Selecting a child care environment is one of the many important decisions that you must make as a parent. Little Lions Waldorf Child and Family Centre encourages you to visit our locations to discuss our programs and the options available to you before you make a decision that will have a profound impact on your child and your family.
We want you to see and experience firsthand the warm, homelike environment, the soft enveloping colours that surround the children, the calm atmosphere and the natural decor. Many parents are struck by the peace that they feel in this nurturing environment filled with tastefully chosen wooden toys, silks that drape and soften, plants and treasures from nature. The peace is not disturbed by harsh colours and sounds of plastic and electronic toys, nor by television. We focus on traditional games, singing, domestic tasks such as washing dishes, dusting, baking and generally caring for the environment. We focus on free exploration of simple, open-ended toys that allow the childs imagination to invest itself in their play. We use equipment and activities that will build healthy minds and bodies.
Story-telling is very important in our centres and goes far beyond the usual story-reading. The educators take a great deal of time to memorize stories that they tell to the children daily. We tell stories of nature, of everyday life, and the rich world of myths and traditional fairytales. The children develop language skills through listening as well as through learning verses and poems by heart. We also bring stories to life by acting them out or by using silks and props, another way of enhancing imagination. This is holistic education, education for the head, the heart and the hands.
We believe that we support children best if we have a solid, respectful relationship with their parents. To encourage such relationships we provide opportunities for staff and families to be together in social settings during our many festivals.
In the Spring we celebrate the first of May with a dance around the Maypole. Children practice the songs and dances before this event and if the weather permits, we prefer to hold the event outdoors. The branch of snowy May is a treasured item.
In June all our sites gather for the Annual Family Barbeque. Many games and activities are provided for all ages and at this time we plant the garden that will be tended throughout the summer by our school age program. Some food is provided by the daycare and the families provide their own items to put on the barbeque.
September is our Annual Harvest Fair, an opportunity for all locations again to gather and meet any new staff and new families. In addition to games and activities, we sell local produce and baking. Everyone enjoys tasty hot soup and biscuits. This is the time to witness our success as farmers when we harvest the vegetables that were planted in June.
Our most popular festival is the Enchanted Garden which replaces Hallowe'en in our centres. The children come in costume and with a little pail or cloth bag in hand, take an evening walk and meet some of their favourite nursery rhyme or story book characters. No candy at this event, just fruit, baking or handmade gifts that the staff members have worked hard to create.
Children so seldom have an opportunity to be outdoors at night, so we allow for this experience at our November Lantern Walk. Children and staff create paper or tin lanterns together and we enjoy the experience of walking in the night, listening to the leaves crunching beneath our feet. The glow of the lanterns is as warming as the hot apple drinks that we share before we take this fall walk.
Enjoying a meal together, at events such as our Christmas Dinner, is a way of building community. On a daily basis, our children sing a simple grace before eating. They learn to appreciate a variety of nutritious home-cooked foods and appreciation extends to the people who prepare the food as well as to the farmers who grow it for us.
We want children to enjoy all aspects of nature so an emphasis is placed on daily free play outdoors in all seasons, in all kinds of weather. In addition to our natural playgrounds, we also rent 14 acres of land every summer. Our school age children have the opportunity to go and spend an entire day in wild nature every week, such a different experience from the city parks. The wonder of nature and a spiritual connection to our land is emphasized more than the presentation of information that is typically part of outdoor education.
Our staff members are chosen from a variety of educational backgrounds, ranging from ECEs to teachers and specialists in Outdoor Education, depending on their particular role. Little Lions has embarked on our own training program. Our staff members are offered in-house Waldorf training to further enhance their skills.
The vision of our centre is "resilient and compassionate children in a healthy, vibrant community where love and wonder are the basis of learning and living." We value each child and what they bring to our child care community. We also value the extended community that is raising the children and therefore our activities extend far beyond child care to touch on many aspects of life in Thunder Bay.
Any of our Supervisors would be happy to give you a tour. It is only through direct experience that you will be able to know for yourself that Waldorf Child Care is what you are looking for and what your child needs.