Monday, March 19, 2012

Worth Repeating.

 Worth repeating; I so appreciate and consider the comments left by readers of this blog. Many of your comments offer great insight and suggestions and I am so thankful. 
My last post detailed our "weekly" story, giving the impression  that the story changes every week. In truth, I usually retell the story for 2 or more weeks, giving the children time to "live into the repetition and rhythm". This also helps me with preparation and allows time in between to become inspired to find another story suitable for what is happening in life.
 An anonymous commenter offered that "in Waldorf, a story is usually told for 1 month" and some of you wondered how that "works". Do the children become bored? Is it enough for them? What about the older children who "need" more? Such good questions and I wonder, why do we believe that they will become bored? Why do we assume that they "need more?" An anonymous poster offered a gem of a response; something I have reread a few times now and have considered at length.

This idea of boredom comes from the adult mind. If the child is allowed from a very young age to explore with depth, then they won't require change, change, change. It is the adult who says, here's this new toy, this new book, oh look at that and then that and then that, let's do this now that...rather then just allowing the child to be at his or her own pace with a few simple things. It is also suggested in Waldorf that children read the same few picture books for a whole season. If we guide our children towards depth, they will develop it and continually see new things and discover creative ways of playing and doing and being, not to mention the magic therein. If you keep introducing new, new, new then you create consumptive hunger and therefore a lack of satisfaction. It takes real mindfulness on the part of the adult to look at how we encourage boredom and the desire for new and more in the child.

My gosh, I LOVE this and it is worth repeating.
After reading this, I looked through our small basket of picture books and took half of them to the attic; leaving us with 5.  I did a little bit of decluttering in the house and thought about my consumptive hunger as an adult...
I am so glad to be exposed to this thinking now; early in W's development and early on in my development as a teacher.
I think of our park days with W as I observe parents and children interacting with each other (one of my most favorite past times, haha!) I see so much "chase that ball" or "let's do this now"; "don't you want to go down the slide next?" I'm left wondering what the child's inclination is-- do they want to sit and look at the ground for a minute without being asked "what are you doing? Oh, look! There's a bug! The dirt is *brown*!"

There's nothing like watching a child truly explore on their own; to find what it is that holds their interest and to not interrupt this process. To stand back. A Waldorf teacher remarked to me recently "We (adults) are really more of a hindrance at these times. They (the children) need so little from us."
(This reminds me of this awesome post which sums it up SO beautifully...please check it out; I am especially touched by the last group of photos.)

On a somewhat unrelated note...

Huge sigh of relief; I have been officially accepted into the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at The Sunbridge Institute in New York! 
I am thrilled to begin this journey.
(Take a look back at the photos from the introduction course, Summer 2011 here, here, and here)
I'm looking at the required reading for this Summer, and it looks like I am halfway done already before  receiving the list. (That will save us some money, for sure!) I'll share the reading requirements below as I feel they are truly important and inspirational books!

The Child from Birth to Three in Waldorf Education and Care, WECAN Books

Theosophy, by Rudolf Steiner

An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten,  Vol.1 in the Waldorf Kindergarten Series, WECAN Books.

A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten , Vol. 2 in the Waldorf Kindergarten Series, WECAN Books

Work and Play in Early Childhood, Freya Jaffke, Floris Books

The Developing Child: The First Seven Years of Life, WECAN Books
various chapters,  including “Stages of Development in Early Childhood” and “The Significance of Imitation for the Development of the Will” by Freya Jaffke,  “The Vital Role of Play in Childhood” by Joan Almon and “Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy” by Michaela Gloeckler

Additional Recommended Resources:

Let Us Form a Ring, Nancy Foster, WECAN Books

Nokken, A Garden for Children, Helle Heckmann, WECAN Books

On the Play of the Child, Freya Jaffke, editor, WECAN Books

The Education of the Child, Rudolf Steiner

Trust and Wonder – Nurturing Young Children and their Families – a Waldorf approach to caring for infants and toddlers, Eldbjorg Paulsen, WECAN Books

The Young Child:  Creative Living with Two- to Four-Year-Olds, Udo de Haes, Anthroposophic Press

Working with the Angels: The Young Child and the Spiritual World, Susan Howard, editor, Gateways Series, WECAN Books

In closing, we celebrated Daddy's 30th birthday this weekend with the family..
Including W's new cousin, Baby Luke. 
I have 4 cousins and we are the best of friends...they mean so, so much to me and have always been prominent in my life.

 I hope the same for W and Luke:)

 Happy 30th, Daddy!


  1. Congrats on being accepted into the teacher training programme Rebecca. And thank you (and the anymous reader) for the inspirational words, we do tend to forget that simplicity is key. . .

  2. Hooray for your admission!

    Such lovely words, we have been battling the "B" word at our house, brought home by the big kids I know am hearing it from the little ones ;(

    It is a signal to re-evaluate if rhythm and lessons are meeting our needs.

    Oh W. looks so big with his new cousin! Your "baby" is growing!

  3. Way to go, Mama! It's been a dream of mine, I'll enjoy hearing your tales as yours comes true! Best of wishes and thank you for the reminder that we might chose to consider keeping our books and toys seasonal, much like other areas of our lives! I'm on it! xoxo

  4. Great post Rebecca, and I think I better go look at our book shelves and pop some away ;-)

  5. That was such a wonderful response to the question about boredom. My daughter and I attend a parent/tot program at the Vancouver Waldorf School in BC, Canada. She is just a couple of weeks younger that W. At first I was also worried that the same story would be told for an entire month, but the children are mesmerized. We just enjoyed our second week of the billy goats gruff. I watched as the children anticipate the parts of the story they remember, yet still oooow and aaahh at parts that resonate with them on that particular day. It is so sweet to watch and also lovely that something so simple can keep their attention.

    Congratulations on your acceptance into Sunbridge. Such exciting times!


  6. Oh thank you for sharing your past posts from Sunbridge; it was good to get an idea what to expect! xoxo

  7. Congratulations on being accepted into the programme! Such wonderful news :-)

  8. My sons sadly learned the word "bored" at school. I combat it with all of my might. I learned an important lesson when we moved 1000 miles from home with only a small portion of our belongings. Together the boys (ages 6 & 3) had ONE 18" square bin of their favorite toys to bring on the move. They never claimed to be bored. I actually found that they were more likely to play with household items and craft supplies. They love sticks and pencils and bottles and cans.

    Congratulations on your acceptance into your program!

  9. Likewise here, begin my training this summer....just found out i am accepted to go for waldorf ece here in canada.... We could be bloggy study buddies! lol hahah...congrats... Hugs to you as you journey :-)

  10. Happy Birthday to your OH!

    And congratulations on being accepted at Sunbridge :)

  11. Aw, congratulations on getting accepted!!! That comment is such a wonderful reminder. Love it.

  12. What a collection of wonderful things and thoughts. I'll be trying to track down the resources from your list. I completely agree about allowing children to be themselves, and take the lead in their play. I love watching my children play, especially, when they ask me to be involved in whatever they've envisioned (or I sit back and take photographs, which I love to do). Congratulations. As we've just spent the week paring down our massive book collection - in honour of simplicity - I really needed to read your post on depth.

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