Blog

In difficult times such as these it is not easy to feel the goodness in life. In an external crisis, our urge is often to listen and see the news and to share our feelings with other adults. As a consequence, it is easy for the children around us to be exposed to things that they cannot understand, to become fearful about situations they will never see and cannot change, even if we think that the media or adult conversations are not attended to by the children. Even pre-verbal children can sense the distress in our inner being.

But nothing brings stamina for life and daily well to our children more directly and strongly than surrounding them and immersing them into an atmosphere of goodness and joy. For us as adults, the message they seek from us is this :” I am happy to be alive, I am interested in the world around me and I want to find a place for myself within it.” Children are born with an openness to meet what their lives will bring.

For the child just beginning life, there is one single mantra that needs to guide those early steps and years: the world is good. No other belief will carry him forward through the tumbles and stumbles, through the mysteries of his encounters with confidence and eagerness. Without this overarching rainbow of trust in life around and above them, children shrink back into themselves, lose the shine in their eyes, forgo the impulse to experiment, to see things as the adults around them never have.

The world is good- and therefore I enter into it, explore it, wonder, stop and look, touch, encounter, meet what comes to me with interest and growing confidence.

FEAR paralyzes children – it reverses children’s natural gesture of trust, openness, and interest in the world. To develop in any way, children need to be able to enter easily into life around them. They need to feel welcome, and above all, safe.

There are times when circumstances beyond our control create uncertainty or worse for our families. At the same time, however, our children are just beginning their lives. We owe to them their birthright: the world is good and I am grateful and happy to be in it.It is a safe place for me to grow in. And later, much later, I will be able to take on its pain and burdens. But give me time, peace, and space in which to discover the goodness in life for myself. Protect me from the challenges of adulthood until I am ready.

How can we do this for them?

We can protect them from information that they can not comprehend or digest, and give them the strength building elements of rhythm, form in daily life, predictability, that reassure them of the goodness and security of each day. Young children are not able to interpret the large world and it’s sphere of difficulties. They cannot digest it and then it goes inside of them to then be expressed in ways of anxiety. nervousness, fear, withdrawal, sleepness nights, or aggressive behaviors.

How do we as adults find our own paths to believing in the goodness of the world?

Take a walk, find your way into nature, hold deep in memory the most recent good thing we have encountered. Begin and end your day with gratitude for the good in our lives – however challenging this may feel at moments. Find reminders like the wonder and miracles of the  universe. Look up at the stars in heaven; find a poem and put it on your refrigerator; pick a small bouquet of wildflowers or recall a human relationship that has helped you along your way.

And see it, step by tiny step, you can rediscover, in difficult times, that the world is truly good!!

By the amazing Susan Weber of Sophia’s Hearth Family Center. Reposted with permission of Sophia’s Hearth. https://www.sophiashearthteachers.org/

In many schools, children learn by a rote method. While it is clear that there has to be some repetition of the material that children are to learn, repetition and practice can be a physical and full-body experience. 

For example, the 2nd Grade is learning the multiplication tables. To learn something like the tables you would think there is only one way to do it. Most schools would repeat them orally, write them a lot and work with them in such a way that the children would be repeating them over and over. What if there was another way? 

At our school, multiplication tables take on a new interest. We begin in 1st Grade by skip counting. 2,4,6, etc. for the 2 times table and 3,6,9,etc. for the 3 times table. This can be accomplished with bean bags and clapping games(1) Throwing the bean bag while reciting the products of the times tables helps a child integrate the knowledge not just in their minds but into their limbs. When it comes time to work with the multiplication tables in 2nd Grade they will have more complete knowledge of the material because they used their mind and their limbs integrating the material into their being. 

In 2nd Grade, the children move on to the concept of multiplication always taking into consideration how to present it in the most integrated way for mind, body, and spirit. One method is to draw a circle and mark 10 points around the circle evenly (0-9). Based on the product, you draw lines from each point around. (For example, 2 is 2 x 1, 4 is 2 x 2, etc) Below is an example, can you guess which times table it represents? From this, we get a geometric form that the children can see; as we go through each table different forms appear as if by magic! This adds another dimension to learning the multiplication tables, and also lays a foundation for geometry later. 

