A Child’s Seasonal Treasury


A Child’s Seasonal Treasury, by Waldorf early childhood teacher Betty Jones, is a valuable resource for any early childhood teacher or parent with young children.

One homeschooling mother wrote: “Although other books were also helpful, A Child’s Seasonal Treasury was really all I needed, as it provided me with everything: seasonally based songs, poems, verses, games, activities, and recipes, in a very easy to follow way, and the layout was simple and beautiful. There were books which contained almost too much information, and they overwhelmed me, whereas Ms. Jones’ book gave just enough materials and I was sable to actually makes use of what was offered.”

In the forward Betty Peck, Anna Rainville and Nancy Mellon write: “”Contained in this one lovely volume is a very generous supply of original and traditional materials for parents and teachers, providing practical ways to engage children while enhancing family or classroom culture….Whenever you are longing for artistic guidance and inspiration with young children, reach for this compendium of treasures.  As early childhood educators we are thrilled and grateful that it is returning to print, and is to be widely available again.”

You can learn more and order your copy from www.bettyjones.us.

Beginning Waldorf Home Schooling

TheLetterW.jpgI thought this entry (and blessing) from Lisa Boisvert-Mackenzie was worth sharing with more of you, as if gives such a wonderful picture of what you are doing with your child!

Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie home schools with Waldorf education. She is the editor of the online magazine, The Wonder of Childhood and offers Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, a program to support parents, childcare providers and teachers to find rhythm in caring for children through the day, the week and the year. Lisa serves as a board member of LifeWays North America.

Hello Dear Mamas,
I’m wondering if any of you are just beginning home schooling this year with first grade or just beginning with Waldorf schooling at home? I wonder if we need to send you over the rainbow bridge in a ceremony to bless your new endeavor!

I’ve been musing over the transition out of early childhood into the grade school. I’ve reached the conclusion quite firmly within, through my observation of children and especially my own children that it is the nine year change that brings the transition out of early childhood and sure it occurs slowly over the years, perhaps beginning to take form with the change of teeth.

Yet the first days of first grade herald in a new relationship, a new world view for the child who is slowly emerging out of the cocoon of being at one with the world. The parent becomes the teacher and the parent can use these first days to link the child to the wisdom of human kind, the wisdom that has come down from us through the ages and into which the adult is inviting the child to glimpse, still through fairy tales and now with some form beginning to take place with the introduction of the straight line and the curve.

So our task in these first days of bringing lessons is to also in bringing a new attitude of one who is conveying knowledge and wisdom that is greater than we are and has come through the ages to this moment to our child who is now being initiated into some of the abilities that distinguish us from the animal world, of writing, and eventually of reading, now that the child has mastered walking and talking and has begun to think with the “I” as separate from “you.” It is our moment as the parent to put on this mantle of wise enchanter and bring these mysteries to life for our child.

This wisdom is transmitted from human to human, it is the adult, the teacher parent who opens the gate to this world. We are the “authors” or authority for our children. We transmit this knowledge of what it means to be human in the world today. Oh what a task before us all!
Blessings on your new beginnings!

Waiting to Teach Reading and Writing

A mother asked about why Waldorf waits until first grade to teach the letters.
Rahima replies:
In the Waldorf approach, reading and writing are introduced in first grade, starting with the letters; then children learn to read at the end of first grade, from what they have written. The letters are introduced imaginatively, through a story and a drawing in which the letter can be found in one of the figures that starts with that sound (for example, the letter “k” might be illustrated by a King who is standing sideways, with scepter raised, blessing his subjects.). [See the DVD of Kelly Morrow teaching “Teaching Reading and Writing the Waldorf Way.”]

iStock_000001409149XSmall.jpgWhile this imaginative approach starts out a bit more slowly in first grade, it ensures that the children really understand writing and then reading, and it helps keep the love of reading alive for them throughout elementary school. (Children go from proudly reading what they have written to reading real books, not things that have been digested and “dumbed down” for beginning readers).

