Our son is lucky enough to attend one of the few Steiner based child care centres in New Zealand - Kowhai Childcare. When I was working part time, I worked at the Waikato Waldorf School just 200m up the road from him.
|Kowhai Whare, the original centre. Cadell attends Tui Whare just two years old, built for increasing enrolments|
I kind of fell into the Steiner philosophy, as in I didn't seek it out. But these things come into our lives for a reason. One of my good friends who I used to teach with in a mainstream school who also happened to have a baby at the same time I had Cadell, returned to work as the Manager of Kowhai. When I started back doing some relieving and finding more regular work she suggested I come and look at Kowhai. I had intentions of starting Cadell at a Montessori childcare. I visited our local one, and although it seemed nice I just didn't get that great vibe you look for when letting your precious child go into the care of others. So I took my friends advice and headed down to Kowhai. I fell in love with the place instantly. The smell of home baking and the kitchen being the heart of the centre, and children being free to play. Best of all there was no busy stinky road close to it.
And so Cadell has called Tui his second home Tui Whare for two years now. Being a teacher you'd think I'd be all focused on academic achievement for my own children, preparing them for school, and teaching them early reading and writing skills. Funnily enough I couldn't be more opposed to this. Learning more and more about the Steiner approach, I truly believe that Cadell is not yet ready for any of this. I want him to appreciate diversity in culture and people, to learn to manage his emotions and relationships, develop motor skills, good work habits, and reverence for the simple things in life and what nature provides for us. The Steiner approach does all of this.
We are lucky enough to have access to some wonderful books in the Kowhai library and one I am thoroughly enjoying now is called "The Genius of Play: Celebrating the Spirit of Childhood" by Sally Jenkinson. What an amazing approach to raising children and opening my eyes to the true value of play for my son.
Here's a little excerpt that rang true for me: