Begin Your Day with a Joyful HeartSep 21, 2021
This school year, on our Class 2 journey, the days will be filled with lively images of fables and stories of heroes and saints woven together with explorations in nature, free play, as well as the work of developing reading and math skills and laying foundations for capacities that will in a few years allow all to embrace science classes with wonder and interest in the world. On this path, starting our days with joy holds the spark of magic that can sprinkle wonder into each day.
From the perspective of Waldorf pedagogy, we understand that children between the ages of seven and fourteen are open and eager to learn with most interest and enthusiasm when we meet them in the realm of their feeling life rich with vivid imagery of stories, spaciousness of outdoor free play, as well as artistic and craft explorations. How we bring these into each day can become not only a source of joy for our children’s learning experiences, but also for us as teachers and parents, and our whole family. I invite you to join me in the intention to start each day with joyful heart.
Every family will have their own unique rhythm, but for all families it is so helpful to have a way of starting together joyously, and in the way that will empower all to do their tasks fully awake and ready to engage. For Class 2 students, outdoor playtime, jumping rope alone or with family or friends, jogging or running with family or friends, singing, recitation, and maybe a few math questions just for fun, are some of my favorite experiences. I have seen these create such lively and joyous readiness for the second part of main lesson that calls for listening, drawing, writing, painting, and focused work with hands; and truly believe that such start to each day is so healing and nourishing to us as parents and teachers, too. The life forces that we awaken in ourselves when we play, move our bodies outdoors, sing, and awaken our capacities to recite a verse or two from memory prepare us so well to do the work of remembering, learning, creating, and thinking. At the same time, in our parent and teacher hearts we open the little door that still holds the magic of childhood empowering us to meet our children in the realm of feeling without the burdens of adulthood. In many ways, I have come to feel that it offers us a way into the realm of renewal a few moments at a time every day that we honor with such a start.
During the first weeks of this school year, Class 2 is learning to sing Begin Your Day song which reminds us of joy in every new day. It is also a reminder for adults around them that circle time or warm-up time of the main lesson for the day can lead us into learning in a lively and purposeful way. When our school is at home with family and friends, that time can be created in ways that reflect the joy of our home and family and serve as a shift in focus for the part of the day that follows.
As we greet each new day, the first hour of that day and the first fifteen minutes dedicated to classwork, are of great importance. The way we embark on our day’s adventure sets the mood and the tone for the whole day. Working on writing, drawing, painting, and learning exercises with words and numbers becomes so much richer when children are ready physically and emotionally to engage in them, and what can be more lovely than to be able to witness and accompany them along the way as parents and teachers.
There are so many beautiful ways of beginning each day and each family will have their own unique approach to it. Most importantly, I would like to invite all of us to have it start on a joyful note filled with wonder and loving calm expectation for all that the day will gift us. With our children in lower grades, we can
- play outside, sing together,
- care for plants in the garden,
- make sure our pets are cared for,
- have fun with a riddle or a tongue twister,
- jump rope, jog, and
- just for fun answer some math questions.
Having the blessing of accompanying our children as guides (parents and teachers) on their school journey, we are also gifted an opportunity every morning to start our own day with an intention oriented toward joy, gratitude, and sense of wonder we once lived in completely as young children. Creating a daily rhythm where each morning we see time we have together to start the day from the perspective of its quality instead of its linear length, empowers us to begin each day with intention of joy. I have found over the years, that whenever we set the intention and start our day with joy, our hearts are so filled with unconditional gratitude for the beautiful little moments and gifts we have experienced between waking up and getting ready for sleep. May we have countless days that start with joy and close with gratitude in our hearts.
Class 2 practiced writing, reading, and singing the words that remind us of this every day. I hope they will be fun for you to sing along with us, too.
“Begin your day with joyful heart. The day ends well that joyful starts.” ~ unknown author
With joy and gratitude,
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