not sure where to post--Waldorf at home with a nanny? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-02-2010, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I have no clue where exactly to post this, so I've chosen this forum. If it would be better somewhere else I would be happy to have a moderator move it. I also want advice with gentle discipline. I apologize for the length.

I have 3 sons, ages 4, 2, and 2, and am transitioning to a Waldorf-inspired environment with them. I've always followed the basics of AP, used gentle discipline, and attempted to create a natural environment.

My problem is that starting in August I will be a full-time student. I always intended to stay home with my children through their preschool years, but as a single mother (widow) I now have to either work full time (at least) or go back to school to pursue a career that will have me working full time to support my family. Since there are no local preschools I find acceptable, I'm having to hire a nanny. Thankfully we have an active local AP mothers' group which includes a lot of alternative homeschoolers (Enki, etc.), so there are nice activities for the kids. I definitely want them to be in some regular social environments with kids their ages.

My biggest problem is how to find a nanny who will be able to provide what I want for my children. I don't think I would be able to afford somebody specifically trained in Waldorf or other alternative education philosophies, although I'm certainly open to that. Does anybody have any advice for books, articles, or any other resources to provide an incoming nanny with? Both for basic daily life in a Waldorf-inspired home, and things about gentle discipline (I already have some articles from Alfie Kohn's website that I had printed out for the teachers at the preschool last year). I think as long as I find somebody intelligent and kind, and who is willing to learn, we can learn together and provide a good environment for my kids. I'm currently going through You Are Your Child's First Teacher (which I'm finding a great resource) and marking sections I'd like the nanny to read.

In the future I may be able to move to a place with more schooling options, but it will be at least 4 years from now. I am interested in one local school that starts in kindergarten, and seems like it may be a good fit for us, so I'm not sure how long-term the nanny/governess situation will be.

Thank you in advance for any advice.
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#2 of 12 Old 07-04-2010, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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So nobody has any thoughts? I realize it is an unusual situation, but I really am unsure what else I can do at this point.

I have considered contacting the Waldorf teacher training programs to see if there is anybody who has contacts with people who may be able to help me. Another idea I've had is finding somebody willing to attend a Waldorf homeschooling conference, which I've seen a few of just in reading around, and then paying to send her there.

Oh and I realize that gentle discipline and Waldorf do not necessarily go hand-in-hand, but I just didn't want to post this in two different forums. I might go do that though.
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#3 of 12 Old 07-04-2010, 10:53 PM
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i dont have much time to post right now but i can tell you that if you put out ads you have a chance of finding a nanny that has some of your thinking. one option is if you find a mom who is looking for work and has the same methods. this is coming from a single mom who is searching for work as a childgiver but am having a hard time do to the methods i would be forced to use with the children. dont give up hope try you will never know until you try at this point you have nothing to loose.
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#4 of 12 Old 07-05-2010, 06:25 AM
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i think it is doable depending upon how are you going about it.

you can contact the waldorf community and see if they know of anyone; you can go with an agency and put some materials in there (such as "follows steiner philosophy) or what have you.

but you know, one option might be to contact a waldorf school somewhere and find out if a graduate is interested in being an au pair, and see if s/he would be trained up in some way (reading the texts you want).

a friend of mine is going through this now. she's not full on GD and waldorf and what hav eyou (more like inspired or based on), but she's having to teach the au pair herself. she's not keen on doing that, but it might come to it.
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#5 of 12 Old 07-05-2010, 07:04 AM
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I worked as a nanny in this type of situation for several years. I wasn't officially home educating the children, but we had a sort of unschool Waldorf environment. The children and I went to a Waldorf playgroup occasionally and went along to the celebrations at the local school. I haven't had any sort of Steiner training but did a lot of self-study, some of which was suggested by the parents, but most of which I came across myself.

There were a few things that really helped me - the parents trusted me and really valued my input in the children's lives and education, and we would regularly talk about our vision for the children's experiences of the world and education. Read books like You Are Your Child's First Teacher and discuss them together if you have a chance. If you are hoping to find someone that can provide a Waldorf-inspired experience for your kids but who isn't trained or anything, I'd ask the prospective nanny about other parts of his or her life - do they enjoy learning about new things? Are they interested in natural living/gentle discipline/etc? I didn't know much about Waldorf when I started with the family but it was a good fit with the rest of my interests.

