THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK
Work also plays an important role in our curriculum, which is inspired by Waldorf Education, and teachers intentionally work in the presence of the children and whenever possible, with their help. Important jobs have their place in the calendar of the week. There is generally a day for baking, a day to make soup or butter, a day to wash the place mats by hand, and a time every day to prepare the snack.
Participating in work enables the children to learn important lessons early on, lessons that are necessary for life. They learn to do their fair share and to help others.
Through the regular work of the classroom the children also develop a stronger connection with the real world. It is good for children to experience that bread is actually the result of someone's work, that it comes from stalks of wheat that are threshed (even on occasion in the classroom) from grain that is often ground in the classroom, and then from flour that they help mix with water and yeast and knead. They smell it as it bakes, and of course, they eat it when it is done (Understanding Waldorf Education, 2002, p. 45).
THE IMPORTANCE OF IMITATION
The reason that young children are able to learn so readily through imitation is because they experience the world with complete openness and without any reservation. They are so impressionable that whatever is done in their presence becomes part of them. This places tremendous responsibility on the teachers and parents of young children.
For this reason, our Waldorf-trained preschool teachers try to act in ways that are worth of imitation and at the same time instructive. Rather than admonishing children to speak softly or work carefully, teachers model these behaviors continually. It is through careful and conscious speech that children learn good diction and develop rich vocabularies as well as an appreciation for the beauty of language.
It is by seeing their teacher place the lids back on the jars, return tools to their place, or wipe the counter clean and was the dishes that children learn the proper responsibility.
All that takes place during the course of the day is potentially instructive to the young child (Understanding Waldorf Education, 2002, p. 47).