Cold mornings and evenings, colorful leaves on the ground, rainy days, autumn is well and truly here.
We are now at ease in our Autumn Rhythm. After alternating unstructured, free periods of time when we only went with the flow and others, structured by Waldorf-inspired rhythm, I know that both styles can work for us. Right now what suits us best is a slow, flexible but anchored Autumn Rhythm.
After carefully and intentionally considering our family values and the needs of each member of the family: my daughter, us (her parents) and also the little baby growing in my belly, we have co-created our weekly and daily rhythm
Right now my daughter is fascinated by the dynamics of time. She needs more predictability to be able to internalize time structures and the daily and weekly rhythm provide her just that: predictability and a feeling of control over her days.
As for me, I need to balance intense activities and times of quiet so that I can recover and recharge my batteries during the third trimester of my pregnancy. Our days alternate times of connection and mindfulness and others of intense activities. I usually start my days with my yoga practice and my daughter paints in the same room, joins me on the yoga mats or has breakfast with her daddy.
After breakfast we read books and spend some time in our homeschooling space. She is deepening her interests of the moment and I sit quietly, without multitasking (I don’t read my books, don’t check my phone…) mindfully being present with her and holding the space. I interfere only when she asks for my input (for example when she asks me some Romanian vocabulary)
We have three rituals that anchor our days:
Inspired by Steiner Waldorf philosophy, our weekly rhythm is intentionally minimalistic. We have a day for each “activity”, linked to our family values: harmony, authenticity, creativity, beauty, love of nature, thirst of learning…
Monday is our Cooking and Baking Day.
It’s very important to us to prepare fresh organic food that has been grown locally, with the respect of nature and people. That’s why we allow abundant time for making trips to the local markets and farms, choosing healthy biodynamic food and cooking it. My daughter is daily involved in the kitchen but on Mondays she is the chef and I assist her in making a recipe from A to Z.
If you will like to know more about the importance of involving children in the kitchen, read this. And this article will help you get the tools you need and this one about the mindset around cooking with children.
On Monday afternoons we also go to a gym group in our neighborhood. In a beautiful space a sports teacher builds amazing structures using mats, wooden elements. Children of different ages can freely climb, jump, slide, run… they can choose what they want to do. They usually have a lot of fun. My daughter loves it, she has made a lot of friends there. Parents accompany children. Our job is to help building the structures that children use and watch for their safety.
Tuesday is our Art Day
My daughter enjoys creating and crafting alone each and every day but on Tuesday we focus on a medium and she explores it deeply. She also likes to try different formats for her canvas, paining sitting or standing, different textures of paint, different colors…
Would you like to see our art space and how I made our art supply accessible to my daughter so that we can both work independently? Here you will find our space when my daughter was 3 years old , and here when she was only 2 years old
Wednesday is our Time in Nature Day.
We usually spend it in the gorgeous local Botanical Garden or in the forests around. We sometimes go there just the two of us or meet up with friends
Thursday is our Spielplatz (playground) Day.
Germany has gorgeous playgrounds, made of natural elements, under stunning old trees or in forests: sand on the ground, wooden structures, … We enjoy going to playgrounds with friends and usually need to schedule this in the afternoon as most of the children attend kindergartens.
Thursday is also our Music Day. Music is interwoven in our daily lives but on Thursdays we are putting a CD on and mindful listening to it, without multitasking, focusing on what we hear. We may dance or play some of the real instruments we have collected over the years. You can see our Music Corner here, along with our favorite books and CDs
Friday is our Field Trip Day.
We go to museums, to the library, to local farms or we organize trips in the woods. We usually use this day to deepen one of my daughter’s interests of the moment. For instance, at the moment she is interested in the animals of Africa so two weeks ago we went to the museum to see the African Savannah section and last week we went to the library to find more books about this topic.
Saturday is the Swimming Day.
My daughter and her daddy go to the swimming pool where they have enrolled a gentle swimming class. This is their time together, just the two of them.
Sunday is our Family Day and we usually spend it all together.
We have only two scheduled activities during the whole week: gym and swimming on and we can cancel them anytime. This leaves us a lot of flexibility and plenty of time for free play. My daughter is now at an age when she can independently play for hours. She also loves creating and crafting objects that she integrates in her imaginative play. Having a simple, minimalistic daily and weekly rhythm enables her to have abundant time for play, which is “the work of the child”, as Maria Montessori said.
The visual supports
To make our rhythm easily comprehensible to my daughter I have tried different visual supports. In January this year I made for her a calendar with the weekly rhythm painted on a A4-format aquarelle paper, with the days of the week listed from Monday to Sunday. It was useful but it didn’t take into consideration the cyclic aspect of the time.
This summer I have created a different visual support, a wheel
My daughter likes it much better and I think that it gives her a better understanding of the succession of the days. To illustrate the days we use Grimm’s 7 friends.
We also have a Yearly Wheel with the 12 months.
Both wheels are bilingual French and Romanian and I used the cursive writing. To symbolize each activity, I didn’t want to use drawings as I have the feeling they are too abstracts for young children. Therefore, I used pictures of my daughter actually cooking, painting, swimming.. This helps her relate to the activities pictured and recalls good memories.
I’m looking forward to reading your comments here or on Instagram about how you navigate your days and weeks.