Aim, purpose and objective children being educated by Caracol ao Sol grow up to become the human beings they want to be, knowing what they have to offer in life, knowing what they want to get out of life, knowing how to contribute in the bigger picture with their whole soul, head and hands.

A homely, small, cosy playgroup for the youngest children, that don’t have the need of having guided activities with a purpose yet, but do benefit from a social context and a motherly and structured day rythm.

The daycare is based on the philosophies of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and his anthroposophic life vision. In the daycare we take in consideration that children of this age are not yet ready to move out of the etherical body of the parents, and especially the mane caretaker. Children of this age are still very connected to the vital etherical body of the main caretaker and bond with their parent(s) deeply. For a child of this age it will always be hard to let this parent(s) go and surrender to another caretaker with a different rythm, structure and ether body. Taken this in consideration, we find it highly important the transition time goes smooth and calm and we keep observing if the child can be ready after a reasonable time. Therefor sometimes we observe that a child is still to young to let the parent(s) go no matter how hard we try. Understanding this as a fact we always have to see that bringing a young child under 4 to a daycare/school or babysitter is always a first need of the parents, not the first need of the child. The child under 4 does not need a social group or any kind of extra activities to develop in a healthy way. But if the transition and daycare is done right it also doesn’t harm the child. We live in a time where there is expected a lot of young parents and where young mothers and fathers also have ambitions and needs that are different than 50 years ago. For this it is, we need to find a healthy and supportive way to give answer to the need of parents of this time. Therefor we consider the childs needs, and these are, from age 2 to 4, rhythm, warmth, structure, love, clarity, simplicity.

This means that the focus will be on creating a homely, warm, comfortable setting, with a lot of daily liffe program. Washing hands, eating independantly, washing up dishes, doing laundry, going to the toilet, sweeping the floor, sleeping, storytelling, storyreading and following the rhythms of nature. It will be a slow rhythm, just like home and will give a lot of attention to eating, sleeping, growing, talking, walking and our final goal is a 4 year old who speaks in clear sentences, is potty trained, can think for him/herself proper to it’s age and can climb, jump, and walk like a human being, so this child will be ready for kindergarden.

Structure

We will eat every day a warm freshly cooked exclusice organic warm meal at lunch time and eat organic fruits as a snack at 10 in the morning. (Fruits will be provided by parents and cooked meal will be provided by school but cost an extra 1 euro per day per child)

Children that will stay after lunch will sleep in the daycare room after story time, if they can not sleep they will have to rest, quietly, without disturbing other children.

The most of the day space of the Nest group will be outdoors, going for walks with the carridge, exploring our surroundings, discover nature and explore little and great adventures of the different seasons.

Some extra activities will be:

-painting, with only yellow, blue and red, with no purpose or assignment, just to experience colour.

– baking bread, kneeding dough, smelling the dough, baking in the oven, eat our own bread.

– Year feasts based on anthroposofical viewings (Saint Michael, Saint Marten, Christmas etc.)

– Birthday celebrations (small, homely, sugarfree organic homemade cake made by children, selfmade present of natural materials)

Seasonal

In September we will sing and tell stories the whole month about apples and pick a lot of apples from the tree. In November we will a whole month sing about autumn leaves and tell stories about leaves. In December we will whole month have attention for Christmas, baby jesus, maria, josef etcetera.

Room

In the whole school and in the room only natural materials will be used and also only toys will be used that expand the fantasy, that have a friendly and natural look, plastic toys are not allowed and also not supposed to be brought from home.

The space of the Nest group is a two room space, small, one room is set up for songs, story reading, using toys, building huts etc. The other room is the room to sleep in and clean diapers or clothes, to have a rest.

photo

Age Group: age 2 years and 3 months untill 4 years

It is important the child is no younger than 2 years and 3 months, and no older than 4 years.

Children can be potty trained or with diapers, both is no problem (diapers and tissues need to be provided by parents)

Ratio: The maximum amount of children in the group can be up to 6 children.

Hours of opening for Primary Class
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 1.30pm.

