Ok, so I'm just starting to really learn about Waldorf. There are things I LOVE about it, and things that, well, I need to do more research on. I've read You Are Your Child's First Teacher and tons of online articles and blogs, and have Heaven and Earth and a couple of other books on the way.
Most of the style really resonates with me. Its just great. But how did you go about developing your home into a Waldorfy home? Did you start with rhythm, or stories or, natural toys, or...?? What's most important to you in the Waldorf lifestyle?
My DS just turned 2 last month and we already had a rhythm for wake, nap, eating and sleep times. The mornings are pretty much always the same too (I clean while DS does outdoor time/free play or helps me), but the afternnoons and after dinner vary. I'm thinking of insituting more of the weekly rhythm stuff in the afternoons after his nap. Such as, Monday- shopping day; Tuesday- Baking Day; Wednesday-Craft Day; Thursday- Painting Day; Friday- Adventure/Outdoor Day (longer nature walks, zoo trips, etc). Is this appropriate for a 2 year old? Also, do you theme those days according to the season/festivals your celebrating?
After dinner and the weekends are SO hard because DH is home and doesn't need a rhythm at all, so doesn't really understand our DS's need for one. Do you have a rhythm for those times? (aside from the bedtime routine, we've got one and we stick to it.)
Also, I'm just not sure how to incorporate a lot of the Waldorf things I think DS would love. Such as the songs, stories, fingerplays, etc. When do you do these? At just random times throughout the day? Where do I find ones that are fitting for a 2 year old? The seasonal table I think I can do. Although we're probably getting ready to move and so it will probably be REALLY simple at first.
How do you incorporate festivals and the seasons into your life?
I guess just need a lot of guidance on the "how to" part of Waldorf. I don't plan to throw in everything at once or anything, but I'd like to get an idea of where to start and then how to go about the rest. Sorry if this is rambly, I put the questions in italics to hopefully make it easier to follow. LOL.
Life loving Mama, married to DH, Mama to DS1 , DS2 , missing our , and another on the way!
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Subbing. I've been reading some really cute blogs on Waldorf and I am wanting to know the same thing.
Married to a Navy man of 12 yrs.
03/02: 11/05: 01/08: 10-18-09: 10-31-10 and 7/22/13 with twins and just found out we're again!!
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We are not (even close) to being fully "Waldorf" but here are some things we do:
Again with rhythm, I found that it helped us. I personally don't do "baking" day or "craft" day only because we kind of do those things every single day but we do have a rhythm that works for us. So a "play date" day, a "dog park" day, a "lunch date with mommy" day. These happen to rotate weekly though depending, but I put them together every Sunday night. This right now, is what works for us because I freelance as a writer/am doing doula training and so sometimes we have to switch around plans/have Daddy time or babysitter time.
Our bed time rhythm is working really well though, and the kids are in bed by 7pm most nights
Dim lights for one hour before bed time
Either a bath/washcloth on face and hands
Warm milk with vanilla and cinnamon [got the idea from here!]
2 stories [bed time theme, we love Father Twilight]
I don't do finger plays or circle time [shrug]
We put a huge emphasis on seasons, and celebrations because it's just plain fun. We do a nature table, and decorate our house in general according to the seasons [garlands, art, pumpkins for fall, greens for winter etc..]
..and right now I'm running to get some outside time in with the kiddos and dogs but if I'm inspired I'll write more later!
I am new to Waldorf and at our school we have a book club. The very first book we are reading is perfect for this topic. Simplicity Parenting. It covers those topics and even suggests where to start!
The author suggests simplifying your environment, that is where we are in the book, I think the next chapter is Rhythms.
subbing because I am trying to implement more waldorf rhythm into our home and am curious about others responses. We need a better weekly rhythm but I feel like we're getting there. As for finger plays - my son loves these and I do them throughout the day from the various waldorf-y books I have. We eat a lot of local foods so our meals are seasonal, and the times around meals are when we tend to do seasonal activities, where we display our seasonal crafts (on the dinner table and our seasonal table is at the end of our dining room table).
