“Having respect for the world is when you allow people to be what they are.” – Magda Gerber
In order for a child to thrive and develop healthfully, he must feel loved and cared for. Our relationship-based program uses the family as the model and standard for care, and forges warm, authentic relationships between the caregiver and the children. Human relationships not only build trust and security in the child, but also lay the foundation for early skill acquisition and development. In our program, daily life is the curriculum – not early academics. Rather, beauty, comfort, security, and connection to nature form the basis for the “Living Arts:”
Domestic Arts. Children find joy in helping with meaningful household work like cooking, sweeping, mopping, dusting. Participating in household tasks gives the child sense of self-confidence and accomplishment. The caregiver models this image of meaningful work by involving themselves in
handwork and gardening while the children play. Many of the toys in our program are made by hand, and the children delight in watching them come into being.
Nurturing Arts. Daily the children are nourished with lavender foot baths, hair brushing, and gentle back rubs during rest time. This nurturing interaction strengthens the bond between child and caregiver, and allows the child to feel secure and loved in his environment.
Social Arts. Mixed-age groupings foster a secure relationship with the primary caregiver over time and provide the opportunity to be both a younger and older “sibling.” We also occasionally invite an elder member of the community to tell stories or sit with the children as they play.
Creative Arts. Imaginative play is enriched by story telling, puppet shows, artistic activities, crafts, music and singing. Our circle time involves dance, song, and movement games to help strengthen the child’s memory and develop physical coordination.
Media Free Home
At Redbud, we emphasize real human relationships — with warm speech, live singing, and stories — rather than technology.
Safe and Natural Materials
We strongly prefer natural materials like wood, cloth, and wool for our toys and home furnishings. We find that these materials not only are more durable, but are gentler for the child’s developing senses. At mealtimes, we use ceramic and wood dishes. The avoidance of sippy cups encourages careful, mindful eating and drinking while sitting. In the winter, children make candles from natural beeswax, and we use them all year long. We scent our home with simple essential oils and herbs from our garden.
We respect child-directed play as a valid and important activity of childhood. Through play, children acquire important social skills like conflict resolution and empathy as well as develop crucial mental processes like executive function. We support spontaneous, healthy play with toys that are open-ended and simple. While most battery operated toys are overly stimulating and have a fixed usage, open ended toys allow the child to pour in his imagination and creativity.
We find that a consistent healthy diet provides a strong foundation for excellent physical and mental health. Mealtimes are a time for connection, intimacy, and nourishment. Every child at Redbud participates in some component of meal preparation – whether that is through growing veggies in the garden, cooking the food, or serving himself at the table. Meals are served family style with a beautiful seasonal table setting. Because we respect and trust children’s natural appetites, children are never forced or bribed to eat.