What’cha Readin’ This Summer??

I have been reading quite a bit this Summer (you all do remember I am Master of Small Chunks of Time), and I wondered what everyone else has been reading….

Let’s see, here is what I have been reading so far with some all-too-brief notes.  I read way more non-fiction than fiction, as you will note.

  • First of all, the Bible – Psalms and Proverbs and the book of James (a good place to start!),  parts of Mark, chapters of Isaiah.  I just wait to see where God leads me in my Quiet Time and go there!
  • Bible Study – Beth Moore’s “Stepping Up: The Psalms of Ascent”.  This has taken me forever, lots of breaks in between doing some here and there, and I have no idea what study of Beth’s I would like to do next.   Any suggestions out from you all out there?
  • “How to Have A Mary Spirit in A Martha World” – –I don’t know why, but it didn’t totally resonate with me.  I left it with Grandma in St. Croix to see if she would like it.
  • “That’s My Son” –by Rick Johnson.  A quick, wonderful read with lots of food for thought.  A Christian perspective, but readable for everyone.   I have already been lending this one out to friends.  Here is a link to it at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Thats-My-Son-Influence-Character/dp/0800730771
  • “Love As A Way of Life”  by Gary Chapman, Christian author and counselor:   http://www.amazon.com/Love-Way-Life-Transforming-Aspect/dp/140007259X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278815885&sr=8-1
  • “Growing Grateful Kids” – by Susie Larson.  I enjoyed this book and have gone back to it several times.  This one is a keeper.  A strong Christian perspective, with lots of things to really think about and ponder.  Here is a link to it at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Grateful-Kids-Appreciate-Extraordinary/dp/0802452825   I would like to go on and read more things that this author has written. 
  • “Mennonite In A Little Black Dress” – Funny in a wry, droll and self-deprecating kind of way.  It didn’t set me on fire, but it was okay…   I would recommend you obtain it through your local library. It is not probably one that will hang around my bookshelves, to be honest.
  • Re-reading right now:  “The Family You’ve Always Wanted:  Five Ways You Can Make It Happen” by Gary Chapman.  I especially liked Dr. Chapman’s take on the “Five Steps To Intimacy” where he talks about intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical intimacy in marriage.  He also has a section of this book about “Parents Who Guide” and really nails gentle discipline with boundaries and a whole section of effective modeling for children.  He also has a good section about the importance of fathers.  I disagree strongly with Dr. Chapman’s take that occasional spanking  may sometimes be justified, but if you can disregard that one part (and he DOES say that spanking is often “evidence of a parent’s misguided anger rather than a reasoned response to a child’s behavior”), I think there are many things in this book that are worth thinking about. 

Related Works to Waldorf Education: 

(My biggest accomplishment was that I read “Practical Advice to Teachers” and “Discussions With Teachers” in the Spring LOL).

  • I am on the last lecture of  “The Agriculture Course” right now.  This is an amazing set of lectures, and I have been reading them and re-reading them and taking notes.  Just wonderful.  I really cannot say enough good things about these lectures.  You will think about Agriculture in a whole new way.
  • Next on tap:  Soseman’s “The Twelve Senses”. 

What have you all been reading?  What have you liked?  I am always in the mood to read!

Many blessings,


Loving Children In Their Love Language

Many of you have heard about the book, “The Five Love Languages:  How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate” by Gary Chapman.  It was a runaway success, and after that book Gary Chapman teamed with Ross Campbell to write “The Five Love Languages of Children.”

The thought behind this book is that each child has a “primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.”  When you read this book, you go through ALL the love languages, because children benefit from all expressions of love, and also because over time your child’s love language might change. 

I like this particular quote as to why love and connection are important: “In this book we will emphasize the importance of love in rearing your child.  The ultimate goal is to rear your child (or children) to become a mature adult.  All aspects of a child’s development require a foundation of love.  For instance, a child’s feelings of anger can be channeled positively when he senses a parent’s love.  He is more likely to consider and accept your suggestions when he perceives your love as genuine and consistent.”

The five love languages are

1. Physical Touch

2.  Words of Affirmation

3. Quality Time

4.  Gifts

5.  Acts of Service

Loving your child in their language on a consistent basis helps a child feel loved through the more challenging times.  Loving your child in an unconditional way and keeping that connection filled, but still holding fast to the boundaries you set, is very important.  These principles hold the  keys for good parenting; I have written about this time and time again on this blog.  Gentle parenting does not mean an absence of boundaries.

