Parent Education Plays Vital Role In Waldorf Early Childhood Program

By Glenda Moore


Classes include an informational component about a pedagogical element of the school program, i.e. Positive Discipline for Young Children, Music and Movement as a Joyful and Therapeutic Program, The Deeper Meaning of Storytelling, The Importance of Celebrating Festivals from Different Traditions and a myriad of other topics.  Because this program is for children from 3 to 5 years of age, Climbing Rose Waldorf Kindergarten is often a child’s and parent’s first introduction to a school experience, therefore, these parenting classes serve needs beyond the primary one of offering information about this very thoughtful educational philosophy.  My hope is that parents come to experience the community as a support group and these meetings as our time to share concerns and questions about our children and receive support from other parents as well as from me, thus helping to address the feelings of isolation that can come from raising young children in these times.


Our first parent meeting of this year was on The Importance of Free, Open-Ended Play for Young Children.  We began the meeting by sharing a remembrance of an early memory of play from our own childhoods.  I was touched and surprised to hear that many parents remembered having a certain space of freedom to explore the world on their own terms.  Several remembered secret forts in the woods and playing outside for hours with an admonition to be home for dinner.  I was raised in the 1950’s and had experienced a large measure of freedom in my own childhood but I thought this had disappeared for subsequent generations due to a feeling that the world was less safe.  Many children have more scheduled lives and hours in front of various screens and do not experience the timeless joy of playing out stories of their own making which comes from the depths of their being.  This ability to play, which once bubbled out of every child, is drying up due to many factors in our modern world.  In Waldorf schools, we recognize the importance of play for psychological health and emotional wellbeing and have cultivated a way to support and encourage and even sometimes teach young children how to play again.  As a teacher, I consider that the work which I do (baking, sewing, washing, etc.) will be a stimulus to the imitative forces of the young child and will aid them in their play.  I also offer simple, open-ended, hand-made toys that can be transformed in a myriad of different ways.  I give the children circle and story material that is rich in healthy images to feed the imagination.  And, finally, I offer the children an opportunity to immerse themselves in their own world of childhood so completely that they often forget that I am there.  I watch their stories unfold and transform and give them a certain psychological space of freedom.  It is this freedom to remain in childhood longer that I think we can offer our children in modern times rather than the geographical freedom of earlier times.  We often bring them into an adult consciousness too soon in various ways.  We would not think of interrupting Einstein when he is immersed in deeply thinking about his theories but we often interrupt young children when they are playing.  We have come to feel that we must teach them everything in direct instruction but, in fact, they have a deeply ingrained biological plan for unfolding in stages which will be observed in any healthy child.  Sound intriguing?


Come to my Public Workshop and experience A Day in the Waldorf Kindergarten on Saturday, March 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Bring your young child and experience a Waldorf music and movement circle, creative playtime with bread baking and a lovely puppet play and see the difference yourself.  This workshop is free but you will need to call and make a reservation because only six spaces are available.  Please call Glenda Moore at 314-646-0626 anytime on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday with any questions or to reserve a space.  Climbing Rose Waldorf Kindergarten serves children from 18 months to 3 years (Parent-Child Program) and from 3 to 5 years (the 3-day kindergarten) and is fully accredited with the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and has a home daycare license with the State of Missouri.