Just getting in to Waldorf, feeling discouraged... - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have seen many cool looking toys on etsy saying they are Waldorf inspired, I really don't know much about Waldorf (or Montessori, who's name seems to be mentioned a lot next to Waldorf), but I am feeling discouraged by the PRICES of all these toys.  I know that toys are not at the heart of the Waldorf way but my kids need something to play with after I've eliminated most of our plastic toys and such.  I am wanting toys right now especially because winter is coming close- summer time we are outside all the time, winter we still go outside but not as much, more time inside means kids need something to play with!   It seems like I have to spend a fortune to buy one wooden or wool toy.  I'm not rich, and there is no way a poor person could afford to have any of these toys at all!  So, what do you suggest a mama do who has no clue how to make things herself?  Sorry this wasnt meant to be a rant :)   I know the makers of these toys have to make money too.  Does anyone know of any cheap but quality toy sites? 

And, can someone give me the basic run down of the Montessori and Waldorf teachings?  And any others that you think are great?

Oh and what is up with all the fantasy characters that I keep seeing for Waldorf?  I thought it was supposed to be the child's imagination, not an already invented by someone else fantasy character?  That's about the exent of Waldorf that I know- open ended play, right?

TIA :)

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Old 09-29-2012, 05:55 AM
 
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I'll be back in a bit when I've got some time.  winky.gif
 


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Old 09-29-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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Here's a helpful link: http://www.michaelolaf.net/MONTESSORI%20and%20WALDORF.html and another: http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/documents/ALookatWaldorfandMontessori.pdf comparing the two from each side.

 

Ever since having children, we have had a single, very small income.  I thought I'd never be able to give my children the wooden toys I desired for them.  I was wrong.  It worked out anyway.  I did have to learn some crafting skills.  There are a lot of great tutorials on-line for making dolls, needle felting (which is very easy and economical), and recycling old items into new.  We've also tried to guide family members when it's been time for birthdays.  When our tax refund came, part of it went to playstands and other wooden items (after we paid all sorts of bills).
 

A Toy Garden is a good site--lots of variety and a wide range of prices.  Magic Cabin has some good deals, but some of the toys are not as good quality as I would have hoped for.  I really like Palumba and Nova Natural Toys, too.  The reasoning for the prices is often that the items are handmade and/or fair trade.  If you're looking to keep a simply home and maximize open-ended toys, this helps to keep buying in check and also supports something good.

 

I really like Simplicity Parenting for its suggestions and stories.  Beyond the Rainbow Bridge is a great book for an intro to Waldorf for little ones, as yours seem to be (mine, too).  Bending Birches has some wonderful ideas for doing Waldorf on a budget.  Sew Liberated is written by a former Montessori teacher and is a good place to start--just choose her "Montessori" tag.


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Old 09-29-2012, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THanks so much!  I have been wanting to get the Beyond the Rainbow Bridge book but no library in my state has it and I cant afford to buy it lol, so I'm waiting for now... Lol.  I'll check out the links when I have more time!  (after kids' bedtime)

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:23 AM
 
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Sticks, boxes, tubes, water, dirt, scarves, kitchen supplies like wooden spoons, pots etc, are all excellent 'toys' that you surely have easy access too. The 'Waldorf' toys are just like the ones you threw out but made of wool or wood instead. Don't buy into the hype that these toys are needed to be a 'Waldorf' mom, surely they are beautiful, hand made and generally of good quality, but they are not an essential part of childhood.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:17 AM
 
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I agree that those are good supplies.  I prefer not to have lots of specific toys at our house.  I want to be able to clean up in 5-10 minutes.  Instead we have a lot of open-ended things--silks, nesting bowls, blankets, cooking supplies, pillows from the beds.  Anything can be anything.  I think, also, something good to do during these upcoming inside months would be to add in time with you cooking, just standing on a chair beside you playing with measuring spoons while you make meals. 
 

Additionally, you may just wish to wait to buy anything (or only add one or two things at Christmas), seeing how they use what you have.  Two is a wonderful age for the beginning of pretend play.  It could be a very entertaining winter.  smile.gif


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Old 09-30-2012, 07:14 AM
 
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This is an older book, but I really like Rahima Baldwin's  "You are your child's first teacher."  Also, one simple toy you can make is tree blocks. If you have access to a tree branch, you can saw it up and sand the cut edges smooth. The bark is left on.  I did not buy play silks, but instead went to the fabric store and got several one yard pieces of colored cotton gauze.  They were easy to wash and played with for many years.  Another book I used for ideas was " The Children's Year." 