You are the parent.  You have more life experience with which to guide your children.  You should know yourself what boundaries there are in your own home and with each other.  Children without any boundaries do not grow up to do well in the world because they have had everything handed to them on their whim and demand.  You can be a gentle parent, an authentic parent, AND you can still do the hard work of keeping the boundaries you have set in your home.  In fact, this is a must for your children to grow up to be healthy adults.

However, your children must feel loved in order for these boundaries to work, and  love languages are a huge piece of this.  You can say you love your child all you want, but if they do not “feel” loved, that is their perception.  Love languages can be this bridge between your world and the world of your child.  It can help provide that connection that forms the basis of a healthy family.

In the next post, we will take a peek at the characteristics of all five of the love languages.  In that, you may learn something about your child, your spouse and yourself.

Many blessings,


More Christian Resources for Your Waldorf Home!

(Hi, If you are not Christian, you are not left out today!   I still have a little thought for you at the bottom that you can meditate on, so please keep on reading or at least jump down to “The Question” at the bottom of the page!)

(These resources are more general Christian resources and not specific to one denomination; please see past posts for some wonderful Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian blogs I love for direction there….  And do go over and join Elizabeth Foss on her Kind Conversation forum for wonderful ideas as well.  Many blessings.)

Update 2011 We have since switched to an Episcopalian parish, so some of these links are no longer pertinent to our family but perhaps will be to yours..

I don’t always write too directly about my personal faith.  However, for those of you seeking Christian Resources for your homeschool adventure, I have written several posts with different resources in the past regarding this subject, but I want to keep adding more so you all can add resources to your own files to use.

You might remember this post where I discussed what we using for our morning, lunch and bedtime devotion time here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/21/summer-planning-christian-education-for-the-waldorf-home/  Would you all believe we are STILL not through our bedtime bible stories as mentioned in this post?  I probably won’t know what to pick after we are done with that one!!  I wrote a follow-up to that post here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/21/a-new-christian-resource/

So, here is my update!  For our mornings, we finished “Step Into the Bible:  100 Bible Stories for Family Devotions” by Ruth Graham.  This book is about 220 pages long, and each day is a glossy photographed two-page spread with a reference to a passage in the Bible, a Memory Verse (we picked one for a week), and questions for understanding which I think would be great with the grades-age child and with a child under the age of 7 I would just let them hear and absorb and not use the questions. 

We then used the book, “Five-Minute Devotions for Children:  Celebrating God’s World As A Family” by Pamela Kennedy with illustrations by Amy Wummer.  This book is 47 pages long with a two-paged spread for each day, so my main complaint is that everyone LOVED this book and it was too short!  The Biblical theme is related to an animal of the day.  There are a few questions, but many of the questions involved finding something in the illustration, and the other questions were about either the animal or the Biblical theme.  There is also a Bible verse you could memorize.  (Again, we picked one Bible verse for the week, and we limited the “understanding” questions to our grades-age child).

So this is where we are now:  “The Big Book of Animal Devotions:  250 Daily Readings About God’s Amazing Creation.”  I don’t like it as much as the other animal devotion book; the animal descriptions are pretty detailed and the tying in to God’s word seems short. However, we are only seven days into this book, so I will let you know as we go along!

I am enjoying praying along with The Anglican Office of the Day (Grandpa is an Episcopalian priest, so we have a long Anglican history in our family). Here is a link for those of you seeking:  http://www.commonprayer.org/offices.cfm    We also are enjoying the feasts, fasts and Saints found here:  http://www.churchpublishing.org/products/index.cfm?fuseaction=productDetail&productID=473 

I am also enjoying these simple Bible verses for my little one:  http://totallytots.homestead.com/InMyHeart2.html  Thank you to Kara at Rockin’ Granola for pointing this blog out to me! 

