Sometimes we just need the grounding effects of being on the floor, having "tummy time" for drawing, games, chatting, rolling balls, doing movement journeys, etc. This video is a movement journey on the floor, with a story that is meant to have a calming, strengthening and integrating effect. It is also a nice bonding opportunity for parent and child. The story is a timeless, universal one, with a Spring theme! Ideally, this movement could be done daily to go along with your "schooling" schedule. The repetition will be the most helpful element and you should see things get easier and easier for yourself and your child. Feel free to shorten the movements or pick and choose as best fits your needs. I do hope you enjoy it, stay well, and have fun! More ...
Rudolf Steiner and a model of the Goetheanum building
From 1923 on Rudolf Steiner showed signs of increasing frailness and illness. He nonetheless continued to lecture widely, and even to travel; especially towards the end of this time, he was often giving two, three or even four lectures daily for courses taking place concurrently. Many of these lectures focused on practical areas of life such as education. Increasingly ill, he held his last lecture in late September 1924. Rudolf Steiner continued work on his autobiography during the last months of his life; he died on 30 March 1925.
“March 1925 was cold and foggy. It became quite windy in the last week of the month, and then the storms began. From the South and the West, the rain whipped against the walls of the studio. On March 29th, Rudolf Steiner awoke in pain. “No work was done that morning. It was the 1st time. We spoke at length about the pain. There was no reason to be worried. The pains disappeared in the course of the day. He was extraordinarily still and patient that day and gave new suggestions for his care” (Wegman and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)
Perhaps at this point it would be important to say a few words about Rudolf Steiner’s illness. It has been publicly stated that he died of stomach cancer. (Brugge) In light of the way his illness progressed, such an assumption is fully understandable. But one of Ita Wegman’s closest colleagues, Dr. Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt vehemently rejected this conjecture. And Dr. Ita Wegman had reported that Rudolf Steiner’s etheric body was no longer able to work in the digestive organs in the appropriate manner. “The result was that these organs were subjected too strongly to the physical forces, which are forces of degeneration.” (Wegman and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)
In his recollections of Rudolf Steiner D.N.Dunlop recalled, “A few weeks before his final illness, during the summer conference in Torquay, I spoke to him about my concerns for his physical health. He drew me aside, vigorously but with infinite friendliness, and made me aware that his situation could not be explained in terms of our usual notions of disease”. (Meyer)
Albert Steffen, who visited Rudolf Steiner regularly throughout his illness, recalled this time: “I visited him March 28th at 5 pm in the afternoon in his studio, where he lay in his sickbed. It was a tall room with skylights. Nothing of the earth looks in: no tree, no mountain, no house, only the light of the heavens. Sculptural and architectural models that he has made himself stand on the shelves along with some busts he has sculpted; at the foot of his bed, the noble statue of Christ, carved by his own hand, soars high above him. All around him are tables covered with books and manuscripts…Up to the last day of his life, his interest was for the entire world. In his studio, which he had not left for half the year, he had collected an entire library” (Goetheanum, 1925)
According to Ita Wegman’s report, Rudolf Steiner was very still sad and silent. She recalled, “It seemed to me as though he had a very difficult problem to solve. The forces of light in his eyes appeared weaker than usual”.
Rudolf Steiner wrote the last “Letter to the Members” that day! This last missive is like a preview of what was to come in the 21st Century. It is titled “From Nature to Sub-Nature.” In it, Rudolf Steiner characterizes the dangers of the technological age and the task that has arisen for humanity through the technological developments, which rob humans of a direct experience of nature and place themselves in its stead. At 4 pm on March 29th, the pain returned. Yet Rudolf Steiner asked again if the adjoining studio was ready for him to work on the model for the 2nd Goetheanum. Both doctors, Wegman and Noll, kept watch throughout the night”.
“His last thoughts were of the work to which he had in love dedicated himself” ~Rudolf Steiner, from the last act of the 4th Mystery Drama.
