Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm offers birth – 1st grade Waldorf Education on a working farm in Essex, NY. Each week our Office Manager, Kathleen Morse, writes on the Lakeside school and community and Waldorf Education through her perspective from the office window.
View from the Office Window
Through the South window, I have a peek at the little forest on the play-yard. On Wednesday when all the Nursery, Kindergarten, and 1st grade children were out together, I spied a procession of two nursery children and followed by a 1st grader. The middle nursery child fell on the path. The 1st grader watched to see if the child could get up independently. When it was apparent that the child (I don’t know if it was a boy or a girl because they all had so many layers on that day due to the cold weather!) was upset the 1st grader kneeled down and rubbed the nursery child’s back. The child must have calmed down, and the 1st grader let the nursery child get up independently. Off they went running down the path and on to a new adventure.
I was touched by both the capacity for the 1st grader to care for the younger child as well as the intuitive understanding that when a young child falls, often they are able to get themselves back up and don’t need help being picked up. The years of watching their teachers at Lakeside care for young children and the expectations that these children are capable of dressing, feeding, and moving independently had rubbed off on this first grader. I was also touched by the unique environment at Lakeside where the children are able to interact across ages. This gives the 1st graders the sense that they are needed and allows them to care for the younger children, and the younger children to see what the 1st graders are capable of and gives them a picture of what they are striving towards.
At dismissal this week as one of the Kindergarten children was walking by he contemplatively said to a friend “One day I’m going to be in 1st Grade.” This gift of community is unique in our school and fosters the building of social capacities in the youngest as well as the oldest. This week I am grateful for the opportunities the children have to be with their peers for times to grow and develop together as well as with others of different ages and capacities.