Fee

150 euro per month from September to June. Snack and lunch not included.

150 euro one time registration fee including insurance, materials, membership and administration fee

“20 November 1983 i was born in Bergeijk, a tiny village on the south of the Netherlands, in a hard working family. A family of Catholics, farmers, builders and factory workers. I grew up with one younger sister. Our house was a high prestigious house in an area of industry and factories, where my father had his roofer company. Life was about work and religion. I went to a normal public Catholic school. I liked school, i liked to learn, i liked to work hard to achieve my goals, but i felt always there was missing something. Even if i was very little i watched from the window outside to the neighbour school, it was called The Rainbow, i had no idea what was going on there, but the playground was green and full of trees, the children who went there looked different, more at ease, and i was always dreaming to walk in there one day. The day i finally walked in there i was 16 and in my high school we had an obligatory social internship, i asked if i could go to this dreamschool The Rainbow.  When i was 10 years old i new i would become a mother and a teacher when i would grow up, i wrote in in my diary every day. So when i finally walked in there i had enourmous expectations, i thought it would be glorious, everybody singing there, doing arts, and teachers would be funny and positive. Well…. it was just another public school so it was not so glorious as i hoped it to be, but there for the first time, i could feel that the school was a place where i feel at home. The team of collegues, the happy faces of children all day, the vibe of concentrated hard work and always improving and developing were things, i think, i could really appreciate.

But… my life had to make some turns and switched before i could fulfill this dream… My father and mother thought that it would be better is i would choose a more practical destination, like working with my hands. I had good taste and was a good cook in my house, so they thought it would be wonderful if i would start working in the local restaurant and go to cooking school. And i was a very obeying girl, with very authoritarian parents, so i did. I loved to cook, i knew how to work hard, i liked the vibe of the kitchen so i thrived in the kitchen. Soon i became at the same level of the head chefs and at the speed that was required in the busy Dutch restaurants. I was succesful and that gave me satisfaction. But… my soul kept hungry for other learning experiences, so besides cooking in the restaurant i started an education in social work. I started internships in the social workplaces for children who didn’t have enough resources at home to have basic needs. I loved the work, but i got very frustrated that there was no development really, there was no forward, the problems stayed problems and it was not getting better. And what i liked most was going to places where i was needed and than work very hard with all my heart and passion to make things better, to bring this to the light. When i was 18 i worked 4 different jobs, in the kitchen, in the social institution, as a babysitter and taking care of a disabled child. I lived by myself in the city Eindhoven in 12 m2 room and i loved every single day. I was finally independant, exploring the world. Soon i discovered i could travel if i wanted to, so every extra cent i earned and every minute of free time i put in travelling and work experiences abroad. I traveled to small historical towns within the Netherlands, i traveled in Europe and i traveled to the other sides of the world. In between all the jobs and studies i went to South Africa for a social work project, in France i worked as an entertainer in hotels, in australia i was in charge of a big restaurant, in South America i worked in a social institute with disabled people, and in Thailand i cleaned the floor of buddhist temples. In these travels i met people that were in contact with Gurus and spoke about Buddhism and Indian spiritual believes. My eyes opened, i entered a new conciousness,  a new world with completely new people awakened in front of me, i was with all my heart, head and bosy following this different philosophies and visions. I felt so much thruth in the words spoken with love, so much truth in the vision of…. simply… Love. My food habbits changed, i find out you could eat organic, i found out you can buy different clothes of natural materials, i found out you can think in such a way that it is healing instead of tiring. When i was 20, with my new conciousness, i didn’t feel at place anymore in the structure, speed and emforcement of the kitchens, the food served was in my eyes not produced and cooked with love and care, it was just fast, cheap and to please the senses of the customer, but not feeding the soul. Also i felt i shouldn’t work 4 jobs and a tudy, travel the world at the same time as i was really burning out my body. I felt i was just doing this to get credits form my parents, family, old neighbourhood and village believes that i grew up in. I ended up in a identity crisis with myself, absolutely not knowing who i was anymore, as my conciousness awakened fast and this what i learned and felt absolutely was conflicting with what i learned i should be. I had an internal culture clash you could say.

