Early Childhood

 If a child has been able to play, to give up their whole living being to the world around, they will be able, in these serious tasks of later life, to devote themselves with confidence and purpose to the service of the world.  Rudolf Steiner

1455915_637915499593051_870171482_nPlaygroup

We provide a Waldorf Playgroup arising from the educational principles of Rudolf Steiner

  • To foster the child’s imagination
  • To provide an environment where parents and children feel welcome and can meet on a regular basis to get to know each other
  • To support parents to ‘network’ and gain information about children’s development and learning in their early years

 

 The Structure of the Morning

The morning has a rhythm of coming together for group activities i.e. baking, morning tea, singing circle and story telling time, interspersed with free play. There is a balance between structured times and unstructured times in the morning rhythm which provides children with a sense of familiarity, safety and security.

We begin the morning by making organic buns together, which we bake and have with fruit for morning tea.  The parents and caregivers participate in making the buns along with their children.  This time around the table is an opportunity for parents to get to know each other and their children.  Singing our baking songs becomes a much enjoyed and anticipated activity for everyone.  The children are free to leave the baking when they wish and play with the ‘open ended’ toys provided.

There is plenty of scope for the children to play inside and outside. We use natural materials for construction of the toys i.e wood, shells, cotton cloths and wool. We believe in nurturing children’s  senses. Toys are as unformed as possible to allow scope for imaginative play. There are sandpits and wonderful outdoor areas in both locations. We occasionally have a seasonal art or craft activity.

When?

Paekakariki: Monday 9.00am – 12.00pm          Raumati South: Monday to Friday 9.00am – 12.00pm

What to bring?

  • $5 koha per family per session
  • Indoor and outdoor footwear
  • Hat (rain, hail or shine)
  • One piece of fruit to share
  • One flower

Beyond Playgroup

Parents may choose to send their child to Te Rawhiti nursery class when they are 3.   When they are nearly 4 they may be enrolled in one of the five Te Rawhiti Waldorf Kindergartens located in Paekakariki and Raumati South. Nursery is not a prerequisite for kindergarten. Whereas in playgroup the parents attend with their children, in Nursery  parents do not attend, and the children have a trained kindergarten teacher with them. There are a smaller number of children in a nursery class than in a kindergarten class and only 3 year olds attend this group. In Kindergarten there is a range of ages in each group, from nearly 4 to around 7. From Kindergarten, children may attend Te Ra Waldorf School in Raumati South which takes children through to Class 7 (Year 8).

Kindergarten

Imaginative free play involves natural materials – wood, fibre, wool, shells, seed, coloured cloth, different fabrics and the simplest of soft dolls.
The purpose is to call from the child inner imaginative qualities – in such a way the child can feel “the world is good” and know that this is true in the teacher and in the kindergarten environment.

In the kindergarten, the “seeds” of science and the humanities begin. They are not presented intellectually, but through the development of a sense for the land and living plants and animals around them. The stories told, the songs learned and sung, the small plays acted, deepen this experience. They are chosen from many cultures and languages.

In the kindergarten, the children are “doing” their learning in the activity of their growing limbs and their developing bodies.

Children live in a world of senses. Our mission is to nurture their senses and protect the wonder of childhood. The Kindergarten strives to foster the child’s imagination, to convey a feeling of reverence and to engender a respect for the environment. To have respect and to feel thankfulness are two far reaching qualities in human life. The seeds of these qualities are sown at Te Rawhiti Kindergarten – to respect nature and each other and to be thankful for all that we have.

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One can see how young infants, though physically helpless, seem to soak up new experiences like a sponge! Before kindergarten, the child has learned to stand, talk and think – learned chiefly through imitation. Imitation really characterises the first 6 or 7 years of the child’s life. Uncritically, the child mimics everything – speech and gestures but also attitudes and values of close adults or peers! The Kindergarten teacher strives to be worthy of imitation and will try to pass on a true feeling of reverence and gratitude.

Care is taken with all that comes to the child through the senses and not to over-stimulate. Quality rather than quantity is emphasized. A warm and homely environment is created that is friendly and secure.

The child’s work in the Kindergarten progresses through rhythm and harmony. Rhythm is an integral part of all living processes. The Kindergarten programme is based on the recognition that rhythm provides support and security for the children: it provides a balance of group and individual activities, quiet and active times, inward and more out­going moods. The daily and weekly rhythm is part of a larger seasonal rhythm which includes the celebration of festivals (e.g. Harvest Festival or Mid-Winter Festival) and the changing of the seasons. Children love the anticipation and preparation towards festivals.

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Autumn Festival Harvest Table

The emphasis in the Kindergarten is on “doing” activities where the child’s will is engaged. The children are not asked to give their energies to understanding abstract ideas and intellectual concepts. There is no formal teaching in writing, reading and mathematics. The children’s task is to experience their world in play with as natural materials as can be provided. Activities in the Kindergarten arise out of the children imitating the Kindergarten teacher involved in real human activities in which children participate both outwardly and inwardly through imitation. The activities include traditional tasks such as bread making, artistic or craft activities.

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Baking buns

Creative and imaginative play is greatly valued. The toys are deliberately simple and made from natural materials. The child’s imagination is called upon to complete the form. Various shapes of wood shells, pinecones can become anything in the child’s imagination, and may change from a boat to a tree to a hedgehog within one morning. Cloth carefully dyed in pure colours can be used for house building, a cape for a king or for wrapping a favourite doll. Where actual toys are used they are simple and not fixed to or defined in a particular role. Simple dolls can become grannies or princes. The more possibili­ties there are for using imagination in play during childhood, the more the attributes of creativity and flexibility will be carried on into adulthood.

Fantasy is also nourished through stories which are told rather than read, so that the child has to call upon his/her own mental pictures. Some stories are fairy tales, others reflect the day to day experience of the children. Fairy tales (of various cultures, including many from Aotearoa) are told to connect all children with their spiritual origin and common humanity, while nature stories and stories from life help the children integrate their own land, times and culture. The way stories are told engages and expands the child’s concentration span. Music and songs help to create the calm harmonious atmosphere in the Kindergarten. Creative movement allows for self expression and gross motor skills. Painting, drawing, food preparation and play develop creativity and fine motor skills. 

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The Kindergarten is open to every child whose parents support this kind of philosophy. Every family’s spiritual and cultural background is respected.

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