Rhythms of the Waldorf Kindergarten

By Regina Hahn

Children are carried along by the rhythms of the world they live in – from the rhythms of breathing in and out to the daily rhythms of sleeping and waking. The yearly cycle of the seasons and the rhythmic procession of stars across the heavens are both parts of life’s experience for children and adults. The Waldorf view is that children flourish when their daily activities reflect the natural order of life through a rhythmical order of the day.

The school day is arranged to create a balance between creative free play, in which the children use their own initiative, and structured activities in which the whole group participates. The kindergarten activities flow with a sense of ‘breathing in’ to ‘breathing out’, from the quiet moments of storytelling and candle time to the active moments of rigorous play in morning circle and artistic work. Typically, a child’s day begins with arrival and greeting the morning, followed by active artistic and purposeful work. The classroom is filled with activity, structured free play or preparation for the daily work. The children are welcome to participate in the artistic activity or engage in creative structured free play with friends. All assist in caring for the classroom, be that tidying away or preparing the table for morning snack. The children gather on the round carpet for morning verse, movement-circle time and followed by quiet candle time. The children transition to enjoying a shared healthy snack and then continue their learning through outside play time. The morning program is complete when the children return inside to quietly listen to a fairy tale or nature story.