It can be said that the essence of "modeling" is very significant to children in the period from birth to seven years old, the age when all the world's information is taken in by the sensory organs from head to foot. Children imitate the world around them, especially the actions of the teachers in the educational setting, internalize this, and then create new modes of behavior. For example, children imitate the stories the teacher tells everyday but rather than stopping at mere imitation, the creation of new stories with the children's experiences and feelings is seen. In Korea, the word used for this sort of concept was "imitation" but in an educational relationship, when children create a new form, the concept of "modeling" is more appropriate. Also, this children's modeling capacity is seen as intentional self-action which is not an unconscious modeling action.
Children model the behavior of the people in their surrounding environment that they want to, and through this sort of modeling, that behavior becomes one with the essential character lying dormant within the child. For example, for children who are by their personality not interested in needle-work, spontaneous needle-work will not take place no matter how much modeling the teacher does.
In the childhood period, modeling is a basic study principle in recognizing matters of this world, and all the sensory organs become more developed through activity. We can say that in this period, the meaning of modeling is all the more significant in children's development. Adults and children establish an internal interaction through modeling, and through internalization, new behavior all one's own is yielded.
As an orderly rhythm lends greater sense of peace and stability to humankind than does an insecure rhythm, an orderly life rhythm allows the experience of inner peace. The Waldorf Preschool's daily routine, plan of the month, events throughout the year, and composition of all activities are composed with this sort of rhythm as a background.
Just as things in the world such as Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, the months, and the growth of plants all change within a rhythm, the life of humankind becomes comprehensible within this same sort of rhytmicism. In a rhythmic life, children's habits become formed and they obtain internal stability. We can see these sorts of examples as showing that the composition of the activities and the repetition naturally become internalized in the children.
In the Waldorf Play, the imaginary play spontaneously occurring of its own accord is diverse. The children stack pieces of wood and make houses and boats. Round pieces of wood can be telephones or cookies, and sometimes they change into steering wheels. Some children model the stories the teachers tell daily and follow it, and adding their own story change the contents into another story. The children, just as their teacher tells them the puppet play, the children prepare chairs to sit in and they cut paper to make play tickets and divide them among their friends. Each child expresses his internal colors pictures through imaginary play. Various themes and play forms like these appear in the imaginary play of the free play time, and the teachers help the children to be able to spontaneously express their own imagination.
When imagination isn't displayed or there is no desire for playing, the children take part in handicraft work with the teachers. They try to make dolls like those the teacher makes, and they try needlework on cloth wherever their hands take them. Although it may be insignificant to the eye of an adult, the children get a sense of satisfaction and express joy that they made something with their own hands. The children try embroidering with various colored string and try making birds with cotton. Before you know it, painstakingly done needle work becomes a small doll all one's own. Through handwork, children not only develop small motor action but the capability to concentrate as well, and it also cultivates the joy and self-confidence of making a new creation with their own hands.
With their own hands, the children trim pieces of wood and branches they picked up on walks in the woods. With the teacher's help, with a saw they cut large pieces of wood that are to be used in playing, and they fix rickety chairs that their friends sit on. Young children who cannot yet use a saw take part by using sandpaper to sand cut pieces of wood. They try nailing small pieces of wood, and drilling holes. To children, wood cutting activity requires a great deal of patience and concentration. Wood work allows the children to be more close to nature, and endows them with the value of the efforts of people who cultivate nature. In other words, we can say that gives endows gratitude concerning nature and the significance of cultivating it with a beautiful appearance rather than destroying it.
In order that the children can easily internalize these motifs, rhythmic verse and songs are attached and harmony is achieved by movements matching the motif and the song. The motif of the Reigen could be "The Changes of Nature in Spring's Arrival" and it could be "The Image of Doing Laundry at the Side of the Stream." This is to say that a Reigen can be composed which can be done with the children if rhythmic substance and sound is attached to any motif that we can see and feel around us. The sounds attached to the Reigen are mainly made up of "pentagon rhythm" which is the sounds of nature, and these sounds give the children psychological and emotional stability.
The Forest play time is deleted for the health and safety of the children, but except for such specific cases, outdoor play is an activity that is conducted daily. If there is a large tree at the outdoor play location, the children might climb up the tree, or hang from a rope strung on the tree. Playing in sand allows children to spread the wings of their imaginations outside, and with mud they make bread and food and play store, and make their own world by building sand castles, houses, and roads. The teachers weed the flower garden, cut the grass, and grow flowers with children that want to. In the fall, they sweep up the leaves that have fallen from the trees and burn them, and when much snow comes, they clear away the snow with large brooms.
This sort of Waldorf-style doll play, through the children's modeling, is seen in the varied imaginative playing during the free play time. In addition to this method, during story time memorized stories are told or story books are read, and animated stories are introduced with puppet shows.
Watercoloring is done with wet drawing paper. Rather than paint with all the different colors, using the basic colors of red, blue, and yellow, the children have the personal experience of the combination of the colors. The children experience the feeling of red passionately spreading out amid blue, and discover through the combination of blue and yellow that light green appears. The echo of the colors spreading from the end of the brush grows free and fluid sensitivity and thinking and also artistic sensitivity in the children. The children can express their feeling and psychological state through the colors; for example, children who have a lot of mental friction and instability with their parents might make watercolor drawings with dark and gloomy tones, and after resolving much of the friction with the parents and finding stability, can be seen making drawings with bright and animated tones. Occasionally, children who are either young or who don't have good memories about drawing pictures may not especially like taking part in this sort of activity. At such times, it is only right that the teacher wait until the child's heart is open and he is ready.