Tag Archives: discovering waldorf education

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

How to Build Your Waldorf Community :: Discovering Waldorf

How to Build Your Waldorf Community

–   by Meredith Floyd-Preston

 

 

“Finish up your snack. It’s time to go wait for Daddy.”

It was 4:00 on a November Wednesday and I was preparing my 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son for the “wait for Daddy” afternoon practice that had been in place for months. It was a somewhat ridiculous exercise for several reasons…

 

  1. It was a chilly November in a San Francisco suburb known for its depressing late-afternoon fog.
  2. I knew very well that Daddy wouldn’t be home for another hour and a half.
  3. Our suburban street was eerily quiet and unfriendly. Our long afternoon vigil would be a lonely and solitary activity.

Despite these arguments for abandoning the practice, after a long day at home alone with little ones, I looked forward to that “Daddy’s home!” moment with such longing, I was willing to brave the elements and create a little welcoming committee.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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When I look back on it, it is clear that what I was really longing for was community. My children were little and a few days each week I had a Waldorf-inspired childcare in our home, so my options for community felt really limited. The highlights of my days were the few opportunities for adult interaction that I had managed to create…

 

  • My long-held NPR habit became solidified as I snuck off to the kitchen during nap time to listen to soothing adult voices.
  • We never missed weekly story-time at the library (I’ll never forget the tears that ensued one day when we arrived and found the library closed – I’ll let you guess if the tears were mine or 4-year-old Calvin’s.)
  • I found a homeschooling group that met weekly a couple of towns over. Even though the academic-minded preschooler parents didn’t share my Waldorf leanings, we went as often as we could.

 

Community is Important

There is no doubt that community is important when it comes to raising children (it takes a village, after all.) According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development,

“When parents receive parenting support, they are more likely to feel better about themselves and their parenting abilities, and in turn interact with their children in responsive and supportive ways enhancing the development of their children.”

I know that parenting support in the form of a community during those fog-filled days would have made me less lonely, a better parent, a more caring wife and a more fulfilled individual.

Unfortunately, though, some of our Waldorf ideals can actually make community building more challenging.

 

  • Waldorf ideals recognize and honor the importance of the home as the most appropriate place for the young child. Limiting exposure to the larger world and spending most of your time at home can feel incredibly isolating for many Waldorf parents.
  • Holding Waldorf ideals can cause us to feel estranged from the larger mainstream world. When your children don’t know the Frozen soundtrack by heart or you can’t participate in playground conversations about traditional discipline, you can feel a bit left out.

Truly, parenting the Waldorf way can be a lonely and isolating experience.

But it doesn’t have to be.

 

How to Create a Waldorf Community

 

That “Daddy’s Home!” ritual that my little ones and I practiced feels like yesterday but it was 17 long years ago. The following year my son started kindergarten and we joined a Waldorf community.

These days, when I ask my Waldorf alumni children what they miss most about Waldorf School, they always answer “the community.” We found a supportive group of parents, teachers and children to connect with and that made all the difference.

It took some time for me to find the right way to get involved with this established community, but here are some ways you can start to find your own unique place.

 

If you have a Waldorf school nearby . . .

 

  • Volunteer – Waldorf schools are always needing support. Donate your time, money or expertise to make the community a better place.
  • Sign up for a class or camp. Most Waldorf schools offer parent-child classes and summer break camps. If money is an issue, ask for a scholarship. Waldorf schools want their communities to be thriving, interesting places and they usually won’t let money get in the way.
  • Post playdates, childcare and activities on the community bulletin board or weekly newsletter. There are bound to be other people like you looking for opportunities to get together with their children.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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If you don’t have a Waldorf school nearby . . .

