The LifeWays Practices:
- Adult and child activities include practical life skills such as building, gardening, cleaning, cooking, washing, repairing, and sewing, among other things.
- Movement/play curriculum emphasizes child-initiated activities that promote healthy musculoskeletal development, providing opportunities for unstructured, spontaneous movement in a safe environment. Traditional games and finger-plays provide opportunities for the children to imitate healthy movement, develop proprioception and increase both small and large motor skills.
- The children go outside in all but the most inclement weather. This helps them become more robust and strengthens their bond with the environment in which they live. A protected area is provided for crawlers and infants.
- Child guidance is based on the L.O.V.E. Approach to Discipline: Listening, Laughter, Order, Objectivity, Versatility, Vulnerability, Energy and Enthusiasm.
- Natural organic foods are provided (whenever this is possible) and the children can participate in the food preparation.
- Foundation for lifelong literacy is fostered through storytelling and puppetry, individual lap time with a book, through poetry, verse, and music on a daily basis, through drama, and through the daily interactions of play and movement in a healthy, secure environment.
- Emphasis is on loving human interaction with warm speech, live singing, verses, and stories rather than technology. LifeWays Centers and Childcare Homes are television- and video-free environments except for use in administration and adult education.
- Festivals and celebrations honoring traditional seasonal festivals, cultural backgrounds of the families, and children’s birthdays are offered.
- When possible, ongoing relationships are established with senior adults and youth who visit on a regular basis.
- Community friends who speak a native language other than English may be invited to play simple games or sing simple songs with the children on a routine basis.
- In child care, “suites” consist of small groups of children who stay together with the same caregivers over a several-year period, creating a more homelike atmosphere and better teacher-child ratios.
- Pre-School/Kindergarten programs provide a developmentally appropriate, play-based approach found in Waldorf preschools and kindergartens throughout the world.
- Extended Day programs recognize the need for children to experience the nurture of a home-like setting with opportunities for relaxation, rest and robust play.
Learn more about LifeWays North America here.