Hi Mammas, I am hoping that you can help me. I would describe myself as Waldorf Curious, and I'm looking for recommendations for sources of information to help me see if Waldorf is a fit for my family.
I've read "Simplicity Parenting" (which I know isn't Waldorf, but I *think* that his advice ties in nicely with the Waldorf philosophy/ideas) and a lot of what the book talks about speaks to me, and is a lifestyle that I'd like to try to impliment in my own home. DS is young enought (17 mos) that the transition shouldn't be as hard as if we had older kids (at least not for him). Even before reading his book DH and I both were on board with the "limit TV", "limit toys", "encourage imagination in play" type philosophy.
Anyway, I've tried to do some research on Waldorf on my own, but the public library where I live is lacking in this department. I've had coffee with a wonderful woman who used to teach at the Waldorf school in our city and this made me feel more strongly that Waldorf may be a fit for us. DH wants to do his own research but is at least on board with thinking about this and so far is loving the CDs I bought of a lecture of Kim John Payne talking about his "simplification" philosophy.
So I guess what I am looking for is ideas for how to make our lives and our home more "Waldorf Friendly" and if you can give me a better sense of what this means day to day. Many of the articles that I've found on-line are fairly "academic" and I don't understand them at this point.
Can you help me out?
The author, Kim John Payne, actually works with Waldorf schools and families quite extensively. Our own Waldorf school is hoping to raise money to fund his return visit.
As far as a day to day sense of what is "Waldorf friendly"... This is a great article from WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) These are some books that I recommend at this point since your son is only 17 months. These are usually easy to find used or fairly cheap on Amazon etc. Later on, you can start reading more about Waldorf education for grades.
- Beyond the Rainbow Bridge
- Seven Times the Sun
- You Are Your Child's First Teacher
- Heaven on Earth
- What is a Waldorf Kindergarten?
Wendy - aspiring Waldorf handwork teacher, computer geek's wife ,
mom to former 2lb preemie (now 9) & 3x
Try http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/ as a starting point.
Visit a Waldorf school near you. If there isn't one near you, make the trek to visit one anyway, just to taste the atmosphere.
Find a Waldorf parent somewhere, and talk to them. Don't forget to talk to the alumni: they are amazing young men and women who know who they are, and are thoughtful and articulate. They are unafraid: of new ideas, of finding their own path, of tackling practical things. Most of them know how to knit, sew, do woodworking - both boys and girls.
Home stuff: here is a typically Waldorf approach to toys: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/tag/5-best-toys-of-all-time/ (yes: Wired.com. And yes: "geekdad". It's hilarious). You've already got the "not too many toys". We don't do the wood-only route: Legos are so much fun! But our art supplies are artist quality. And as tightfisted as I am with toys, I don't hold back when it comes to outdoor clothing: they have all the "technical" stuff: wool underwear, waterproof down coats, Goretex boots, blah blah. Oh, and for myself also. So that we can be outside for hours, no matter what the weather. And we're big on rhythm, which involves a LOT of sleep. My good friend does it a step farther, and I tell you, her children are NEVER sick. Well, you know, hardly ever.
I could go on for hours, but unfortunately it's time for our solstice walk. Keep reading, keep learning, I hope you will find yourself and your children at a Waldorf school some day!
http://theparentingpassageway.com/ is a great Waldorf blog that is broken up into easy to digest tidbits. She goes into the technical aspects of Waldorf w/out being overwhelming. Articles are broken down by age, which I found to be most helpful.
It's probably ill timing with the winter holidays, but LESS really IS more!!!! I have three small children and we have way less toys than most people we know and my kids are NEVER bored. They are constantly making up games and playing with their open-ended toys in different ways. We got into Waldorf when our oldest was nine months old and have seen nothing but benefits for our family since.
All of the books mentioned are great and I second the recommendation to spend toy money on outdoor gear. $30 rain pants that allow your toddler to go outside every rainy day are a much better investment than a push-button toy. They are even better than a $30 "Waldorf" toy ;)
DD (4.25.08) DD (4.23.10) DD (10.13.12)