 

  • Attend meetings at your local La Leche League chapter. If your children are past breastfeeding age, contact the leader and ask if she has contacts for conscious parenting communities.
  • Talk to other parents at the park. Be on the lookout for the parents whose parenting choices reflect your own. Be brave and start conversations.
  • Use social media. There is an active Waldorf community online. Talk to people via forums on Mothering.com, Facebook groups or Twitter. The internet is a fantastic resource for adults. Using it to find community is not out of sync with Waldorf ideals.
  • Recognize that the benefits of community far outweigh the drawbacks of plastic toys or media exposure. Though the parents at my weekly homeschooling group didn’t share my Waldorf ideals, they were conscious, intentional parents and they provided my family with the community we needed.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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However you go about it, get out there and find yourself a community. You’ll be happier, your children will benefit, and Daddy won’t mind so much if you’re not home to roll out the welcome carpet.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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Meredith Floyd-Preston is a Waldorf class teacher and mother of 3 who blogs and podcasts about her experiences at A Waldorf Journey.

Meredith has a special treat for Magic Onion readers. Sign-up here to receive a free PDF download of Meredith’s Waldorf at Home Resource List.

If you are interested in bringing Waldorf philosophies into your home, I’ve put together a great workshop that will guide you through every step in the process : 8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home.

8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home Workshop. How to bring the beauty of Waldorf philosophies into your home by The Magic Onions

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This workshop explains and guides you through the beautiful and meaningful philosophies that you can bring into your home to create a calm and creative sanctuary wherein your children will thrive.

In today’s busy and over-scheduled world, so many of us are searching for ways to help our children enjoy an authentic and joyful childhood, one in which they have time for unscheduled play, building deep and meaningful connections with friends, animals and the earth and lots of magical time in nature.

I’m happy to let you know that a few key (and simple) changes can make all of this possible.

And, for a limited time only, I’m offering this workshop at a special discount for Magic Onions readers…

Special Offer

Blessings and magic,

Donni

 

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Favorite Waldorf Morning Verses for The Grades :: The Magic Onions Blog

Favorite Waldorf Morning Verses for The Grades

It is customary to say a morning verse at the start of each day in Waldorf schools, in kindergarten and in the grades.

One of the reasons why Waldorf education is so successful in educating kids who excel, is that teaching methods meet students where they are developmentally, in a deep and authentic way. The synergy of Waldorf teaching methods and brain development is discussed fully in this great article by Dr Reggie Melrose ::  ‘Waldorf from a Neuroscientific Perspective‘.

The morning verses for kindergarten children are sweet and often require gentle movement and song and set the happy tone for the day. They help young children transition easily from unstructured play to the more structured activities in the classroom. Here are some of my favorite Waldorf morning circle verses for Kindergarten children.

In the Grades, the morning verse is used help students set their intentions for the day (and their future). This verse brings the class together in unity, in strong meaningful words and affirmations that help to build strong characters and caring individuals.

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Verses for The Grades

 

Waldorf Morning Verses for the Grades : Brave and true I will be, each good deed sets me free

 

 BRAVE AND TRUE I WILL BE

Brave and true will I be,
Each good deed sets me free,
Each kind word makes me strong.
I will fight for the right! 
I will conquer the wrong!

 

Waldorf Morning Verses for the Grades : We are truthful and helpful

 

WE ARE TRUTHFUL

We are truthful and helpful
And loving in trust
For our heart’s inner sun
Glows brightly in us.
We will open our hearts
To the sunbeams so bright
And we’ll fill all the world
With our heart’s inner light.

 

Waldorf Morning Verses for the Grades : I stand erect between earth and sky

 

I STAND ERECT BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY
I stand erect between earth and sky
The center of the world am I
My right hand points to the cold north star
My left hand points to where the hot lands are
Behind my back is the rising sun
In front of me is where day is done
North, south, east and west
Where I am is the best.
A morning verse is sure to be the start of a very happy day. We should all set our intentions at the start of each day like Waldorf students do.

If you have a favorite Waldorf verses, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

If you’ve enjoyed these verses, I have also written an article that shares our favorite Waldorf mealtime blessing verses  and favorite Waldorf Morning Circle verses for Kindergarten that I think you’ll love.

And, if you are after more Waldorf articles that showcase everyday family life, please have a look at the Discovering Waldorf Education archives.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses for Kindergarten on The Magic Onions Blog

Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses for Kindergarten

The beauty of Waldorf education is that it meets the child where he is developmentally. The synergy of Waldorf teaching methods and child development is discussed wonderfully in an article by Dr Reggie Melrose called ‘Waldorf from a Neuroscientific Perspective‘.

