The whole world has now had a glimpse into educating at home, and although what many experienced through the pandemic is not the same as the journey a homeschooler might be on, it did show us that a few well-chosen home education resources to support children’s learning can be invaluable.
How does creative play support learning and development?
Creative play in a relaxed environment with lovingly made, vibrant and creative resources is infinitely suited to nurturing children’s natural curiosity.
Waldorf Family founder and artist, Stephanie Green, was inspired to design her own bespoke range of eco-friendly educational resources.
“I found myself drawing and creating pieces for my own two daughters, nurturing their relationship with nature. I want to make pictures that children love. Images of children playing, sunny days and butterflies. I want my art to speak to their hearts, to make a space that reminds them to go outside and play. I want my collections to improve play and learning for children and nurture a place for nature in the modern home,” explains Stephanie.
So here are Stephanie’s top 5 home educational resources…
1. An art-filled, story-focused alphabet
Be that in a book like Letterland or ABC cards, like the Waldorf Family Alphabet cards or an ABC poster for the wall. Learning and teaching the alphabet can be a happy, imaginative journey when navigated through stories. More on that in our blog, Reading and writing: Let’s start with storytelling.
2. A number set
In a similar fashion, when my children were learning the numbers, we sang the song “one of the golden sun”. It helped them to relate the numbers to their world. Our Wooden Number Coins follows this with counting on each coin to help children really know each number. With our number set, you can also weave stories around those numbers which can be particularly helpful when moving on to place value later.
3. Maths wheel
When you move on to the times tables, it can be tricky to keep engaging the hands, hearts and minds of little ones, after all, times tables are a pretty abstract concept really. Number wheels can be used by children as a tool to learn and practice the times tables as well as to practice the numbers themselves. Number wheels engage the hands in learning and seeing how beautiful the patterns of each number is, really allows children to engage with the beauty of maths. Not only do they bring the visual patterns of math to life for children, they also offer the space to discover or uncover patterns themselves – which I think is critical to infusing maths with wonder.
We have the Maths CD for step counting and The Singing Year Songbook and CD (from Hawthorn press) for many wonderful verses. Of course, if you are gifted with music then you can just make up your own songs. I know often we all remember a song long after a story, so learning through songs makes perfect sense. Bringing music, in person if you can, or on CD: with the children, with instruments, across all the subjects is a great way to keep joy in learning and engage with the creative, expressive side of our journey.
5. World Map
We have a world map on the wall and we use it for all sorts of different explorations. We talk about the people of the world, different habitats and the animals and plants that live there. Mountains and rivers, what makes mountains and how water flows in the water cycle? We have even dived into map making itself. We also have a large floor jigsaw that has provided wonderful entertainment and learning. For me, the world map is not just a wall decoration, it’s a platform for so many discussions and I hope it makes the children think about their place, woven into our shared world, alongside the plants and animals of our home.
I’m going to add a cheeky number 6 …You!
Nothing can replace what you are bringing to this learning journey. Whatever your reason for home educating and your route to it, you are the best placed to know what your children will love, what will stoke their fire. It might be nature scavenger hunts in the woods and making your own resources. There is no set way to do this: follow your heart and make sure you are building into your schedule time for you to reflect and develop the journey.
Whatever you are using, resources or lesson plans, remember to bring hands, hearts and minds to learning – to engage the whole person. Children love to learn and I try to always think we are lighting a fire not filling a cup. All Waldorf Family homewares and toys are manufactured in England by highly skilled trade and craftspeople using a delightful marriage of traditional manufacturing methods and cutting edge production. We use materials sustainably sourced from the earth because they are handled with care and do no harm. Everything we create, from the box to the products, can be returned to the earth or recycled. Browse our collections.