Extending our connection
We hope that you continue to stay healthy and feel connected to the school. It has been touching to see and hear how our families are embracing this time as an opportunity for creativity, personal development, growth and compassion.
Steadfast I stand in the world With certainty I tread the path of life Love I cherish in the core of my being Hope I carry into every deed Confidence I imprint upon my thinking These five lead me to my goal These five lead me to my existence. Rudolf Steiner
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY Many Waldorf Early Childhood parents all over the world find themselves with little ones at home. The good news is that Waldorf early childhood students are already primed for independent play and learning after having spent 6 months at school. They are also well-practiced in doing meaningful work at school, which is a skill easily transferred to home life.
Content below adapted from: The Waldorf School of Philadelphia »
This week we saw many photos of our students enjoying time outdoors.
Outdoor play, each day, is vital for young children. While indoor play nourishes creativity, imagination and fine motor skills, outdoor time provides developmentally essential sensory experiences and large motor movements that cannot always be accomplished indoors. Children this age need to move in all variety of ways — running, jumping, climbing, spinning and more.
Wherever you can go, try to find a space that allows running, rolling, touching and playing with things in nature. Waldorf children know how to do this without prompting. You need only provide the space and time for them to find ways to play. They’ve been doing this in their school every day.
Waldorf students do chores and meaningful work in their classrooms each day. This includes our youngest students because, work builds their sense of accomplishment and self-esteem and confidence. They can feel a sense of self-worth when they contribute to the classroom or family unit. And this work provides learning opportunities.
As an example, when a child is setting a table they are learning about and replicating a pattern, which helps children make predictions and logical connections that build reasoning skills. Setting the table will also teach them counting as they count out the silverware, cups and plates for each family member. Soon they will do it without the pattern to copy.
Here are some other things younger children can do, or help you to do, to engage in meaningful work:
Chopping vegetables and fruit
Carrying and sorting laundry
Folding square items like napkins
Sweeping with a broom
Washing and drying dishes
Cooking and baking for snacks and meals
Pet care such as feeding, training or playtime
Helping in the yard with weeding, gardening and other projects
A Sense of Community A sense of community care and love is foundational for all of us, but especially young children. We have all had our extended school community physically interrupted, but we have also had our family community deepened and it has great potential to be enriched.
This is a wonderful time to revitalize and re-establish your family community.
Take advantage of this time together to bond in ways you didn’t have time to do before. Connect with one another through shared experience and knowledge.
Soon enough, we will all be together again in our thriving extended community, where we can support one another again in person. Until then, know we’re all connected in spirit.
Distance Learning in Sacramento
The Sacramento Waldorf School has been working hard to prepare students for distance learning amid the pandemic by providing music lessons and distributing hand work. Their Waldorf teachers had to find ways to transform “three-dimensional education” and deliver lessons to students at home. View the video below. Do you see any similarities?
Waldorf Window Stars
Truth, beauty and goodness are core tenets of Waldorf education. We surround ourselves with wonder and beauty to awaken our spirits and inspire our learning. During this time of social distancing in the world all around us, now more than ever, we need to lean into the beauty of our everyday life to connect us as human beings. There is a movement to display rainbows- which symbolize peace and serenity, hope and promise- in our windows at home to bring light and connection to all who walk by. Waldorf window stars have long been a favorite way to brighten our classrooms and homes, and in rainbow colors, we love how they contribute to the optimism of this movement. This is an activity that can be shared easily with little hands to bring happiness to our homes and community! Below we share this simple Waldorf window star tutorial with your families.
Access the tutorial on how to make Waldorf Window Stars from the Denver Waldorf School.
Stained Glass Chalk
Students at Shining Mountain Waldorf School were asked to create a “stained glass” sidewalk drawing with a positive message.
“All you need is tape, sidewalk chalk, and a little bit of imagination.”
