Life is full of rhythm – The rhythm of the day
A healthy rhythm is vital for the development of the child. As parents and facilitators, it is important that we cultivate a good rhythm both at home and in school. Life is full of rhythm!
There is the rhythm of day and night, the rhythm of the days of the week, the rhythm of the months, and the rhythm of the seasons. All of these rhythms are a part of our lives and their repetition brings us comfort because they are regular and expected. Rhythm provides an anchor and helps us to feel secure.
Children, especially, benefit from life rhythms. They are in the midst of the process of creating and developing the rhythms of their hearts, their breath, their digestion and sleep. For them, the possibility to trust in regular times and sequences for the activities of their lives brings about a sense of comfort and security.
A predictable sequence of events and regular times help a child settle into life, and give a secure foundation from which to get to know the world. This familiar sequence and pattern brings delight for the child, and as these sequences become a habit, they later become the source of discipline.
Rhythm also helps avoid over-stimulation and fatigue for young children, because the routine of the day which naturally moves from more active to quieter parts refreshes their energy. This work – play – rest rhythm is a healthy habit for a whole lifetime!
The rhythm of the school day at Imara moves in tune with the natural expressions of the child: beginning with outdoor physical activity to expend their physical energies and moving on to a few minutes of quiet time in order to gather themselves in preparation for the work of the morning. The ‘work’ of the young child differs according to age and ranges from imaginative indoor play, art and craft work, involved circle time activities to the rigor of focused academic work. The work done by the child interspersed with play, good nutrition and focus on the process of work rather than just the end result assists the child to develop to the best of their individual capabilities.
The repetition of this sequence brings joyful anticipation over time and a willingness to be guided into the transition toward the next activity of the day. With the support of a healthy rhythm at home of healthy meals, peaceful and sufficient sleep, free play and limited screen time, we will have happy, well rested children who are open, curious and willing to experience and participate in all that is offered at Imara.
Dr. Jane Healy, a Ph.D in child psychology with a background in neurological development, feels that a rhythmic life is vital to developing thinking skills. Establishing order from chaos helps develop neural pathways that create routes within the brain that enable us to think.
How can we create or strengthen rhythm in our lives? Creating rhythm arises out of a balance between the adult’s awareness of the child’s needs and the child’s naturally emerging rhythm. We begin with the rhythm of waking, sleeping, and eating, for in the beginning this is all there is. As we observe closely, patterns will begin to express themselves, and we can support these patterns in becoming an actual predictable, secure rhythm.
Parents discover that when a rhythm is created, far from compromising their freedom, life actually begins to give more freedom. Children are more relaxed and comfortable, more secure and less anxious because they know that the adult they love and trust is guiding the flow of the day. They relax into this security and can be free to play imaginatively, to explore, to observe and to do the work required of them.
We refine our rhythm and recreate it as our children grow and change and as we discover how best to support them. With a rhythmic life, our children are gently guided toward order, comfort and security.