We did a lot of Waldorfing in stages, starting around age 2 (I didn't even learn about Waldorf until dd was 1.5). I think this is a good age to start, personally, from my own experience (before age 2 I was just focused on survival most of the time, but I had a high needs dd). We started by focusing on the seasons with decorations and baking and taking nature walks every day. The year dd turned 2, we also did a toy overhaul to incorporate a more Waldorf atmosphere (this worked out well because dd had outgrown her baby toys anyway so it was a natural transition). We got rid of all batteried toys and kept only creative plastic, cloth toys, and wooden ones, and added nature baskets with rocks/shells/sticks/feathers. By age 3 we started with a daily/weekly/yearly rhythm. Our daily rhythm is very seasonal but our weekly and yearly rhythms stay the same, only as dd gets older the yearly festivals get more in-depth and elaborate. Also, at age 3, we started doing lots of seasonal stories and books along with seasonal crafts and baking. We do our fingerplay (we do 1 every day for 1-2 weeks) after breakfast before we blow out our breakfast candle. I usually read dd a seasonal story after I've finished my breakfast and am waiting for dd to finish hers. For ideas, you can get tons of fingerplays on the internet (just Google "Autumn Fingerplay", for instance) or through print sources. Print sources are the Wynestones seasonal books, A Child's Seasonal Treasury, Gateways, etc. Also, the preschool-aged curricula Seasons of Joy and Little Acorn Learning have lots of poems, fingerplays, etc. To be honest, I'm not big into fingerplays. We do them as a way to incorporate poetry and movement but I rarely do more than 1 a day. Dd has always hated us singing for transitions so this just doesn't work for us. I think that's party of having an only child, though. When dd had a friend over for a whole day one time, I found that singing really helped, but with dd alone I don't. I sing various songs as I brush her teeth each day and I just sing randomly but it isn't scripted. There is a lady who recorded lots of these work and seasonal songs, and you can find them at most Waldorf online retailers. They are called This is the Way We Wash a Day, and something else by the same lady that has to do with the seasons (sorry, I'm drawing a blank here!). Every morning as part of our wake-up routine we listen to the proper seasonal portion of our Come Follow Me CD (volume 2). For each season there are about 4 short songs. One thing we've done besides a nature table is to make a large felt tree for our wall that we decorate with animals and leaves/snow, etc. The tree stays up all year but the animals,plants, and leaves change out by using poster tacky. I print out a lot of the animals from animal pictures on the internet and then laminate them with packing tape. Some animals I have made out of felt and all the leaves are felt. We love it! We also have seasonal playmats that I have made that we change out on our coffee table for every season. I have found with Waldorf that there isn't ONE or even two definitive sources for HOW you go about doing it. I follow the blog Parenting Passageway religiously and I've read lots of Waldorf books. One that I really like is What is a Waldorf Kindergarten? I like this because it has lots of color pictures. Also, Waldorf Education: A Family Guide is really helpful. Christopherus offers a preschool and a kindergarten book that I've heard is good and probably addresses many of the same issues. Really, I think Waldorf works best when you start simply and then add to it each year. Start with toys and a simply daily and weekly rhythm in year one, and then in year 2 start going deeper into festivals. Parenting Passageway is superb for festival information. Best wishes!
for us, it starts with the rhythm.
the toys was kind of a natural thing, because i was already into it (natural toys and waldorf) before our son was born, so that's been pretty easy.
but the rhythm is pretty much everything. and now, i'm working on getting the stories/songs/etc going into the rhythm. it's sort of my next step. after that, celebrations are going into the rhythm. that's tough for me, because it involves a lot of planning and prep work--which i'm good at, but it's tough with the business AND the household.
A few more resources to add in: For festivals, there is a book called Family, Festivals, and Food that I've heard is highly recommended. I haven't read it, though. We have All Around the Year, which I think is mediocre. We are Christian so we actually just focus deeply on the Liturgical Year which fits really well with Waldorf. I think the important thing is really to focus on the seasons: Fall--a harvest festival, Winter--a light festival, Spring--a birth festival, Summer--a planting/growing festival or a light festival. Those elements seem to be intrinsic to all cultures. I think the point is to honor the deeper, spiritual nature of the seasons as well as to create lasting memories for your family, so think of ways to involve all the senses and such.
