Discipline, Support and Guidance of the Nine-Year-Old

We have peeked at both the traditional and anthroposophic views of the nine-year-old in two previous posts.    Nine is definitely a time of change, a time of feeling separate from parents and family, a time when peers become extremely important, a time of developmental “rebellion” in some ways (I don’t really like that term, but there it is).  A time to question what is real, what is not real, do adults know what they are doing, why are rules the way they are, and are things fair?

I think nine doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult if you have a generally happy and calm household and if you yourself feel balanced and calm.  I think this is why in general parenting and in Waldorf, we look to the family life and ourselves  first and  if a child seems consistently way out of sorts.  Even traditional parenting resources suggest this.  “Your Nine-Year-Old” by the Gesell Institute quoted pediatrician Sanford Matthews as saying, “ [he suggests] when mothers come to [him] distraught because their disciplining of their children is going badly, that these mothers concentrate on making their own lives more rewarding, rather than emphasizing merely their relationship with their child or children.”

Having realistic expectations for each age is highly important.  I talk about that time and time again on this blog.  Nine-year-olds in general may withdraw from the family and from you.  They may complain a lot, and gradually all this anxiety and complaining diminishes as ten approaches.

Nine- year -olds need detailed instructions and need reminders.  If you ask them to do something, they may want to do it later and then they forget.  If your child is sulky or cross when you ask them politely do to something, chances are if you ignore that and don’t make a big deal about their attitude, they will do what you are asking (although it may not be with a smile!).  Most nine-year-olds think in terms of right and wrong, and do want to do what is “right”.  Fairness is a big deal, and so is what peers think.  Most nine-year-olds are very honest, and will tell you things that they did and not really hide things they did that they thought were “wrong”.

Facing the natural or logical consequences of behavior is by far the best means of guidance.  Now is also the time you can really start to put family values into words, if that hasn’t come up in some many words before.  And although your child is past the age of imitation, what you model is more important than your words.  Being positive and loving your child is really the most important thing.

You have to maintain your cool and calm self to really be that wall they can bounce off of, that boundary they can push against and realize that the boundary doesn’t crumple.  Solutions and solving problems and fixing mistakes is much more important than blaming and dwelling on what happened over and over.

The other thing to consider is now that your child is feeling a bit more separate from you and  is concerned about peers  and what peers think, now is a great time to practice either “no comment” or being able to just say supportive things.  If a child says, “My friends don’t like me” it is not an opening to ask what they did to cause that, to go into the fact you didn’t like those friends anyway,  that they need to be at home more anyway, that they will make better friends in the future, etc.  First of all, emotions still can turn on a dime.  I think we all remember from our childhood days being really angry with a friend and then an hour later we are best friends again. Secondly, you do not need to own your child’s stuff.  This is their stuff, not yours.  It is theirs to start to work through, and you are the gentle guidance and support, but not The Great and Ultimate Fixer.

Some parents begin to worry – they see their child doing something they themselves did at that age, or think their child’s personality is similar to theirs and feel badly about this.  “I don’t want my child to do what I did!”  “I don’t want my child to be like me!”  I suggest to you to keep an attitude that this is a phase, your child is headed toward ten, be positive, model what you do want to see and choose your battles and your words carefully!

The other key piece of being nine, I think, is that the child needs another adult besides you to look up to and to trust.  Steiner talks about the importance of a trusted community and role models during this time.  If you have a limited circle outside of your family, perhaps consider expanding that a bit with some trusted friends to help you.

Just a few thoughts on the nine-year-old tonight!

Many blessings,

Carrie

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The Nine-Year-Old: An Anthroposophic Perspective

“The change in the children’s self-awareness grows stronger at the age of nine, and you find that they understand much better what you say about the difference between the human being and the world.  Before they reach the age of nine, children merge far more thoroughly with the environment than is the case later, when they begin to distinguish themselves from their surroundings.  Then you will find that you can begin to talk a little about matters of the soul and that they will not listen with such a lack of understanding as they would have listened earlier.  In short, the children’s self-awareness grows deeper and stronger when they reach this age.”

