When the weather is cold there is nothing quite like a homemade soup. With thoughtfully chosen ingredients a soup can be a most nourishing meal, but there is something more to it.
The aroma, like that of fresh baked bread, fills a room as little else can. Oh and what wonderful memories I associate with the smell of soup, stewing and bubbling on the stove, or the warmth that a fresh baked bread can bring to a room.
It reminds me of my childhood, a time when soup and bread were more than just a meal, they were a staple in my weekly routine.
I spent my early childhood days as a student in the Kimberton Waldorf School Kindergarten. Here we had our hands in the bread dough, kneading and pounding. We always chopped the veggies for soup day, contributing as an integral part of any classroom activity. The entire 437-acre campus became our classroom as we explored the creek, the streams, the woods and the gardens. We ran through the corn fields, rolled down the hills, and visited the animals that the third grade cared for.
The Waldorf Kindergarten recognizes the need children have to simply be children, the need to explore themselves and the wide world they live in. A kindergarten child will develop the dexterity and fine-motor skills needed to learn to write one day - unbeknownst to them - while sewing or finger-knitting, modeling with beeswax, or working with wood.
Developing in this way there is no pressure placed on the child to achieve, as they are simply "doing." During circle time poems and verses are spoken by the children and their teachers, developing a positive association to learning. Stories are always told from the teacher's memory, for a week or more at a time. This allows the children time to "live into" the story and its underlying morals.
Now an adult, I am reminded of my own kindergarten experiences through the stories of my son. He spends his weekdays at the Kimberton Waldorf School where his routine is reminiscent of my own (and I love smelling the soup on Wednesday mornings when I drop him off!).
As I sat at his birthday table yesterday I was struck with such a sense of wonder realizing that I, too, had celebrated my sixth birthday in this very classroom, some 22 years ago. I was amazed at the grace and care that each child contributed to the celebration. Whether setting up the tables, or washing and rinsing the dishes, or setting up the chairs for the special Birthday Story, every child made a contribution.
The Kimberton Waldorf School will host an interactive and dynamic open house for parents of children pre-school through high school on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. The school is located at 410 West Seven Stars Road in Kimberton.
For more information about Waldorf education and the Kimberton Waldorf School, please call 610.933.3635 ext. 108 or visit www.kimberton.org. The school is currently accepting applications. Private tours are available upon request and Waldorf Works, introductory informational sessions, are scheduled throughout the year.