One thing we try to do with toys is emphasize making our own. This is a great book for toys that are really timeless for all age, although the cover says "toddler" http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Play-Your-Toddler-Expertise/dp/1856752860/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289527333&sr=1-1 . It's really an excellent resource. I don't sew and I've found that I can substitute hot gluing for many of the projects that involve sewing.
for me, i'm having a hard time getting my head around the southern hemisphere, the holiday schedules (the school year is different here), and then just figuring out what to celebrate.
we are not christian, and quite frankly, the liturgical year doesn't fit with the seasons down here, so that's easy enough to avoid, but frustrating in that even the waldorf school follows that calendar AND then also has a seasonal celebration. it's confusing to me to both celebrate christmas (most of which is a winter holiday) while then having a summer solstice celebration. *so baffling*
right now, i'm just focusing on the basics: four seasonal holidays and when to look for them/see them in our surroundings. i'm looking to get into the maramataka (maori calendar) to learn what to watch for. They look in the sky, the sea, the plants, and the birds. when all "four signs" are noted, then the month changes. They have primary seasonal signs too, specialized celebrations with each season. So, i'm looking to learn more, align to it a bit so that we are grounded in this space, and then creating the gift-giving/celebration elements around that.
so, i'm mostly confused. and i've put it on the back burner for a bit until i get myself sorted.
Hi my daughter is 16 mo and I have just started implementing Waldorf in our home a couple. What draws me toward it is the head, heart, hands concept that I think really captures all the parents and educators should be striving for as we raise these wonderful little beings. I like that it not only values childhood and play but recognizes that it has a huge impact on forming a person. My daughter (and me too) is also very drawn towards the natural world, it seems to bring her soul to a more peaceful place, so it is logical to me to place a big emphasis on that. There are some thing that I have read too (mainly in the course of You are Your Child's First Teacher) that leave me scratching my head a bit, but I try not to get hung up on some of the details that I think are odd.
So far what we have worked on is finding a rythmn to our formerly crazy days, we have strong wake up and nightime rituals that really work for us, although everything in between I am still having trouble sorting out. I have done a toy clean out and got rid of a lot of plastic crap or put it in a box for a rainy day if I need a distraction for her. I have also put together a Christmas wish list for the grandparents that clearly articulates the new toy policy of natural and things that require imagination and the why behind that. I put together a seasonal table and book basket and we have done a lot of fall themed activities, I really like the concept of festivals and seasonal work/activites. Traditions are what I remember most from my childhood. We are working on reducing TV time which has been a challenge because my husband loves to cuddle up with her on the couch and watch TV after a long day at work. The cuddling a still toddler is the primary motivation for him but he is also tired after work and it is easy entertainment for him on a limited energy supply. What I am focusing on right now is trying to impress upon him that he needs to at least be watching something like Planet Earth or a G rated movie, not PG-13 or R or some comedy or other things that he is drawn to, which is proving to be challenge enough. Uggh. I also do a lot of singing with her and want to learn/incorporate more fingerplays.
Next steps for us are more reading on my part (my Christmas wish list includes quite a few Waldorf books and I have Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library) and working on our rythmn between wake up and bed as well as a weekly and yearly rythmn. And trying to get Dad on the bandwagon! I am also trying to get plugged in to the local Waldorf community.
Hey and I absolutely love the felt tree idea. We live amongst the oak trees and watch the squirells a lot so DD would really love this. Plan to make one up this weekend!
We have been on our Waldorf journey for 3 1/2 years now and I can't imagine what our family life would be like without it now. I have been blogging about our waldorf inspired life for about 18 months and really, I am only just scratching the surface of doing all the little important changes I want for our family and i think our home will always be evolving as we continue with our journey.
