A typical, magical day at the Language Garden
Our days at the Language Garden follow a structured rhythm of free play and set activities. This rhythm is at the heart of everything we do, giving children a sense of security, certainty and confidence throughout their day.
Our morning begins with free play and arts and craft. Children pursue their own wants and interests. They might scale the climbing frame, build a huge tower with blocks, or dress teddy bears and dolls. Friends get together to do a puzzle, cook a meal in our play kitchen, or take turns rolling the dice for a board game.
On a big table, there’s a creative project we’re working on. This usually reflects the season, and children explore different materials, textures and techniques. We paint, draw or make collages; work with clay, beads, wood or wool. We might even use treasures we found on a nature walk.
Mid-morning, one of the children rings the bell to let everyone know it’s time to tidy up. We all sing our ‘Aufräum’ song while putting everything back where it belongs.
Then each child fetches a small sheepskin from the basket, and we sit in a circle on the floor. Together, we play percussion, sing songs, and play movement games. We’ll also explore new words and phrases in a fun way. For example, we might look at picture cards that show opposites – ‘gross/klein’, ‘heiss/kalt’, ‘glücklich/traurig’ – and practice saying the words. Or a teacher becomes a magician, making objects disappear under a blue silk scarf. The children then try to remember the names of the missing items.
After morning circle, it’s time to prepare lunch together. We sit around the big table and use wooden boards, blunt knives and our strong hands to chop vegetables. We are interested in the different colours and textures and can’t wait to see how they taste at lunchtime.
Now, we have our morning snack of fruit, rice and oat cakes and water, then head outside to explore the fantastic nature around us. We love to walk in a lovely little forest nearby, where foxes and badgers live in big holes. We might meet a tiny mouse, feed grains to ducks and geese at the pond, and walk up towards the Downs, picking and eating wild blackberries as we go.
Some days, we fly frisbees, or kites when there’s a breeze. We run around a big field until it’s time to return to the village. Then we find our buddy, hold hands and walk back safely.
In our courtyard, we play in the big sandpit and our little wooden house. We weed the vegetable and flower beds, and plant seeds, sprinkling them with our little watering cans. We also draw pictures on the ground with colourful chubby chalks. Time just seems to fly! Soon we are hungry after being so busy, and the time has come for lunch.
Before every meal, we hold hands and say, “Piep, piep, piep, wir haben uns alle lieb. Piep, piep, piep, guten Appetit”. Two children volunteer to be the ‘Teller-Engel' of the day and carry the plates of food to the table. Today, we might have organic brown rice, corn-on-the-cob, sweet potato and cucumber, with hummus. Tomorrow, it could be spelt pasta, with carrots, courgettes, tomatoes and cheese.
During mealtimes, we catch up on news and the children often have many exciting stories to share. We also practice how to ask for food and say ‘thank you' and other kind gestures. We close our meals by saying together, “Danke für das leckere Essen”.
After lunch we brush our teeth, the teachers guiding us with the help of songs.
Then we are once again free to spend time how we choose. Some children prefer a peaceful activity, like cuddling up in the reading corner and listening to stories. Others join the team of ‘Abwasch-Engel', and wash the lunch plates and cups with one of the teachers in our large and sunny kitchen. We love to help!
As our day comes to an end, we gather in the cloakroom and get ready for pick-up time. Then we sit down on our chairs in a circle for our ‘Abschlusskreis' (closing circle) and listen as a teacher reads us a book.
We enjoy looking at the pictures and talking about the story. Finally, we sing our favourite ‘goodbye’ song and then it’s time to go home.