By Melina Marin
Lead Preschool Teacher
This past Saturday, on April 15, 2023, preschool parents gathered for our last parent meeting of the year. The topic was: “Why Purposeful Work in the Early Years? Working with the WILL forces of the child.”
After experiencing bread-making together, we spoke about why we do this activity on a weekly basis. This was followed by some discussion time where we shared some gifts and struggles of involving young children in regular household chores.
When children make bread, they are working on:
· waiting for a turn
· fine motor skills/manual dexterity
· exploring with their senses
· strengthening bilateral coordination
· developing attention and focus
· working on process and sequence
· purpose and sense of achievement
· confidence in self-ability- “I can do it” feeling
· delayed gratification
· sense of interconnectedness (witnessing process from start to finish)
· imitation (working without intellectual instruction)
· flexibility, working through frustrations & accepting imperfections
· finding joy in a simple chore
· sense of community/social aspect of working and eating together
· appreciation for food and how it’s made
· creating good habits
Real, meaningful, purposeful work is a significant educational activity that strengthens the child’s will forces and serves as an example for the child’s natural inclination to imitate.
The young child has an innate quality of openness to the world. Steiner describes the young child as a “wholly sense organ” highly sensitive to whatever is going on around him. With this in mind, Early Childhood teachers present rich meaningful activities that nurture the senses and are worthy of imitation so the child can engage his will forces in a purposeful way.