-Steiner, Lecture 7 of “Practical Advice to Teachers

The nine-year-change is a momentous occasion in the life of a child according to an anthroposophic perspective.  Roberto Trostli writes in “Rhythms of Learning:  Selected Lectures by Rudolf Steiner”:  “Like Adam and Eve in Paradise, young children live in peace and harmony with their environment, intimately connected to their surroundings, full of trust and confidence in the world.  When children turn nine, this trusting, secure, relationship to the world begins to change.”

Children at this age often have a quiet, not verbalized, “inner crisis” where they begin to have questions about themselves and their purpose in the world, about whether or not rules are really justified, whether or not adults really do know everything, and whether or not adults believe in something higher than themselves and how is this expressed.  Steiner believed that it was of utmost importance that an adult guide the child toward a renewed sense of  confidence in the world and in their place in it.  In the Waldorf school curriculum, this is done in several areas during the ninth and tenth year: through the Old Testament stories of Third Grade, through zoology in Fourth Grade (Man and Animal blocks) and botany and through the study of geography (Trostli discusses the zoology, botany and geography at length in his book and you can read Steiner himself regarding the nine-year change and the teaching of natural history and such in Lecture 7 of “Practical Advice to Teachers”.)

Regarding the Old Testament Stories, I like what Donna Simmons says here in her book, “The Christopherus Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers”  (because this is where so much of our own baggage can come up!).  She writes, “”Stories from the Old Testament speak to the child’s growing independence and the first stirrings of true logical thought.  The ability to understand right and wrong is reflected in Moses giving his people the Law-and, as this is no straightforward process, the nine-year-old can inwardly relate to the way the Israelites accepted that Law!  The struggle to overcome jealousy and revenge, questions of what is right and wrong, and when to have faith in authority are all right three in the Old Testament as they are in most nine-year-olds.  By absorbing these stories the child will also gain an inner understanding of both Judaism and Christianity, something really important to an appreciation of our Western culture, even if you and your family are neither Jewish nor Christian.”  To look further at this book, please see this link: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/essential-christopherus-publications/waldorf-overview-for-homeschoolers.html   and here is a blog post regarding the greater anthroposophic detail of these Old Testament stories: http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2007/11/old-testament-s.html     )  Melisa Nielsen also has a blog post here addressing the Old Testament stories, fears of families and how this all fits with the nine-year-old change:  http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/a_journey_through_waldorf/2009/01/the-stories-of-grade-three-and-beyond.html   

For a further discussion of the depth of the Old Testament stories and their worth and fit to the nine-year-old, I direct you to Lois Cusick’s excellent book, “The Waldorf Parenting Handbook.”  In it she writes of the nine-year-old:  “A more intense sense of self shakes the child’s unquestioned feeling of belonging, of unity with all around him.  Suddenly the others look farther away, alien.  The thought comes, “Perhaps I do not belong.”  The increasingly aware child looks more keenly at the real world of adults around him.  Now it is up to the teachers and parents to show the child that they see and understand what is happening to him, that he does belong, and in a new, more socially conscious way.”  House-building, agriculture, gardening – all fit in well with a child during this nine-year-old change who is starting to realize the interconnectedness and interdependence of humans. 

Other posts in the past I have written regarding the nine-year-old change may also be of assistance:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/11/a-few-resources-for-the-nine-year-change/  and there are a few more if you search in the search engine. 

Our next post will look at the best ways to support a nine-year-old and how to deal with issues of discipline in the nine-year-old.

Many blessings,

Carrie

The Nine-Year-Old: A Traditional View

These are some things characteristically associated with nine-year-olds from a traditional standpoint.  For further information, please do see “Your Nine-Year-Old” from The Gesell Institute.  I am a fan of these older books, because I think developmentally they hit the nail on the head many times.  Also, I find that many of their observations dovetail with what Steiner said about different ages.  So, these writings resonate with me as both an attached parent and also as a Waldorf parent, even without an anthroposophic perspective.  I think you will find these things are true about your nine-year-old as well! 

Take a look:

“Perhaps the outstanding characteristic of the Nine-year-old is the fact that the child is emerging from his long, strong preoccupation with his mother (or other caretaking parent).”   (page 1).   Essentially the nine-year-old frequently resents his mother, her demands etc and is looking for increased responsibility and independence.  Nine is a pulling in and a pulling away from mother and other figures of authority.

More anxious, more withdrawn  than an eight-year-old but still has varied interests, driven by time and wanting to do everything but unable to give anything up.  Wants to do things just right.  Takes himself and his interests a bit seriously perhaps.  They have a strong NEED to finish things. 

