Rhythm is the foundation of Waldorf early childhood education, and such a lovely and important way for children to know what each day holds. With this knowledge comes confidence and security, allowing the child to feel empowered in their day-to-day lives.
One way that some Waldorf Kindergartens embrace the beauty of rhythm is by following the "Grain of the Day" that the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner, suggested.
Steiner subscribed to the ancient philosophy that the seven days of the week correspond to seven planets and seven different grains. Each day in the Waldorf kindergarten, a meal (snack or lunch) is usually prepared by the children and the teacher and often contains a grain corresponding to that particular day. It is then eaten family-style, at a table after saying a blessing, lighting a candle and with lots of good cheer.
One of our favorite resources, The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, describes the beneficial properties of each whole grain. Rye is chosen for nourishing the head and strengthening the bones. Millet is warming, while barley soothes the body. There are different properties and health benefits that are associated with each whole grain.
There are many recipes for The Grain of the Day, but we've pulled together some of our favorites for you. Download these printable recipe cards to incorporate the rhythm of Grain of the Day into your Waldorf practice.
There is so much beauty in preparing simple meals together. The children chop vegetables for the soup, grind the wheat for the bread and bring maple syrup from their maple trees or local market. When we prepare and eat food with a reverence for nature we bring that reverence to the classroom and to the work of nourishing our hearts, bodies and minds.