I am currently reading  “The Hole In The Gospel.”   This is a very, very interesting, emotional read about a man who was CEO for Lenox (fine china) and is now CEO of World Visions, a nonprofit organization.   All of you who read this blog can probably guess I have a big heart for helping people, and I have a big heart for children and their parents.   I have been looking at different mission ministries that really help children and their families. We are currently attending a non-Anglican church and  I really appreciate our current denomination’s long history of mission work and their emphasis on respectful interaction with the culture in which they are sharing.  (Their principles are here:  http://www.rca.org/Page.aspx?pid=5858)  That is on my mind as well…. ..just waiting for my children to grow. :)

Here is a great FREE resource from an evangelical mission-minded blog  that was meant for around New Year’s to really  help you check in, to really  take stock and see where you are, where your life is, but I think it could be used any time that you would like to stop and assess where your life is.  Here is the link: http://harvestministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/2010-mission-7.pdf     I printed this out and put it in my Homemaking Journal (you can see what else I have in my journal here:   http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/22/my-notebook/  – much of my Homemaking Journal is still the same as when I wrote this post, only a little bit has changed! I will update you all on that at some point soon!)

Whilst my husband and I work to impact our local community, I would like for our family to think “more internationally” about children and parents whose community could use help as well.  A friend recommended this organization to us, so we are checking it out: http://www.compassion.com/  I am kind of torn between something like this and supporting a specific missionary for our own denomination like this:   http://www.rca.org/Page.aspx?pid=1552

So there are some resources in as close to a nutshell as I could muster :)


So here is my question for all of you to meditate on today:  What are the most essential priorities in your life, and does your life reflect your essential priorities?  Could your children pick out your priorities by what you are MODELING for them (not your words, your actions!)  If not, what could you do to change your  life and activities so it matches your values even better?

Many blessings to you all,


Favorite Spring Tales For The Waldorf Kindergarten

Like the Fall Tales List for Waldorf Kindergarten, this is NOT an all-inclusive list, these are just some tales I have enjoyed or I know other mothers have used at these ages…..Happy finding the tales that speak to you and to your family!


January (Okay, still Winter!)

Four Year Olds:  Shingebiss (Winter Wynstones)

Five Year Olds:  The Snow Maiden (Plays for Puppets)

Six Year Olds:  The Twelve Months (www.mainlesson.com); 


Four Year Olds:  “Pussy Willow Spring” from Suzanne Down’s “Spring Tales” or a story about how the snowdrop got its color

Five Year Olds:  “The Rabbit and the Carrot”  a Chinese Tale found in the Spring Wynstones and also in “An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten”

Six Year Olds:  “The Three Brothers” by the Brothers Grimm

There are also a few Saint Valentine’s Day stories on mainlesson.com



For  ages three and a  half or so  and up for Saint Patrick’s Day:  “Lucky Patrick” from “Spring Tales” by Suzanne Down

There is also a great “leprechuan” circle adventure/movement journey in the book, “Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures” based upon “Tippery Tim” the leprechaun in “Spring Tales” by Suzanne Down

Four Year Olds:  The Billy Goats Gruff

Five Year Olds:  “Little Brown Bulb” from “Spring Tales” from Suzanne Down or “Little Red Cap” from Brothers Grimm

Six Year Olds: “ Bremen Town Musicians” from the Brothers Grimm;  or “An Easter Story” from “All Year Round” or “The Donkey” by The Brothers Grimm



Four Year Olds:  Goldilocks and The Three Bears

Five Year Olds:   “Mama Bird’s Song” from “Spring Tales” by Suzanne Down  or”Rumpelstiltskin” by the Brothers Grimm

Six Year Olds:  “Frog Prince” from the Brothers Grimm



Four Year Olds:  “Chicken Licken” or “The Pancake”  with Spring details

Five Year Olds:  For Ascensiontide, the story “Forgetful Sammy” from “All Year Round” or “Twiggy” from “Plays for Puppets”

Six Year Olds: “The Magic Lake at the End of the World” (from Ecuador, found in “Your’re Not The Boss of Me!  Understanding the Six/Seven Year Transformation)  or “Queen Bee” from the Brothers Grimm  or “Forgetful Sammy” or “Twiggy”  as listed for the five-year-old.



Four Year Olds:  “The Pancake” with spring/summer details

Five Year Olds:  “Goldener”  (Plays for Puppets)

Six Year Olds:  “Snow White and Rose Red”  or “A Midsummer Tale” from the book “An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten”, also in “Plays for Puppets”

What are your favorite stories?  Please add them below!

