The challenge for the adult is to facilitate rather than teach, to read the child’s interest, skill and need levels. The adult is modeling, the child is absorbing words, movements, approaches to problems. It is less about teaching steps to make a thing, it is more about discovery and working together to “make it work” and create the “thing” together.
For the adult it is being open to readiness in the child. Yesterday, Dacia, a friend who owns and runs a Waldorf Inspired Child Care Center and I got together at her child care center for me to show her techniques in making puppets. Her 5 yo came along. We thought the 5yo would play with the familiar preschool toys and revel in having the toys all to herself.
No! The child pulled a tall chair up to our work table, climbed up so she could survey the work area and stated “When do we start sewing.” She was offered several projects: a stitching block, a lacing project, a weaving project. Something to keep her occupied and allow her to stay at the table with us as we focused on our intended path.
|from Blueberry Forest|
We lined things up, Dacia asked for suggestions on how improve a puppet she had make last summer. While she began working, I set out supplies to make two more puppet heads & began making one. During that time the child had picked up the stitching block, stitched it up and then undid the stitching. Exactly what Dacia had explained to me about how it worked. And by doing it, proved her interest in sewing and readiness to work at it.
When invited to help make the puppet heads while her mom continued repairs, she quickly got down from her perch and pulled up a chair next to me. While she does not have the hand skill and strength to fully complete a head all by herself, she could do some wrapping and mimic the steps I did.
Working together on the two heads at once, began. Passing the heads back and forth. Never undoing her efforts, simply tightening the ball by wrapping my layer tighter and giving her a smaller batt length. Once we had two core balls, we worked together, all 4 hands smoothing and shaping to pull a coating layer over the core and tie it off. Then she held, I tied. Same with the fabric covering.
As we all worked, Dacia shared concepts about Waldorf Dolls in general, what dolls are used by the children, which are used by adults for storytelling, etc. The interplay of modeling, learning about Mother nature, respect, etc. The young one adding details to the unfolding story. Age 5.5 years, 40 something and 65years, we enjoyed shared experience and conversation.
Thanks for reading,