The Early years are all about preparing a child for Life. Our experiences and impressions in these formative years play an important role in shaping who we are and become in later life. This period is about laying foundations for a healthy physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well being of an individual. Thus, as caregivers, we have a huge responsibility towards this child who has chosen us to care for him.
At Rainbow Bridge we work with the guiding principles of Waldorf Early Childhood Education and are consciously and continuously working on Indianising the Waldorf early childhood curriculum to meet the needs of the modern child in our Indian environment.
We look at Education as a support system for the healthy development of a child. Early years are childhood education is primarily based on physical growth, making the surroundings favorable for observation and learning and not instruction and learning. By making the environment safe, warm, protective, caring, soothing and assuring, children learn much more than we can ever imagine
The Pillars of our work in the early years
3 R’s – Rhythm, Repetition and Reverence
Everything in nature around us has Rhythm. The day and night, rhythm of the seasons, rhythm of the sunrise and sun set, our own breathing. Rhythm has repetition. Being aware of the rhythm makes us assured and restful! Similarly, at school we have a day’s rhythm, week’s rhythm, month’s rhythm and a yearly rhythm.
The yearly rhythm weaves in the festival , seasons and elements from mother nature and our surroundings into the morning circles and the rhythm for the month ie we work around one of these for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Here, children are gently made aware of life and culture, season, surroundings for the senses to perceive and learn by observations.
Like the year has a rhythm so does the month, the week, the day. At Rainbow Bridge we follow a rhythm of 4 weeks ie for 4 entire weeks we do the same thing everyday at the same time weaving in the weeks rhythm and building upon the years rhythm. Children do the same thing every year like celebrating sankranti , every Monday they do wet on wet painting so Mondays are then known as painting days and then every day they have a morning circle, a fruit time , a garden time and so on so thats the days rhythm. Life is Rhythm, rhythm is life and rhythm is the soul of everything we do at Rainbow Bridge.
Rhythm and Repetition go hand in hand in providing an environment with sequence, patterns and order that help to prevent a chaotic environment , allowing the childs brain to develop the pathways and connections essential to their future cognitive growth. And these connections strengthen through repetitive activity. When we introduce new songs or gesture plays , we all do it together.
With this continuous repetition for 4 weeks , the learning happens all very naturally. Children love being told the same story everyday and it’s truly wonderful to see that by the fourth week their story comes forth during free play in school or maybe at home as well. Doing the same thing every day in an orderly manner also leads for forming habits and laying strong foundations for formal learning. It gives the child a deep sense of security, familiarity and assurance that yes, i can do it, i know it and also does its deeper work for building the foundation of academics.
There is gratitude in everything that we do in the kindergarten. Its truly creating heaven on earth – we say a prayer before our fruit and meal time and thank the mother earth for all her gifts, we keep our class beautiful and care for our belongings and our space. Through the day we are constantly instilling a sense of appreciation in our children for the world around them.
Gratitude forms the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation in later life. It’s so beautifully stated that no hands can bless in old age, unless in childhood they have been folded in prayer.”
Gratitude and reverence can never be taught it can only be modelled by the adult and its then imitated by the young child. Thus the adult is conscious and mindful of the way they walk, talk and the manner in which they carry themselves through the day.