Daily Rhythms

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We start our day outside every morning at 9:00.

We hold hands in a circle and close our eyes. We ask the children to shut their windows and doors—their eyes and mouths—and just listen. Once everyone is quiet, we can hear the birds singing or the wind blowing in the trees.

In the spring and summer we put on sunscreen and our sun hats. In the winter we grab our sleds and sled down the hill.

On very few mornings we start inside—perhaps if it is raining hard and we know it will let up later in the morning. But we all have rain gear—boots and hats and rain pants. No weather is bad as long as we are dressed properly.

After 30 to 60 minutes of outside time, we go inside for circle time. We say good morning to one another, to the earth and the sun and to the birds and the trees. We sing a few songs and recite some seasonal verses.

Then we each get up and wash hands before we sit down to the snack table. Each day has a specific snack so that the children learn the days of the week by which snack is served on that day. Monday is rice day, Tuesday is porridge day, Wednesday is bread day, and Thursday is soup day.

After snack, we clear the table, do the dishes, and sweep the floor before playtime. The children use all of the materials in the classroom in whatever way they desire. There is no limit to their imagination.

After about an hour of play is cleanup time, which is woven into the play so that it is not a chore. Some of the older children help the smaller ones put on their shoes and coats as we get ready to go back outside.

We end the morning with a story, sometimes inside, sometimes outside.

At the beginning of the Afternoon program, before children lie down, they get their faces and hands washed in warm, lavender-scented water. This helps them become calm as they sit on their own lambskin mats. They quietly look at picture books until everyone is ready to lie down and listen to a story before going to sleep.

Then we get up, roll up our mats, and go outside. We end the program with a closing goodbye circle before parents come to pick up.