For Working Moms with Little Children
The Mikael Playhouse used to be The Mikael Playgarden–an initiative started by Bella and Jake Tan, myself and others, who wanted to support working moms and their children. We closed shop but a parent of the group purchased the business. I do not know the new owners or the new management, but I know that they retained the teachers who are all trained by Bella Tan. The piece below was written for the original Mikael Playgarden.
Finding the right yaya or caregiver for your child can be a nightmare. Conscious mothers know that the inner condition of the people around their children affect their growth and development profoundly. We don’t take the yaya search lightly. When my children were younger, I would time my errands with their naps. I didn’t want to be away from them for very long because I knew that no matter how well I trained their yayas and the other members of the household staff, I would never get the quality of care I wanted for them. As a result, I did not have as much time for myself that I now feel would have made me a more relaxed and patient mother.
I am glad the mothers of today have the Mikael Playgarden to support them. The Mikael Playgarden is the first Waldorf/Steiner-inspired daycare center in the country. It is conveniently located on Palma St., Poblacion, behind Ateneo Rockwell, Makati. If you have a child aged 2 to 5 and you have a full-time job, or simply want your child to be in a healthy environment three days a week while you run errands or have some alone time, this is the place for you.
A day at the Mikael Playgarden is structured like the Waldorf /Steiner Kindergarten. It opens with a few minutes of free play as the children settle into the morning after which a healthy, organic snack is served, which the children often help prepare. The food here is always healthy. There is never any junk or artificial ingredients that can adversely affect the health and behavior of your child. Then they go for outdoor play and later settle back in for storytelling, which is usually done with dolls and puppets. The children then help to set the table, wash their hands and sit down for an organic or biodynamic lunch. After everyone does his share to clean up, the children settle for a nap. Then they draw, paint or do other crafts and play indoors. Another healthy snack is served before the children play outside in the sandbox or take a walk around the area. Then mommy and daddy come to bundle them home. This is the daily rhythm. It is a good way to spend the day as it creates a balance and flow that is not dull but also not over-stimulating for the child.
The toys are simple and made of natural materials like wood, pinecones, bamboo, etc. The dolls (also simple and free of fixed features like blinking blue eyes and artificial eyelashes), made by their teachers, are fashioned out of cotton or wool. These “unfixed” toys allow the child to develop his imagination fully and help to engage him in creative play. This is why most Waldorf children are calm and settled. When they are able to play well and creatively, their energies are expended in a satisfying manner. They do not have to battle with a sense of frustration and restlessness brought on by an unrealized impulse—the impulse to play creatively. If a child has been able to play well, he also rests well and sleeps soundly. These simple and unfixed toys help unleash creativity because they can become anything a child imagines. Unlike a fixed fire engine, for example, which will always be just a fire engine. Within a few minutes, a child will abandon it because it would have ceased evolving along with his vivid imagination.
Natural materials also help to develop healthy sense organs. When a child plays with a lot of plastic toys, her sense of touch is affected because these toys are hard and cold to the touch. Wood isn’t. Beeswax gets warmer the longer it is touched and manipulated into various shapes. Clay is cold. Children thrive in warmth and their senses develop in a healthy manner when they are surrounded by beautiful, simple surroundings made of the most natural materials possible. Anything noisy, electronic, synthetic or garish is kept out of the Waldorf/Steiner environment, especially during the early childhood years.
When you leave your child in the Mikael Playgarden, you know your child is getting the best care possible. You are assured that the teachers are speaking and behaving appropriately and that they are worthy of imitation. A young child learns primarily through imitation, so the adults around him must provide the best example. Waldorf/Steiner teachers take this to heart and know that what is inside them deeply affects the soul mood of the child. The Mikael Playgarden gives you the confidence to be away from your child knowing he is in a healthy, loving environment, inside and out. If I had this kind of support when my children were younger, I know I would have been less exhausted, more productive and a better mother all around.
The Mikael Playgarden is at the ground floor of ISIP, 6241 Palma St., Makati. Please call Marylee at 0920-9000125 .