Spring is here! Our morning time is an important part of our family rhythm that ebbs and flows with the seasons.
The basics of our morning time remain the same all year, but our song selections, verses, and read alouds usually reflect the current season or my children’s current interests. At this time, my children are 6 years old and in first grade or form 1b, 3 years old, and 16 months old. We try to take our morning time outside whenever possible to take advantage of the wonderful fresh air while we are learning.
A note on educational philosophy
While we are a mostly Charlotte Mason-inspired family, our morning time draws on some elements from the Waldorf philosophy as well. In my mind, there is a lot of overlap between Charlotte Mason and Waldorf in the early years. Both philosophies value teaching the whole child with an emphasis on the natural world.
We start every morning time with our good morning song, Good Morning Dear Earth.
Friends in our co-op taught us a slightly different version that my kids love:
Good morning dear Earth,
Good morning dear Sun,
Good morning resting stones and beasts on the run,
Good morning dear flowers and birds in the tree,
Good morning to you and good morning to me!
Then we do our morning verse:
The earth is firm beneath my feet
The sun shines bright above.
And here I stand,
so straight and strong,
all things to know and love.
We all shake hands at the end of the verse as a way to practice a firm handshake- the kids love this!
Next we do yoga or some kind of movement.
Probably half of the time, we do a sun salutation along to Kira Wiley’s Dance for the Sun. This is our favorite yoga resource ever! The CD has lots of great music and instructional yoga stories to learn different poses. If you have Amazon Prime, you have access to tons of free music including this awesome album. If you don’t have Prime, what are you waiting for?!
As a side note, we listen to all of our music during our morning time on an Amazon Echo. I am not a fan of technology, but I seriously love this thing! I load up all the music on our morning time playlist so it’s ready to go when we need it.
We’re also using these Yoga Pretzels cards to learn some new poses and practice some partner poses. It also has some fun games like the Simon Says knock-off “Yogi Says” that my kids love. We shuffle the cards and pick one to do a few times a week.
Next we sing a folksong. We learn one or two new folk songs each month. Our Spring selections are:
- March: There’s a Little Wheel A Turning In My Heart and Spring Song
- April: Tirra-Lirra-Lirra and Early One Morning
- May: Little Seed
Then we usually read one or two picture books, or I tell a seasonal story. Most of our stories begin with ideas from Tell Me a Story, but I usually end up adding to them. If you are new to storytelling, I highly recommend this book! It has a great selection of sweet stories for preschoolers based on seasons and festival celebrations.
Our spring picture book selections are:
- The Egg Tree
- When I Was Young in the Mountains
- And Then It’s Spring
- Make Way For Ducklings
- Inch by Inch
- The Carrot Seed
- Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
- The Gardener
- Jack’s Garden
- Miss Rumphius
- Flower Fairies of the Spring
- Pelle’s New Suit
- Hedgie’s Surprise
- The Tiny Seed
- The Sunflower House
- Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms
- The Story of the Root Children
After our picture books, we do our memory work. I always have a few options for my daughter, but she often finds a verse on her own. We read one each day for a week, and by the end of the week she usually has it memorized. For longer pieces, we take two weeks.
The options I’ve chosen for spring are:
A green and yellow basket
I wrote a letter to my love
And on the way I dropped it
I dropped it
I dropped it
Yes, on the way I dropped it
A little boy he picked it up
and put it in his pocket.
Sing a Song of Sixpence
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?
The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
Along came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose.
Reggae in the Fields by Elizabeth Mitchell
The sun rises in the east
and sets in the west
night turns to day
and rolls back again
in the light of the great sunshine
and flowers cover the face of the Earth
The moon sends silver streams of light
over vast oceans
and gently pulls on the tides
Peace, love, and kindness
awaken in the hearts of all
and flowers cover the face of the Earth.
How Doth the Little Busy Bee by Isaac Watts
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skillfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
We are enjoying following along with Happy Hymnody to learn a new hymn each month. We don’t go to church, but I love the quality and beauty of old hymns. The lyrics and music from today just isn’t like it used to be! We sing our new hymn each day and by the end of the month we all know it well.
Our spring hymn selections:
March: Hallelujah, What a Savior
April: O Worship the King
At this point, my 3 year old is usually ready to move on to other things.
My 6 year old and I continue with a poem from Mother Goose or our current poet, Emily Dickinson. Each term we select one poet to read from and learn about. We’ll often use this time to read from the poet’s biography as well.
After our poetry, we read from our current fairy tale. We are using the Blue Fairy book by Andrew Lang. We do three fairy tales each term. Our spring selections are:
- East of the Sun and West of the Moon
- Aladdin and the Lamp
- Master Maid
Sometimes I will tell a fairy tale story aloud instead of reading, often to tie into our Jot it Down fairytale project.
Depending on time and mood, we sometimes add in an extra subject here. It might be a picture study portfolio or nature study from Exploring Nature With Children. Sometimes we throw in a little Spanish lesson or do composer study or do a history lesson. I rotate through the subjects that we only do 1-2 times a week and fit them into this space.
We usually end by signing old favorite songs. I let each kid pick one oldie but goodie to sing- sometimes it’s a folksong, sometimes a hymn, or sometimes on we’ve made up!
Then we end by getting up and moving our bodies for a brain break before we start lessons. We might play a circle game similar to hot potato or do another yoga pose or just pick up a ball and start tossing it. We also love songs with sign language.
Some options I have for spring:
- Sally Go Round the Sun
- Jumprope with songs like Miss Mary Mack from this great list
- Clap Your Hands and Wiggle Your Fingers
- Tap Your Sticks
- The Rainbow Song
- Round and Round the Garden finger play
- Caterpillar Dreams
We used to have a closing verse, but we never seem to get to it these days.
Morning Time Is Fun
Our morning time is fun and wonderful and so special to our family. We don’t do morning time every day because we have a couple of morning commitment. But when we do it, it’s the highlight of our day. It’s not a time for stress or worries over perfection. I make a plan, but we often change things up and let our morning time evolve into what it’s meant to be.