It's nice to be back in this space, sharing with you. It's also great to be home again, although I walked into a huge mess..which became even more gigantic as we unpacked. While we were gone, Jay had ripped up the last bit of carpeting going up our stairs, knocked down some walls in the basement, repainted the dining room, and installed sconces in our living room. Our wood floors were also oiled; I have been slipping and sliding all day long. A lot went on while we were gone, including fraud on my bank account..eek! Someone attempted to pay for escort services in the UK using my PIN number and debit card. That's the one perk about having an almost always negative balance...no one can steal money you don't have:)
During my week at Sunbridge, we began every morning in the Eurythmy building exploring spatial dynamics and Eurythmy. Much of this time was spent getting to know our strides, personal space; the energy we put forth when entering a room. We did several Eurythmy exercises, which were relaxing but very focused. I noticed that each exercise called us to concentrate on a specific energy force within the room...sometimes it was the person across from us, sometimes it was a spot on the ceiling which beckoned
We experienced gravity as we fell forward towards the Earth; hands and heads hanging...and also as we rose upwards; hands reaching for the sky. In the middle is where we truly are; the Earth below us and the heavens above. In this stance, our arms were raised as if a horizon; or floating on the water; holding us there.
I hope to continue studying Eurythmy in the future! I can see how this expressive movement can be therapeutic...I do wish I could say more about it, but I know so little!
...My very first pair of Eurythmy shoes.
During the afternoon, we discussed child development and what an important consideration this is in Waldorf Education. We talked about the physical, etheric (or "life") and astral (or "emotional") bodies, which remains a fascinating subject to me. We spoke of how children ages birth-7 are so completely "in" their physical bodies; it is a phase of "willing" and imitation. Underlying this is the concept that is so important for us as parents and caregivers to relay...The world is good. The world is good! The environments we create should project this.
We spoke of the early introduction of academics and how damaging it can be to the physical body. Early academics; flashcards, choices, excessive information and explanations, and even too many books can bring a child out of the physical and prematurely into the etheric body. The goal of Waldorf education is to insure that these three bodies, the physical, etheric and astral bodies, successfully develop in each child.
What do we commonly find advocated? That children should have the same sort of relationship with each other as is usual among adults. But this is the most spurious thing that can be done in education. People must realise that a child has to develop quite different powers of soul and of body than those which adults use in their intercourse with each other. Thus education must be able to reach the depths of the soul; otherwise no progress will be made.
Rudolf Steiner. The Study of Man, Lecture IV
During the evening, we discussed storytelling and fairytales and how they indirectly teach precious lessons to children through archetypal characters...when they are developmentally ready. For very young children, it is best to tell simple and descriptive tales; stories they can identify with. (i.e, "a little boy went to the park with his family, and there they saw rabbits and trees....") Nature stories are wonderful, and pedagogical stories follow. Fairy Tales aren't introduced until the kindergarten year, which makes sense when you consider the phase of development they will soon enter into.
Our evening classes ended at 8:45, which was very late for W and I. I usually left 20 minutes early to make bedtime a bit smoother. I arrived back to the house to find W and my father wandering around outside, walking the dog we were caring for, or, one night in particular, hysterical over the sound of the dog lapping up water in the hot summer evening. I can't say enough how relieved I am that W fared so well during this week. He was happy to be outdoors for entire day--my poor father blew out his sneaker from walking around outside all day long! (hello, duct tape! haha!) He slept incredibly well at night, and napped for at least 2 hours every day. He nursed during my breaks from class and happily waved, "bye bye, Mommy!" as I left again. As we approach his 2nd birthday in just 2 weeks from today, I'm feeling in awe of the changes he has undergone, the paths we have taken, and the promise of our unbreakable connection.
1 week old...