Discovering Waldorf – ‘Waldorf Inspirations in my Home Daycare’

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Discovering Waldorf is a weekly series of articles written by ‘everyday’ Waldorf families. The contributors to this series share their ‘real-life’ insights and inspirations on all kinds of Waldorf topics. This series is not meant to be Waldorf philosophy in its purest form, but rather a snapshot of how we can all incorporate Waldorf ideas into our lives to help nurture and encourage the magic that is in our children. If you have a topic you wish to learn more about (or want to share) on Discovering Waldorf, send me an email at vined(at)ymail(dot)com.
Please welcome Karen who runs a Waldorf inspired playschool from her home. Karen shares the journey of how she found the courage to implement Waldorf philosophies and traditions into her daily activities with the children she cares.

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I learnt about Waldorf education and lifestyle a few years back and immediately knew it would be right for my future children. I connect so deeply with the love of nature, natural materials and the gentle way it nurtures hands, heads and hearts.

sorting and washing crystals- a favourite activity in my daycare

In the meantime I have been running my home day care. Right from the start four years ago, I dreamed of a Waldorf inspired approach but felt self conscious that people might consider it too ‘hippy’ as there are no Waldorf schools anywhere nearby. I went with the ‘safe’ option and modeled the play area on plastic filled child-care centers that I had worked at. It didn’t speak to my heart but I got enough business to keep me busy and enjoyed my work none the less. I did some ‘not too hippyish’ Waldorf activities, baking bread and enjoying nature with the children, with dreams of some day moving closer to a Waldorf school where I could feel safe and accepted for the way I wanted to be caring for children .

baking day

One day a few years later my day care playroom was overcrowded by plastic toys. Looking after the planet is important to me, I clean my home with vinegar and bi-carb soda, garden organic veggies, reduce, reuse, recycle and avoid plastics around my home. It just didn’t feel right having all these plastic toys just because I didn’t have the courage to introduce change.

It took a week for me to put everything except a few wooden toys and natural dolls into another room. I decided that I would recycle anything the children didn’t ask for. The funny thing is, to this day only one or two favourite toys have ever been asked for. Children don’t need nearly as much ‘stuff’ as we sometimes think. The children came in, played with what was there and that was that, everyone was happy (including, finally, me!) So there was the beginning of our natural playroom.

building

I began making new toys and raising money through my Etsy shop for quality art supplies and Waldorf inspired books. Soon after I was blessed with a lot of extra work. I believe it was a case of ‘when your doing what you were destined to do, doors will open for you where before there were only walls’. I’ve used this opportunity to be able to afford some beautiful heirloom quality toys that I look forward to enjoying with the children for many years to come.

bed time for some toys while we read our favourite bed time book

Going green was as simple as that. Throughout this time I was worried how parents or children would react to the change but honestly no one said a whole lot about all the toys disappearing and I’ve had lots of nice comments on things I’ve made.

yet another creative use for our blocks

There is something so special about watching children build with wooden blocks that my dad made in his back shed. I look at their beautiful creations and I’m thankful that these open ended natural toys can become anything they can imagine. I cant think of anything sweeter than a baby cuddling tight a doll that I hand stitched of natural fibers that are good for her, comforting and warm.

some dolls I made for my daycare

The physical changes of the playroom have been the most dramatic transformation but the changes in the children and in me are the most important. Every day we go outside and we take time to explore and ‘ just be’.

watering newly planted vegetable seeds

Waldorf is such a shift in lifestyle that inspires me to learn and find joy. I love finding beautiful verses that inspire treasure hunts in the garden. The happiness the children experience when they find a caterpillar that reminds them of a favourite song warms my soul and lets me know how powerful such simple things are to little hearts . I thoroughly enjoy celebrating the seasons and learning more about them so that I can teach the children. I’m still at the beginning of my Waldorf journey and enjoying learning more each day. It fills my heart and soul and I am so glad I made this change.

fairy soups and potions


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Oh Karen, your playschool looks totally delightful… I love how you describe your journey into Waldorf as a work in progress… I think that’s what it is for most of us. We make small changes that lead to other small changes and before we know it, we are living true to our hearts and delighting in the joys our efforts bring our children. Thank you for sharing you sweet story with us.

Karen’s blog is called Bare Feet and a Free Spirit. Pop on over to see more of Karen’s sweet playschool, her chickens and her gorgeous veggie garden… her photos make me wish I lived in Australia :-)

Karen’s Etsy shop is also called Bare Feet and a Free Spirit – I hope you visit her there as she has delightful handmade Waldorf goodies for sale.

Here are the other inspiring posts in the Discovering Waldorf series.
Blessings and magic to you!

Donni

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6 Responses

  1. Rebecca- I actually saw the title and thought it was a guest post by you since you had just posted about yours, hehe.

    I am ever so grateful for the discovering waldorf series, thank you to Donni, Karen, and all the other contributors for the very wonderful information!!

  2. I love how Karan talks about the journey of her daycare into Waldorf! (I also love her blog :) I discovered Waldorf only last year, and though we don’t follow everything, I’ve been enjoying incorporating elements of it here and there in our home and lives.

    And thank you Donni, I’ve really been enjoying the discovering Waldorf series :)

  3. how exciting to be on your blog, thankyou for the generous opportunity! Now im heading to Bending birches to see how Rebeccas playschool is going!

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