So, completing tasks are very important.  Competition comes out, but they are also a bit more careful and cautious.  Will estimate something before they dive into it, although still not above complaining about how hard something is.

Lots of social criticism and self-criticism. 

Lots of mood swings, tends to worry and complain. (but not as complaining, moody and morose as age 7).  

“They no longer blame others, at least not as much as they used to.  They want things to be run fairly, and they themselves try to be fair.  The beginning of conscience is in the making.”  (page 6). 

May be impatient and quick to anger, but the anger flare-up typically doesn’t last that long.

Individual characteristics come to the forefront.  “There appear to be tremendous individual differences, seemingly more noticeable here than at many other ages.”  (page 9)

Mother-Child Relations:  Not especially interested in Mother, less disappointed if Mother doesn’t live up to their expectations

Father-Child Relations:  Less involved, less demanding of attention, growing respect for Father and his work

The infallibility of the parent is questioned, questioning whether the rules are right or not, slight withdrawal from the family circle, the child is more interested in their own separateness and independence

The nine-year-old objects to any references to what they liked when they were a little baby, they do not react well to anything they consider patronizing or condescending, they may want distance from their parents in public places.

Increased reliability and maturity are noted.

Typically does well with younger siblings but may fight with siblings close in age.

Friends are very, very important.  The nine-year-old s strongly oriented to a group and identify themselves with their friends.  Forming a “club” is a very nine-year-old kind of thing.

The nine-year-old is very proud of and loves his or her grandparents.

The nine-year-old needs someone to kind of bounce off of and work against at the stages of growing independence and separation.

EATING:  better appetite control than at eight, table manners are improving,

SLEEPING:  Will balk about going to bed if the child feels the bedtime is too early.  “Nine o’clock is a customary bedtime for boys and girls of this age.”  Most children this age need about nine hours of sleep a night.

BATHING and DRESSING:  Most still need to be reminded to brush their teeth or wash their hands.  They typically still throw their clothes on the floor when they take them off, and need to be reminded to hang things up.  Interest in clothing is there, but usually are still okay with whatever Mother picks out in the store and brings home.

HEALTH:  Typically in good  health with quick rebound from illnesses.  May hurt or have to go to the bathroom in related to a disliked task or chore, but parents should still pay attention to mention of the child being uncomfortable because “The Nine-year-old is very much aware of inner symptoms that  he feels when overexerted or strained.”

TENSIONAL OUTLETS:  Fewer at nine than there were at eight.  Boys let off extra energy by wrestling around, girls are more likely to be moody. 

SENSE of SELF:  Most nine=year-olds feel good about themselves and their family, although they may still burst into tears if they feel they have failed

PLAY:   Able to enjoy more competitive games, plays hard; boys tend to like building models or rough housing and girls still tend to like dolls.  Hiking, biking, soccer, ice skating, swimming, sledding, bowling are all liked.  They are apt to do one thing until they are completely fatigued and exhausted.

Most do not believe in Santa Claus by this point.  There is little interest in the Big Questions of faith/deity/God or death.

“Now comes a quantum jump.  Successful fourth-grade work demands a new kind of thinking, a new kind of abstracting, a new way to use information that up  till now may have been more or less memorized.    Teachers recognize this big extra requirement that fourth grade makes of most pupils, but many parents are not aware of it.  Thus many are surprised when their child, successful in school up till now, suddenly runs into unexpected difficulties.  It is is in part because of this extra demand of fourth grade that we warn parents  of the importance of being sure that their children are properly placed, in a grade that meets their basic maturity level, right from the beginning.  This is true because even though he may be overplaced, a bright child from a reasonably good home background can often slide through the first three grades.”  (page 87).

Look for an anthroposophical view of the nine-year-old and discipline tips for the nine-year-old to follow!

Many blessings,

Carrie

More About Quiet Time

This comment came in from a reader of the blog and I wanted her to have some feedback regarding Quiet Time.  She writes, “My 4 yr old has not napped since she was three and a half to four, but we continued having “rest time.” I had her stay in her own room to do this since she sometimes would fall asleep, but lately I have had her try doing her quiet time out in the den with me while the one yr old naps. Sometimes she tends to be less focused when I am there and wants to talk to me… I am interested in what parameters others set for quiet times for non-napping kids? Alone in room or out with mom in the den/living room? What kinds of activities – books only, quiet toys, does mom read to the child for part of the time or do they stay silent?

