Friday, December 28, 2018

January Preschool/Kindergarten At-Home Program


http://littleacornlearning.com/january-preschool-kindergarten-at-home-5-day-guide/
Photographer: Heidi Fraser

FOUR Weeks of Blessings, Verses, Nature Walks, Crafts, Book Recommendations, Teacher's Classroom Work Ideas, Story Time Prop Ideas, Blackboard Drawing Ideas, Recipes, Children's Meditations, Caregiver Meditations, Outdoor Suggestions, Stories, Fingerplays and More!
Please note that our At-Home Kindergarten Guides are a Non-Academic Program Inspired by the Waldorf Philosophy of Education, as well as other Holistic Educational Methods.
Week One, January
Sheep's Wool, Warmth

Week Two, January
Animals in Winter, Deep Rest

Week Three, January
Snowflakes, Tolerance


Week Four, January
Ice, Forgiveness
Morning Blessing* Circle Time* Blackboard Drawing* Morning Talk Suggestions* Weekly Story with Puppet Show Ideas* Daily Activity* Teacher's Classroom Work* Nature Walk* Children's Meditation* Outdoor Play* Mealtime* Rest Time* Caregiver Meditation* Evening Routines* Bedtime Story and Blessing*
This program was designed for homeschooling parents, teachers or childcare providers who wish to share the joy of nature with the children in their care and create a healthy rhythm to their day. It is ideal for mixed-aged situations with ideas for both young and older children included.
While our curriculum is not religiously oriented, Little Acorn Learning does honor a Creator in many of the verses, songs and blessings that we use. We celebrate many seasons and festivals, with an emphasis on Christian saints and holidays. We encourage you to weave your own traditions and customs into the program to make it work best for your program.

Bird Study

Everything in relation to the teaching of birds must be done with spirit. Little children will never get education from a robin by following an outline. They must follow the robin himself and each year deepen their love of him, their need of him, and their knowledge of his interesting life and ways.










Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Winter Scavenger Hunt

While it can be tempting to stay indoors when it is cold and snowy outside, taking your children outside to discover the beauty of nature during winter is well-worth the effort of bundling up and getting out and about for awhile each day.

One of our favorite things to do is to create Winter Scavenger Hunts and as my girls get older, the hunting can get a bit more challenging.  Keeping in mind the ages of your children, you can print out a list of fun things to look for during your next winter nature walk.   Or, feel free to use our list below:

Can you find:

Melting ice?

Evergreen needles?

Nuts?

Dried tree sap?

A frozen flower?

Food for the birds?


Interesting tree bark?



Water dripping on a branch?


Winter berries?

Signs of old life?

Dead leaves?

Fungi?

Animal tracks?


A winter hideaway?

Here are some other fun items you may consider adding to your list:

Two similar rocks
A green leaf
Birds in winter
Squirrel
Roots
Pinecones
Icicles
Frozen water
Spider web
Nest
Living insect

We'd love to hear what you and your children discovered on your hunt.  If you'd like to send us photos of your discoveries we are happy to post them here.  Send to info@littleacornlearning.com

Happy winter discoveries!

January Preschool & Kindergarten Lesson: Hibernation

In our January Preschool & Kindergarten Program, we have so many fun ways to learn about warmth and hibernation:

Talk to your child about hibernation 
and the fact that when the cold 
weather comes some animals hide and 
sleep through the entire winter. 

Help your children make a fun indoor fort out of all the 
blankets, pillows and cozy things you can find! Invite a few 
well-loved stuffed toys or your child’s favorite dolls to have a 
make pretend sleepover party. Or make an Igloo outdoors!  This requires a lot of work but the children will remember it for a lifetime!


Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice/Yule, December 21st 
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This day marks the winter season which continues until the Spring Equinox. Yule was celebrated before the conversion to Christianity in many cultures and this ancient festival still holds strong roots in all we see in the Winter Solstice as well as Christmastime. 

Celebrating the solstice is a magical time in Waldorf homes and schools. All of our books bring this warming festival into the lives of your children with warm recipes, songs, crafts and meditations. Creating a Yule Log was always a favorite in my classroom.


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)



Thursday, December 13, 2018

January 2019 Caregiver's Calendar is Available

The January 2019 Caregiver's Calendar is here! And yes.. it really is only $2 for a month-full of ideas and inspiration. 



(Photography by my dear friend, Marianne Frost)

Our Caregiver's Calendars are filled with important dates, festival celebrations, colors/grains for the day, full moon dates and a daily inspirational idea and suggestion for each day of the year inspired by Waldorf Education while weaving in many traditions and holidays. This calendar is a wonderful peek into Little Acorn Learning's ideas and philosophy and will help you create a more peaceful and mindful home or school!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

6 Winter Waldorf Festivals to Celebrate in December

Advent

The period beginning four Sundays before Christmas that is observed by most Christians in preparation for the celebration of Christmas Day. In Waldorf homes, Advent is recognized by representing the kingdoms of our planet each Sunday:

The first Sunday of Advent we recognize minerals and stones.
The second Sunday of Advent we recognize the plant kingdom.
The third Sunday of Advent we recognize the animal kingdom.
The fourth and last Sunday of Advent we recognize humankind.

