Welcome to the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor’s Forest Parent-Child Program! We have worked hard to create a program that enables families to enjoy some time together and get great support while sharing a joyful experience with their children.
Let’s go over some of the details of the Forest Parent-Child Program so that you will be familiar with what to expect when our group meets…
We will meet at Island Park! Please park in the Island Park parking lot (on the right, just before 1450 Island Drive), and on the first day of class one of the teachers will show you the way to the class location. If you are running late, please do not rush or worry! The teacher will keep an eye out to make sure everyone finds their way.
Please bring extra clothing for you and your child as well as the best outdoor gear you can in relationship to the weather. Some parents also bring a big trash bag for dirty clothes to help keep their car clean. The park is beautiful and equipped with a nice restroom too in case you need to change clothing or anything.
Class will meet at all times except in the case of a severe storm. The teacher will inform the parents of any cancellations and a make-up class will be offered. Our walk takes place on a packed dirt and woodchip path. A large wheeled stroller should manage well and you wearing your child in a carrier can also be a good option.
In order to focus on the children and each other better, please silence cell phones during class. Thanks! Also, if you want to take photos, please be very discreet. (and please email us a copy later!)
The following times and activities will be flexible depending on the needs of the class as seen by the teachers:
From 9:00-9:20 we gather and play (adults might help in fort-building, shrub trimming, raking leaves into piles for children to play in)
From 9:20-9:30 we have our morning circle time – singing songs, doing circle games, finger games and verses.
From 9:30- 9:45 we do nature crafting &/or more play (craft might include nature-inspired art, a small wool felt activity, fort-building, etc.)
From 9:45-10:00: we have snack time (the teachers supply delicious homemade bread with honey butter and apples, please let the teacher know of any allergies when registering. Parents please bring bottles of water or a thermos of tea)
From 10:00-10:30: we walk along the river and sing our goodbye song at the end.
It is so helpful when each parent remains aware of and takes responsibility for their own child. It is easy to become very involved in stimulating conversations in this class, and this dual awareness can be challenging! Teachers will not become involved in resolving conflicts among the children in class, but we are available to share tools that have helped in our own teaching and parenting if you ask for ideas during or after class. There are “no one size fits all” answers in our opinion, and we are constantly learning new things from the children!
Do not worry if your child does not want to join in the circle or participate in other group activities. This is perfectly normal for this age group. Some children join in after several weeks of observation and some children never do. This is completely fine. We do ask if your child chooses not to join the circle, please keep an eye on wherever he/she is and go to him/her if needed. It is important to keep your child safe, but to focus your attention on the circle if possible.
As you may have experienced, some children can become overstimulated in a new setting and that is a normal part of getting acclimated. If this happens, it is okay to step away and take a calm stroll until your child feels better. Feel free to ask teachers for any help during class at any time.
We will occasionally provide articles on various topics of interest. These are for you to explore as you wish and are not required reading. Take whatever information is helpful to you and leave the rest. Parenting is a complex journey and there is not one “right way” to do things, aside from the basics. If there are specific topics that you would like more information on, please let us know and we will try to find it for you. Depending on how the children are able to play and interact, there are usually opportunities for us to have a discussion on topics of interest and to check in and support each other.
In our experience, very young children delight in and are nurtured by familiarity. Knowing what to expect and what comes next gives children a healthy sense of security. For this reason, we repeat the same songs, rhymes and finger plays for the entire session. It may induce boredom after a while in us as adults, but children under age five never seem to tire of hearing the same songs and rhymes over and over again. As they begin to learn songs by heart and sing along, they gain confidence in their abilities. Please bear with this quality of the class for their sake!
The Parent-Child families are a vital part of our school community and are invited to participate in our school’s community life such as festivals and celebrations. Some events may be too late or too long for the young children in our program to appreciate, but there are many age appropriate events for you to enjoy. Families need not be currently enrolled to participate. Feel free to ask me for more details. Each season has its own specialness and we will do our best to keep you aware of what events are on the horizon that may be a fit for you and your young child to experience. The school calendar can be found on the home page of our website.
Also, please make sure to double-check (or put right into your calendar) all of the dates of the session’s classes. In some sessions we will not meet every week due to the school calendar or holidays. We would hate to miss you or have you come to school if we are not gathering!
Also, many families that participate in the Parent-Child Program end up applying for our Early Childhood Program. We have three and five day options as well as half, full and all days. If at any time you feel it may be a fit for your family, please promptly ask about our admissions deadlines. Our classes sometimes fill up early and we hope you will have the opportunity to apply and explore the possibility of having your child in our Early Childhood Program.
Thank you so much for your interest in the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me for help. We all love this work and deeply appreciate the young families who come to the Parent-Child class. We look forward to meeting you and your children!
Early Childhood Coordinator