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.