The Simplicity Parenting Podcast with Kim John Payne Preparing children for the changes we’re going through right now, finding the helpers, talking about wellness versus illness, and answering the hard questions they have about death and fears for older family members. Each talk explores other aspects of daily life that make this a positive time for connection and balance, rhythm at home, the need for down time and decompression time, and how to filter information for children. We always come back to: Is it kind? Is it true to my values? Is it necessary right now? And, in these times in particular: Is it securing? To read more, please click here Grab some handwork and listen to a book! Some suggested audio books include: Anne of Green Gables, The Birchbark House, The Children’s Homer, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Edward Lear’s poetry, Five Children and It. If you stay within the “elementary” section of the link below you won’t need to pre-read or “hear” books to know if they are appropriate. Free Audible audio books for elementary aged children: Here In Difficult Times: How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children? By Susan Weber, The South Shore Waldorf School In difficult times such as these it is not easy to feel the goodness in life. In an external crisis, our urge is often to listen and see the news and to share our feelings with other adults. As a consequence, it is easy for the children around us to be exposed to things that they cannot understand, to become fearful about situations they will never see and cannot change even if we think that the media or adult conversations are not attended to by the children. Read more... WECAN Book Sale Since many of us are at home with our children in these challenging times, WECAN is offering a special sale of much-loved stories, songs, games and activities as a resource for families. Also featured here are our most recent publications for educators and parents. Special Spring Sale is for all purchases at WECAN Books through May 1st. Use discount code SPRING2020 to save 20% today. Shop Now
Self Care for Waldorf Parents
When people say “self-care,” an image can pop into many minds. Sitting crossed legged in meditation with a lavender candle or an early morning hike in a forest. But for most families who are practicing social distancing, there is no possibility of attaining an idyllic vision of self-care. So what does self-care really look for families across the country now tasked with managing distance learning, work and life stress in confined space? “Know that everyone is doing their best and that is all that can be done.” Content below adapted from: The Waldorf School of Philadelphia »
Putting well-being before productivity
Whenever possible, set down a load. A literal load of laundry or an emotional load of a phone call from an anxious friend or family member. You don’t have to bring your best self to every task at hand. And asking for help with all these loads, even the ones you would normally handle without help, is essential. Set things down and simplify expectations for those helping. Set boundaries and ask the family to step outside their traditional roles to do new helpful things for one another.
Know that everyone is doing their best and that is all that can be done. Share and embody this sentiment…
As a Waldorf family, you have been given an amazing gift. When it comes to distance learning, your teachers truly know you! They know your student and your family and they will carry this experience and knowledge to the next grade, which means they’ll know what your student was able to accomplish, or not accomplish, in the home setting through distance learning. When your students begin again next year, everyone will know what has been done, what needs attention, and what great developmental and learning milestones have been accomplished.
For One Another
Your child, your family, your school, your teachers are all trying to do their very best in a difficult situation and everyone has a unique circumstance. Someone with a new baby or an ill parent or a newly defined “essential” job is going to bring different intention and energy to what they can do in these unique times. Let’s agree to approach these times with forgiveness and flexibility; simple expectations and love.
Waldorf pedagogy rests upon routine. It is how we build security and confidence in children. Setting the day in a predictable manner, gives people the space and boundaries they need to feel secure and thrive. But rigidity in trying times could have the opposite effect. Flexibility will be necessary. So as you build new family routines, as you should, allow yourself and your family leeway in and around established ideals.
Unplugging and going outside
We all know the benefits of nature and reconnecting with seasons, cycles and simple beauty. Stepping away from the news, with intention, can allow us to recapture the small joys and beauty in our everyday worlds. Your children, especially Waldorf students, do this well. Let them lead you outside and away from your smartphone and laptop. Make breaks in your life to do what they know how to do well — play outside and be reverent outdoors for the leaf on the ground, the newly bloomed flower and the special-shaped clouds in the sky.
Mindfulness comes in many forms, including being in nature as mentioned above. It can come through stillness with a book of poetry or meditation practice. It can come through deep breathing in a harried moment. It can be a new practice of sharing gratitude around the dinner table or in a journal. It can even be that idyllic meditation with a lavender candle. No matter what it is, prioritizing making a little space each day for it, will go a long way towards greater well-being.
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