PM me if you want - I'm happy to talk more about my experience and how it all worked in a more concrete way if you want.

Bicycle-ridin', craftin', bloggin' feminist future mama to my starbabies dum spiro spero
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#6 of 12 Old 07-05-2010, 10:48 AM
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We just hired a mother's helper who is studying to be a Steiner teacher. Perhaps contacting whatever the teacher training institutions are where you are would be more productive than trying to explain to conventional nannies/nanny agencies what you are looking for? The woman we hired has heaps of childcare experience, it was actually while babystitting for someone who was performing in a concert at a Waldorf school that she discovered Waldorf. Plus we know that she has passed a police working with children check in order to do the practical component of her course (a requirement for all schools here).
Good luck
ETA, just reread your post and our m.h. isn't anymore expensive than an ordinary babysitter here. Of course, she hasn't finished studying and she only comes 2.5 hours a week. But you could be lucky to find someone who has finished their training but isn't quite ready for the commitment of being class teacher (8 years?) so would be happy to put their training into practice without making that big step.

grateful Mama to DD May '06 and DS May '09
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#7 of 12 Old 07-05-2010, 08:13 PM
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I am skimming through posts right now, but I wanted to quickly reply in case I forget to later. Here's a site, Waldorf Teachers, you can post an opening to. It might help.

Wendy - treehugger.gif   aspiring Waldorf handwork teachercrochetsmilie.gif, computer geek's wife  geek.gif,

mom to former 2lb preemie (now 9) dust.gif & 3x cat.gif 

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#8 of 12 Old 07-05-2010, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice!

I don't think there are any Waldorf teacher training schools near where I live, but I might contact the closest one anyway. And thanks for that link to the job postings site.

I found out today (would have known earlier but people are traveling since it's summer) that there is an ongoing attempt to open a Waldorf kindergarten start-up here, hopefully starting this fall. I am very hopeful that this will work out (and have offered my assistance to help make it happen), in which case my older son will have at least a few mornings a week of a school setting. Which will be good, since I'm under a lot of pressure from family to keep the kids in school.

thanks again I will keep on with the nanny search and hopefully this will all work out well for my children
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#9 of 12 Old 07-07-2010, 02:23 AM
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I think you can probably find someone though rrgular nanny sources. Just be clear on what you need and want. You might Describe what you need with some more general terms like natural toys, emphasis on nature, dramatic play, willingness to explore specific parts of your area, meeting up with play groups, music, etc. I think it is a little easier when they are babies because it always so telling how they react for traditional ap requests but... Provide the nanny with resources on philosophy and practical implementation. We've had several know and the hardest issue to fill has been someone who reads English well.

I am really sorry for your loss.
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#10 of 12 Old 07-07-2010, 10:23 AM
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I think Waldorf World has a classified section where you can post help-wanted ads. I recently saw someone post on Craigslist's childcare board with waldorf qualifications so try creating a help-wanted ad there. Be very specific of what you desire for your children! If you find a good candidate who is open to learning, I would hire them soon so they can be at home with you to learn the rhythm of your family before you go off to school in August! Good luck!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#11 of 12 Old 07-11-2010, 01:25 AM
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You may find a nanny who is not specifically trained in Waldorf but who knows about it and is interested in the philosophy. I didn't even know anything about Waldorf and I happened to find my part-time nanny on craigslist who it turns out is very much into Waldorf. She is only 21, has a 21 month old son, but has been reading a lot of books on Waldorf and raises her son in a very Waldorf-inspired environment. She has taught me about Waldorf. I found this woman on craigslist by advertising that I was looking for a part time nanny, and that I wanted someone who shared my parenting philosophy to let children be children and engage in creative play without too much adult interference. She's very picky about the families she will work with, and she's very flexible on her rate, and we just love her. My 17 month old daughter gets along great with her son.

So I guess my advice is to consider looking into a "self-trained" Waldorf nanny. Maybe another one exists in your area!
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#12 of 12 Old 07-11-2010, 01:11 PM
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Haven't read all the responses, so please excuse if this is redundant, but you could look at the LILIPOH publication to see if there is anyone in there, or post an ad there. Also, you could look to Lifeways for home daycare providers that follow Waldorf compatible care for children.
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