While it is important to nourish children’s sense of anticipation for when they will learn to read, Steiner cautioned against sitting the young child down and providing lessons (and no worksheets or testing!). This is because the energy that is used for memory and intellectual work is the same energy that is needed in the early years for the healthy development of the body.

Our tendency to teach “more, sooner” is not necessarily what children need! I always wondered how children in pioneer days could start reading at age 10, and be reading the King James Version of the Bible! It turns out they hadn’t missed anything by not having years of “Dick and Jane” or “Hop on Pop.” The ability to read depends on several dimensions of maturity. Waiting until first grade is a real blessing for your children because it also provides them another couple of magical years of early childhood. Neuroscientists like Jane Healy have documents that the change in brain development around the age of seven is real; teaching reading before that isn’t doing your child any service.

Teaching Writing with the Vimala Alphabet

Teaching Children to Write with the Vimala Alphabet
Workshop by Jennifer Crebbin

Teach your child letter forms that support open and honest communication, being of service, engaged will power, and more. The Vimala alphabet is being used in many Waldorf schools, and through this video you will learn about teaching these forms to your child.

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Waldorf and Learning to Read

Waldorf and Learning to Read
by Barbara Dewey, Waldorf without Walls

Reading is not required in Waldorf schools until the end of grade 3. The Waldorf curriculum is based on the developmental interests of children, rather than skill levels, and does not require reading in the early grades. Material is presented by the teacher in dramatic, interesting ways and the children make use of the material in their play and hands-on dramatic and artistic activities.

These activities are enjoyable learning experiences that allow the child to learn many other things while she is maturing and naturally developing the capacities that will lead to reading, whenever it occurs.

Steiner believed that the child recapitulates human cultural evolution in his development. At age 6-7 he is living through the period when human beings developed a written, pictorial alphabet, so it makes sense to develop the alphabet using pictures. The child is still interested in fantasy and fairy tale, so we develop a picture alphabet using fairy tale stories.

English is a very difficult language to learn. The phonetic and spelling rules are only correct 50% of the time! That means 50% of the words have to be memorized. So how can one learn to read by phonics alone?!

Children learn to read in the same way they learn to potty train or talk. Children learn these things when they are ready and the age of success varies greatly with the child. To me, a child is not really potty trained until she has the skills necessary to take herself into the bathroom, pull down her pants, do it, and re-fasten her clothes. A child learns to talk by listening to others speak and gradually learns by imitation, attaining a huge vocabulary somewhere between ages 1 ½ and 3. The same process occurs when learning to read.

We are fooling ourselves when we think we are teaching a child to read. The child cracks the code, and does a lot of memory work, just as he did when he was learning to speak. If you watch a child who is at the stage where he is ready and wants to learn to read, you will see him repeating words and sounds to himself, memorizing books that are read to him, and suddenly he goes from memorizing to really reading, seemingly overnight! Then he can read everything, including newspapers, and big chapter books. All this will not happen until the child is ready, and forcing it may make him avoid reading for life. What often happens is that the child learns to read the words aloud to please the adults, but never learns to comprehend what he has read. To me, a child is not really a reader until he can voluntarily pick up any piece of written material and read it.

Reading for Waldorf Homeschoolers: This very practical publication explores the theory behind Waldorf reading philosophies and provides the stories and pictures that might be used to develop the alphabet. Also included are enjoyable word and sound games, verses, and tongue twisters. Many color illustrations. To order, http://www.waldorfwithoutwalls.com/books/reading/

Homeschooling Group in Boulder

Homeschooling Program in Boulder
with Sage Hamilton, Director

Let us honor spirit that moves in all things and
know ourselves better through
creative expression and community.

Our program integrates the expressive and practical arts,
celebrates seasonal festivals and honors spiritual diversity.
Each year’s focus includes block studies in animal stories,
myths, and fairy tales around which our community finds
opportunities for creative expression, including performance.

