Prepare to be inspired.
I might assert that the following (and above) could be the most light filled and beautiful photos I have ever been lucky enough to capture.
It has nothing to do with me--and everything to do with the space.
This weekend, I was lucky enough to take part in a Lifeways weekend workshop at Kimberton Waldorf School. The workshop was hosted by Cynthia Aldinger herself, founder of Lifeways North America. She is hands down the most unique, passionate, and hilarious speaker I have ever had the pleasure of learning from! What a joy to have met her and to have listened to her share her experiences in "nurturing families and inspiring childcare."
LifeWays offers "an innovative relationship-based vision for childcare, both by parents in the home and by childcare providers in childcare centers, for children from birth to 6 years." Lifeways childcare centers are inspired deeply by the research of Dr. Rudolph Steiner and a whole lot of common, practical sense. A Lifeways center is ideally a "home away from home"; a warm and loving environment which mimics many of the welcoming qualities of a home.
We were lucky enough to spend the morning/afternoon in a Lifeways inspired childcare program at Kimberton Waldorf School. The children are cared for in a true home setting (an old, beautiful farmhouse, complete with cows grazing across the street!) The program is run by my friend, classmate, and experienced Waldorf teacher, Chinyelu. She has such an eye for beauty and design, as you can see...
I truly love the simplicity of this centerpiece for a setting with young children. It's made me rethink my own, what with its many objects, flowers, height, etc. I own this beautiful candle holder (made by Camphill villagers and available at Nova Naturals!) and I may consider using it for my own centerpiece. It really made me think about how the space is for the children, truly--- not for the delights of adults. Interestingly enough, we did speak about adult elements to the space, such as pieces of art or design that are pleasing to an adult and purposefully placed...but I feel that a centerpiece at a children's meal table is for them, not us.
No, that is not an angel...that is my dear mentor friend and Waldorf teacher whom I got to spend so much time with this weekend. I'm so blessed!
I really appreciate the simplicity of design and "uncompleteness" of so many of the playthings in this space.
It truly exemplifies that less is so much more...carefully chosen pieces such as the above and below allow the child to "fill in the details" with their own experiences (the little child) and their budding imaginations (the young child)...
A friend and I appreciated the time and thought taken to dress this sweet babydoll appropriately; both affirming and pleasant for the child...
What a joy the above picture is!
As you can probably tell, it was a wonderful and inspirational weekend. I'm thankful for all of the thought and time put into hosting the workshop-- the beautifully prepared homemade hot snacks and lunches, the experiences shared, and the joy and affirmation of being part of a group of like minded parents and caregivers. If the Lifeways full certification makes its way to my state of Pennsylvania, I'm surely interested! (and will somehow make it happen financially!)
This coming week is going to be exciting-- the church where I serve as director of youth ministries has just completed a renovation on our Sunday school wing. I'm spending considerable time this week redecorating, finishing up details, and marveling at our newly refinished hardwood maple floor (which was hiding beneath nasty carpet for some years....) and our new deep, plush carpeting in the nursery space.
(here are some before photos...can you imagine building upon something which was already so beautiful and well thought out!?)