LifeWays North America draws from the indications of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf education and modern formulations such as The Irreducible Needs of Children by Brazelton and Greenspan, which emphasize nurturing the child’s sense of trust and well-being through having the same caregivers throughout the early years. Relationship-based care that takes family life as its model complements your home life and provides an environment in which your child will flourish.
LifeWays® programs recognize that human relationship and activity are the essential tools for all foundational skills for life. In infancy and early childhood, daily life experience is the “curriculum” through which your child experiences healthy life rhythms and routines. Beauty, comfort, security, and connection to the living world of nature form the basis for the “Living Arts:”
Along with vigorous, healthy play and sensory stimulation, these are the kinds of things that provide the nerve activity needed for higher learning—language development, dexterity, math skills, social skills, and creative thinking—skills that are in very high demand today. According to an article on brain development in a special edition of Newsweek, “ …short of being raised in isolation, a baby will encounter enough stimulation in most households to do the trick – anything from banging pots and pans together to speaking to a sibling. The key phrase here is ‘properly stimulated, which is not the same as expensively stimulated or the worse fate, over stimulated” (Rosenberg and Reibstein, Newsweek, Spring/Summer 1997).
Professor Barry Sanders defines “orality” as the rich use of language conveyed through the nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays and circle games that have informed infancy and early childhood life throughout all time. Such a foundation of rich oral language not only helps to assure successful reading, but also helps a child’s ability to develop a sense of self as an antidote to later violent behavior (A is for Ox: Violence, Electronic Media and the Silencing of the Written Word).
As children enter the final phase of early childhood, their natural interest in numbers and letters often arises spontaneously, at which time their caregivers encourage their interest and enthusiasm without direct instruction. LifeWays recognizes childhood as a valid and authentic time unto itself and not just a preparation for schooling.
Please feel free to visit the Lifeways North America website for more information on this philosophy.
Our daily rhythm provides a balance between active times and rest times thereby nourishing each child’s sense of health and well-being. When caring for infants, we are led by their individual needs. Our typical day with children over 12 months may look like this:
7am – Drop off begins
7:30am – 8am – breakfast served
8am–9:30am - Creative, free play, along with practical work (cleaning, baking, laundry folding) or creative arts (gift making, painting, coloring)
9:30am – children and caregivers work together to tidy the space and use the bathroom/diapering
9:45am - Circle Time – lead by child’s caregiver, with seasonal songs, games, and stories
10:15am - Morning snack – may consist of organic fruit, dairy, whole grains and/or nuts
10:30am-12pm - Outdoor play, which includes time spent playing in our play yard, working in our organic garden, caring for our farm animals, or taking a nature walk. We value all weather and will go outside almost every day, in every weather!
12pm- Hot, organic, home-cooked lunch served
12:45pm - Rest preparation begins, with warm face cloths, and tucking in with a story and lullabies sung by the child’s primary caregiver. Little Farm School allows for this personal connection of story and song instead of recordings.
1:00pm - 3:00pm - Rest Time – all children take part in rest time, though not all sleep every day. Quiet, restful activities are provided for children who do no fall asleep.
2:45pm - Children begin to be wakened with a song. They fully awaken as they enjoy nurturing time with their caregiver and they help to make their beds and put their sleeping cots away for another day.
3:30 pm - Afternoon Snack - may consist of organic fruit, dairy, whole grains and/or nuts
4:00pm -5:30pm - In the warm months from April to October, the children enjoy outdoor play until they are picked up by their parents. During the darkest and coldest parts of the winter months, the children may spend this time playing indoors.
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"Learning Through Life, Honoring Childhood"