Reviewed by David Kennedy
Making the Children's Year by Marije Rowling and published by Hawthorn Press s an incredible compendium of Waldorf-inspired craft projects. In one book you can learn to make a Gnome, a Chicken (and a Chick and a Cockerel), Martinmas Lanterns, a Hip Horse, beautiful Glove Puppets, and a Bean Bag Frog. And that's just the beginning. There are over 110 other projects that any child, and parent, will love making.
This is a brand new edition of the classic craft book, The Children's Year. This new edition is in full color with beautiful drawings on every page. I want to make a Knitted Cat right now! From the Three Kings to a Bee House to Stick Streamers, you and your child could find something different to make every week for years.
Equally suited to classroom as well as home use, you'll be making a Little Clutch Doll and a Star Doll Sleeping Bag in no time. Girls or boys, it doesn't matter. Everyone will find inspiration in the drawings and comfort in the instructions. All the patterns and measurements are there. Make a pair of Crocheted Slippers and you'll be stylish, warm and comfortable.
Making the Children's Year is organized around the four seasons and each chapter has ideas and detailed instructions for projects for the whole year round. Marije Rowling has created an artistic masterpiece with this book. It should be in every parent's and teacher's library. This is the only Waldorf craft book you would need for a very, very long time. It's a solid edition, well-bound, and it has bright color printing. It should last for many, many years.
Here is a treasury of beautiful projects for enriching your home and classroom. Children will love playing with the special things that they have made on their own or with adults. It's perfect for encouraging creative play and a love of nature.
Thank you Marije!
Just click here to learn more and look inside.
Marije Rowling was born in the Netherlands, where art, craft and music were constants in her home life and education. She studied art and teaching in Holland before moving to England to study at Emerson College, where she was inspired by the approach to nature, art and craft.
With the initiative CaminhAção the Anthroposophical Society in Brazil likes to bring people together. For this purpose a logo was created. It symbolizes a path of living and of knowledge in search of the human being.
With the recent centenaries of Social Threefolding and Waldorf Education as a starting point, the CaminhAção tour connects various parts of Brazil, from North to South, from East to West, joining not only the anthroposophical initiatives themselves but linking with popular culture (capoeira, maracatu etc.), contemporary cultures like Hip Hop, community initiatives and the Dinheiro e Consciencia (Money and Consciousness) movement among others.
Sun and earth
What can all this mean? Let’s have a look at the logo: at first glance we can see a threefold path in three colours: red reminds us of the economic life based on fraternity, cooperation, sharing of needs and capacities. Blue relates to the social life, human relations, human rights based on equality. Gold makes us awake of the cultural spiritual life, human development, caring for the most untouchable in us that makes us human in the deepest sense: the spiritual ‘I’ where freedom and diversity reign regardless of its external "guise". The self and its ability to perceive the sense of the other's self, as Rudolf Steiner calls the twelfth sense. My ‘I’ lives in my center, but also on the periphery, so to speak a peripheral ‘I’, the ‘I’ of the other. If I develop during my life more and more the strength of my heart as an organ of perception, I can to some extent live through or at least understand the pains and joys of someone in Japan, Africa, USA… .
We can also see a circle, in the same three colours symbolizing the community, the earth. This circle moves thanks to the spirals, from left to right: a world moving and incessantly changing thanks to nature and also thanks to the human being. This movement enables life on earth, a healthy life if we do our part, an integration of everything with everything.
Last but not least we see a golden point: this is where the Sun and the threefold path invisibly converge - our goal.
Our great task, our great challenge amid the tendency towards specialization and disintegration: Let’s try to see the details, the individual and specific aspects of a group and integrate them into a whole. Seeing what we have in common and what is different, honouring and cooperating: this is one of the goals of the CaminhAçao.