Multiplication tables are only one subject that can utilize a more physical method of learning. In first and second grade, where our main blocks are 4 processes of math and language arts, many aspects of these can also lend themselves to this. Addition and subtraction can be learned through games that involve number lines made of chalk outside. Each child can add and subtract numbers while standing on a number line and play with the qualities of numbers that are on the line. They can also create a hopscotch board using the answers to addition and subtraction problems and the children need to jump on the answer to the problem. Language arts and speech take a fun twist when combined with drama and acting out plays, cursive writing can be introduced first in clay, then written carefully in their books. 

Learning can be a full-body experience that brings in every aspect of a person to learn the concept. By making this active and fun, we stimulate the child’s will and foster a love of learning.

By Laura Barrett 1/2nd Grade Teacher

(1)Henning Anderson, Active Arithmetic, (Waldorf Publications, 2014), 95-101

By Ms Natalie

We begin our sessions with an appreciation of exploring our non-physical senses, our intuitive senses. This helps in meditation, guided exercises and reaching our higher selves.
We begin with sharing why our non-physical senses help us. We set out to find examples in the children’s current lives of how they can use meditation and practice techniques of relaxation to get a higher awareness of themselves and their surroundings. For example, in the car with siblings that are annoying us, sleeping disturbances, nerves to perform, dreams that we do not understand, speaking in public or ceremonies, going to new places or crowded areas. Through these shared practices throughout the classes we see the benefits of guided meditation and the transference of physical senses to becoming aware of our non-physical senses and/or intuitive senses and what uses we have for them.
Through contributing and witnessing these practices throughout our sessions the children will use mantras, form pure intentions to create their visions and see evidence of these manifestations. We form these habits by repetition whether it be by grounding oneself in class and feeling the energy of the room and the shift of others or playing one of our minds eye games and sharing the otherworldly places they visit. We follow each class by starting with heart palms and setting an intention just for today and ending with an I Honor You statement for the class. This sort of daily ritual is a well known custom of importance in our daily lives promoting harmony and balance.
It is a joy and a blessing to see the children explore these practices and share in our meeting time how they use these practices in their daily lives and I am honored to share this with them.

~Techniques to use at home in continuing daily beneficial practices~

1. Take a moment ~Breathing~ count to 5 or 10 (adults and children)
2. Allow them A space they can feel good in by themselves (quiet play)
3. Sending colors and surrounding them (dress them according to color vibration)
Pink deflecting negativity
Blue calming
Purple cleansing, strength
Yellow learning and new place new people
Golden pyramid sealing in and protection
4. Using crystals they can wear on pouch or hold (let them choose)
5. Calming music (children’s Beethoven station)
6. Earthing (bare feet in the grass) after school snack in the grass (the Earth naturally pulls the positive ions from us and replaces the negative ions to rebalance our systems from negative EMFs and other negative waves and energy we come in contact with throughout the day)
7. Scents use diffusers and aromas that are soft and gentle
Lavender, orange, Doterra balance, peace and calm scents
You can also scent with oils a necklace they wear and infuse it with an intention.
Peppermint or eucalyptus for mornings or awake times.
8. Humming natural vibration that harmonizes and clears the energy throughout our energy bodies. OAMS
9. Talisman to have with them at desk or school or when needed. (Can be a rock from a special place they visited or grandparents home, etc that is infused with a special memory)
10. TRUST trust your child in that they hold all the ancient ways to heal themselves and TRUST when they are tired or uncomfortable and LISTEN to them. (My favorite time for this is at the end of the day right before sleep I sit or lay in bed quietly with them and allow them to speak openly without asking questions or interrupting them.) It is amazing what I learn. This is a special time they can open to you without judgement or distraction just their own truth.

