Welcome to Lincolnshire Waldorf Group...
We started out in 2006, a group of friends meeting in our homes, with a longing for a beautiful, nourishing space to be, for ourselves as uncertain new mothers, and our children as they awoke to the world. Partly it was a reaction against the noisy, chaotic, cliquey, plastic-fantastic toddler groups that were all that were available to us at that time, and a feeling that being in and connecting with nature was somehow important to our little ones, as well as to ourselves.
Lincolnshire Waldorf is run by a committee of parent volunteers. Parent subs cover the costs of hiring our beautiful venue from the Forestry Commission, membership of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, public liability insurance, and paying our leaders (much less than we would like to, in order to keep costs as low as possible for families). We try to be as inclusive as possible, and offer lower rates to families on low incomes, as well as inviting families who can afford it to gift a higher rate.
Sometimes, we are lucky to have a Grandparent who comes and helps with the washing up, offers an extra pair of hands where there are multiple siblings, or takes care of a child so a parent can visit the toilet in peace! It is much appreciated by our busy and hardworking leaders, and is also a thoroughly joyous role. Please let us know if a member of your family would like to come and volunteer.
What happens at our group?
We recognise that having a predictable, reliable structure or rhythm to each session helps children to relax and feel secure, knowing what will happen next, and reduces the need for direct instruction.
Gentle Days Baby Group (Monday)
Drinks and snack for parents, while babies get cuddled and dandled on laps
Circle time - time for parents to observe babies at play, listen to some Steiner/Pikler or other inspiring input on childhood, and have a conversation
Story time - a simple story is told outdoors
Walk - we take our babies for a sling walk through the woods (route suitable for pushchairs)
Parent & Child Group (Friday, morning or afternoon)
Arrive – take off coats and boots. You’re welcome to bring slippers
Play – children have a period of free play; parents may participate in an adults’ craft activity at the table
Tidy up together
Circle time – songs and rhymes, followed by washing hands
Shared meal – we light a candle and sing a blessing song. We share a nourishing snack of fruit, bread and occasionally home-made cake (bring something along for this)
Clear up – together we clear the table and sweep the floor, then put on coats and boots
Outdoor play sometimes in the butterfly garden, and walk in the woodland
Story time and goodbye song
Young children learn through repetition, so the same story and songs are used for 6-8 weeks, allowing children (and parents) to become familiar with them.
We observe the cycle of the seasons and celebrate festivals, and this is reflected in our choice of songs, craft activity, story and objects on the nature table, as well as our experience of the woodland and garden.
We recognise that authentic, free play – without adult direction or interference – is essential for a child’s healthy development at every level. We provide simple, natural objects and toys. Parents are invited to participate in a seasonal craft activity at the table, where we get to know one another and quietly observe our children at play.
Prior to age three, much of young children’s play is imitative. We ask adults to behave in a manner that is worthy of imitation. You can support your child’s learning (as well as the smooth running of the group) by, for instance, helping clear up after the meal, putting away toys at tidy time – we find that children join in without being instructed or cajoled. Similarly, when adults are quiet and listen attentively at story time, children see what is expected and are inclined to follow suit. Joining in the songs we sing between activities, the ‘transition’ songs, help children know what is coming next, and accept the end of welcome the start of a new activity.
Drawing on Rudolf Steiner’s understanding of child development, we aim to create an environment that is respectful of the needs of young children and their parents.