The Morning circle is a great example of how Waldorf meets the young child where she is in her development. The circle is an out-breath that helps the children transition from unstructured playtime to a more the structured activities in the classroom.

It is a time of movement, song and gentle expression to ease the children into the day in a happy and inclusive way.

I find it beautiful in that it connects the children with each other and with the teacher and opens their spirits to receive the lessons of the day.

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Verses

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses : When I woke up this morning, the day had just begun.

 

 

WHEN I WOKE UP THIS MORNING
When I woke up this morning, the day had just begun.
I saw a golden flower with petals like the sun!
The flower was unfolding, and waking from the night.
Each petals face was shining in the morning light.
This petals name was Sophie, and this petals name was Teddy,
and this petals name was Kate, and this petals name was Catherine. (substitute each child’s name)
Now our golden flower has opened to the sun,
and we will shine and blossom til the day is done!

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses for Kindergarten : Good morning dear Earth, Good morning dear sun.

 

GOOD MORNING DEAR EARTH

Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning dear flowers
and the fairies, every one
Good morning dear beasts
and the birds in the trees
Good morning to you
Good morning to me

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses for Kindergarten : Morning has broken, like the first morning

 

MORNING HAS BROKEN

Morning has broken
Like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
And praise for the morning.
Praise for the springing
Fresh from the word.
Sweet the rain’s new fall
Sunlit from heaven.
Like the first dew fall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight.
Mine is the morning.
Born of the one light

 

Favorite Waldorf Morning Circle Verses for Kindergarten : Good morning starshine, the earth says hello.

 

GOOD MORNING STARSHINE
Good morning starshine
The earth says, “Hello”
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below
Good morning starshine
You lead us along
My love and me as we sing
Our early morning singing song
Gliddy glup gloopy
Nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo
Sabba sibby sabba
Nooby abba nabba le le lo lo
Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
Early morning singing song
A morning circle is sure to be the start of a very happy day.

If you have a favorite circle verses, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

If you’ve enjoyed these verses, I have also written an article that shares our favorite Waldorf mealtime blessing verses that I think you’ll love. Be sure to check back soon.

And, if you are after more Waldorf articles that showcase everyday family life, please have a look at the Discovering Waldorf Education archives.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

Are you interested in a Waldorf-inspired lifestyle? Sign up to receive helpful new Discovering Waldorf articles.




DIY Perpetual Waldorf Calendar :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

A Perpetual Waldorf Calendar :: Discovering Waldorf Education

We have the most beautiful perpetual circular Waldorf calendar hanging on our wall. It’s drawn by Phoebe Wahl and depicts a delightful gnome family going about their seasonal days. My children consult it often. They turn the season dial at the start of each season (March on top now on top). They write in important events and dates that are going to happen in each new season and it helps enormously to smooth transitions and keep our family rhythm going throughout the year. My eight-year old in particular, loves to be reminded which season we are enjoying and which season is coming next.

You can purchase this Waldorf perpetual calendar in The Magic Onions Shop.

Perpetual Waldorf Calendar :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Nicole Shiffler also finds her family’s perpetual calendar indispensable in their homeschooling journey. “Perpetual calendars are a physical way children can see the progression and changing of time.  By turning their illustrated wheel, they can match the month with the season, and what visually that season looks like to them.

The child’s understanding of larger spans of time are better understood by regularly using their own perpetual calendar.  And the fact that it is a circular calendar, they can understand that “time” is an ongoing cycle, easily comprehended on their wheel year after year.”

She shares a super DIY tutorial on a kid-made perpetual calendar.

 

DIY Perpetual Waldorf Calendar :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Why a circle? Anne Forbes explains that we usually think of the passing of time as linear, with one event following another in sequence by day, by month, by year. Placing the same events in a circular journal, or wheel shape, helps us discover new patterns (or rediscover known ones). We can use the Phenology Wheel to communicate about what is really important or interesting to us.

Seeing the year in a circular flow helps children make sense of time in a meaningful way. As we know, keeping rhythm though our days vital in a Waldorf home and school environment. A circular calendar settles a child’s understanding that this rhythm continues through the year too. Children respond so well to knowing what comes next in the day. They respond just as well to knowing what comes next throughout the year.

