We were at the Botanic Gardens again this morning to attend a Waldorf (Steiner) playgroup. I’ve always wanted the girls to join more playgroups, but you are probably tired of hearing me discuss how its been impossible to commit to any regular kind of playdate, playgroup or classes. So we’ve been more of an ad hoc sort of family. When we see an interesting thing, we go for just one or two sessions and probably never to be seen again. It was like that for the Blue House, for Tahiti dance, for My Gym, and now for this Waldorf playgroup.
This particular Waldorf playgroup was organised by the Lighthouse Family Group, who if I am recalling their introduction correctly, are a bunch of teachers and parents committed and trained in Waldorf education methods. They are hoping to launch a full-fledged Waldorf kindergarten by next year. Today we were led by Dawn Zabala-Dickey, who is very experienced Waldorf-trained facilitator from the Philippines (but currently based in Ireland). She was visiting Singapore for the first time and the the Lighthouse Family Group collaborated with her to do this playgroup to I guess create awareness about Waldorf education and their group. We were joined by 7 other families today, one of whom was a fellow twin mum friend whose also a stay-home mother. Half of the families appear to already know each other through their own existing Waldorf playgroup, while the other half were newbies like me, interested to know more or just there for fun and play.
The whole two hours was really casual, easy, and relaxed. We sat outdoors under some shaded plants, on our picnic blankets. We started off with the babies and toddlers playing with the natural toys the facilitators brought while the parents mingled and talked and we waited for other families to arrive. The girls really enjoyed the toys that are made of natural materials. Once everyone was there and settled in, everyone introduced themselves and their kiddos. Since it was Deepavali, they had a Deepavali-themed jar decorating activity parents could do with their kids. Livia really got into that. She did it all by herself without me guiding her and the facilitators were quite impressed at her independence. I let the triplets play with the glue, flowers, paint brush and the jar, and they weren’t much Picassos but they seem to enjoy the glue the most. After that activity, we had circle time where we sat in a circle and then Dawn led the way with the way with some welcome songs and finger action songs. The Waldorf-experienced families knew all the songs, while the newbies tried to follow as best as they could. By now the twins were fussing, Lucia really wanted to sleep so my husband back-carried her to sleep in the Boba. I, on other hand, held on to Lysbeth and I think the singing soothed them a bit. Dawn tried to explain the purpose of the songs and the whole return to nature thing that Waldorf is so big about. Then it was break-time, and everyone took out their packed snacks to share and eat and talk and played. I guess Liora and Lysbeth forgot they were tired once they saw fruits and snacks galore. After snack-time, we headed to a shaded pavilion and had story-time and sang goodbye songs. We didn’t head home immediately, Livia was having too much run running around with other toddlers, so we remained there until she exhausted herself.
The triplets were wiped out after the whole thing. They are not very used to going out for very long, so they get tired very quickly whenever we head outdoors. I think they would have enjoyed themselves more if they were not over-tired. I need to work on their outdoor stamina by bringing them out more. Livia, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed herself. At one point when she was running barefoot with other toddlers, it took me back to a time when I used to run around barefoot too on the grass or the pavement. Such simple joys that I have forgotten about childhood.
I am waiting for the triplets to walk more steadily and we can do our own Waldorf-inspired activities outdoors. I find it tiring to join playgroups and organise playdates. Its so much easier to just go out with the girls on my own spontaneously. I’ve been thinking about a trip to East Coast Beach, but I feel I am not ready to embark on a solo trip with them yet. Soon, the time will come soon.