With Waldorf education, one usually does not start any academic work until the child is in first grade and/or at least 6 1/2. So though I wanted to continue doing daily weather/nature journaling with Dora, I decided that I needed to change my approach in order to be in better synch with Waldorf philosophy. Firstly, I decided not to focus on the month, date, or year at all. Secondly, I decided that we would start using gnomes to represent the days of the week. Each gnome is painted in the color that Rudolf Steiner associated with each day of the week:
Monday – Purple
Tuesday – Red
Wednesday – Yellow
Thursday – Orange
Friday – Green
Saturday – Blue
Sunday – White
Steiner also associated a planet and grain with each day of the week. All of these associations have to do with anthroposophy, but it just so happens that it also makes for a great way for children to remember the days of the week and to enforce the rhythm of your week. Dora is much more likely to remember that our “purple” day means that she will have music class and we will be doing painting at home, than she will remember that “Monday”, which is a very abstract concept for this age, is music class and painting day. I do start off each day by saying something like, “Today is purple day, which is Monday, and the day that we….”.
Originally, I had planned to purchase a set of “Days of the Week” gnomes, but the I only found one set that I really liked, which was at Wild Faerie Caps, and was sold out. She did, however, have a set of weather gnomes in stock and it was love at first sight for me! I was very excited to include the weather gnomes, as this meant that Dora and I could continue to review the weather and the days of the week together. I tried to wait to see if Wild Faerie Caps would add some “Days of the Week” gnomes to her shop, but finally decided that if I was going to introduce the gnomes at the beginning of the new year, I needed to take matters into my own hands. So, I ordered some blank wooden peg people and made my own gnomes, trying to make them as much like the ones at Wild Faerie Caps, so that they would match the weather gnomes. I ended up making some of my water colors much too dark, so they are a bit intense, but given that I have never done any wood burning or made a gnome before, I thought that came out rather nicely.
Dora has responded very enthusiastically to the gnomes. So enthusiastically, in fact, that we had to get out all of the seasonal/nature table pieces and set up our own “Gnomeville” (Dora came up with the name). All of the gnomes were sent to live with their appropriate seasonal trees, mushrooms, stackers, etc., except for poor “Stormy”. Stormy is the purple gnome with the lightning bolt. Dora is not a fan of Stormy and was all for exiling Stormy. I finally convinced her that he could live in the mountains, which far away from everything else, and which she begrudgingly agreed to.
Dora also felt that “Rainbowy” should be set out on our nature table for the day, even though it was pouring rain outside. She kept running to the window and insisting that the sun was peeping out and making rainbows, I just wasn’t fast enough to see them. We finally agreed to set out “Rainbowy” as the “weather we would “like” to be having” and “Rainy” as the weather we were actually having. I am pretty sure she was just humoring me when she agreed to this though. Then today, she decided that Stormy should stand for “cold” instead, his new and highly original name being “Coldy”. So now Coldy is allowed to join in gnome activities and is no longer shunned by the other gnomes and everyone is happy in Gnomeville (except those hatless gnomes in the background, which Dora made and are “mean” gnomes who go around wreaking havoc and generally being obnoxious).
Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.