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Old 09-30-2012, 07:49 PM
 
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I have found many deals when adding to our toys. Granted the things I have are not "true Waldorf," they are natural and open-ended and serve the same purpose.
Check second hand/thrift stores. My mom goes to some several times a week during her lunch break as she works right next door to them. She has found play silks and wooden toys for us that were in great condition and just needed to be cleaned up.
Also, you don't have to buy things only from Waldorf companies. For example, I can't afford to buy my daughter a real Waldorf doll, but I did buy her some Waldorf inspired dolls from Pottery Barn Kids and some small Waldorf fairy dolls from them as well. All were on sale/clearance. Between the doll, baby doll, and two fairy dolls, I spent less than I would for one Waldorf doll.
Amazon.com is another idea. Around the holidays, Amazon runs great specials every year on certain Melissa and Doug toys. Last year I got a set of 100 wooden blocks for $10. I also love the Waldorf kitchen sets and accessories. Since I can't afford these, I bought a simple wooden set from Educo with wooden dishes and utensils for much cheaper.
Half.com is great for books. I found the Gerda Muller books as well as some Waldorf parenting books in new condition for about $2 each!
Also, you don't have to get rid of all of your current toys at once. Gradually phase them out as you bring new toys in if you feel that would make for a smoother transition. Another thing is to collect things from nature. Rocks, sticks, pine cones etc. can be fun with some baskets and play silks added.
Hope some of this helps!smile.gif
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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Actually, you are in a good spot - you've just cleaned out all the toys.  Like other posters, I would say - don't be in a rush to add a bunch of new stuff or be too dazzled by all the fancy expensive wooden toys.  It really is basically the same kind of toys, just made of different materials.  You can have too much of one just as you can have too much of the other.   

 

Like other posters have mentioned, natural materials are good.  You can spend some fall time going on nature walks and collecting rocks, shells, leaves, seedpods, and twigs, and keep them in little baskets, and use those to play with - build little houses and structures, make the seedpods talk to each other, make rock and leaf pictures.  A small sandbox or a kid's pool filled with play bark is great, pieces of plain cloth are great, and you can make toys yourself.  You don't have to be incredibly crafty - DD has spent some happy time playing with a rock shaped like a duck, or a handful of those flat glass disks you put in flower arrangements ("crystals").  You can knot a little piece of cloth into a baby.  Treat it like a baby - just carry it around the house with you and tend to it occasionally, and in no time your kids will be carrying around socks and calling them "babies" too...

 

If you want to get more complicated, you can try needle felting, knitting small toys, sewing small toys out of bits of fabric, or cutting little cardboard figures and painting them. I also really like "The Children's Year" and "Toymaking with Children" (which is available used on amazon for about $5 including shipping).  And this is a blog with many tutorials: http://twigandtoadstool.blogspot.ca/ 

 

Even if you don't feel "crafty" it really is worth it to give it a little go at making things.  You can amaze yourself with what you can do, and the making of things is very close to the heart of what Waldorf advocates.  Kids seeing parents involved in productive creative or household work (yeah, cleaning your house!) is part of how they learn to play. 

 

By the way, my daughter is currently occupying herself by sticking my knitting needles into my couch.


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Old 10-02-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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The other Momma have given you great advice already. I wanted to add for books and toys you can join the yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfcurriculum-supplies/ . You can post if you looking for something or just wait and see what comes up. 95% of my Waldorf books have come from here.


*~Kelly~*
 Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~

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Old 10-02-2012, 09:29 PM
 
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I second the book, Toymaking with Children.  Even if you aren't crafty, and don't want to make everything the book suggest, it gives a good look into what a "Waldorf toy" essentially is. 


My blog, where I write about homeschooling, crafting, and just about everything else: www.s-thefiveofus.blogspot.com  My Etsy shop, where I sell Waldorf inspired, natural toys: www.etsy.com/shop/SteppingStoneToys

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Old 10-04-2012, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh thank you so much everyone!  And I love the tree branch wood blocks idea, I've seen those before, dont really remember where... But I know what u mean!  And yes i can do some things and am willing to, but as far as any kind of sewing, crocheting, knitting?  I am beyond clueless!!  :(   I grew up very mainstream, everyone around me is very mainstream, the area in which I live period lol, I dont even know a person who can knit!  Anyway, I tried to join that Yahoo group but couldnt get it to work.  Tried it with my Google account, which it says I can use, but then wont work :/  So if anyone is in the Eastern MT area, and has some Waldorf, Montessori or other cool educational way, toys or books to get rid of, PM me please :)

So as far as homeschooling when my child gets older, I can get Waldorf books?  I was looking at the links the first reply gave me, and I'm kinda in between Montessori and Waldorf, is there another educational way that is similar to these two, maybe a combo of them?  Because that's kinda where I'm at  :)   Anyone done both and ended up settling on one or the other and why?

Ah this is such amazing info that you've all given me thank you so much!!

Oh and I am splurging for Christmas and getting my daughter one of these dolls http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRiversDolls?ref=pr_shop_more   Not sure what the difference between a "waldorf" doll and this doll is, but I really like this one!

And I havent gotten rid of all of our plastic toys yet, but did give away quite a few.  Still working on the rest :)  Gradual is good, yes :)  And I found a really good deal on some playsilks so I've got 2 on the way in the mail!