Concretely, we like to bring people together in the sense of the sun that illuminates everyone, regardless of their origin. Bringing together young people in search of the inner Sun, bringing together anthroposophists from different areas, bringing together people from economic life, trying to understand other cultures and find what we have in common, social activists etc. To integrate, understand and open people's hearts, mainly through listening and art – that is the aim: the path of knowledge, the path of empathy and the path of the deed, in Christ and with open hearts. More ...
From David Kennedy
I picked out three songs for aspiring vocalists and musicians of all ages who may find themselves at home and longing to sing. I chose one each from the 2nd, 4th and 8th grade chapters of my upcoming book The Waldorf Book of Songs, which will be published this summer. Two celebrate the wonders of nature and the third, the story of waking up to an invader (l'invasor in Italian).
Bella Ciao! ("Goodbye Beautiful") originated in the north of Italy in the late 19th century. It was sung by the mondina women, seasonal rice paddy workers, to protest against the harsh working conditions. It was adopted as an anthem by the Italian Resistance, fighting again the Fascists, in World War II. It is sung in many versions around the world as a hymn of freedom.
Download songs/sheets below
"True art is an expression of the human being's search for a relationship with the spiritual, whether the spiritual longed for when his soul leaves the body, or the spiritual which he desires to remember when he dips down into a body, or the spiritual to which he feels more related than to his natural surroundings, or the spiritual as manifested in colors when outside and inside lose their separateness and the soul moves through the cosmos, freely, swimming and hovering, as it were, experiencing its own cosmic life, existing everywhere; or ... the spiritual as expressed in earth life, in the relationship between man's soul-spirit and the cosmic ... " - Rudolf Steiner
We offer a variety of online art courses. The online art courses offer a wonderful opportunity to practice or learn new skills. The courses may be used for self-development and inspiration, but also to acquire skills and ideas for teaching arts and crafts to others including children.
Please note that we are offering the art courses at a promotional discount during this time when many people are asked to spent considerable amounts of time confined to their homes.
We invite you to attend our webinar on
Viral illnesses and some ideas of what to do from an anthroposophical point of view
On March 26, 2020, 6:30-7:30 PM, CDT
This webinar is
To register click here
We live in complicated times where some facts and many more plain fears are strongly interconnected. Especially now it might be helpful for those who value Anthroposophy to re-familiarize (or familiarize) ourselves with some insights given by Rudolf Steiner regarding viruses, lung illnesses, etc. Since his days many remedies ( based on his indications), that might be helpful now, have been introduced. We will explain some of them and hopefully this will answer some of the many questions that have come to the True Botanica Company and the Kolisko Institute. Importantly we will present a sequence of eurythmy therapy exercises that Rudolf Steiner gave specifically to improve the immune system in connection with viral illnesses.
For the Team at both True Botanica and the Kolisko Institute,
Ross Rentea MD, Mark Kamsler MD and Andrea Rentea MD
*The live webinar is free but there may be a purchase charge once we post it on the web.
Dear Waldorf early childhood colleagues,
I hope that the children, families and teachers in your school community are all healthy, and that you are finding ways to bring simplicity, trust, confidence and goodness to the children in these stressful times.
Many of you are making plans for supporting children and families if and when your school or program needs to close for a week or two or longer. Several Waldorf schools have announced closings this week, and it is likely that many others will close in the coming days and weeks. We would like to share resources and suggestions with you that we hope you will find helpful for parents and educators.
Resources for Families of Young Children in Difficult Times
WECAN has posted a number of helpful articles on the Parents and Families page of the WECAN website that you may want to share with parents. The address is http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.org/family.php. The resources include the following:
Resources from the Waldorf Community:
How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children
Communicating with Children and Supporting Them in Difficult Times
Support for Working through Flu (treatments which should help with coronavirus, too)
Suggestions for Parents for When the Kindergarten Needs to Close (Letter from Norwegian kindergartens)
Other Resources for Families:
How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus
How to Stay Sane When Working from Home with Young Children
Why the Coronavirus (Mostly) Spares Children
School is Closing. Now What?
