Just Let Me Play
As an educator, our kindergarten classrooms are transforming. Our learning environments are inspired by the world of natural beauty. Materials are naturally derived, set in beautiful baskets, where wooden shelves embrace the beauty of the open ended materials, which are meant to capture the whole imagination of the child and foster deeper play and learning.
The walls of the classroom extend to the local play yard, ravine, creek, or shaded tree areas. The inside environment, is co-constructed by the children and mirror their learning, interests and wonders. Calming spaces graces the corner of the classrooms with materials to foster strong self-regulation skills and spark independent learning opportunities.
The question now is... how might we transfer these classroom like environments into the home?
The classroom is a learning extension of the child's home. In this case, the home is an extension of the child's interests, family, culture, everyday rhythms, and favourite toys/materials. A space where the child feels safe and secure. Where their imagination is open to bloom. Most importantly, an opportunity to play freely and explore. Trips to the local parks/conservation space is always a good idea! No toys can truly replace the exploration of nature.
Make learning authentic! Allow and welcome your child to see the everything routines, such as cooking, cleaning, healthy eating and my favourite, baking. In the Waldorf philosophy, daily bread/muffin making is part of a morning rhythm.
If you are setting up your child's playroom/outdoor space, consider keeping it neutral and simple (very well organized). There does not need to be many toys or materials in this space. A few favourites and a few rotated every week will keep things interesting. In my opinion, I love including a little bit of the magical world, fairy doors, small world play, and secret play gardens. The play space is only one part of a learning program at home for your child, ensure your child is spending lots of time outdoors and exploring their community safety with a caregiver/parent.
Consider toys/materials to be...
Over the holidays, share your standards for materials with your families and if they would like to purchase gifts for your child, you might consider...
Make Outdoor Environments the Primary Play Space
Picture above shows Miss V and myself exploring our summer herb garden. On one sunny morning, we observed 5 beautiful caterpillars eating our parsley. We documented our observations and created a learning story which is housed in our playroom library inquiry collection.