Thanks again everyone, all of your tips and advice are very much appreciated, I am very new to this!

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:15 PM
 
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         In regards to homeschooling; the beauty of homeschooling is that you can combine different methods, into something that works for you.  I combine Waldorf with Charlotte Mason, and somehow it all flows together and works for us.  I am very Waldorf with my Little ones, and mostly CM with my oldest.  The reason for this is; I love Waldorf through the grades, but I can't see how I can teach, the way it's suppose to be taught, the Waldorf curriculum.  I feel like I would almost have to become a Waldorf teacher in order to do it justice.  I also really love Charlotte Mason. :) 

         By the way, I just made my kids some branch blocks, and you would have thought by the way they were fighting over them, that they were the best toy ever!  I only made five, (out of a large branch) because that was all I felt like cutting out right then,  but I can see that I will definitely have to make some more! You don't have to be super crafty in order to make things for your kids.  Kids are great.  Anything you make them they will love.  I taught myself how to knit, and the first actual thing I made was a pink hat.  It was awful; full of errors and uneven stitches.  I would have just unraveled it, and counted it up as a learning experience, but my dd, then 2, loved it.  She wanted to wear it everywhere, and kept it for years.   


My blog, where I write about homeschooling, crafting, and just about everything else: www.s-thefiveofus.blogspot.com  My Etsy shop, where I sell Waldorf inspired, natural toys: www.etsy.com/shop/SteppingStoneToys

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Old 10-04-2012, 08:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusannahR View Post

        You don't have to be super crafty in order to make things for your kids.  Kids are great.  Anything you make them they will love.  I taught myself how to knit, and the first actual thing I made was a pink hat.  It was awful; full of errors and uneven stitches.  I would have just unraveled it, and counted it up as a learning experience, but my dd, then 2, loved it.  She wanted to wear it everywhere, and kept it for years.   

 

This, one hundred percent.  In fact, some of the favorite activities in our house are me or DP drawing simple pictures on a piece of paper and DD cutting them out and playing with them.  I recently knitted two tiny squares of yarn and then sewed them up into the vaguest catlike shape, and that, DD has been carrying around for days, and as a result is already squished beyond recognition.  I have made some elaborate things before, but nothing better received than this, and the reward is sweet.  :)

 

The knitting, however, isn't the point.  Any little thing that you can do, that you do over and over, you will become better at.  And that's where you can find your artistry.  I guess what I mean is, creating things is not a secret that you have to be born with.  Of course if something comes hard to you and it's not joy or pleasure, then by all means do not suffer over it.  :)  But if you feel like, "How can I begin, with no one to show me," you may find you have more ingenuity in yourself than you suspected.  The secret, is literally, to do a thing over and over, badly, until little by little you come to be better at it. 

 

Ok, I'm not trying to steamroll or guilt you, OP, into crafting all your kids' toys til your hands bleed.  ;)  So, sorry (in advance) if my enthusiasm for crafting comes off that way. 


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Old 10-10-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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Hi "mother".... I just signed up to answer some of your Questions....

The difference between Waldorf and Montessori....

Rudolf Steiner had a very spiritual look at the human being, he was an Anthroposoph 

and tried to create a pädagogic/educational concept according to what he knew about human being...

So he says that there is a "Little" artist, a "little" actor, a "little" musician within every person and so ALL kids HAVE to join ALL the educational offers in school... he said that the "free will" 

starts to develop after 2x7 years - means at the age of 14 and even later ... 

the strength to have a real strong free will is being created within theses "school-ages" 

"EDUCATION TO FREEDOM" is the slogan of Rudolf Steiner

 

The little creatures and dwarfs they offer are "etheric" beings like ferries, elves, dwarfs...

The "Hottinger Zwerge" (Hottinger Dwarfs) where created by a blind woman how could "see" with the inner eyes all the little beings in forests, in the house, on lakes... another lady helped to knit the "little friends".... they are not to be played with like with a doll (feeding, bringing them to bed....) but they sit on the season-tables ... watching over plants and sacred stones.... ;o))))

 

In Montessori education the kiddy may choose what they want to do and of course the kid that maybe is a bit shy will not go up the stage and play theatre... and the little math-freak will not choose to play the flute... so they definitely have less chances to discover all the gifts that are

placed within them....

"HELP ME TO DO IT MYSELF" is the slogan of Montessori

 

I´m sure you´ll find good input in many pages of Waldorf-Education in the Internet.

My 2 daughters and 2 foster-sons attendet Waldorf-Schools and I was very pleased and happy during this time and with the result as well.

 

Actually my intension to search for "Waldorf in Winnipeg" is a friend from Germany that 

investigates about the way the "First Nations" are being treated in Canada... it must be a real drag and horrifying and so I hoped to find people among the Waldorf-Organisation to help her

and the Natives....

 

I´ll feel great if you find the time to answer my little letter

 

greetings

 

Birgit

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Old 10-11-2012, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the info PP...  confused.gif

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