Blessings, Ms Natalie

Form drawing is unique to Waldorf education and serves multiple purposes. Many assume the only benefit to form drawing is better handwriting, however there is much more to it than that. If you try one of the more challenging forms especially, you will see quickly just how powerful this tool can be! Although originally indicated just for children through 4th grade, it is now being strongly encouraged for older children or adults who haven’t had it to try this therapeutic art form.

form1

You will quickly see how you must orientate yourself in space, on a piece of paper, and be acutely aware of what you are doing. This is not something that can be done quickly in order for it to be done correctly. You may realize even in the forms that are traditionally designed for second graders, that your fingers are not quite as nimble as you would like. Through concentration and practice, there is a huge sense of gratification when you finally master a form – it is even and symmetrical, and perfectly positioned on the paper. When begun in first grade, and worked on consistently through the years, it will address various weaknesses and challenges for the child, in a way that is enjoyable.

form2

For younger children these forms are paired with dynamic stories related to the movement they are doing across the paper. As they progress through the grades they become intertwined with the curriculum – such–as in the knot and braids of 4th grade. All children can benefit from this art – but those with any sort of midline, visual or dexterity issues will especially benefit, with a strengthening of the eye-hand coordination, and the connection between the hand and brain.

form3

These forms can also be done in various mediums. Beeswax crayon or colored pencil on paper, depending on the age, we have also used yarn, clay and even gluten free pretzel sticks for the fraction forms of 4th grade.

form4 form6

If you have an older child, start from the beginner forms and move quickly through the curriculum. They get challenging quickly and are a wonderful practice in perseverance and strengthening the will. Do it with them! This is wonderful inner work for adults as well.

Our classrooms are characterized by their calm, soothing atmosphere: wooden desks, natural materials everywhere, and at  the focal point of the room, a beautiful chalk drawing depicting the main lesson of that day.

 Such drawings  awaken the interest of the students, encourage them to enter their lessons imaginatively, and settle deeply into each child.

 By making everything into a picture  –  the material is not defined in concepts but portrayed in vivid descriptions.   The teacher must fill the pictures he/she presents to the souls of the children with inner conviction and warmth.

The lessons stream from heart to heart rather than head to head, thus, they are more meaningful and tend to stay with the children throughout their life.  (Rawson And Masters 2000)

Check out the video below by Brian Wolfe, Waldorf teacher at Davis Waldorf School.

 

 

Nature Summer Camp at Mangrove

Join us for a fun filled morning of nature play, as we foster a love of the earth, and a deepening of artistic and creative capacities, for ages 4...

The Spirit of the Season

In lieu of a Winter Assembly this year, here is a heartfelt offering with the warmest wishes from our students, in their natural element!...

The Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas

We are thrilled to welcome Ms Kerry Clements and her family to the Mangrove community! Here is a lovely article she wrote for Early Childhood parents...

Financial Aid Options for 2020-21

Now more than ever, families may need assistance to support their choice for the education that best suits their child. Luckily, here in Florida...

Giving Challenge 2020

What a tremendous display of generosity of the past 24 hours! Thanks to the Community Foundation of Sarasota for hosting and facilitating, and to The...

The Mangrove Garden Collective

Uncertain times have the potential to bring many new challenges and issues, as well as innovative solutions and ingenuity! Our Mangrove Garden...

A Springtime Puppet Story

In our Early Childhood, we use puppetry as our main storytelling tool.  This can be finger puppets, marionettes, or small dolls moving about...

The World is Good

In difficult times such as these it is not easy to feel the goodness in life. In an external crisis, our urge is often to listen and see the news and...

Whole Body Learning

In many schools, children learn by a rote method. While it is clear that there has to be some repetition of the material that children are to learn,...

The iPhone Free Gift Guide

By Brooke Shannon This post originally appeared on Wait Until 8th and is re-published with permission. Wait Until 8th empowers...

Ready To Enroll? Here's How To Apply...

Apply Now