Day in the life
In the Michael Hall Early Years program we offer provision for children ages 6 months to 6 years of age.
A Window into a Kindergarten Morning at Michael Hall
School Arrival time – 8.10 am
On your arrival, your Teacher will greet you and your child in the Kindergarten building or garden. During this part of the morning children have an opportunity to play inside or explore the garden and play with their friends. Various purposeful activities happen each kindergarten morning. Each Kindergarten group has a morning a week spent preparing and baking bread. An additional morning is based primarily outdoors within the school grounds.
The children come together with the teacher who leads a rhythmical sequence of songs, poems, finger games and traditional ring games. The content draws on what is happening outside in nature and our human relationship to it throughout the changing seasons, such as gathering apples at summer’s end and chopping wood for the winter fire. The children learn to follow the teacher’s gestures and movements, experiencing their own physicality through an innate urge to join in with the group as a whole. Little direct instruction is given; instead the teacher aims to work with the child’s own sense of will and natural impulse to imitate. Ring time is a daily activity except when replaced by a weekly visit by the Eurythmy teacher.
The movement of Eurythmy engages the whole human being. The practice of Eurythmy gestures enhances children’s coordination and helps them feel more at ease with themselves. Eurythmy is a fundamental element of the Steiner School curriculum from Kindergarten through to Class Twelve.
At mid-morning the children enjoy a healthy snack around the table together. An important point of reverence comes at the beginning of snack time with the lighting of a candle and the group saying a blessing together. A sense of respect is held throughout the meal and re-enforced at the end by the group joining hands to say, “thank you”. The children set the table with care and attention to detail and have usually also helped to prepare the food. Children take responsibility in serving and clearing away the snack.
We provide a range of wholesome snacks on the same day each week. As far as possible all ingredients used are fresh and organic.
This part of the morning offers an opportunity for children to initiate their own self-directed play free from adult direction. They recreate all that they have observed in their day-to-day lives, using the natural unformed play materials available to them. A whole host of elaborate structures and associated play themes emerge from the busy hustle bustle of the creative play period within our morning. Play is children’s ‘work’ and they take it very seriously.
Creative and self-directed play are central to Steiner Waldorf Early Years teaching in which the task is to support the child in his or her imaginative endeavours through the provision of simple, unformed natural play materials that nurture the child’s senses and maximise imaginative potential. Such play materials allow the child’s imagination to transform one item into another (for example a seaside shell can become a bowl, a boat or a telephone; a muslin cloth becomes a knight’s cloak or a roof for a house). This free flow of imagination forms the foundation for free-flowing thinking as an adult.
Craft/handwork and seasonal activities
Alongside creative play there is an opportunity for children to work from their own initiative at practical and artistic tasks such as sewing, drawing, painting or woodwork. Handwork and crafts are predominantly connected to the seasons. We aim to bring wholesomeness into all our activities. For example, wheat is harvested, threshed and ground in the stone mill to make flour for our harvest loaf and apples are collected, made into jam and pressed into juice.
Tidy-up time unfolds seamlessly out of the creative play period and is an integral part of the morning. This is a time when all the children are absorbed in sorting, cleaning, folding, stacking and making sure everything is in its rightful place before play can begin anew the next day.
The Kindergarten morning concludes with the Teacher bringing a fairy tale, folk story or puppet play – each one chosen with the season and its significance in mind. Children are able to engage their imagination more fully with the content if they are left to conjure their own mental pictures rather than follow those laid out on a page. Through being exposed to the rich and diverse language of fairy tales children’s vocabulary is enriched and extended.
Home time 12:30
After a full and busy morning children are handed back into the care of their parent or carer, often with a brief word passing between teacher and parent about the child’s morning.
“Holistic approach to learning. Encouraging deep understanding and immersion in subjects. Fostering lifelong love of learning and questioning. Collaborative learning over competitive."Parent