Here is another beautiful DIY tutorial to guide you through making your own Waldorf perpetual calendar.

 

DIY Perpetual Wheel Waldorf Calendar tutorial :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Here’s a lovely poem to learn with your children as you work with your seasonal Waldorf calendar…

In January falls the snow,
In February cold winds blow,
In March peep out the early flowers,
And April comes with sunny showers.
In May the roses bloom so gay,
In June the farmer mows his hay,
In July brightly shines the sun,
In August harvest is begun.
September turns the green leaves brown,
October winds then shake them down,
November fills with bleak and drear,
December comes and ends the year.

by Flora Willis Watson

 

DIY Perpetual Waldorf Calendar :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

 

In a Waldorf environment, rhythm is key. A perpetual calendar helps maintain rhythm throughout the year.

If you are looking for other meaningful Waldorf articles, please visit the Discovering Waldorf Education archives.

If you would like to read an article on a specific topic, please let me know in the comments below. If you would like to submit an article for Discovering Waldorf Education, please get in touch with me through the contact form… I’m always looking for new Waldorf content.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

Are you interested in a Waldorf-inspired lifestyle? Sign up to receive helpful new Discovering Waldorf articles.




Choose love : The Magic Onions

I Chose Love Instead of Anger :: Discovering Waldorf Education

You came to me in the night to say that you had been bitten by a mosquito. I wanted to scold you and remind you that I’d told you to keep your window shut.

But I didn’t.

I got out of bed and we searched your room until we found him and made him no more.

I kissed you good night again, tucked you in and whispered that I loved you.

I didn’t fall back to sleep for hours but nor did you. I heard you tossing and turning just like I was.

 

A beautiful article about choosing LOVE over anger :: from The Magic Onions blog

 

You came to me in the early hours of the morning to say that you were thirsty. I wanted to tell you angrily to go away because I was sleeping and how could you be so selfish?

But I didn’t.

I gently reminded you that you had a glass next to your bed and that if it was empty, you could fill it from the bathroom tap.

You kissed me goodnight again and told me that you loved me.

I heard you fill your glass and then quietly get yourself back into bed, all by yourself.

 

This morning, you looked at me in horror when we got to school and you discovered that you had forgotten your violin at home. I wanted to shout at you that I’d reminded you three times to put it next to the door so that you would remember it. I wanted to say ‘too bad, you suffer, I don’t care’.

But I didn’t.

I said I’d go back and fetch it in time for your lesson.

You kissed me and said ‘Thank you, Mom’.

You walked off into class and, just before you turned the corner, you looked back at me and blew me a kiss.

 

You cried today when you tripped and scraped your knee on the concrete. I wanted to tell you that ‘of course you tripped, your laces were undone… how many times had I told you not to run with loose laces!’

But I didn’t.

I gently cleaned your wound with a soothing towel and we covered it with a band aid.

You looked at me with your big blue eyes and said that I make everything better.

You were playing a few minutes later, your tears gone and a smile back on your beautiful face. I noticed that your laces were tied.

 

There were these times today, and so many more, when I could have scolded, shouted, reproached or criticized.

But I didn’t.

And, would you know, each time, when I put away the negative feeling, empathy and love came flooding through. Empathy and love filled me and you and we joined together in this beautiful dance of mother and child.

Our hearts feel so much fuller today, mine and yours, because I chose love and cast out anger.

I chose to connect instead of isolate.

I chose to be your mom and not your judge.

Our love grew today because… well… I just didn’t.

And you don’t have to either.

 

A beautiful article about choosing LOVE over anger :: from The Magic Onions blog

 

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Nature in Waldorf Education : Discovering Waldorf Education : www.theMagicOnions.com

Nature in Waldorf : Discovering Waldorf Education.

I love it when I rediscover something beautiful, something that moved me years ago… and find that it moves me still, just the same. Such is how I feel about this Discovering Waldorf Education post I stumbled upon a few days ago. In fact, it was the very first article in the Discovering Waldorf series, written four years ago! There have been 180 Discovering Waldorf Education articles since and this is the one that started it all off. Very fitting.

