The most beautiful kindergarten in the world- Part Two

Posted under Play activities

1Feb
The thing I love about visiting thoughtfully prepared kindergarten spaces is the inspiration for setting up a beautiful space.  Toy rooms don’t have to be full of broken junk.
In fact, when WE adults care for the things they play with (much easier to do when we also love their toys), children too are much more likely to care for their things, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

For me, it is not about being exclusively Waldorf, or handmade, or eco-friendly.
Anywhere that mothers and fathers, or teachers, or family day carers, or playgroup leaders, or  grandma’s and grandpa’s or social workers or hospital staff are being mindful of the toys they bring into their spaces, (thinking, of course, about the aesthetic beauty, practicality and open-ended nature of toys to encourage imagination), that is a place I want to visit.
(I’m always open to invitations to visit you!!)
It is just that Waldorf kindergartens do this very well.
(In fact, I have never seen a place better prepared to support imagination in all my years of being involved with education. And this is why I champion the work.)

 

What I most like to see are the baskets of ‘found’ objects- the bamboo pipes, the wood blocks, the seedpods, the smooth river stones, the large clam shells, and the pine cones.
These things are my true inspiration and I love to go out into nature to find these treasures with my newly opened eyes.  When children instinctively know what they’ll do with a seedpod and a stick and a piece of cuttlefish, without the need for written instructions, I know they’ll be all right in the world!
Pure creative thought exists in our young children.
In each and every one of them.
Yes! Each and every one of them!!!!
Our job is to remove obstacles to this pure thought and keep them as connected as possible to what is true and good in their surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This kindergarten inspires me because at the very centre of their philosophy is the truth of being pure and simple.  Some centres and rooms are guilty of being filled with lovely things that have been hand-crafted with love by teachers, parents and friends but that, in the big scheme of things, aren’t necessarily that helpful to the children in play.  There is a place for our work and our creations, but it is a delicate balance.  I think if we can lean more heavily on what the natural world provides, as seen in the simple beauty of a single vase of flowers or a basket of bunya nuts, we’ll be on the right track.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also love plain walls.
I can’t understand how any child can possibly think in a room surrounded by their ‘artworks’ and posters of letters, and rules, and wall charts. I always feel overwhelmed. I wonder how the children feel….
In a room like this, there is a sense of calm. Of peace. Of everything being all right in the world.
Any artist of life, no matter what their passion, will tell you that their inspiration comes from a place of quiet.  Inner quiet.
I think plain walls can help us to reach this inner place.
It is something I’m thinking about even more as I contemplate what I will, and won’t hang on the newly painted walls of my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little set up is one to mention. My friend, teacher Anne, told me that children love to play with this doll house.  A piece of silk is draped across the bamboo circles to create a home for the dolls.  The bamboo ends sit in purpose drilled holes on the edges of a pine board.  This doll house sits on a shelf in its own corner of the room and it is often a child who is overwhelmed or having a difficult day who finds their way over to where they can shrink their playfulness into such a small space.  It seems to contain them, to heal their spirits as they deal with whatever challenges have faced them and many children are able to re-enter play in the group after a few minutes of ‘pull yourself together’ time with this toy.
It is kind of like our five minute tea break, I suppose….

 

 

 

 Magical, don’t you think?
Anyone for a step back in time to kindergarten??

16 Responses to “The most beautiful kindergarten in the world- Part Two”

  1. Ana

    Ooh… I’m speechless. I find these posts tremendously inspiring for my own work as a preschool teacher. I’m not a waldorf teacher but I also think that it is the teaching philosophy that best understands the nature of childhood, especially early childhood.

  2. Anonymous

    Love this post Amber- so true. So different when you love and care for toys. Everything is (seemingly)so replaceable in a plastic world that it changes how we play and treat not just toys but one another,commitments, relationships, places,and the planet.Felicity

  3. Amber Greene

    Thanks for commenting Ana and Felicity. You know what Ana, every single day you work with little children, you have the power to work with what you believe is the best way for this time. You have freedom to experiment with the very best of all the philosophies. Have fun!!

    And Felicity, the best plastic thing I know of is lego! My mum still has lego from 35 years ago, going strong. Not too many plastic toys today could claim that longevity!

  4. Kestrel

    As always, utterly inspiring – for my kinder space at home and for ideas about what to bring in and gradually evolve out of the space.

    Thank you.

  5. Jane (and Lou)

    lovely – I will send the link to the girls at work. I pulled some some posters today – but they usually go straight back up again! I love this room, thanks for the encouragement to persevere. Jane:) I love knitted toys too. And yes – lego is wonderful:)

  6. Amber Greene

    Little steps is how we change the world! Imagine if every child had the opportunity to actually use their imagination to their fullest potential once again! Oh happy, joy joy!

  7. Natalie

    I’m so in love with this place (and others like it) that I sometimes wonder if I am living vicariously through my little one. Oh to be young and play with these things!!! Will just have to settle for making them :)

  8. Anonymous

    Amber, this is such a delightful room with some wonderfully inspiring spaces. Food for thought for home play areas too. Thanks for sharing.
    Kym

  9. Anonymous

    i love love love it!!!! the space would be so nurturing for both teachers and children… mmmmm i think finger prints needs to be beautified again x i love ur blog amber. i found sunspirit blog the other day and was inspired too! amanda

  10. Amber

    Yes. I’ll do a post on a list of shops to buy these things soon.

  11. jessica

    I love this. I would love to know where the science wooden weighing pice is from? The quality is amazing. By the way, my 4 year old one was looking at this post with me earlier and he made me scroll back up to the simple table with flowers and said I want that, it even has a flower on it. Then I read your comment about the flower and thought, wow I can’t believe he noticed that without me reading it to him. :)

  12. Adrienne

    Hi, I am working on a community project of opening a Waldorf preschool in New Zealand and was wondering if I could use some of your simple photos of the natural toys and things for our website. We don’t have the building finished yet but really need the website up and running. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Amber Greene

    Hi Adrienne
    No worries at all as long as you credit my blog. Where in NZ? Good luck. I’d love to know more about it. xx Amber

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