A Review of the Rosebud Waldorf Preschool’s Year
By Catherine Schlager, Rosebud Waldorf Preschool Teacher, original published in June, 2021.
As this remarkable school year comes to a close, the Rosebud teachers of Summerfield’s Waldorf Preschool are reflecting. Let’s take a look at the varied lessons that the preschoolers have learned over the course of our days together.
We have made many discoveries and witnessed countless miracles.
We discovered that the Summerfield seventh graders sing beautifully. Each morning as we played next to the mighty oak tree, the voices of these older children wafted our way. Their singing blessed our space with warmth and joy.
The Rosebuds have learned that climbing the walnut tree on the farm is not easy. You can use your knee to gain a foothold—or a knee-hold really. Once in the tree, you can shimmy up the longest limb and sit like a koala bear, resting your head on the sturdy, smooth bark.
We can say with conviction that Mr. Nash is our hero! He built us a marvelous, wide wooden swing next to the mighty oak tree that sends us sailing far and wide over the earth and nearly up to the sky. In our Rosebud play yard, Mr. Nash installed two new red swings with golden chains.
Each child in our Waldorf preschool has had a daily experience that is both thrilling and calming as they glide rhythmically back and forth, up and down.
We now know how to fashion fishing rods out of old sticks. We can pull dozens of newly-made ‘bracelet fish’ out of the canal rivers in the permaculture garden, during the rainy season. While fishing, we found that two friends can work together to catch the same fish!
We watched teeny, tiny tadpoles change into miniature frogs. And we marvel at how the metamorphosis of living beings happens before our very eyes. A similar transformation took place with the baby lambs—once so new and wobbly, they now friskily bounce around the pasture.
As we get older and bigger, the creatures that share this planet with us do too.
It is clear to us that every fruit and vegetable has a season of plenty—we so looked forward to our apples from the farm stand in the autumn, to our carrots in the winter, and to the tender greens in the spring. The world provides for us in wise, generous ways, and our tummies are grateful.
Of particular note has been our experience of abundance that sometimes opens up to us, especially now during berry season. Did you know that goumi berries (we call them ‘china berries’, as Farmer Ronni informed us that they are native to China) are so very tasty and leave your tongue feeling like a feather? It seems that the bushes on our campus are harboring a limitless supply of sweetness, and many a “lost” Rosebud has been found underneath the branches of a china berry bush!
We learned that the moon is carefully and reverently observed during the season of Ramadan. One Rosebud family enlivened this reality by baking and sharing with us some very yummy moon-shaped cookies that we enjoyed after hearing a story about Ramadan traditions shared by so many people all over the world.
It became clear to a number of Rosebuds that the willow house in the permaculture garden makes for a very tidy office, with desk and wooden chair. It is possible to own many kitty cats and still work away in that space on a breezy springtime morning.
You can have many best friends, and there is always room for another Rosebud to join in the play.
If your house is too small, you make it a bit bigger. If there are not enough plates to go around, plates can be shared. The important thing is that everyone feels welcome and accepted in our Rosebud Preschool.
Experience has shown us that eighth graders are strong and intrepid straw-bale haulers—even of heavy, wet bales. Our play yard felt so very fresh and new after these older children generously gave of their time and effort to move out the old and bring in the new.
We know that both billy goats and nanny goats have horns, and that the former is more aggressive with the use of his. He is just like the biggest brother goat in the story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff. So we keep our fingers away from the fence when he is near. The Rosebuds have also noted that Mr. Billy Goat has an elegant goatee which led the teachers to ponder the origins of that word.
Brother Wind can be a trickster. Hold onto your sun hat on windy days, or you may be chasing your hat down the apple row!
When you are very big and four years old, you can shake your friend’s hand and all disagreements will fade away in a moment. A hug works, too
If you want to start a rock and roll band you will need five metal buckets, two metal bowls, a few wooden hammers and a couple of wooden spoons. After setting the containers upside down, sit astride them with hammers and spoons in hand, and jam! If baby dolls are sleeping nearby, high-tail it to another corner of the play yard so that the babies can finish their naps.
It is possible to scale the side of the slightly slanted trunk of the mighty oak tree. If your rope is well anchored on the side branch, you can steady your grip as you let your weight fall backward and pull hard while you climb.
In our Waldorf preschool, there are two magic words that we use as often as we can: ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ The words ‘excuse me’ come in handy too.
These words bring to any interaction more kindness and respect, qualities that the teachers know are sorely needed in our world today.
There is a place for everything! When everything is in its rightful place, it is time for the next part of the day to begin.
When you are turning five years old, your teeth might get wiggly so you need a star necklace with a tiny pocket for a baby tooth.
It is delightfully fun to count to ten in Mandarin. The sounds are all new to us and they make us smile! Every Rosebud hopes to travel to China one day so that they can use their newfound linguistic skills. As a matter of fact, the Rosebuds plan to visit France, Brazil, Germany, Russia and Mexico, too, as we have counted in so many different ways.
The world is a varied and wonderful place!
Plants need regular tender loving care. We must fill our watering can every week and tend to the sweet peas, the peppermint and the geraniums. Without our attention and devotion, they will wither and die.
Lastly, one never needs to say a final goodbye to friends. A better alternative is, “Goodbye for now, dear friend, and may our paths cross again.” We sing:
Merry have we met
And merry have we been
Merry shall we part and
Merry meet again
Learn more about our Waldorf Preschool and Early Childhood Programs, or schedule a tour of our beautiful campus and biodynamic farm.