Many blessings,


Out Of The Frying Pan

….and into the fire I leap.  You can see my controversial opinion of the RIE movement that is making inroads into Waldorf Early Care here :  http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2010/03/review-a-warm-and-gentle-welcome-a-wecan-publication.html

For those of you who have not heard of this movement, here is the beginning part of the review I wrote that explains what is happening:

A Review: “A Warm and Gentle Welcome: Nurturing Children from Birth to Age Three”

“This is the Gateways Series Five book which consists of a series of articles compiled from the work of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America RIE/Pikler Working Group. I bought this book because I am a Waldorf homeschooling mother with an extreme interest in the Early Years. Also, as a neonatal/pediatric physical therapist, I really wanted to understand more about the RIE/Pikler approach that is seems to be becoming part of the world of Waldorf for children from birth to age three.

Unfortunately, I found I had more questions than answers after reading this book than when I started.

The underlying assumption of this book is laid out in an article of Introduction by Trice Atchinson and Margaret Ris: that there is a growing conviction within the Waldorf movement to “respond to the needs of the times” (ie, child care for younger and younger children) and because Rudolf Steiner’s indications for working with children and adolescents in Waldorf schools had been put to practical use for many decades, little existed on how best to meet the needs of children at the very beginning of life – particularly in light of societal trends such as daycare, single parenting, dual working families and the isolation of at-home mothers.” Therefore, a working group associated with WECAN began to investigate Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE, founded by Magda Gerber, as a resource for the child at the beginning of life.”

To read the whole review I wrote, please see the link above.  I have grave and serious concerns about this approach, which my review details.

For those of you looking at Waldorf early, early care (for birth to age three), please do a bit of research regarding this issue and see how you feel about it; really talk to the provider and see what approach they use within their care.  This way you can make the best decision for your family.



A Review: “Kindergarten With Your Three To Six Year Old” by Donna Simmons

This is a spiral bound book of 100 pages  by Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources,  and it really is a book that you can turn to time and time again.  I have even  had parents who are not Waldorf homeschooling  tell me how valuable they thought this book was for the Early Years and homemaking with small children!    So, I think this book would be worth the addition to your library.

I love Donna’s Introduction.  One thing she wryly notes, “Let’s not forget that Waldorf Kindergartens are based on what a healthy home environment should be like!  So it seems an odd reversal that parents now seek to make little Waldorf kindergartens at home!  You do not need hundreds of verses, scores of songs, stacks of fairy tales to “do kindergarten”:  you need strong and nurturing family rhythms; opportunities for open-ended play; the will to include your children in household tasks; and the courage to tell stories to your children.” 

This book, as Donna remarks herself in the Introduction, is not a set curriculum to tell you what to do everyday.  She goes on in this book,  however, to provide tools for you to establish a healthy homelife, which is really what the Kindergarten Years should be about.  She talks extensively about the major “points” of Kindergarten:  physical activity, developing the senses, the idea that the small child is one with his or her surroundings, imitation, creative play.  She even  has a chapter as to what to do about people outside your family – what do you do about neighbors, people wanting your children to watch TV or play video games in these Early Years, how do you do play dates?

One of the most valuable sections in the book is the section on “Family Life.” In it are many examples of rhythms, how to create a strong family rhythm, how to work with multiple children because homeschooling is first and foremost about family, how to choose toys, what to do about electronic media, ideas about discipline and about children with special needs. 

One chapter is entitled “A Typical Day” and runs through several different rhythms and then goes on to discuss how to do different components of the rhythm – household chores, morning walks, story times, creative play, bed and rest times.

She has recipes for making salt dough, how to wet on wet watercolor paint, how to make a nature table, cooking with small children,  ideas for crafts and handwork, coloring and drawing, and how to choose fairy tales and tell them. 

I think a very valuable section of this book is “The Six Year Old” chapter.  As many of you know, I think that the six-year-old Kindergarten year is very, very important and that the child  should be seven for most of first grade.  This chapter provides some very excellent ideas regarding how to structure that six-year-old year, projects to include, what to do with academic interest in the six-year-old year and answers to other challenges that are unique to the six-year-old year. 

There is also a Questions and Answers section, and a section that includes a scattering of fairy tales, traditional rhymes and seasonal verses, music,  and a section on what to read next to educate yourself as to Waldorf education and Waldorf parenting. 

Here is link to look at this book yourself:  http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/early-years/kindie.html

Happy reading,


Which Early Years Book Should I Buy?

In my mind, the ‘big three” of the Early Years books are “Beyond the Rainbow Bridge:  Nurturing Our Children From Birth To Seven” by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley; “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy; “Heaven On Earth” by Sharifa Oppenheimer.

Here is a quick run-down of each book, and then some additional resources for you consider.

