Montessori is the primary theory I chose to use and works quite well with B. I did notice she became a bit bored so my research into additional approaches began. Waldorf stood out. It is a nature focused philosophy lead by imaginative stories that organically lead the children into learning on their own at their own pace.
The key requirement for Waldorf is rhythm in the day. Oh, for almost 4 years now I have tried to create some form of routine in our daily lives, dictated by the clock and have failed miserably at it. Reading about the rhythm of Waldorf caused my insides to do a happy dance. My daughter is not a clock watcher, she is all about rhythm and since we started creating a daily rhythm our days go by so much smoother. The best part is our days are now more structured with routine as a result of this rhythm. Funny how that turned out.
Our day begins with our little morning mantra (we clap and say it in a cheerleading type tone)
It's good morning time
We need to
brush our teeth
wash our face
Start our day!
Each day is assigned a main goal:
Mondays: Italian day-B goes to Italian school so before and after I do my best to keep the day focused on Italian culture, language, food, etc.
Tuesdays: Baking day: She chooses what we bake and while in the kitchen math, reading, direction following, tool usage is learned.
Wednesdays: Music day: I recently started teaching her to read notes. It's in the beginning stage so just knowing the staff, clefs, and note letters is our goal. The remainder of the day she plays on her instruments, listens to music, dances, and sings...all. day. long. I've learned to kinda tune it out as best as possible. I just remind myself, she is learning to appreciate music and having fun.
Thursdays: Craft day: This can entail anything she needs to use her hands with. The one thing I have banned from our home is playdough. I know, bad mommy. I have to draw some lines somewhere. So aside from no playdough she has opportunity for many other crafts: painting, sewing, drawing, etc.
Fridays: Nonna & Nonno day: Nonno & Nonna come over and the day is a free for all. I try to stay in the basement working to avoid this! :-)
The television is not on Monday thru Thursday and I found this to be the best thing to keep the rhythm of our day smooth. After lunch we clean up our mess then she is able to continue to play until I give her the "relaxation time before daddy comes home" countdown. Relaxation is our term for nap around here. You mention nap and she will go from angel to a tantrum throwing 3.5yo devil in under a split second.
Yes, there are stories of fairies, gnomes, and other earthly mystical creatures that go along with Waldorf educating and I have nothing against any of it. I even created a fairy out of wool and a story to go along with her. The day she was introduced tremendous dialogue took place between B and I all about Figgy the fairy. B's imagination was ignited and shone bright from her being. WIN!