Daily Rhythm

 

Gentle transitions from hour to hour, ritual to ritual, or activity to activity are what make up the heart beat of our day. We strive to make every part of the day a pleasant learning experience for children. Acting as if mileage posts on the side of the road, each ritual/activity, serve as a marker reminding us of how far we’ve come, where we’re headed next, and how much longer we have to go. They do this in language that speaks directly to the heart, a language that young children can easily understand. Through songs, rhymes, verses, actions, and such, the presence and character of each hour is revealed and leaves a profound impact infinitely richer and more complex than clock time. Each ritual/activity within the predictable rhythm of the day, offers us an opportunity to direct our lives from within, not being swept along by the demands of the clock. By living in the real rhythm of the day, we experience a sense of security and we learn to self-regulate.

Caregiver Meditations & Preparations for the Day

 

 

Before the day’s noises begin, when it is still perfectly quiet, caregivers set aside a few moments outside the practical demands of the day to nourish their own soul and fill their cup from which they will then be prepared to nourish others.  This is the very foundation of our daily rhythm... a time for adult prayer, meditation, learning, and preparation. This practice of carving out time for ourselves before the day begins, challenges caregivers to carry the good news throughout the day: light shines in the midst of darkness; the very darkness shines!

 

“In the stillness 
before my day begins,
I open my heart 
to the gift of this hour;
gratefully I listen 
to the silence.”

 

Love-filled partings followed by warm embraces greet the children, and they go a long way over the course of the day. The chirping birds of the morning, blooming flowers, and ripe fruits or veggies in the garden call our attention, offering a much needed distraction. Our morning walk is a time to check in on our plant friends, water/feed them, and harvest the day's fruits/veggies to wash as we prepare for the day. Gathering a flower or two along the way, to set at the breakfast table is an ritual which adds to the beauty of the new day demonstrating intention to see the beauty in THIS day.

 

"Open wide the door to morning,

Take love as you depart;

Walk gently on the earth,

With kindness in your heart."

~Seven Times The Sun, by Shea Darian

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Arrivals/Garden Walk/Breakfast

 

 

Much like the hour when work duties are given out in a given community, the focus of our morning meeting, or circle time, is on a proper beginning; to start the day's activities properly, wholeheartedly. We gather together and set intentions for the day, we sing songs, engage in movement, do some exercises, and play brief games that foster cooperation and communication, but above all, open our hearts to the day's possibilities.

Circle is much like the drum-roll to start our day deliberately.

 

"The light opens up and I walk in,

The day invites me to begin.

I ask the day, 'How shall I start?'

Says the day, 'With a wish upon your heart.'"

~Seven Times the Sun, by Shea Darian

Circle: Meditation/Movement/Activity Launch

 

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Play: The "Work" of Childhood

 

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Each day children are greeted with an array of carefully selected toys made from natural materials along with endless nature treasures that provoke their curiosity, exploration and imagination. Carefully selected books and engaging stories told by the teachers spark chidlren's interests and feed their imagination. We then capitalize on their individual interests with extensions for more in-depth learning when the opportunities arise. Play time is where our weekly and daily hythms meet. Observing the teachers fully engaged in the activity of the day offers the best kind of provocation there is. As children see  caregivers with heart and hands on a task such as attempting to play a new song on an instrument or knitting a scarf, their play also becomes more intentional and deeply focused.

 

Each day of the week offering its own lesson.

Mondays ~ Music and/or Clay/Beeswax Modeling

Tuesdays ~ Tinkering (building, fixing, polishing toys...chidlren get great satisfaction out of watching their creations come to life)

Wednesdays ~ Watercoloring/Painting

Thursdays ~ Threads/Textiles (beading, lacing, fiber arts, etc...)

Fridays ~ Foods (bread baking, soup making, measuring, pouring, filling, dumping, greasing and watching dough rise are some Friday favorites)

 

Whether playing with an instrument, molding clay, painting, building with blocks, drawing, beading, finger knitting, kneading dough, or helping a friend, this is the time we express delight in being blessed with life by our actions. We are encouraged to pass on this blessing to others by sharing our joy in play, a good word or a smile, a kind action that goes completely unobserved, or simply a good wish in silence. 

 

"The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed

And all the hills echoed..."

~William Blake

Mealtime

 

 

 

 

Meal time is more than just an opportunity to feed our bodies, which are beginning to tire from the morning's activities. It is also a time to feed and recharge our spirit, reaffirm our good intentions for the day. A social time in which teamwork is inspired by the setting of the table and the washing of the dishes with one another. The water play wich follows lunch is certainly a favorite ritual among the children, as are the stories they hear while eating--telling of their food's journey from seed to table.

 

"We gather 'round this table, 

Where bodies are renewed,

Where hearts appease their hunger,

For we feast on more than food."

~Seven Times the Sun, by Shea Darian

 

 

 

"The seed and root beneath the Earth,

the willful, growing shoot...

the hopeful bud, flow'ring blossom

turned to glowing fruit.

 

We thank the Earth who grew this food

from little bursting seeds,

and the Keeper of the Earth,

whose gifts fulfill our needs."

~Seven Times the Sun, by Shea Darian

Rest

 

 

After lunch, children are given the opportunity to sleep or simply rest. We head inside where dimmed lights, solft music, and the fresh scent of lavender meet us to ease the transition. A brief bedtime story is told, often including some breathing and/or stretching exercises to aid our bodies in settling down for rest.

 

""The grass is a whisp'ring bed of green,

Mother Earth calls us to rest.

The trees are rustling a lullaby,

Mother Earth calls us to rest.

Our waking dreams move 'cross the sky,

Mother Earth calls us to rest."

~Seven Times the Sun, by Shea Darian

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Snack

 

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The much needed boost for those last hours of the day, snack is a time to once again gather around the table and re-energize our bodies for the adventures ahead.

"God we thank for this food,

For rest, and home, and all things good,

For wind and rain, and sun above,

But most of all,

For those we love!"