“Nokken. A garden for Children” (2015) is a remake and a combination of two of Helle Heckmann’s early classics: Nokken (1993) and Nokken, a Garden for Kids. Celebration Edition (2003).
The foreword by Trisha Lambert.
“It is very exciting to me that this book is being reprinted in a new, expanded edition. Nøkken was first published at a time when many people were exploring the meaning of anthroposophical care for the young child. For many reasons more children than ever needed to be cared for outside of their families, and here in North America, early childhood educators were exploring the possibilities of full-time center-based care. This book quickly became an important resource for caregivers considering the important work of caring for young children outside of their own home. Helle offered us glimpses into the daily life at Nøkken. The slow, easy rhythm of life, one day following another, was simple, yet full. The attention and care that each small child could receive in the context of a larger group gave a beautiful and loving picture of the care given at Nøkken. Proper preparation and planning behind the scenes by the adults, can make for a seamless day with the children.
For many people, it was a surprise to learn just how much of the day could be spent outside, in nature. Now modern research has shown us just how important and necessary time outdoors for the young child is. The pictures of the youngest children napping in the fresh open air reminded us of the simplicity of old ways but also how healthy such a simple act could be.
Helle is also very good at reminding us that this what is offered at Nøkken; it is not a cookie cutter program that can be transported anywhere, but it is what fits and serves in its own location. This is an very important idea, differing from many mainstream packaged curriculum that are offered today.
Care of the caregiver, another new concept, is included in the book. The role of the caregiver herself is shown to be important, and each caregiver has her own strengths to bring. The inner life of the caregiver is also brought forward as a tool of self-awareness and personal growth that supports the teacher and her work. As a caregiver of young children myself, this book is a constant source of ideas and inspiration and I refer to it often. I am so grateful that Helle has taken the time and energy to share this glimpse of the program at Nøkken with us. I have shared this book with many people interested in starting on this path of caring for the children of others. It is a fulfilling task, and this book surely is a helpful guide to be savored and enjoyed. In this new edition, which includes further insights from the 2003 booklet “A Garden for Kids” along with beautiful new photographs, I hope it will continue to inspire and enrich us all in our journey with young children.”
Davis, California (2015)
NOTE TO THE 2015 EDITION.
A booklet gathering contributions from the teachers, parents, and friends of Nøkken was produced in 2003 in celebration of the center’s sixteenth year. We have added selections from its contents to this new edition of Nøkken, in the hope that they will enrich readers’ understanding of the daily life and work of this remarkable place.