Yesterday I attended the first session of Joy De Berker’s course in Bath. The group was a good size, and attendees come from a range of educational backgrounds.
The format of the course allowed us to experience the wonder and awe of a Steiner based approach to teaching the early years (0-7). This gave great insight into what our children were getting up to in school and a glimpse of what expectations might be placed on them.
I was interested to learn that many of the songs used within early years settings, use the pentatonic (five note) scale. Many reminded me of songs from Bagpuss, which I watched when I was a child. One of the songs is for the activity of ring time’ or ‘circle time. When I sang the circle time song she gasped and said ‘oh….how do you know that?’
I did a puppet show for her last night. We lit the living room fire, and hubby lounged on the sofa whilst I played on the floor with our daughter.
I used curtain off cuts and scarves to make a landscape on the living room floor. I used apples and some tomatoes to make a garden area. I told the story of the giant turnip which we had been shown, using various teddies. I used a very quiet voice with silences of varying lengths during the story, so as not to make it too chaotic. Underneath the material I hid a big aubergine for the reveal when finally all the characters are able to unearth the vegetable by a tug of war scene.
She said ‘that was very nice’. Then she gave me a hug and asked if she could do a puppet show for me. She imitated most of what I had done, making up her own story and changing the layout of the ‘stage’. At bedtime she asked if I could do another puppet show the next day. She also said of the singing ‘Your voice sounds lovely, when you do that’.
Today she told me that her teacher ‘told us a story given to us by the prince’. She then acted it out using the puppet show and it must have gone on for a good half hour before she decided she wanted to do something else.
Later I tried one of the ‘one puppet’ stories using just myself as the stage. Our daughter liked it, sat and listened, every now and then there would be a gasp or ‘wow’ whispered. Then once I had finished, she went to get more puppets for me!
Later she became upset that it was too late in the day to play with her friends. As she wept in my arms I hummed and then sang one of the folk songs to her, and she responded well, going very floppy and accepting comfort from me and being rocked.
We have had a lovely day, pottering in the house and making things for a table top sale we are going to next week. I taught her how to finger knit last week, and today we moved onto friendship bracelets.
‘I know how the rain stops…
I was sat on my window ledge, I put my hand out and it stopped raining. That’s how the rain stops.’
‘Once, we moved our desks so quietly, that the gnomes gave us grapes. They left them by the door. Not from a packet or anything, straight off the plant!’
‘When our teacher says ‘stand up please’ if you are being noisy, she smiles at the same time. Why does she smile when she if she is telling them off?’