The magical garden setting on one acre in North Boulder
is the focus for our earth-centered practical arts curriculum
including crafting, gardening, and medicine making.

Morning Activities:

Nature Walk
Rhythmic Activities
Creative Writing,
9+ Afternoon Activities
Bee Stewardship
Medicine Making

Expanded Program 2008 – 2009
Ages 6 – 8 Wednesdays and Fridays 9 – 3 pm
Ages 9 – 11 Mondays and Thursdays 9 – 3 pm

We now offer flexible scheduling options.

Sage Hamilton, Director
30 years experience – conventional, Waldorf and Alternative Education
303 938-8867 sagehamilton.com

Autism, ADD, Asperger’s

Creative Therapy for Children with Autism, ADD, and Asperger’s –
Using Artistic Creativity to Reach, Teach, and Touch Our Children
By Janet Tubbs

323 pages from Square One Publishers; $18.95

The statistics are staggering: one in every 84 children is now diagnosed with autism. The number of children with ADD, ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome continue to grow as well. This is a global event that deserves our attention and introspection if we are to understand the cause and treatment of this “disorder.”

It is no easy task to find a teaching technique that can truly change the course of a child with special needs. Thirty years ago, Janet Tubbs developed a successful arts-based program for children who had low self-esteem and behavioral problems. The autism explosion was just beginning when Janet was introduced to the works of Rudolf Steiner. Believing that unconventional children required unconventional therapies, she then took her program one step further and based on Steiner’s insights she applied it to children who had autism, ADD/ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Her innovative methods and strategies not only worked, but they actually defied the experts. In this new book, Janet Tubbs has put together a powerful teaching tool to help parents, therapists, and teachers work with their children.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One provides an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders and introduces and explains Janet’s novel approach to teaching. Her goal is to balance the child’s body, mind, and spirit through proven techniques. Part Two provides a wide variety of exercises, activities, and games that are both fun and effective. Each is designed to reduce hyperactivity, increase and prolong focus, decrease anger, and develop fine motor skills or improve social and verbal skills. All are part of a program created to hep these children relate to their environment without fear, anxiety, or discomfort.

A child may appear stubborn and difficult, but that doesn’t mean the child isn’t intelligent, curious, or creative. With the right treatment, such a child an be reached, taught and set on the road to improvement. The lessons provided in this book may be just what you and your child have been waiting for.

Janet works out of the principles of Rudolf Steiner/Anthroposophy/Waldorf Education. She can be contacted at janet@childrensresources.com

Rudolf Steiner Library

A wonderful resource for books on Waldorf education and home schooling is the Rudolf Steiner Library, which lends books by mail throughout the US, from its location in Ghent, NY.

The Rudolf Steiner Library has over 27,000 volumes and lends books for no charge to member of the Anthroposophical Society in America and for a small fee for those who join the library only. Their collection inlcudes all available Rudolf Steiner titles in both English and German, as well a hundred of his unpublished manuscropts of essays and lectures. In addition, it has a wide collection includig waldorf education, alternative health and nutrition, holistic sicenc, Goethean studies, death and dying, world mythologies, and world religions.
Their website and an online public access catalog can be viewed at http://www.anthroposophy.org/index.hph?id=31 (library webpage) and
http://rsl.scoolaid.net (library catalog)

For membership materials, call 518-672-7690, or you can email the libary at rsteinerlibrary@taconic.net.

Coloring with Block Crayons

Coloring with Block Crayons
Workshop by Sieglinde De Francesca

Learn to draw luminous images to delight your child by exploring basic drawing techniques and techniques with beeswax block crayones. Ample demonstrations and overview to take you through the early grades. Sigi is an amazing artist and teacher–and she does it all with only the three primary colors. This video will inspire you to dig out your child’s crayons and give it a try!

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