We have so many beautiful ways to share with you on how to bring this sacred festival into your home or school in our publications:


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)


St. Nicholas Day, December 6th

Celebrated on December 6th (December 5th elsewhere) in many European countries to honor the Christian saint as the bringer of gifts. Boys would sometimes dress as bishops to give to the poor. Many children would wait for treats to be left under their pillows or shoes that were left out. In Waldorf homes and schools, this celebration continues with children leaving their shoes out the eve before (December 5th) to wake to small treats inside including chocolate, coins, fruits, nuts and sometimes a small toy. 


Where to find ideas for this beautiful celebration:


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)


Santa Lucia Day, December 13th
The Feast of St. Lucia or Santa Lucia is a festival of light, as are many of the celebrations this time of year. In some countries she is represented as a lady in a white dress with a wreath of candles in her hair. Many celebrate this special day by having the oldest daughter in the family wear a wreath in her hair and offer sweet buns or cookies to others. Boys also share a role by wearing star boy caps or dressing as St. Stephen. The procession is said to help all move forward with light into the deep, dark winter days ahead. 

In my Kindergarten class, we often made St. Lucy Buns as well as crowns and star boy hats for the children and had a walk around our playground and school. In the Little Acorn Learning guides we offer complete instructions for these activities as well as some more unique ideas such as planting indoor wheat for St. Lucia Day.


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)


Hanukkah

This beautiful Jewish festival is often called the Festival of Lights. It is observed to recognize the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem. Often a menorah will be lit each evening for eight nights to represent the rededication of the Jewish faith and to spread the light to future generations. A fun game played during this time is the spinning of a dreidel and sometimes small gifts will be shared each of the eight days of spiritual acknowledgement. While my family is not Jewish, I always recognized this special festival in my classroom as the light of hope reaches beyond all faiths and backgrounds. 

Our Winter Festivals Book includes a beautiful tutorial on making a menorah with found nature items, a Star of David banner, as well as a paper menorah. We also have recipes and songs to share.

The Winter Solstice/Yule, December 21st 
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This day marks the winter season which continues until the Spring Equinox. Yule was celebrated before the conversion to Christianity in many cultures and this ancient festival still holds strong roots in all we see in the Winter Solstice as well as Christmastime. 

Celebrating the solstice is a magical time in Waldorf homes and schools. All of our books bring this warming festival into the lives of your children with warm recipes, songs, crafts and meditations. Creating a Yule Log was always a favorite in my classroom.


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)



Christmas Day, December 25th 


The day that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in many Christian faiths (Eastern Orthodox faiths celebrate on January 7th). The four Sundays of Advent lead up to this sacred day.

In our home we have a beautiful tradition of an Advent Spiral calendar as well as other advent traditions such a nativity, advent wreath, mistletoe and Christmas tree. Culturally on this day, many children wake up to gifts from Santa Claus who travels the world to bring joy to those who believe. The tradition of Santa Claus stems from the long rooted tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas, the saint of giving. Many non-Christians still enjoy decorating and sharing gifts this time of year to share love and light with one another.


December Afterschooling Book (Ages 6+, teens and adults)



Which of these December festivals do you celebrate? We hope we have inspired you to weave your own family traditions and customs into your winter celebrations and also try incorporating new ideas from some of the examples above.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13th

Another beautiful festival we love to celebrate at Little Acorn Learning is St. Lucia Day. This year it falls this Thursday. Always on December 13th. 


Each one of our December books gives sweet ways to celebrate this special day in your home or school. Our December Childcare Book (Ages 3-6, Schools & Families) includes songs, recipes, a game and crafts. The December Afterschool Guide (Ages 6+, Schools & Families) includes a beautiful Swedish story of St. Lucia, a special craft and a indoor gardening activity for this special festival. Our Winter Festivals Book (All Ages, Schools & Families) includes even more activities for this time of year. 

Without giving away too much of the goodies in our books, here are some simple ways to help you acknowledge this time with the children. Remember you do not have to do it all on Thursday! You can celebrate any time or a little each day this week.

A lovely recipe to make St. Lucy Buns with the children:

taken from our December Little Acorn Learning Guides


Supplies Needed:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup scalded milk
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
6 packages of dry active yeast
dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 - 8 cups sifted flour
1/3 cup raisins

Mix butter, cream and salt and stir. Mix yeast, milk and 2 tablespoons of the
sugar – leave aside for 10 minutes or more until it foams. Mix both butter
mixture and yeast mixture along with one of the beaten eggs and remaining
sugar. Gradually stir in the flour until a stiff dough forms. Put the mixture
on a floured surface and knead 10 minutes. Add more flour if necessary.
Place dough into a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until it doubles in bulk.
Divide dough into 5” strips about 1” wide. Shape the strips into an ‘S’ shape
and decorate with raisins. Brush with the remaining beaten egg and place on
greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for one hour. Bake at 400 degrees
approximately 10 minutes (until lightly brown, check buns often)


A sweet book to read for St. Lucia Day (so many more book recommendations in our above publications):


A little verse:

Evening Star

Sunset glow is fading
In the western sky
Birds have stopped their singing
Cool winds rustle by

Now the star of evening
Shining clear and bright
With its steady gleaming
Welcomes in the the night.