.
The children have the freedom to play freely with open ended, high quality materials in an inspiring natural environment.
To start off our day together in a positive way we like to focus on social emotional learning while we have snack - we practice our grace and courtesy at the table and discuss ways we can be kind and helpful. We also love to read books together at snack time that help us learn about our emotions and the feelings and needs of all the beings around us.
We love to create together in the big sand box, play games on the straw bale playground, build and balance with the large blocks, and dance with the trees!
After free play, we come together for a guided activity of gardening, literacy, math, sensory exploration, science investigation, cooking class, or a special project.
Our garden is a living classroom. We steward the health of our community and our planet by passionately teaching about how to grow and prepare food. As we learn how to grow and prepare our own healthy food and medicine we develop our capacity to be environmentally conscious global citizens and to thrive on the earth as a beneficial keystone species. See The Garden is our Teacher for more!
The primary program creates their own Waldorf inspired books and the preschool program engages with Montessori inspired materials while both programs develop a love of language through a variety of topics. See our blogs
Hands-on Literacy and Inspire a Love of Language to learn more.
Hands-on mathematical explorations are offered that are designed to engage a variety of learning styles presented through group projects (building garden beds/running a farm stand...), fun games (graphing a scavenger hunt/dice-movement games...), and outdoor learning (patterns in nature/sundials...):
See Exploring Math in Play for more!
Young science lovers engage with fun experiments and interesting projects. We explore the patterns of nature and naturally learn about biology, physics, and chemistry through hands-on scientific inquiry! See Mad Scientists for more!
We love to create messy fun sensory experiences that help to support brain development. See Learning with our Senses for more!
The kids love to help prepare lunch and nutritious treats. Cooking is an organic experience that invokes wonder through various textures, smells, and tastes. Our cooking classes offer numerous benefits including laying the foundation for basic math concepts, advancing motor skills, supporting self-esteem, and nourishing healthy eating habits. See Cooking with Children for more!
"Give thanks to the Mother Earth"
After lunch (morning program) or big snack (afternoon program) we alternate special classes - on Monday and Tuesday we play Cooperative Games and on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday we alternate Hola Yoga, Music Class, and Emotional Intelligence or Mindfulness Activities.
At our closing circle each child gets an opportunity to share their experience, create a group story of the day, and to practice listening to one another. Then we enjoy telling more stories and reading books until our families arrive.