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Reflections from Parenthood: How a kindergarten transformed my world

Updated: Apr 25

I’ve often heard the saying or sentiment that parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. And it is true; parents get tested, over and over again. Our hearts are stretched to their limits, inflated, beaten and bruised, tickled and poked. Our reflexes, our patience, our strength, our resilience, endurance, boundaries, our sanity, all of it tested day in and day out. And we grow. All this life enrichment brought to us by the daily tasks, expectations and decision making of parenthood. 

 

I’ve been in those trenches for twenty-five years already and yet my youngest of four children is just six years old; he’s rounding out the last ever months of kindergarten (I often joke lightly about not planning that age range very well). I’m not the same person I was twenty-five years ago, not even close. Some of the decisions I’ve made and parenting moments I’ve had, I’d take back in a heartbeat. However, what has me sentimentally reflecting right now is a decision I made that I can’t imagine ever taking back. 


Snack time in Bright Angel Kindergarten, Sunrise Waldorf School

In 2003 I enrolled my eldest son into a mixed age kindergarten at Sunrise Waldorf School. Many children at Sunrise spend two years in a mixed age kindergarten program, and so if you do the math, you will quickly see that as a mother of four with my youngest now in his last months of kindergarten, that I have now been a Waldorf Kindergarten parent for a grand total of eight years. Eight magical, inspirational years full of childlike wonder, song, nature, and celebration. Eight years of silks, costumes, wooden toys, mud puddles, wholesome snacks, following natural rhythms and seasonal cycles. 

 

During those eight years I have never once had to question whether or not I had made the right decision, never once wondered if my children’s varied needs were being met and their spirits nourished, never had to ask myself if it was the right environment for a healthy strong foundation, or wondered if they were being exposed to influences I wouldn’t want for them.

 

Instead, I had eight years of peace of mind. Eight years of bright eyed rose cheeked smiling children greeting me at dismissal time. Eight years of songs, imaginative discoveries, healthy soup, puppet plays, and wholesome experiences. 

 



Author's first child in 2003, Shining Star Kindergarten, Sunrise Waldorf School

Each and every one of those Waldorf kindergarten teachers holds a special forever spot in my heart. They inspired me, guided me, and set examples of how to manage normal parenting challenges with grace and kindness. They gave my children a true home away form home. I am so grateful; I can’t thank them enough. I’m fairly sure that I am one of the very luckiest parents alive.

 

I can honestly say that I am very proud of the parent I have become, confident in the parenting path that is still ahead. My toolbox is full, and I have learned so much. I will miss these Waldorf early childhood kindergarten years deeply. Luckily, since my eldest is twenty-five, maybe it won’t be long until I can come back as a Waldorf Kindergarten grandparent! 


by Rachel Cruse

 

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