“Beyond the Rainbow Bridge:  Nurturing Our Children From Birth to Seven” is frequently, at least in my area, given out at Parent/Child classes in the Waldorf schools.  So, although the information in this book could definitely be applied to older Kindergarteners, there are plenty of nuggets of wisdom for the younger set.  This book is soft-cover and is 193 pages long. The chapters in this book mainly focus on warmth, rhythm, play at different stages (newborn to two and a half; two-and-a-half to age five and age five to seven), developing the twelve senses and a section on creative discipline.  There is also a section on Parent/Child classes, some sample crafts, verses and a fairy tale list.

My recommendation for this book would be to look for it if your children are younger or  if you are involved in a Parent/Child class for the first time.

“You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy is often available through your library system, so look for it there first.  This is a book I turn to time and time again, because I read different things in different ways as my children grow and I look back on those ages.  This book covers a lot of territory, starting with the notion that children are not tiny adults, that the consciousness is different, going into receiving and caring for your newborn, looking at the stages of babyhood and toddler hood through the lens of learning to walk, mastering language, the emergence of thinking and of self.  There are chapter on helping the development of your baby and toddler, parenting issues of the first three years, developing your child’s fantasy and creative play, developing your child’s imagination and artistic ability and musical abilities, rhythm and discipline in home life and more about play-based kindergarten experiences and parenting issues.  This book is also soft-cover and is 385 pages long.  Whilst I don’t agree with every single thing in here, there is much to be treasured.  In fact, you may get it from your library and then decide you would like a copy of your own!  I am positive you can find this book used and get it  fairly cheaply.

“Heaven On Earth:  A Handbook for Parents of Young Children” by Sharifa Oppenheimer is a soft-bound book of 235 pages.  There are many concrete examples in this book of, for example, a rhythm of weekly breakfasts, songs and verses, recipes, lists of things such as “elements of a balanced outdoor playspace”, and more.  The unique layout feature of this book is the boxes that these lists and recipes come in in the margins of the pages. There is quite a lot to digest in this book, and I think it would be easy to plan some concrete changes in the rhythm of your life based on some of the things in this book.  I would suggest you IGNORE completely the references to time-out in this book, that really did bother me, as time-out is not something I have ever seen reference to in any other Waldorf Early Years book.  Many mothers love this book, some Waldorf schools run “book club” type meetings around its chapters, so I think this one is worth checking out.

Other references you may consider reading include “Simplicity Parenting” ( I have a review on this blog; it is hard cover and I have heard some library systems have this book);  Donna Simmons’ “Joyful Movement” which has information about the holistic development of wee ones with lots of concrete suggestions about what to do and not do for different ages and also  Donna Simmons’ “Kindergarten With Your Three to Six Year Old”.  I have heard some mothers who like Melisa Nielsen’s “Before the Journey” – this book does have crafts, recipes, and follows the festivals/seasons of the year.  It is in story format and  tells how four different women of different religious/socio-economic backgrounds bring Waldorf parenting and education into the lives of their small children in a journal –type form where each of the four mothers (one for each season) journals about what they are doing and what they are discovering.   The other book many people in my area discount because they cannot stand the way breastfeeding and other attachment practices are viewed is Joan Salter’s “The Incarnating Child.”  I think if you can ignore the references to weaning and such, there are many gems to be found in that book from an anthroposophic viewpoint (but I also know so many AP parents who read it and were completely turned off  and turned away from Waldorf because of that book so please don’t say I didn’t warn you, I am an AP parent as well!)  So, again, if you can read it and ignore the fact it is not AP and just cherry-pick the anthroposophic nuggets out of it here and there, I think you will be okay.

Hope that helps!


Favorite Waldorf Resource #2: “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne and Lisa Ross

Kim John Payne postulates answers to several of the more pressing parenting issues of our time and opens his book with the premise that “As parents, we’re the architects of our family’s daily lives.  We build a structure for those we love by what we choose to do together, and how we do it……You can see what a family holds dear from the pattern of their everyday lives.”

He goes on to say, “This book is about realigning our daily lives with the dreams with the pace and the promise of childhood.  Realigning our real lives with the dreams we hold for our families.”

This is an excellent book, full of the things I talk about on this blog all the time.  How did he read my mind, LOL?

In the United States, this Australian is a fairly well-known (in Waldorf circles at least!) educator  and speaker.  His website is here:  http://www.thechildtoday.com/About/ 

This book really is a wonderful book for all parents, and should be at the top of your gift-giving list for any parents you know. 

