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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!