By Dan Werle | CNA Media Team
Tucked away in a cozy, smartly organized, annexed building off 30th Avenue on t he south side of Killingsworth Street sits Gnome’s Home, one of Concordia’s best kept secret surpluses of enrichment, energy and promise.
The building has historically been used as a learning center for young children, who are able to discover – or fine tune – their learning (and playing) skills. However, over the past year, Gnome’s Home’s reach has expanded beyond the hands of kids alone, and is now providing a space for non-kids to learn different skills, too.
Over the past year, Yvonne de Maat has been working to expand Gnome’s Home’s use. “I’d like more community engagement,” she said. Plant-dyeing, feltmaking, and discussions on essential oils are all some of the classes that have been taught for adults in the space.
Yvonne hopes it can be used for even more small classes, covering an even broader scope of topics, in the coming year.
She started Heart in Hand Preschool in 2002, across the street from McMenamins Kennedy School. In 2005, after moving to a home on 30th Avenue, the annex that currently houses Gnome’s Home was built, and used as the preschool.
In 2015, Heart in Hand moved into the main building, and, soon after, Gnome’s Home was opened in the former Heart in Hand building. Yvonne is formally trained, and she practices as a Waldorf early education instructor, focusing on creative play, and practical, hands-on activities. She’s also a children’s yoga teacher, Simplicity Parenting group leader, and top-rung handmade doll creator.
Simplicity Parenting works synergistically with Waldorf teaching to help reduce unnecessary distractions in kids’ lives, and help children and their parents develop calmness, independence and improved critical thinking skills.
Waldorf education principles and Simplicity Parenting ideas radiate throughout Gnome’s Home. The building’s ceiling is fitted with skylights, allowing natural sunlight to bathe much of the area. Tucked in one corner of the room are a few dolls that Yvonne has made.
The space has a quiet, peaceful presence. Also, a window on the south side of the building provides a tantalizing view of the yard, which doubles as a capitalA awesome play area, where chickens, squirrels and birds frolic about and forage for food, while children’s play equipment waits anxiously to be put into action.
If you would like to teach a class on homemaking or parenting at Gnome’s Home, contact Yvonne at MsYvonne@heartinhandpreschool.com.
Dan lives in Concordia with his wife, Anna, and their dogs.