Bring your days into rhythm
Today’s task could never be accomplished in one day. It’s an ongoing job to bring your days into rhythm. It is, however, the central task for the preschool years.
Many times when people discover Waldorf-inspired homeschooling it’s the aesthetic or the unique activities that first peak interest. I don’t think that parents wake up one day thinking, “I’d really like to find an educational philosophy that involves bread-baking, watercolor painting, rainbow silks, and wood toys. If it makes my house smell like beeswax it’s a definite winner.”
But when we encounter descriptions of a Waldorf kindergarten or see beautiful pictures on blogs or visit a school the aesthetic and activities do really catch our attention because underneath the soft sensory experience of Waldorf there is a deeper feeling or a quality which is truly unique. And what we don’t see right away is that none of the outer expressions of Waldorf have any educational potential without a strong underlying rhythm.
The central task for the parent/teacher in the preschool years to bring rhythm into the home. The rhythm of your days will cradle and support all the nourishing and educational activities that you will want to bring to your child as you move through the kindergarten years and into the early grades. Parents often worry about phonics. But what your child needs most is a rhythm to the day that supports her healthy neurological development. Everything else will build on that strong foundation.
Ok, but I promised to be practical in this series! So let’s get started. Yesterday we talked about observing the rhythms of your family life and today we’ll look at how to work on daily rhythm one step at a time. If you want to read more about the big picture of rhythm in the home, check out this series!
How to bring your days into rhythm:
1. Start with just one part of the day that you want to make more rhythmic or just one activity that you want to do every day. Work with that one thing to bring it into rhythm.
You might start with a part of the day that isn’t working - maybe your mornings feel harried, or bedtime is rough, or late afternoons are cranky.
Or you might want to start with something that is working - maybe going for a walk lifts everyone’s mood so you decide to add it into the daily routine, or you set an intention to read aloud every day.
2. Envision that part of the day going really well. What would make your heart sing? What would nurture your child and your relationship? How much time would it need to feel right?
3. Decide when to make that one thing happen. It doesn’t need to be a specific time but it’s important to work on the order of operations. So if you are adding in a daily walk, decide to always walk right after breakfast or just before lunch or whatever you feel would be best.
Try to balance and alternate more active, outwardly focused activity (outside time, social play, circle) with renewing, inwardly focused activity (rest/nap, read aloud, meals).
4. Decide how to make that one thing happen. Do you need any supplies (like rain gear for a daily walk)? Could you sing a song or say a verse when you begin? Is there anything you want to do to make it a special moment in the day?
5. Be consistent until that one thing is just what you do in your family.
6. Bring more parts of the day or more activities into rhythm over time. Start with reflecting, then committing, then doing. We’ll be discussing many more wonderful activities to do with your preschooler throughout this series!
Do you have a daily rhythm in place or are you starting from scratch? What is the first part of the day that you'll bring into rhythm? How do you envision that part of the day going really well?