Resources for Waldorf Early Childhood Educators in Difficult Times
We plan to post a number of suggestions and links on our WECAN Resources for Educators page soon at http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.org/resources.php In the meantime, we would like to pass along some suggestions for you to consider as you make your plans.
If your school closes: It is important to remind ourselves that the most profound influence on children comes through the attitudes of the adults around them, and therefore our main focus is the support we can offer to parents. Here are some suggestions gathered from recent conversations:
o Most schools are deciding that the early childhood teachers will contact each family to support the parents in creating the best possible situation to meet the needs of their child at home.
o Some schools plan to have one-on-one parent/teacher phone calls or video calls each week for this purpose.
o In addition, some early childhood classes are planning to host weekly Zoom “parent evenings” so that parents can share ideas with one another, with the teacher present as a participant.
o One school is planning to offer weekly Simplicity Parenting classes for parents during the time when school is closed.
o A few schools are using “Google Classroom”, a password protected site, so that parents can share recipes, stories and suggestions for activities with one another.
o One school is sending parents lists of recommended books – children’s storybooks and resources for activities, such as those available through WECAN Books at http://store.waldorfearlychildhood.org. Parents who purchase these activity books receive a credit from the school.
o Early childhood teachers at a school that closed this week are creating little packets for parents to pick up at the school at the beginning of each week that the school is closed. In the packets for this first week were some poems, a story for parents to tell their children, supplies for making a beanbag together and directions for a beanbag game. Such packets could contain songs, beeswax, or crayons and paper, a bread baking recipe. Because they have mixed-age kindergartens, they are tailoring the craft activities to the ages of the particular children, with different projects for six-year-olds than for the younger ones.
o It is important to avoid asking parents to try to replicate the Waldorf early childhood program at home. Instead, focusing on activities that can be integrated into the family setting is important. Several schools have developed helpful and interesting ideas for continuing to hold classes electronically for high school, middle school and possibly lower school children, but this is obviously not appropriate for early childhood.
o It is not a matter of “delivering” a Waldorf early childhood “curriculum” for the children. Instead, the best thing for children is to have a happy and active time at home with their family. Life is the curriculum! Sending audio or visual recordings of the early childhood teacher singing or doing a morning circle or engaging or “teaching” the children through screens is not in the spirit of Waldorf early childhood education. This special Corona-virus situation is not a reason to go against what we know is healthy for children.
o Instead, we want to offer families support for keeping things simple and rhythmical at home, offering experiences that support the development of the lower senses.
o The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood has many excellent suggestions as we approach Screen-Free Week, in which many Waldorf schools participate. For more information, visit their web page at https://commercialfreechildhood.org/social-distancing/
Here is a collection of comments and advice from a recent early childhood conversation hosted by AWSNA:
*Do not overpromise! Do not offer more than what the early childhood teachers or the school as a whole can actually manage to deliver. Take things a week or two at a time.
*Allow for individual classes to have individual approaches, but make sure that there is some consistency within the department, to avoid confusion in the parent body, especially in families with multiple children at the school. It is helpful to have a school-wide overview.
*Keep special needs of particular families in mind - children with ADA needs or families where there are equity considerations, etc. to make sure that diverse needs are also being considered. If families have no internet connection, arrangements could be made to print out resources that can be picked up at the school.
The next scheduled AWSNA early childhood networking conversation is scheduled for Friday, April 3 at 11:00 HI, 2:00 PT, 3:00 MT, 4:00 CT, 5:00 ET. Here is the link to the call: https://zoom.us/j/4578851173. If you are not in an AWSNA Member school and would like to participate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WECAN will continue to offer support and resources. Please let us know if you have questions or would like to share suggestions. In challenging times such as these, we can experience gratitude for the tremendous strength, warmth, and resilience of our communities.
Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking.
These five lead me to my goal
These five give me my existence.
With best wishes to you and your children, families and colleagues,
“It is very important that during these early years a child should be surrounded by noble-minded, generous-hearted and affectionate people with good thoughts, for these stamp themselves on the child’s inner life.” – Rudolf Steiner
Children imitate what surrounds them, especially the thoughts and beliefs of those in places of authority. If a school community or classroom fosters goodness, in one another and in the children, it provides security and wellbeing for all. This wellbeing is essential for children’s learning. Students must trust their world to take risks and meet new challenges with openness. Teachers that meet a child’s openness with gratitude, reverence, respect and an assumption of goodness, help the child encounter learning and struggle with confidence and calm.
This is particularly important in early childhood classrooms. Teachers can build that sense of goodness and security through routine, stability, modelling kindness and finding the good all around, including the good within the children.
And, young children, according to recent scientific study, are inherently good. In the Smithsonian Magazine article, Are Babies Born Good? a review of recent research led authors to declare: “A child arrives in the world provisioned with rich, broadly pro-social tendencies and seems predisposed to care about other people. Children can tell, to an extent, what is good and bad, and often act in an altruistic fashion.”
The terrible twos are not so terrible in regards to kindness as this natural tendency toward good persists in toddlerhood: “Toddlers… are natural helpers, aiding distressed others at a cost to themselves, growing concerned if someone shreds another person’s artwork and divvying up earnings after a shared task, whether the spoils take the form of detested rye bread or precious Gummy Bears.”
The fact of the matter is that schools can and should build upon this early empathy, kindness and altruism by continuing to regard children as good, surrounding them with goodness and fostering goodness within the children and their classrooms. This is essential, not just in early childhood, but in the grades as well because assuming the best of older children has been shown to improve social emotional and academic learning.
The Institute of Education Sciences publication, Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom, found great benefit to positivity and goodness, namely coming from within the school and from the teachers themselves. In brief, students who have overwhelming positive interactions with teachers show greater social emotional skills, engagement, motivation and academic achievement. In turn, those experiencing negativity displayed the opposite results.
In fact, this phenomenon, commonly referred to as The Pygmalion Effect (or oppositely The Golem Effect ) was greatly publicized after a 1964 Harvard study done in a San Francisco Elementary school. The results, summarized here in the NPR article, Teacher’s Expectations Can Influence how Students Perform, found that when teachers were told that certain students were gifted and others were not, although the children were chosen at random, the “gifted” children outperformed their peers academically.
Further study revealed that the expectation teachers brought to a student subtly changed a teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children. Essentially, when teachers believe children are smart and good, they treat them as such, and the children live up to those expectations.
So, how do we build upon goodness in our classrooms?
The Institute of Education Sciences paper gives this simple advice: “Teachers should show the warmth, respect, and sensitivity they feel for their students through small gestures, such as welcoming students by name as they enter the class each day, calling or sending positive notes home to acknowledge good behavior, and learning about their students’ interests, families, and accomplishments outside of school.”
Waldorf teachers are trained to make these kinds of gestures part of each child’s day, to enhance the student’s well-being and also to improve learning. In Waldorf Education, special attention is given to the child’s whole being — head, heart, and hands — with the heart being the emotional core. A key part of this attention given relies on the assumption and cultivation of goodness in all human beings. It’s done through modeling goodness, genuinely caring for students and their families, and believing in a child’s potential.
from Spring Garden Waldorf School
Sophia Institute offers a variety of programs, courses, publications and other resources to anyone interested in Anthroposophy and Waldorf/Steiner inspired education. Currently there are students from all over the world enrolled in the Sophia Institute online courses. Sophia Institute publications are available worldwide. The Sophia Institute newsletter and blog provide insights and information concerning the work of Anthroposophical initiatives, Waldorf/Steiner Schools, the Camphill Movement, and related endeavors. More ...