I took a sabattical with only traveling for a year, after that year i took a ride back to the Netherlands from France in the car of a spiritual Guru, he asked me; what next? What i will do back in the Netherlands. And i felt so free with this person, i just started to babble. I said i will probably try to find a job in social work and maybe try to cook in a vegetarian or ayurvedic restaurant. He asked me what it is i dreamed of, and what i really wanted? It was quiet… i just thought… what i want… nobody ever asked me what i want. So i carefully said, well… i always dreamed of becoming a teacher… but… well… first of all it is another 4 years education and it is uiversity… and i don’t have that level of thinking… etcetera… And he just kind of mirrored me, saying: But if you want it, there is a way yes? And than it all clicked. Yes ofcourse, if i want it, there is a way.

So back in Holland i inscribed myself in a pedagogical education, the only one i knew of was in the city i allready lived in. I started enthusiastically with all my believes and visions and shared there what i thought education and taking care of children was about…. but… they absolutely had different ideas… in my eyes they didn’t look at the nature of children, they didn’t look at the individual being of the child that allready was something without us teachers doing anything, they didn’t take care of the needs of the individual child. And it frustrated me very much. One year later, i was 22 at the time, i went for a summercamp with children to France, and i slipt on wet grass and broke my ankle in two places. I couldn’t continue my internship for about 2,5 months and i couldn’t live alone in my small house as it had three tight stairs that i had to walk up and down all the time. So my babysitter family that lived in Tilburg said i could stay with them. I lived in their house and they took care of me. One day the mother of the household asked me to join a year feast of the school of her children. She drove me there, and there i was sitting in a paradise garden, full of green and trees, with my leg up high, i couldn’t believe my eyes. The school building was round and corners were not edgy and sharp but round, curtains were pink and everything looked cosy. All children were wearing white clothes and walked in a parade to a beautiful tree with thousands of colourfull ribbons, they danced on music of accordeons and flutes, all people looked happy and so together, so much supportive to eachother. I really felt i ended up in dreamland. When i went home the only thing on my mind was getting better as soon as possible and than ask to finish my internship on that school. When i asked this to my university, they said, oh no, that’s a Steiner School, that is something different, we don’t do that here, it is something of a whole different world and idea. I heard the word Steiner School and i thought, what?? It is a primary school yes? Yes they said. So… i can work there with this diploma? Well… yes… no… not really… they said. I said, so how can i make sure i can work there? …. no answer… they didn’t know.

So that night, i googled endlessly on everything there is to know about Steiner School and i found out there was a small pedagogical education in Zeist (farrrrrrr away if your a southern country girl….!) and that it was another 4 years full time education there to become, what is called, a Steiner teacher. Gluck… i couldn’t breath.. every cell in my body told me, go there, go there, but my fears, my childhood believes, my mind said… impossible… it’s just to far away…

But from that day the only thing on my mind was this study there… and the inner conflict was… i should not make things so difficult, i always want something different than other people, why can’t i settle for less, why am i not just normal… i shouldn’t dream of bigger, if i could just be happy what i allready have etcetera… but the eyes were opened and there just was no way back. So bravely in November, i was supposed to turn 24 by this time, i took the bus, the train, the bus and a big forest walk to Zeist in an incredible crazy storm, my train got delayed several times, there was a tree on the rails, i couldn’t find the way to the school at all, and all the way going there i was thinking, maybe i should just turn back, all signs are telling me not to go. But i went anyway. I walked into the building of the Pedagogic Steiner education and i just stood there, with my mouth open, amazed and blown away with beauty. The energy i felt was so warm, the smells were wonderfull, the colours were so alive, and the people…. wow! Glowing! Beautiful! Inspired! I couldn’t breath really… and all my doubts, absolutely all my doubts were gone, in one second. I never doubted again, i never was sorry, i never wondered if i should settle for less.

