A new kindergarten is born

This has been a craaazy week! And also a highly fulfilling and satisfying week.

It´s the third time I do this, so at least I was prepared for what I was in for.

I brought down Lucy from Oaxaca a week ago in order to get my new kindergarten in order and help in training the new teachers. Lucy is my first employee ever. She started as a teacher assistant seven years ago at Papalotes (Mexican Spanish for “kites”), and for five years in a row I raised funds to be able to send her off to her Waldorf training in Cuernavaca. She has turned into a real bad-ass teacher, seriously, she´s so good I can hardly believe it even though I´ve been observing her every day now for a week.DSC_2285

 

I´ve done most of the theory with the girls, and Lucy shows them how to turn it into practice. We have 12 kids for the moment: 3-5 years old. The most important thing this week has been to implement a rythm that works for them:

They get in around 9am. We check their heads for lice (once they stick they´re almost impossible to get rid of). Then it´s circle time: we play fun games that train spatial intelligence, gross and fine motorskills and then it´s time for a walk where the kids explore nature freely.

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When we get back home, they have more free play, those who want help us prepare lunch, we eat, they do their dishes and then continue playing.

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Most of the materials are “unfinished” in order to trigger the kids´imagination: wooden blocks, branches, seeds (tiny and huge!), rocks and fabrics. I love watching a fabric go from being a turban, to a cloak, then a blanket and a tent!

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In the early afternoon, the kids have one main activity: it can be painting, baking, crafts or something else. They usually all want to join in, and the level of concentrationgoes from 3 minutes to 20 depending on the child.

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Then there´s more free play, then a story, rest and suddenly it´s time to go home again!

Except for the teacher team. We stay and analyze what we´ve observed during the day: what worked? Why? What didn´t work? Why? how can we improve it? The children´s behaviours – and loads and loads of analyzing how Lucy does things and why. This part is vital to me, and I´m very focused on helping the teachers develop their pedagogical thinkning: Yes, Lucy managed to solve that fight, but what exactly did she do that worked, and why did it work? This way of thinkning doesn´t come natural. It needs to be modelled and we´ve spent a great deal of time creating conscious awareness around what´s going on in the kindergarten.

We´ve been leaving around 4pm. Time for late lunch “a la Mexicana”, and then we´ve had to run around and get stuff that´s missing at the school. Doing this every day is exhausting!

I sometimes wonder if i´m completely nuts, I mean anyone would have given up by now, but I can´t. The small kids need a place like La Casita, and I just have to give it to them. Seeing them play freely and happily gives my life meaning, and receiving grateful and supportive parents is like frosting on the cake!

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