Solid Foundations – The Pre-School Environment

One morning as he carefully filled his cup at morning tea, Morris said to all who would listen: ‘You know the kinder is the cup to the world.”

It is — what a pearl of wisdom.

Time to leave the familiar home environment to play, to work, to participate in a group, to prepare for formal learning.

Opportunity to develop in body (physical development), in soul (inner life), in spirit (individuality), with a teacher who does not merely provide a beautiful room but who knows that he/she is an environment for the child, a climate to him; a vital strand in the whole tapestry. A teacher who knows that these early years are formative years — a melting pot for attitudes, outlooks, behaviour.

A place for music, song, poems and story. Story opens the door to Literature. In Kinder/Foundation the child is nourished by the rich fabric of imagery in Folk and Fairy Tales. These age old stories have many layers of meaning — through them the young child follows mankind’s striving for Goodness, Beauty and Truth.

Craft activities awaken consciousness in little fingers, games and dance and drama foster class community spirit. Work and play are entwined to provide scope for the development of individuality and responsibility. The child explores his environment in play, and assumes responsibility for it, he practises responsibility. Through serious participation in the activity of play he strengthens his concentration. In many a situation he needs initiative — creativity is expressed, practicalness is tested, independence and confidence are called forth.

The child is tuned and fulfilled in play. He knows the satisfaction of a ‘good day’s activity’. He can apply himself to life and living, to his environment – within the play situation. There is purpose and direction in his play. Play prepares the child for the future. Rudolf Steiner said, “Play works from within outwards, work from outside inwards.” You could say that play is the forerunner to work.

And do not permit your concept of work to be limited. Work is not something onerous, to be avoided. Work is not the burden and bane of living. We need something that is fulfilling, we need work that is purposeful, rewarding. Work spans the gamut of the professions, work encompasses all stations in life, work binds us together, knits together the community. Work also develops and transforms me.

From Ruth Wittig’s “A Child’s Work”

See Also

  1. Expanding Worlds: via the Main Lesson Block
  2. A closer look at Literacy, Numeracy and the Sciences