Rhythm is the cloth which underlies all of the Kindergarten experience, as the Kindergarten lives in strict relation with nature’s rhythm which is full of all the qualities and characteristics of each season of the year. The relationship between the annual rhythm and the development of the child is a concern in this phase of the child’s life as the child is essentially a sensory organ and extremely porous to everything around them. On the other hand, the fact that children are able to relate and experience the different ways that a cycle and rhythm repeats itself, gives the children a feeling of safety and well being. At the same time it allows them the effective integration of their own growth.
We understand that it’s important to "predict and organize a time that is simultaneously structured and flexible, in which different moments make sense for the children. These moments take into account that the children need time to make experiences, to explore, to play, to experiment with new ideas, and to modify and perfect their achievements." (p. 27 OCEPE).
The rhythm in the Waldorf Kindergarten is thought to have its own breath, with moments of contraction interlaced with moments of expansion. This way of organizing time is related to the breath and feel of a child, and the way the child creates harmony between the environment around them and their own act of breathing. In this way the child internalizes the world and then, coming from within them, the child encounters the world and others in a harmonious and healthy way. There are different moments in the rhythm, and each moment is critically chosen so that there are fluid transitions between the moments of expansion and contraction.
In Waldorf pedagogy the human being is seen in close relation with the natural world and all of its elements. As such, the understanding of different phases of the year, the location where we reside and how we relate to different changes are fundamental elements for the Educator to organize and provide different experiences for the child.
As this Kindergarten is integrated into Portugal, specifically in Lagos in the Algarve and having a very eclectic community in terms of cultures, nationalities and experiences, the balance between nature’s rhythm and traditions is fundamental.