I've been really enjoying my time running my little Waldorf Friends Class. I have been trying to organize the childcare space and make it welcoming and inviting for the children. I love being able to offer them a gentle place to play and grow, free from electronics, tv and video games.
I have some very firmly held beliefs on early childhood education. One of them is that I feel it is important for us to break through many of the stereotypes we place on children. One in particular is that only little girls should play with dolls or act out loving and nurturing behaviors in their play. I think it is important to allow little boys to play with dolls and doing so helps raise gentle and loving fathers for our future world.
I also love childcare that can include children of mixed ages whenever possible. Because of state regulations and our educational system starting Kindergarten so young, this is not always feasible but in home daycares, with small ratios, it is. When the ages of the children are varied in a program that is home-like, it mimics the natural setting of living with siblings at home. Little ones are able to learn from the other children and it provides older children with the opportunity to help guide others and build their self-confidence.
Sometimes I think it is hard to remember how very important our work is raising these little people. It is especially hard to remember during the tough times. Being a parent, teacher or caregiver literally changes the world one child at a time. It is a sacred job that should be cherished, valued and deeply respected as the future of our world depends upon it. We desperately need more childcare and parenting programs that promote this type of loving care from an early age, as those years are so pivotal in the development of a healthy and whole human being. Just imagine the possibilities if every child - even those who live in undesirable home situations - received this type of gentle love and care in their childcare program all day long. What difference would it make in who that child is able to become later in life?
As many of you know, I have written many books and non-academic curriculum to help others teach and raise their children in this way. Please be sure to visit my website and check out some of the free sample weeks for you to use at home or school.