Breathing In and Breathing Out

This is a sample class schedule that incorporates the principles of “Breathing in and Breathing Out”. I have also explained some of the wisdom behind the baking of the bread below.

Shaping Bread: “Breathing In”. This is the beginning of EVERY Waldorf day. The children are allowed to slowly ease into the day and focus their energies on the shaping of the dough and start conversations. This is a time of transition, an analogy to the shaping of the day, a way the children can feel involved in the creation of the school and a wonderful ritual they enjoy eating later. Watch the shapes they make as they are often
indications of moods or stages in a child.

Nature Walk/ Table: “Breathing Out and In”. The nature walk allows the child to notice the weather of the day, of the season and where they are, thus becoming in touch with the environment around them and centering them and connecting them with the universe around them. Objects are placed on the table as an ever changing display that keeps the classroom in touch with the outside world so children do not become isolated in an artificial environment.

Circle Time. “Breathing Out” .This is a time for teaching both songs and finger rhymes of a Waldorf nature. Usually rhymes that are seasonal and dealing with nature are used. There are many books filled with rhymes and songs. Usually 3-5 songs/ fingerplays are used for each circle time. The parents usually perform with the child and this is a time for the child to use their outward energy and draw “out” of themselves into the group.
Sometimes children will want to play instead of doing the songs and that is OK. Some children take a few times to get used to the idea and will eventually join in. As always parents are expected to make sure their children are either participating or at least not disrupting. As a rule, in Waldorf, a child’s talking and whispering and playing alone quietly or with soft noises is ALWAYS accepted. However, shouting, running,
pushing or any behavior that brings attention to them instead of the group should be stopped by the parent with a gentle reminder and re-routing of the child’s attention. In some cases a child must be removed from the room by a parent.

Storytime: “Breathing In”. At the end of circle time children then change from sitting in a circle and instead sit facing the “storyteller” demonstrating visually and mentally that now is the time to sit and listen and not to play. Instead of sitting in a circle for the story, children are sat in front of the “storyteller” in rows. From ages 1-4 stories are never read but only “told” using finger puppets, wooden figures or hand motions or other
natural tools. Stories for older children until age 7 are usually TOLD as well but sometimes read. IF they are read, books with large and beautiful and abundant illustrations are used. Stories usually focus more on higher morals at this time and contain some sort of lesson or moral. Wordy books are usually used for older children or for one on one interaction (parent to child). Circle rhymes and songs for older children usually focus on using numbers, letters and other concepts in an interesting way that children can begin to LEARN from.

Snack Time: “Breathing Out”. Children are called to snack and during this time the parents discuss topics. One parent or teacher usually set up the snack so the snack is ready and the table is set when people come to the table. The table is ALWAYS set nicely with cloth napkins and cups and bowls made of natural ceramic or wood . There is always a candle lit and a prayer before every meal.

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