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.
Within the framework of Waldorf parenting and education, we have a special opportunity because every day is truly Earth Day. The small child under the age of nine feels at one with that rock, that tree, that bird, that wind racing through their hair. Therefore, it is important to mark Earth Day in a way that takes into account the developmental stage of the under-nine child who still feels at one with all the elements.
Hopefully, you are building up to the celebration of Earth Day by spending time outside with your child every day in all kinds of weather. Help your child to really sense nature with all the twelve senses, from feeling rain on their skin to hearing the scuffling of the crunchy autumn leaves under their feet to wondering together at the beauty of the spider web in the garden.
The other important way to build up to Earth Day is what you model yourself in terms of taking care of the environment for your small child. If you model recycling, reducing spending and reusing things, your child will follow you. This affords the small child a positive way to help keep Mother Earth clean.
If you partake in a community celebration on Earth Day, please keep the tone upbeat and positive. A matter-of-fact tone of “We are helping to keep Mother Earth neat and clean” whilst you are helping to clean up a trail, a park or a river is wonderful, and empowers a small child more than hearing about all the things that are wrong with the environment. Perhaps you will mark that day in your family by planting a tree or giving some other gift to Mother Nature. Perhaps you will hike or canoe as a family and enjoy with wonder and awe the majesty of Mother Earth.
Our celebrations in Waldorf for small children are about the doing, not so much the words. For your small child, have a wonderful time doing, creating, and being in order to mark this day!