Thank you Beth Curtin!

 

Click here to read – I Am A Child Of Nature.

 

Nature in Waldorf Education : Discovering Waldorf Education : www.theMagicOnions.com

Simply beautiful!

Here is a link to the Discovering Waldorf Page where you’ll find all previous articles in the series.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

Natural Toys : Discovering Waldorf Education : www.theMagicOnions.com

Natural Toys : Discovering Waldorf Education

A series that explores the ideas and philosophies behind Waldorf Education…

 

Natural Toys : Discovering Waldorf Education : www.theMagicOnions.com

For more information on Waldorf Education, please visit the Discovering Waldorf Series from the Waldorf tab in the Navigation bar.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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How Can Homeschooling Fit Into My Busy Life? :: Discovering Waldorf

Donna, from The Waldorf Connection is here to share an article on how homeschooling can fit into our busy lives.

 

Waldorf Homeschooling :: Discovering Waldorf Education :: www.theMagicOnions.com

 

How can homeschooling fit into my busy life?

These days everyone seems busier than ever and if you
have one or more young children, you can feel like a juggler
with too many spinning plates.

The thought of adding homeschooling to the mix could give
visions of plates crashing to the ground (and you with them.)

But, it can work.

If homeschooling with Waldorf education is tugging at your heart strings,
there is hope. You can weave all your activities into a daily rhythm that works
for your lifestyle and gives your child an excellent education.

Be realistic.

If you have a 6 year old, a toddler and a baby then your free time is already
at nil. You may not be able to make felted toys, dye your own silks or
host a festival, but there are many simple ways to bring Waldorf into your life.
Opt for a “done for you” curriculum rather than choosing to create it all yourself.

Understand the commitment.

There is a commitment when you decide to become your child’s educator..
It is an important responsibility you are undertaking. That being said, it is

also a joyful, exciting journey. Commit to being your best for your child.
If that means take-out instead of a home-cooked meal due to extreme
tiredness- it’s ok. The love and passion that comes through you is the most
important part.


Get support.

A teacher doesn’t show up to her class without training. An employee doesn’t

start a new job by figuring it out alone. Why do homeschool moms feel we should be able to

do this by “winging it”?   Find someone who is a bit further along to answer your questions
and concerns. In the beginning, confidence is the biggest obstacle. Getting guidance and
support from mentors, other homeschooling friends and family goes a long way.

 

Lay your daily rhythm foundation.

Your day can be a whirlwind of trying to stay one step ahead and
not collapse or you can set up your main rhythms of the day as your foundation.
A rhythm is something you do each day like meals, dressing, naps, diaper changes,
and bedtime. Use meal planners, and establish solid routines that can put those
things you do each day on auto pilot. It becomes just ‘what you do” instead of
you wondering “what do I do?!”

Hold you head high.

You have made a decision that feels right for you and your family, but others
may not understand or may question whether you can do it. Keep your spouse and
family in the loop. If they understand what you are doing, it will be easier for them to
support and help you.  Waldorf can be different for many families, so give them
some information on what and why and be patient.

Be flexible.

Even the best laid out day can go awry. Things happen because your are homeschooling.
There is no dividing it from the real life happening all around you. The beauty of this is
that you can always catch up or change directions to meet your child’s needs and your
own. It’s ok to cancel school and do a park day or field trip. It’s ok to rethink your main
lesson block if it’s not working.

Bring the magic to your child through you

The main thing your child needs is a joyful, grounded teacher to
glean from.  You don’t have to be an expert wet-on-wet painter or a
super knitter. Your unique gifts, talents and passions are what will be
the spark in your homeschool. Bringing your own spin on teaching will
make all the difference and make it sustainable for you.

There is no one size fits all formula to this which is what makes it a bit
challenging and also extremely rewarding.
Just be yourself on an exciting homeschool adventure.
Its a journey.. a new path you are creating.

Take it slow, let others help and have fun.