He talks about children in this book that are suffering from what he terms “cumulative stress reaction” (CSR), and how this can be helped by simplifying and not over-parenting our children because we are anxious about life.  He discusses how a child who is sliding to one end or the other on a behavior spectrum (a normal reaction to normal stress) can be assisted by simplifying. Children do learn from the normal stresses of life and build their own character and emotional intelligence from these stresses, but at the same time children do need some protection from adult information and worries, from so many choices and an ove -packed schedule of activities.

He talks about the concept of “soul fever”; how a child may be emotionally  overwhelmed, and how simplification can help this immensely and re-set this pattern (and of particular interest, he gives concrete examples of how to do this). 

He has a whole chapter on toys and the “power of less” as he calls it and includes a ten-point checklist to help you decide which toys to discard.  He has a whole chapter on how to establish rhythm, including meal and bedtime simplicity ideas. He has a whole chapter devoted to the idea of  balance in schedules and outside activities.  He addresses what to do about team sports and martial arts,  what to do about technology and adult information,and how to talk less to your children with very concrete examples.

This leads to my favorite quote (well, one of them):  “One way to “talk less” is to not include children in adult concerns and topics of conversation.”  He writes, “It’s  a misnomer to think that we are “sharing” with our children when we include them in adult conversations about adult concerns.  Sharing suggests an equal and mutual exchange, one that is impossible for a child to offer and unfair for an adult to expect…….”  He also makes a great point at the end of this section:  “There is one more point.  When there are topics that you don’t address with your child, they carry an image of you, and of adulthood, that retains an element of mystery.  When you have an inner life, your children have a model of self that is both loving and unique, an individual.   They’ll come to realize that there are things about you they don’t know, things that they may learn over time.”

I know attached parents and homeschooling parents may balk a bit at this notion, and I know it is difficult when you are with your children 24/7, but I urge you to keep part of your life and the adult concerns in your life for yourself.  You really don’t need to share every detail with your under-7 child or even your over-7 child!  You can still be a loving and attached parent without over-sharing too much information with your child.  Your child wants to love you, your child wants to RESPECT you and look up to you as this loving authority who can lasso the moon!  Give them that piece of their childhood, it is so vital and important!

Sorry to digress, onto the rest of the book.  Actually, I think I will just give you the link to it on Amazon so you can buy it and read it for yourself.  Here it is:


We are also having a great discussion about this book on Donna Simmons’ Waldorf at Home Forum, please do come join us!  Here is the link: http://waldorf-at-home.com/  

Many blessings,


“About Curative Education” by Carlo Pietzner

Have you ever wondered about anthroposophical  curative education?  Here is a nifty little booklet to provide a solid introduction to this important subject:  Carlo Pietzner’s “About Curative Education”.   The lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 and now collected in “Curative Education”  is the foundation of this movement.  These were twelve lectures given by Steiner regarding specific indications for specific children which grew into curative education.  This little booklet aims to introduce some of the concepts Steiner put forth in these lectures.

Steiner introduced the concept that children and adults who have special needs should be seen as those who have “special tasks to be worked through in a special way.”  There is a thought that these affected individuals are in need of “soul-care”. 

Pietzner writes, “The concept implies  that by appropriate care and practice the soul-activity of a handicapped person can be guided and stimulated to become a mediator between that individuality and his unwieldy bodily nature.  It postulates an intact spiritual entelechy in contrast to a damaged, inadequate or one-sided bodily foundation.  But the soul needs help and support if it is to learn to mediate between its higher intention and its imperfect instrument.  An element of “healing” must become active.  And that is the foremost ingredient in the “special soul-care” that Rudolf Steiner provided.”  Curative education sees individuality as “indestructible”  and that an individual’s uniqueness provides us with ways to help.  An individual never is only the challenges he is facing in body, but himself.  

Curative education takes place in the classroom,  in the home, through daily life and routines.  This was a very remarkable idea in 1924!  Medical care and eurythmy. especially curative eurythmy,  are seen as a hand –in-hand approach with the curative teacher.  The spiritual resolve of this teacher and this teacher’s talent is of the utmost importance.  Steiner lectured as to the extreme importance of the relationship between the teacher and the person with special needs; there is a reciprocating relationship rather than a doctor-patient, caretaker-“suffering”  person.  The inner work and preparation of the curative educator is of utmost importance as this work involves the whole person.

