Experience in a Waldorf Pre-school
Lauren, after her high school diploma
“After finishing high school I had the plan to find a profession in education. Since I had never seen this field of profession from behind stage I decided to do a teaching internship for a year to be really sure.
A day in my Waldorf pre-school
School days have consistent structures. In the morning between 7.30 and 8.25 children are dropped off at school. I had to start at 8am. At 8.30 there is a morning circle with everybody joining. Children report about an interesting experience, the day will be outlined and of course you will find out who is missing.
Then there is free play or there are special projects the children work on. From 10.00 – 10.30am everybody has breakfast and finally there is free play outside in the garden or the project will be finished until 12.30.
At 12.30 pm the first parents arrive to pick up their kids. The children who have not been picked up, yet, gather for a story until their parents come. This is a nice calm ending of their day.
From 12:40 to 1:10pm is lunch which we all bring from home. Then day care children brush their teeth and go down for a nap until 2:30pm. If the weather is good, the day care children will play in the garden again. If it rains we play games with them inside, or they do other activities. By 4 pm the last children have been picked up to go home.
Here is what I had to do
After my introduction I started working with the kids, sweet little rascals who know many tricks to play on you. I had to learn to be consequent and tell them precisely what you like and what you don’t.
When you are not firm with them they will not respect you and that’s what they need to learn. Of course there are many more things for an assistant like myself that have to be done like doing the dishes, clean up and get everything back in order. Other people were also helpingbut I was mostly responsible that everything is in good order. Think of getting 40 children to eat in an orderly manner.
It was not easy but I eventually learned how to manage it. The afternoons are quieter. Two days a week the group goes for a walk, sometimes in the nearby woods. That can be nice and warm, but sometimes rainy or quite chilly in winter. Working with children it is never boring and you learn a lot, also about yourself. This year’s experience definitely helped me make my decision on my career. Now I really know education is for me.”
Conservation of historic monuments
Kevin seized the opportunity of an internship after his freshman year as a history major. He felt history might not exactly be what he was interested in and he wanted to see in a real world practical application what he might be able to do.
“I was offered an internship in a rural open-air-museum where regional exhibits from houses to tools and house ware were shown. I work 40 hours per week but with very flexible work hours. Each day I have to be present for at least 4 to six hours. There are two other interns in my restoration department.
One of my main tasks is the acceptance and inventory of new exhibits which are offered to the museum. I have to take pictures and gather them in an electronic database. Now and then I can catalog pieces myself. After I describe, measure, date and number the object in a computer log the objects are carefully packed and brought into storage.
Of course we do restorations, too. Presently I am working on a damaged jar that is 300 hundred years old. It’s like a three-dimensional puzzle. I glue pieces together that were broken off and replace missing parts made of special cement. After I have sanded the pieces I will retouch it to give it patina so people will realize it is an old piece, but not broken any more. I think I enjoy this part of my work the most. Additionally, there is office work and of course there are many opportunities to watch specialists at work. Sometimes I get a chance to try out certain jobs myself.
I will certainly gain a lot for myself out of this year. I am still not sure whether history is my goal. May be I should look into archeology as it comes with much more practical things to do.”
Internship at a Care Facility
Andrea needed an internship for her social worker Masters program. She was able to arrange with her university to get credit for her time in Germany. Since she spoke German she was accepted in a care facility.
“I was excited to find out that I could do my second internship abroad. I chose a facility that cared for the disabled. When I arrived, I went through a thorough orientation and training. I was assigned to a ward with 10 residents aged 15 to 30. Some were recovering from a car accident, other suffered from cerebral palsy. After the training period, I shadowed a social worker and watched closely how he interacted with the residents. I was impressed with his demeanor toward them. For him they were individuals and not just charts he had to work off. Later I was given specific support tasks. I was never in charge of treatments which I thought was very good because I have no certification, yet.
My day began at 8am and ended at 5pm with a one-hour lunch break. In the morning, I logged in and went to the nurse’s station to find out my schedule for the day. Sometimes I had to take residents to physical therapy or the doctor. The facility had a beautiful garden and residents who were able to be outside enjoyed when I took them for a walk in their wheelchair. At other times I played board games with a group that could sit at a table. And sometimes I just sat with them and listened. Over the course of time, I got to know several residents quite well but in the end, I had to learn not to become too personally attached to them but to treat them as patients.
One highlight of my time abroad was a back-packing trip at the end of my term. Together with three other interns we bought a Euro-Rail ticket and saw as many places as we could squeeze in. My six month went by very fast. I learned so much and left with many new impressions. I will never forget this time!
Amity Institute – building international friendship and cultural understanding through worldwide exchange.