A discussion of what we do at The Stone House can hardly be addressed without talking about how we do it–the overall environment and tone that is set throughout the day. LifeWays is almost like an antidote for the stressors that are in children’s lives. Whether it’s the bombardment of commercialization, over stimulation of media and screen time, or just the stresses of life, children enter the Stone House and it is cozy, warm, and welcoming. If your child is one of the first to arrive, it is intentionally very quiet. You won’t hear piped in “toddler tunes” and your child won’t be immediately whisked to an activity table.
Early in the morning, some children are ready for robust outdoor play. Others like to have some cuddle time and listen to a story. We pay attention to the different moods and personalities that the children arrive with, and we like to cater to how they are feeling.
Most mornings we bake the snack. The children enjoy cracking the eggs and measuring the teaspoons of salt and baking powder. Some regular snacks that we prepare include cornbread, whole wheat rolls, baked oatmeal, organic basmati rice, carrots, apples, and popcorn. It is delightful to have the aroma of bread or muffins baking that encompasses our space while we work and play.
At 9:45, a wind chime calls everyone to come inside for circle and snack time. If little feet are muddy, a warm lavender foot bath is prepared. Each child is attended to in a careful gentle manner. The mood is never rushed. Sometimes a little song is made up on the spot to accompany washing all the mud away. This is truly a connecting moment between caregiver and child.
One of the aspects I love about LifeWays are the little connecting moments. The activities are carried out not to ‘get through them’, but rather optimizing all the opportunities to teach, learn, and connect.
After hand washing, the inside space is tidied up and we join hands for circle. During circle time, the children learn simple poems and songs. Most of the rhymes have hand actions to go with them, called fingerplays.
Our morning is calm, peaceful, and absorbing. This is only part one! Thanks for reading!