Steiner lectured about this inner work, saying that the curative educator must feel called to this work, that the educator must work constantly to improve themselves and to be able  to connect their own intuit and attentiveness what they observe.   Clear insight is an essential skill, this ability to observe closely and then take it inside and see how one can best help.   “Perhaps the most valid diploma of the anthroposophical curative teacher is his enthusiasm for the experience of truth….That one has “passed” is often disclosed by the smallest event:  A child has mastered a deed long striven for. ….But it is not the achievement – and these are genuine achievements- not this that arouses the enthusiasm.  It is not a question of the success of a subtle training procedure.  Rather it is the confirmation of a specific expectation, of a confident hope that has based itself on innumerable observations.”  But the curative teacher and the  individual take this journey together, and it is always addressed to the individual, not just the symptom.  Remarkable stuff for 1924 and for today.

Pietzner goes on to write that the source of curative education was Steiner’s taking of Goethe’s work further:  “This fundamental source is the teaching of metamorphosis, that dynamic principle of transformation by which the spiritual manifests itself in the physical realm.”  Steiner used the image of the lemniscate to connect the head and metabolic-limbic system, using this as a piece on top of inner work and observation for the curative educator’s use. 

There is more in this little booklet regarding karma and curative education, the curative teacher as a co-creator with co-responsibility, curative teaching as an attitude, not just a profession, but I leave you to read this for yourself and discover the gems in it!


Favorite Waldorf Resource #1: “Joyful Movement”

Why is this one of my favorite Waldorf resources?

1. Did I mention I am a pediatric physical therapist?

2. Despite the perception that the Waldorf Early Years is one gnome and fairy fest (and I mean that in a loving way, not a snarky way because don’t we all love the gnomes and fairies?), the Waldorf Early Years are truly about working with a child through his or her body.

3. The Early Years are about protecting all of the 12 senses and for developing  the lower four of Steiner’s 12 senses and we do this through the way we act upon the body.

4. Most parents have little understanding of how to bring developmentally appropriate movement to their children.  (HINT:  It is not through organized sports as early as possible, as much as we all love a good baseball or hockey game!)

5. Uh, did I mention I am a pediatric physical therapist? LOL.

That is why this book is so wonderful and one of my favorites. There is nothing else out on the market like it for the Waldorf homeschooling family, and actually ANY parent would be enriched by reading it and implementing the things in this book!

Chapter 1:  Waldorf As Therapeutic Education (with a word about that most famous of topics, Waldorf Guilt!)

Chapter 2:  Creating a Nurturing Environment (Birth- about 18 months; Toddlers-3 Years Old; Ages 3-7; Ages 7-9)

Chapter 3:  Ideas and Advice :Bilateral Coordination/Body and Spatial Awareness (broken up into under age 5 and over age5); Fine Motor Skills for Hands and Feet’; Balance and Coordination (broken up into under age 7 and over age 7); Listening/Silence; Touch; Visual; Warmth; Memory; For Dreamy, Sluggish Children; Calming Down/Centering; Getting Into the Body/Gross Motor Skills; Smell, Taste and Touch At Home; Dominancy of Hand, Foot and Eye; Horseback Riding; Gardening; Being in Nature; Active Math; A Waldorf-Inspired Backyard Assault Course (ages 6 and up)/ A Backyard Obstacle Course; A Summary of Things to Be Aware Of

Chapter 4:  Songs, Fingerplays, Movement, Verses

Including Opening Verses, Closing Verses, Waking Up and Going to Sleep, Giving Thanks, In the Kitchen, Counting and Numbers for Kindergarten/First Grade, Autumn (any age), Winter (any age), Spring, Summer, Nature (any age), Fantasy and Fun, Tongue Twisters, Using the Hands:  Finger Plays and Clapping Games, Movement Verses, Clapping Verses for Older Children and other Ideas,

Chapter 6:  Groups (and yes, it does say Chapter 6 and I can’t find what page Chapter 5 is on as a heading)

This book is 101 pages long, so each section is only a page or a few pages.  And like other Christopherus books, it is spiral bound with paper covers.  (I personally always wish the covers were something sturdier). 

As you can see by the outline of the chapter headings, this book is one that will see heavy use through multiple ages and children, so I feel it is a worthwhile investment to have a book of your own.  

Here is a link to this wonderful book:  http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/publications-for-grades-1-through-5/joyful-movement.html

Happy budget planning,