I just wanted to say it takes time and to add things to your day really, really slowly so it starts to feel natural and right for your family and like you have been doing it forever. I find some simple things can be the most effective, like lighting a candle at every meal time. Now, if we run out of candles, it feels horrible to me, it doesn't feel right eating without candlelight but it has taken about 18 months of using candles at every meal for it to feel this way. I find it really helps to centre the children and make meal times a warm and comforting part of the daily routine.
I second what another poster said about starting to symplify your home, toys, books,clutter. Symplicity Parenting is one of the most life changing books I have read to be honest with you.
Comfort is also very important to me for our family. I want the children to be warm and cosy while being at home. I look at the temperature and think how many layers they should be wearing and insist they ware socks and slippers. Or if my older girl is wearing a skirt, she will wear warm tights aswell. We have quilts on the edge of the sofa, so they can cover up with a quilt if they want one. We have sheepskins on the floor so when they are playing there is a warm cozy spot to sit. For our family evening meal, we also eat warm, nourishing, simple cooked-from-scratch food.
Te biggest change for us was the children becoming 99% TV free . For us, this helped the childrens creative play enormously and ability to become deeply involved in independent play/drawing/colouring/making up games. On a sunday afternoon, we all get together to watch a film for about an hour and a half because my older girl attends a mainstream school, I want her to be able to talk about TV/films at school if she wants too. That is the only TV they see in a week.
We are slowly adding rhymes/poems to our day. For the past year, after I light the candle i sing the 'Good Morning Dear Earth...' song found in the Gateways book. I say the blessing and the children join in 'Blessings on the blossom..' and Wynstones Press have published four great books, Autumn, winter, spring and summer with a whole hots of seasonal appropriate song,peoms and short stories. So a poem will be chosen from one of those books and read for seven days and then a new poem will be chosen and so on . I have found this is making my 5.5 year old very poetic and she likes to make up her own poems at the breakfast table! I have never really gone for the finger plays, I'm not sure why, I just haven't.
We also have very special poems for the night before and on the day of birthdays and also a special poem book especially for Christmas Eve.
We are very slowly developing a yearly rhythm too, we go and choose our Chrismas tree the last weekend in November and leave it in the garden until it is time for it to be bought in. We have bonfires in our garden to celebrate a solstice. Light lots of candles for candlemas....celebrate Hallowe'en with a fire too. So I guess we are very slowly buiding family traditions that feel right for us.
(We are also a plastic toy-free house and have toys made from wood,cloth,crystals,stones etc etc which I am sure sets the tone of our home. The girls don't have too many toys and they are stored carefully in wicker baskets)
We have so much more to do though, but I hope it will come, with time.
Thank you all so much for the wonderful, very thoughtful posts! I am going to have to reread them to get everything possible out of them. I started responding to everyone, but then deleted it because this was getting way to long. Haha. So I'll just leave it at THANKS.
I am almost done with Simpliticy Parenting and while I really like it, its also making me feel somewhat of a failure, even though we have more rythym, less TV, less toys, less everything than anyone else we know with kids. Its not the author at all, but I think thats mainly because I know we're not where we want to be yet and I want to improve but I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here.
So, at the moment, I think I'm going to get start with the simplifying toys. I actually did this in the beginning of summer and reduced by a lot, but now I realize it wasn't enough. Of course, I'm going to have to do it after Christmas again... UGH. The problem with plastic versus wood in our home is that we never buy DS toys. We've gotten him 3 his entire life, everyone one (read:Grandparents) have gotten the rest and pretty much ignore our requests for natural, imaginative, non-noise making toys. So I'm just not sure how to deal with that.
Anyway, other than that I'm going to continue working on our rythym. Bed times & meal times are good. Mornings are very regular, but our afternoons and evenings need more flow and more of the seasons in them. Maybe I'll start another thread later with my hopes for our rythym and see what you all think. Of course, we're having a baby in Feb so its all going to change. LOL.
I'm getting rambly again, so I think its time to go read somemore of Simplicity Parenting before bed. Thanks again and keep posting, I'm loving reading everyone's imput.
Life loving Mama, married to DH, Mama to DS1 , DS2 , missing our , and another on the way!
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We are working on moving to a move "Waldorfy" household. It has been a bit :dizzy though.
Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013. If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!