Morning time is such a sweet concept that sprang out of the homeschool community but that I’m actually finding really beneficial to incorporate with Peter now that he’s a one-year old.
A time to come together each morning to sing and read and learn. Technically, the three Rs of morning time are Ritual, Recitation, and Reading. It’s more or less like Circle Time in the Waldorf pedagogy. But as Peter is so little, I’ve just used the idea as inspiration for creating a semi-structured, intentional start to our days.
I’ve found that the more we spend stimulating, connected, quality time together first thing, the more it fills Peter’s emotional bucket and the more likely he is to play independently afterwards.
Right now our morning time usually consists of:
Singing Old Macdonald with his wooden animals as vocabulary objects.
Oftentimes we end up singing a few other songs, too. Lately it’s usually Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes and The Grand Old Duke of York. Peter loves songs with actions and will often shake his maracas or sound blocks along with me.
Looking through his basket of faces.
None of our family lives very close by and mine is all the way in Canada so most of his interaction with them is via FaceTime. The basket of faces was a sweet idea we learned about in our Sing and Sign class to help Peter recognise his family and, optionally, learn the signs for each of them. I’ve since seen it suggested on a few Montessori blogs as well. I asked each family member to send a clear photo of their face, printed them as 5×7 prints, and laminated them with clear packing tape to make them a bit sturdier. I haven’t been very consistent with introducing the signs (because I don’t remember all of them! But you can make up your own sign for each person or there’s a good online dictionary of them here – it just matters that you’re consistent with what sign you use). We spend time time looking at each one and taking about that person and often Peter wants to kiss them, which is so sweet it hurts.
Reading a book about vegetables.
Like most one-year olds, Peter has entered a semi-picky phase with his eating. Gone are all of the veggies he ate so indiscriminately when we started weaning. He lives almost exclusively on fruit and starches these days. This is totally normal behaviour and will likely pass naturally in time if we continue to offer him a variety of foods and flavours to explore each day. But there’s research showing that children who look at books about different foods every day are less likely to be picky eaters later on, so I figure it can’t hurt. We have Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable ABC (which uses North American terminology) and Eating the Alphabet. They’re both lovely but the latter is a bit more robust in terms of the number of foods depicted.
I just follow Peter’s lead with all of it. Sometimes he pushes the vegetable book away and grabs other books instead. Sometimes we only spend five or ten minutes moving through these activities before he scoots off to play on his own, while at others he’ll insist on book after book, song after song and we’ll spend a lovely hour or so cuddling and playing together. I like to make a cup of tea (or lately cold brew during these hot days!) to enjoy while we hang out together. It’s as much a special time for me as it is for him.
What’s your morning rhythm with your child? I’d love to hear!