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For other great articles on Waldorf Education, please visit the Discovering Waldorf Education page.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Waldorf Discipline - Discovering Waldorf - www.theMagicOnions.com

Discovering Waldorf :: Discipline in a Waldorf School

To paraphrase Maple Village School’sAdministrator, Christina Sbarra, parents who have chosen to send their children to Waldorf schools have chosen a unique education, an education with great depth, wisdom, and richness.   By taking up the task of understanding that education more fully, parents can support their child’s (children’s) learning that much more. We need to make an effort to educate ourselves on aspects and philosophies of Waldorf Education so that we can better support and help our teachers teach our children in this beautiful way.Discipline in a Waldorf classroom is multifaceted, complex, subtle and wonderfully compassionate. I have often watched our teacher handle a conflict and thought how beautiful it is to see everyone’s needs being met in a firm, gentle and understanding way. I have thought how much easier and quicker for the teacher it would be to just scold a child who has acted inappropriately, how much more soul goes into disciplining in the Waldorf way and I have come away feeling supremely thankful that my children are experiencing discipline in this way rather than the way I experienced discipline when I was their age.

I do understand that the nuances of Waldorf discipline can be easy to miss and that’s why it’s important for us parents to learn what our teachers are trying to effect. Waldorf discipline is a process not an instant act. So, here is an article from The Mountain Schools website that explain some of the aspects of Waldorf discipline.

:::

Discipline

Waldorf Education has many creative and adept ways of handling the disciplinary possibilities and/or requirements within a Kindergarten setting. First of all, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Our primary form of preventing difficult behavior from the children is by establishing a well-balanced “breathing” rhythm to the daily routine. 

Waldorf Discipline - Discovering Waldorf - www.theMagicOnions.com

Just as breathing involves an in breath and then an out breath and then another in breath we lead the children from an activity that requires them to contain their energy to an activity that allows them to release the energy they just drew in to an activity that draws them in again. For example, right after Ringtime, an activity that requires the children to stay in a circle and follow along with the teacher for up to a half-an-hour we release them into Free Play. Then, after an hour or so of free play they are ready to be guided into a quieter, more restful time – to breath back in. We follow a microcosm of this pattern within the times of the day where more concentration and stillness is asked of the students, such as in Ringtime and story time. For example, during Ringtime we will stand still and reverently say a poem or play a game where the children must be quiet for a time, and then lead them into singing a song in which they get dance,run or jump for a time and then we bring them down to the ground again with a quiet or small movement activity.

Waldorf teachers are trained to observe their students to look for signs that they are ready to transition from an in breath to an out breath or visa versa. If the children begin to lose color in their cheeks, for example, it is time to transition to an “out breath” activity. If the children are becoming overly wild and beginning to nag at one another it is time to “bring them in”. It is an art form to never keep the children “in” or “out” for too long. We also have clever ideas up our sleeves for individual students who may need to be brought “in” during the middle of free play time, for example. Little activities such as grinding grain, sorting shells from the stones basket, or molding some beeswax lets the overextended child take a “time out” from the free play environment. This “time out” is in no way conveyed as a punishment. The teacher simply suggests to the child that she or he needs their help for a moment and lovingly guides them to the task. This breathing rhythm of our day works wonders – it keeps the children’s energy balanced and content. When we ask them to change activities they are truly ready for the transition, it is as natural and unconscious as our readiness to breath in or out. The day, therefore, tends to move along joyfully and harmoniously without forceful, difficult demands being made of the children.

When it happens that a child does do something to harm themselves, another person or creature in the class, or any materials in the classroom our first approach to the situation is for the teacher to model the behavior we wish to see from the child ourselves. This works very well because of the child’s instinct for imitation. If one child causes physical harm to another, instead of correcting the child with words and instructions we take up the child who has been hurt in our loving arms and model caring for them. We might say something like,”oh, our hands are for hugging” and then tend to the child’s wound with a comforting stroke or a band aid. If a child knocks down a fort that another student has built, for example, we simply move into the situation and begin rebuilding it lovingly. The constant modeling of moral and ethically sound behavior does much more for the disciplining of a young child than any scolding ever will.

