His goal is to help children develop four powers in a child, "strong will, rich feeling, creative imagination, and clear thinking" and the way to do this in early childhood is through PLAY and accessing all 12 senses through rich experiences.
WILL senses (physical body)
Touch, Life, Movement, Balance
At Austin Childrens Garden, children are climbing, pushing, pulling, chasing, hopping in our outdoor play spaces. They're often barefoot, which provides a grounding to the earth or they're feeling the soil, clay, plant-life and natural materials in their hands. Being outdoors connected with nature exposes them to natural elements of climate, seasons, weather, and time (sun/shade).
FEELING senses (soul senses)
Smell, Taste, Sight, Warmth
Children are naturally drawn to warmth and are more engaged in play when they're warm. This helps them access the deeper part of self in relation to the world around them. In addition, hugging the bunny, a friend, or a cloth doll develops the warmth of connecting to others. We reach the olfactory senses through nature play, essential oils, gardening, and cooking WITH the children. Our garden shades and art used in the program provide exploration of color, which Steiner believed stimulated imagination and lifted the mood.
COGNITIVE Senses (spiritual/social)
Hearing, Speech, Another's thought, Another's "I"
Ironically, early childhood programs that focus solely on academic development often fail to develop the senses that later benefit a child's success in school. By following the child's lead in learning, encouraging peer relation, empathy, group play, and problem solving, we're developing aspects of self that allow children to take on another's perspective. Being able to think outside the box and outside the self creates thinkers, not just learners.
A child is a unique being with a physical self, but also a spiritual self and emotional self. Rich sensory experiences and play help develop all parts of self to best prepare child for success and welcome the gifts they have to share with the world.
Written by Chelsea Vail, ACG parent, Parent Educator and Teacher Trainer
Art Projects and Inside Creative Free Play
Outside Free Play!
Counting and Rhythm!
Favorite Recipe of the Month!
Spread almond butter on half a tortilla. Peel half a banana and roll up the banana in the tortilla. Eat whole or have an adult slice into circles.