I discovered Waldorf few weeks ago and love it. DS is 28 mo, we are going to strat parent/child classes in a Waldorf school soon. I've decided to change our house to be more waldorfy. How to start? Which toys, furtniture do you consider a must have?
It's not so much particular toys or furniture. I think it's mostly about giving your child the physical, mental, and psychological space to play and grow up by not having too many toys or too much furniture/knick knacks/general clutter. I loved the book Simplicity Parenting that just came out about simplifying our homes and life and what a huge benefit it has for our children. TheParentingPassageway.com blog is a great, easy place to find out more about the heart of Waldorf (which isn't cool wooden toys). The big things I've gleaned over the past year about waldorf for the pre-school aged child are
1. creating a rhythm for your day,
-making sure the child gets enough rest (early bedtime, rest time during the day),
-keeping a balance between the "in-breath" and the "out-breath" throughout the day
2. the seven year cycles
-not pushing early academics
-presenting concepts at the time a child is developmentally ready to understand
-at this age hand work is mostly for you to set an example of work for the young child
-but even 2 year olds can help out
I'm far from being an expert on Waldorf, but I've incorporating a lot of Waldorf princeples into our life (me and my 3 year old). I'm learning more all the time. I gotta go. I hope this was a little bit helpful.
i'm kind of in the same boat. what i've taken from waldorf off the bat is the richness of nature, and using nature-found objects in our play spaces. toy minimizing, and beautiful organization. what works for us is simplicity, as we have a small home, limited $, and a ds who gets distracted easily. must haves for us: sticks, acorns, rocks, shells. art supplies, plenty of them. we keep out continuously on our art table: oil pastels, regular crayons, block crayons, markers, glue, scissors, a variety of papers including recycled stuff. nature time and art time are essential to our daily lives.
ds has his own, simple kitchen. he's very proud of it. he cooks all the time in it, using stuff he brings in from outdoors mostly. i've sewn a few things as toys, which he loves- pancakes especially. before we got the kitchen, he used to use various kitchen items- utensils, pots, rocks, at his art table and cook as well. looking back, the kitchen was not entirely necessary, but it does make for a beautiful, well used toy in our living room.
Tashakittie we also have a small house, small kitchen with eating area, small living room and 2 bedrooms, it is essential that I keep toys to the minimum and choose the right things to avoid clutter.
DS loves to paint, I will definitely reorganize to have more space for art supplies, so far we've been mainly using washable paint because DS likes to paint on walls and himself sometimes
I'm also thinking about buying a small kitchen for DS. Nice wooden kitchen is so expensive though,I will have to look on ebay or yard sales.
I think DS will also enjoy playing with a dollhouse.
I will definitely make some space for nature-found objects, I think we'll wait with rocks though, DS thinks they are mainly for throwing, in fact this is his favorite activity when we play outside.
It's really interesting the different expressions Waldorf can take in each family. I love Heaven on Earth and Carrie's Parenting Passageway primarily because they both focus on the natural aspects of Waldorf and don't focus on the "stuff," which often gets touted on Waldorf blogs (I'm thinking of the Waldorf flickr group here) and Waldorf-leaning toy sites.
We first discovered Waldorf when dd was 1.5 years old, and since then each year we add something new to our interpretation of Waldorf. Here's how our lives have progressed:
DD, age 2:
Focused on toy overhaul--got rid of all the baby stuff and focused on nature baskets with rocks/shells/nuts/sticks. Simplicity of playthings: Homemade kitchen using a cardboard box with mama-made felt food, wooden blocks, play fabrics (not silks, but just fabrics from the store that dd liked), stuffed animals, and Schleich animals (because dd LOVED waterplay, and so wooden animals would be so limiting in this regard). Reverence for nature--nature walks, staring at ants, catching lightning bugs, etc. Began lightly decorating for seasons and holidays.
DD, age 3:
Focused on establishing a daily, weekly, and monthly rhythm. Festivals and family traditions became more elaborate. Stronger emphasis upon involving dd in the work of our home. More cooking/baking from scratch. More handwork and craft projects. More emphasis upon painting and stories. More emphasis upon imaginative play.
For us, the big things I feel are important are:
1. Reverence for nature
2. Reverence for home (practical work is as important as learning ABCs, etc.)
3. Reverence for simplicity (non-structured toys are best, lots of time to play each day, unrushed, foods made with whole foods, etc.)
4. Reverence for stories
5. Reverence for manual creativity
6. Reverence for family and traditions
Each year I try and dig more deeply into each of these categories.
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