If the behavior we wish to see is modeled by the teacher and the child still continues with the hurtful or disturbing behavior the teacher will generally take the child to the big rocking chair and hold them in their laps quietly, sing them a little song or tell them a pedagogical story. The pedagogical story is a brilliant way to impart corrective information to a young child. Waldorf teachers are trained to be able to take a situation in which a child is not behaving morally and create a story that mirrors the situation but is not obviously the situation. For example, the story will contain a den of wolf pups where one pup is constantly taking and gobbling up the food of another pup. The story describes the same type of behavioral problem as the child is up to and results in the pup learning its lesson – like maybe the mama pup eventually puts it outside the den until all the other pups have finished eating and then lets the others go out and play while the other one comes in and eats alone. By making the story interesting and endearing the young child will open up to it in its feelings and receive the true moral of the story without ever having to be lectured or shamed.

If the child continues to misbehave and is not responding to either modeling, a pedagogical story, or a task to help the teacher we may then consider whether the child should go home and rest for the day and set up a conference with the parents to learn more about what might be happening outside of school and ways we might be able to remedy the situation.

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An onlooker might easily think easily mistake the lack of scolding in a Waldorf classroom as lack of discipline. But on the contrary, discipline is in effect everywhere.
To read the other articles in the Discovering Waldorf series, please visit the Discovering Waldorf page at the top of the blog.
Blessings and magic,
Donni
Understanding Rhythm on Discovering Waldorf Education with The Magic Onions Blog

Discovering Waldorf :: Rhythm

Today, Donna Ashton is here to revisit the importance of rhythm in our days.

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Why is Rhythm so Important?
 by Donna Ashton of The Waldorf Connection

Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. You see this word everywhere, right?

In my opinion, it is the foundation of our days and “the” secret
to having a happy, smooth running household.  If you are homeschooling

it is a must or you will quickly discover the consequences of
what the “lack of rhythm” means.
There are so many benefits to having a solid rhythm!
Rhythm affects your children as much as you, so
it is well worth the time and effort to get this foundation set up.
*Good Rhythm Supports Mom*
Frees Your Energy-If you find you are spending all your time wondering what
is coming up next in your day.  Or just trying to stay one step
ahead of your children when they ask “Mom, what’s for lunch?”
Having a daily rhythm will free up your energy.
Having a plan already in place will allow you to concentrate
on what is happening in the moment  instead of rushing around
wondering what you are forgetting.
Less Stress– Knowing you have it together gives you piece of mind, less
stress and a chance to breathe. Everything won’t always be perfect, but with
a plan to start with there is a much better chance!
Less Discipline Issues-  Good rhythm becomes a predictable routine of
rituals and habits, therefore side-stepping many discipline issues that can arise.
It becomes “just the way we do it” which leads to much less questions and arguments.
A real benefit indeed!
More fun Sprinkled in: Once your basic pieces of the day are mapped out, you
will find opportunities to add some fun!  Use your precious time for activities you
love because you know the rest is taken care of.
*Good Rhythm Supports the Child*
They know someone else is “in charge”- When there is indecision in the household,
some children feel they have to step up into a leadership role.  This is stressful on the child

and obviously will cause friction with the parent.

Consistency- Good rhythm creates a predictable, consistent flow that children crave.
Remember that bedtime story they asked you read 30 times? Kids like to know what’s coming next.
And it is vital to their development and knowing where they stand in the world.
Less Choices- Children can be overwhelmed by breakfast with questions and choices if
we are not careful.  Red shirt or blue? Pancakes or Waffles? Coloring or painting?
When rhythm is in place, choices decrease and so does all that stress on your child.
Let them Play– Playing is your child’s main job in these younger years.  Having a solid
rhythm in place will guide them joyfully through their day instead of having a hodge-podge.
They will be free to create, learn and grow without the hindrance of a chaotic environment.
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Thank you, Donna. I totally agree that a well planned rhythm makes our days so much more calm and peaceful. And, wow, you are so brave to post that first photo of the messy room! Have I seen rooms like that, lol!! At first I thought I was looking at a photo of Kitty’s room today!
 
Friends, please pop over to Donna’s website, The Waldorf Connection. There is so much useful information and advice for homeschooling families and families who have brought Waldorf into their homes. Her blog is wonderful and her homeschooling curriculum has helped so many families find their way.
 
Please visit the Discovering Waldorf Page to read the other article in this series. 
 
Blessings and magic, 
Donni