Rhythm and Curriculum - Swadhaa - a Steiner (Waldorf) School, Pune

Swadhaa - A Steiner School

Rhythm and Curriculum

Importance of rhythm

  • Young children are in deep harmony with nature. Nature, in fact, is a world of rhythms – the rising and setting of the sun, the flowering of Rhythm-and-curriculum-1-(1)trees, the change of seasons…….when we provide supporting rhythms for children, we harmonise their being, thereby aiding the development of their inner rhythms of sleep, digestion, circulation etc.
  • It gives a sense of security to the child – familiarity is nurturing for the child’s soul.
  • Aids discipline – if children feel secure in knowing what is coming next, they are more willing to move with the day.

Rhythm and curriculum at Swadhaa

Kindergarten Curriculum

Rhythm-and-curriculum-1-(2)Children between the ages of 2.5 to 6 are a part of the kindergarten.  Children work in mixed age groups on the same curriculum and rhythm but at varying levels of intricacy and may be separated into smaller groups based on competency expectations for specific activities.

Children in the age group of 2 – 3 are essentially very young and it is strongly recommended that they remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. However, considering the need of the hour we have a special 2 and a half hour, YOUNG SOULS PROGRAMME for them which fundamentally follows the same philosophy and curriculum as that of the kindergarten.

The three R’s of early childhood education in a Waldorf kindergarten are Rhythm, Repetition and Reverence.

The daily rhythm of kindergarten progresses as follows:
Greeting – To start the day with warmth and love, every child is welcomed individually by the Kindergarten teacher.

Free Play – to allow for all the children to settle in and unwind from the routine of getting ready and travelling.Rhythm-and-curriculum-1-(4)

Morning Circle – comprises shlokas, daily verses, finger rhymes and songs. The morning circle reflects the current season/festivity and the central theme of the kindergarten over a period of three weeks. It comprises original creations of songs and rhymes which introduce age appropriate elements of the philosophy and symbolism behind the theme, in the Indian context.

It settles the children into a meditative mood. A verse to welcome the day is sung and a special ceremony marks the beginning of each day. Songs and rhymes inspire a love of language and of music. The rhythmic movements in circle teach balance, body coordination, hand-eye coordination, and gross motor skills.

Activities – Wet on wet painting, handwork, seasonal crafts, cooking, clay- modelling, balancing, gardening and nature walks are the structured activities to balance the free play. The use of pure and natural materials inspires love and appreciation for the natural world in children. Each day of the week has a unique activity.

Indoor free play– This enables children to give full expression to their perception of the world and their experience of it. Qualities we value in adulthood are fostered here – self-confidence, creative and flexible thinking, problem solving, co-operation and self-discipline. Uninterrupted free play also develops concentration and immersion.Simple and natural materials (pieces of wood, seashells, pine cones, cotton, stones, other objects from nature and handcrafted toys) are provided to the children to encourage them to use their imagination, which helps them to form their own games and stories. This free or fantasy play, in which children act out scenarios of their own creation, helps them to experience many aspects of life more deeply.

Making the place beautiful again­– As the teacher and children return objects to places where they belong, children learn to respect the natural order of things.

Rhythm-and-curriculum-1-(5)Preparing the room for meal - Eating together and being involved in preparing the space for the meal, children naturally develop respect and gratitude for food. The joy of eating is enhanced by sharing and helping. Children cultivate a sense of responsibility and co-operation.

Outdoor play - involves connection with nature and making it an intrinsic part of their lives.The more they connect with nature the more conscious they become of preserving the same and living in harmony with it. Sand and water play, gardening and building with tools enhance cognitive development. They also offer an opportunity for sharing, cooperative planning and social communication.

Rhythm-and-curriculum-1-(6)Closing circle– to settle children into a calm rhythm to transition to the journey back home. The children listen as the teacher tells a carefully chosen fairy tale, folk story, or story from nature. The story reinstates a sense of security by reinforcing the “world is good” concept. The story revolves around the central theme of the on-going rhythm and is deeply rooted in the Indian context to ensure that the children begin to engage with the culture of the land. The tradition of listening to the spoken word has, for centuries, deepened our imagina­tive life and enriched our language.

Kindergarten Curriculum at Swadhaa

Daily Rhythm

Welcoming the Child

Bonding with the child.

Circle time

A specially designed, integrated module of verses, games and movement developed around a central theme.(Breathe-in)

Indoor free play & fruit time

Uninterrupted play time for a child to give free reign to his imagination.(Breathe-out)

Activity for the day

Specially chosen activities to work on all levels – gross and subtle; contributing to the overall development.(Breathe–in)

Outdoor free play

Time to go wild! (Breathe–out)

Lunch

A quiet and meditative time spent in eating food with awareness.

Story time

Carefully chosen tales in line with the circle theme and rooted in the Indian context.(Breathe–in)

 

Weekly Rhythm

Monday – cloaked in the creative glow of the Moon

Painting

Tuesday – energized by the fiery Mars

Balancing and nature walks

Wednesday – moulded by the precision of Mercury

Clay modelling

Thursday – fed by the wisdom of Jupiter

Cooking

Friday – adorned by the beauty of Venus

Craft and hand work