«Every child has a unique pattern and pace of development, just as an individual personality, a way of learning and a family background. The curriculum has also to show that the grown-ups are aware of these differences»
HANSEN and co-authors (2001, p.15)
SPENDING TIME ON FRESH AIR
The time spent outside on fresh air (in various weather conditions) is also an important factor as well as regular diet or respecting the need for a daily rest. The planned time for the children being spent in the open stimulates harmonious development of the child's body and strengthens its resistence to diseases. Movement on fresh air incites good mood and a better appetite. That is why we advocate spending some time outside for the children in all weather conditions (except in cases of strong wind, heavy rain and frost -15°C), because they become more resistant, resilient and healthy. It is the duty of all grown-ups in our nursery school to lend ears to every child's need and to respect their right to have a choice.
THE CULTURE OF DINING
The environment at our nursery school makes it possible for us to have conditions in which one group of children is freely having a meal while the other children are spending time at the playground or partaking in activities in the remaining spaces of the nursery. The experience of the founder of the nursery school has been helpful in organising meals in a manner much different from the usual understanding, more specifically, meals here differ in duration. The children are envisaged to have as much time at their disposal as they require, in order to enable the children to have meals corresponding to their needs. By dining in subgroups in the foreseen spaces of the dining room, one avoids keeping the usual practice of all children having meals at the same time regardless of their actual needs.
WE HIGHLIGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CULTURE OF DINING BY:
the way we make the table – tablecloths and cutlery depeding on the type of food,
motivating the child to decide individually how much food he/she is going to consume,
motivating the child to consume the meal on its own,
ensuring enough time for an uninterrupted meal, respecting the individuality of each child,
stimulating desirable behaviour at the table (eating slowly, swallowing the food, not talking with having the mouth full...).
Changing dieting habits of children and raising awareness about the importance of chosing nutritionally valuable ingredients is a time-consuming process which requires the best possible conditions in order for the child to accept it and take it in. The cooperation of the nursery school and the family is being maintained by including and educating the parent through various working methods in the nursery school.
„Every child has a unique pattern and pace of development, just as an individual personality, a way of learning and a family background. The curriculum has also to show that the grown-ups are aware of these differences.»
HANSEN and co-authors (2001, p.15)
Does the child feel the need for a daily recess in the nursery, should everybody go to sleep or not, is a subject which is still keeping us perplexed. Discussions of the said subject still center on the questioning thought of how much we still believe that the child is not an independent person to have the ability to individually decide what it needs. By accepting the humanistic perception in education, we have also accepted the child's right to express its individuality in everything, even in its need for a daily recess. In this nursery school the children individually decide whether they want to go to sleep or «withdraw from sleeping...», as one bright child put it, when it decided that it didn't want to sleep in the nursery. Both we and the parents respected this decision.
How? We have designed spaces so that one of them became a space for dining and recess for the children who have articulated the need for it, for as long as they want. All children should have the chance to successfully fulfill their needs by not threatening the need of others. In an invigorating environment, the children continue to move about uninterrupted, play and research. The child should be offered conditions to continue its rhythm of life without minding the period of day, so that it may on deciding, for example, «withdraw from sleeping». Just like it may join sleeping with the others again, when and if it wants it. Because this also happens. Children's needs (like the needs of grown-ups) are constantly changing, and we shall be ready for that.