Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day Care Triumph -or- How I Found Time to Work

Well, we seem to have found us some daycare for the Huntlings. A very nice lady has a LifeWays method daycare in her home, almost within walking distance. The kids liked her very much, she has a very charming indoor space, and the backyard comes complete with chickens!

I learned about LifeWays back in California, by taking an introductory seminar with Cynthia Aldinger, the founder. She is such a joyful person, and has worked in the early childhood world for many years. Years ago she and a colleague found that while the need for daycare for very small children (even infants) was increasing, the Waldorf movement had not been willing or able to provide such care. Waldorf kindergarten teachers thought that ideally a child under kindergarten age (in Waldorf this can be as old as 6) should be home with a parent.

Of course, that's not always possible, or even common, any more. So Cynthia developed the idea of a Waldorf-inspired daycare, with mixed ages and a structure like a home environment: domestic tasks like cleaning and cooking, real furniture like couches and dressers for clothes, and consistent caregivers. Children would be in a nurturing environment much like their own homes, surrounded by the practical tasks of life, and developing their own capacities for nurturing through interactions with children of varying ages. Infants would be cared for by the same person over many years so that healthy bonds can form.

We're all very excited by the prospect of the kids having this kind of environment when away from home. They'll be playing outside, helping with the chickens, eating snacks and lunches they helped prepare, and meeting new children with whom they can practice being kind and gentle!

Update: SillyBilly LOVED his first day at daycare. He got to hammer things, help make soup, and he even made a friend (though he can't remember her name and evidently spent most of the morning being "mean" to her until they made nice.) On the other hand, Napoleona woke up at 10:30 last night with a mysterious earache, then again at 5 am with a 101.8 fever. She stayed home today, I got 1/2 hour of work done out of the 4 hours I hoped for, and now she's taking a humungous nap. Oh well, we'll try again tomorrow.

5 comments:

Kerryn said...

This sounds like an ideal solution for you and your family -- your children are in a home-like environment, experiencing the sorts of activities you'd provide for them and you (will eventually) have the space and time you need for your work.

And, how cool, the Huntlings get to play with chooks! Oops, I mean help.

I hope that Napoleana feels better soon.

MC Milker said...

What timing! Your comment on my Waldorf playroom post inspired me to check out your blog- just in time to link this post to my most recent article. great blog- I'll be back.

Michael said...

Glad you found somewhere - getting the right place is murder, isn't it? And there's such competition. We're now number 2 in the queue for the local alpha nursery class (dudelet so needs to be around other children his own age part of the time now) and it's taken six months to move up this far...

Henitsirk said...

Kerryn: Napoleona was completely recovered and had a great time at daycare today. More on that in the next post!

Mc Milker: I'm glad you came by, and I was glad to find your blog as well!

Michael: Your Blogger profile isn't public, are you really (un)relaxeddad in disguise? Luckily we haven't had trouble with competition for daycare, though Waldorf kindergartens often fill up quickly. In a few months we'll have to decide if we just stay with daycare for SillyBilly or try for the official kindergarten route for the fall.

Helen said...

This sounds perfect. Can we find some way to transplant this lady's house to within walking distance of my place?! (Hmmmm, I'm sure she'd love that!) When I hear the words "day care" I feel like bursting into tears. I'm in a horrible catch-22 situation with it - not earning any money so can't afford day care, can't earn money because don't have day care. Also, the idealist part of me would love to take care of Kiko at home until he's 6 (21?!) But then I would bring down the scorn of society upon myself. Isn't the world weird nowadays?

I hope Napoleana feels much better. Earaches are so nasty.