I went to all the open public classes that day and i loved it, but in 5 minutes i knew allready i would inscripe myself. And so i did. The next schoolyear i started. 4 years were the most inspiring, most educative, most grown up and responsible years of my life, but responsibility and hard work of a whole other degree. No stress, no pressure, just inspirational hard work, truly involved with everything i learned. Every thought, every feeling, every cell inside me clicked and zzzinged! It was a most expanding experience to be studying there, and i knew every day, this is what i was looking for, here i find the thruth of what i always had known but nobody showed me it excisted.

In my last year  of my education i had to do a year long internship, independant being responsible for a class, i loved my internships and i enjoyed the schools in Holland i visited, but for me it was not enough, i wanted it less dogmatic, more individual, more time, more inspired, smaller and more involved. I learned about De Werfklas, a small private Steiner School in Culemborg, run by two devoted teachers, Annemarijke and Danielle, i started to do my internship and later work there and i knew, this is exactly right, thruthfull and gives me my daily inspiration that gives me the breath to carry on. I really was so motivated to learn there, to become more individual, more present, more aware. It changed again my life and vison, and again my whole internal self was upside down, i thought, how can i become so autonomous as these teachers, how can i be part of this bigger goal, this bigger picture. I felt incapable, because i really was not there yet, i was not educated and developed enough to be what these woman were. So apparantly universe had some other lessons for me in mind before…. So a little bit lost, not really knowing what to aim for once received my diploma, i went to Australia because my mother was raised there and i wanted to understand her better. I was part of building a Steiner School in Perth, the Silver Tree Steiner School, where about 20 children still are educated today. It’s a small private initiative, and building a school costs an enourmous energy but it is worth it everyday, the community there was totally involved and everybody wanted it with all there heart, body and soul. I was planning to stay there, to make some extra money i was also in charge of a restaurants kitchen, as cooking always had given me satisfaction and i could never really give it up, and they were providing my workvisa but when i went back to the Netherland to expand my Visa, some family tragedies kept me in the Netherlands longer than i thought and also….. something magical happened… i met Jochem! My husband! He was supposed to go to France to buy an organic farm and keep goats for cheese, i was supposed to go to Australia to build the Steiner educations all over the country….. but love… well it’s a strange thing… it kept me there and it kept him there… and a little angel on a cloud really wanted to come down to earth and chose us as parents… so all ambitions just went to a lower fire… because this angel had other plans…

I started to work in a state substituted public Steiner School in Amsterdam, Jochem started to work from project to project on Bio-Dynamic farms as a farmer, social worker and builder at the same time, and we moved from place to place with our yurt and campervan. Another angel wanted to come down and chose us as parents and we liked what we did but also felt stuck in our ambitions and lifegoals, and also our vision of education. We couldn’t realise our ideals in the Netherlands because of overcrowdedness, pressure, and a very fast ratrace economy.

So we were brave and scared at the same time, sold all our belongings, we started our van, put our yurt in our trailer and just started driving. No idea really what we were looking for, but we just went, looking for a place to realise our dreams. A journey of about two years followed, through France, Spain, Portugal. We didn’t have the aim to go to Portugal, we didn’t even really knew the country existed. We just ended up here. But as soon as we crossed the border we had this aaawww feeling that i had when i first entered the Steiner Education. The warmheartedness, the deeply melancholic feelings, the music, the greenness, the welcoming people, the untouched nature, the smell of rosemary and cista rose. It was a dream. The quietness, the silence and the… patiencia…. soo much patience… our mind relaxed, our senses came at ease. We went to Alentejo because that is where the father of Jochem lived. And there a whole other world opened to us. We came in touch with eco projects where people only were devoted to self-developement, everything they did, they did to develope thereselfs and become communicative with others, learning to really live together with other souls, going through the conflict and stepping a few steps back instead of running further. After this experience we knew what we wanted, we wanted the Steiner school, we missed antroposophy, but we really didn’t miss dogma, dustyness, harschness and concervative believe systems. For us, many Steiner School had maken this mistakes, and it really had put us off. But in combination with self develepment as the main goal, being free in the mind and thinking more holistic we saw that is the perfect balance for us. So we decided to go and find that. But where?

We saw a job opening in the center of Portugal, in the social pedagogical institute called Casa de Santa Isabel. They were looking for a Bio-Dynamic farmer to start a self sufficiant ecologic farm based on antroposophy. Jochem and me went there to give it a change, even if we had no idea what it would bring us. We had again the same aaaaaw feeling as we had in our separate lives and our together lives before. Under the walnut trees we parked our van, by this time i was pregnant of our third angel wanting to come down. We stepped out the van and just felt so vibrant, alive, at home, at ease. The person we met was Dutch and was part of building this project from the beginning, he told us about the history, the dreams, the vision of Casa de Santa Isabel and we just felt so at home, so inspired, and most important, no dogma, no dust, no dullness. We went back to Alentejo, where we prepared for the birth of our child, and a month before she was born, we received an email, they unanoumous wanted us to come live and work in the community. When our youngest daughter was 3 months we moved there. Since we moved there we had been looking for a school, we knew we wanted Steiner Education, but we also knew it would be hard to find. We heard about Caracol ao Sol but our image was not that it was a Steiner School, what we heard it was not so clear, i even thought… oh no… this type of alternative free school.. no that i don’t want… because i care so much for structure, devotion, rhythm and clarity. But about a year after we moved here i got in touch with Rosalinde through woman circle and just… friendly contact, we zzzzzinged together, our personalitiies clicked. And i started to arrange to sell Casa materials on the Spring market of Caracol ao Sol. When i was there with Jochem and my children i for the first time saw the beauty, the colours, the Steiner form and shape, the glowing inspired teachers and the involved parents. I felt home again. I felt aaaawww… yes… this is it. And Jochem the same. The cosyness, the alivenness, the vivid spirit of the people we met that day was telling us, this is the perfect balance between reality and idealism, this is what we have been looking for the whole time.

So we decided our children will be educated here, no matter how far the drive, no matter how much money we have to collect and save, we will do this. Over summer i had a zzzzinngy contact with Rosalinde, we were bubbling, we were spruddling of ideas, hopes, dreams, same visions etcetera. And over summer i felt i wanted to be part of this school, more than just a parent, i want to do what i did in Australia and what i felt being part of the Werfklas in Culemborg, my dream school. I want to help build this school. So i asked if i could be teaching the Nest group that wasn’t excisting yet, because there was the question of parents if this group could rise. So there i started, September 2018. My daughter and son to kindergarden, my 1 year old to Nest group with me. Now… when i write this… half a year later… i feel daily so grateful that i found my destiny, i found the place i belong, i found the place i wished for since i am 10 years old, dreaming from the classroom window, looking at this neighbour school, called The Rainbow, thinking, dreaming, hoping the school i saw would be the school that Caracol ao Sol is. After 35 years i feel deeply grateful and blessed to have found my way and to fully choose for this school. My aims are to build a strong, financially healthy, stable school, legal with government, approved and accepted by the region and famous for it’s heart and warmth and really good qualitie of education. I wish that children being educated by Caracol ao Sol grow up to become the human beings they want to be, knowing what they have to offer in life, knowing what they want to get out of life, knowing how to contribute in the bigger picture with their whole soul, head and hands. I hope these children will be grownups in thrity years that look back on there primary education with the same aweness i had when i first walked into my different conciousness.”

Sabine (35) mother of Myrza (5), Noah (3), Raïsa (1) and teacher of the Nest Group.

If you have interest and want to come and view the Nest Group and meet Sabine Stokmans, who is in charge of this group, please call or email Sabine (925560159) (sabinestokmans@gmail.com) and arrange an appointment for visiting on mornings between 09:30 and 11:30 on monday, tuesday or thursday. The Nest group will be held as much in Portuguese as possible, but Sabine’s native language is Dutch and English and she is learning Portuguese. The aim is to have the Nest group fully in Portuguese.

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