Also, I am curious how interruptions in sleep affect a four yr old… my daughter tends to wake at least once a night, sometimes twice, to use the toilet. And sometimes she just wants to be tucked back in and have one of us lay next to her for a couple minutes. I know at some point she’ll feel confident enough to just go to the bathroom on her own without waking us… But I wonder if this is disruptive to her quality of sleep?”

These are a few of my personal thoughts, but I hope many mothers will leave comments below as to their own practices.

I feel that during Quiet Time, mothers should be resting.  This may change as your children grow, but I feel if you are going about the house doing work, folding laundry, etc. and your child is younger than 7 and in that imitative phase, than they will want to be doing what you are doing.  Also, as homeschooling mothers, I feel it is an important priority for us to have some true down time to think, evaluate in our heads what happened in the morning in our homeschool time and to prepare in our heads for the afternoon activities.

I personally don’t mind if my child wants to be our big bed with me, but I am laying down with my eyes closed! or if they want to be on their own bed.  I also don’t mind when my four year old looks at (a few!) books (not the “ole giant stack!) and then rests, but I also feel many Waldorf mothers would feel this undermining to the point of Quiet Time – which would be the ability to be still and not have to be “entertained” by a book or by reading or by toys.  I don’t know, I would love to hear the perspectives of some of the Waldorf mothers out there!

As far as the waking up in the night to go to the bathroom, it seems to me that many four-year-olds are not dry through the night, so this may be a real need.  I think as long as she can really get up and go right back to sleep, then it is just where she is.  However, if she is up and fully awake, perhaps you could investigate a bit further.  Does she wake up at the same times every night to do this?  Could you bring her to the bathroom before you go to sleep yourself and would that change these nighttime waking patterns?  And then observe what goes on during the day…

C’mon mothers, please give your perspectives on Quiet Time and sleep.  Leave your comments in the box below!

Many blessings,

Carrie

A Few Resources For The Nine-Year-Change

I got an email this morning from Rahima Baldwin Dancy regarding resources for the nine-year change and since it was so timely I  thought I would pass the suggestions onto all of  you:

First of all, I have mentioned this article in other posts on this blog but here is the link again for the free article regarding the nine-year-change:  http://www.waldorfinthehome.org/2005/01/parenting_the_nine_year_old.html

I have passed that article on to many parents, Waldorf and non-Waldorf alike!

I love Daena Ross and her presentation on the 12 senses.  Here is one I have not heard but will be checking out soon:  her  workshop on “The Nine-Year Change”.  It  is available in CD format for only $12.50 plus shipping at http://www.waldorfinthehome.org/2007/07/the_nineyear_change.html.

And finally, Rahima writes,  “If you have a daughter who is approaching (or in the midst of) puberty, I highly recommend signing on for our free tele-seminar with DeAnna L’am, author of Becoming Peers—Mentoring Girls into Womanhood. On Tuesday, Oct. 6th I will be interviewing DeAnna, who was a keynote speaker at our last conference in California, “Educating Our Children—Changing the World.”  If you are a mother, grandmother, stepmother, aunt or any woman with a special girl in her life, you won’t want to miss this discussion of ways to prepare yourself for her puberty and ways to lay a foundation for lifelong friendship with your daughter.  If you can’t make the live interview at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, Oct 6th, you can still sign up to receive the free recording.  To learn more, or to sign up, click on http://www.deannalam.com/deannalam_020.htm.”

Other audio resources include the CDs of Betty Staley’s keynote, “It’s Never too Early to Prepare for Adolescence”  (which I have the CD of and really should review on this blog!  Boy, so many things to cover and so little time!).  William Bento’s workshop, “Adolescence: A Grail Journey of the Heart.”   I am not familiar with William Bento, but it may be worth checking out.  Rahima advises just entering  their last names into the search engine at www.waldorfinthehome.com.

Hope that helps some of you!  Happy Friday!

Carrie

The Twelve Senses

I am going to try and synthesize a few things for you all that I recently learned from Donna Simmons at the Waldorf At Home conference held in Atlanta,  a presentation by Daena Ross for Waldorf In the Home (available through Rahima Baldwin Dancy’s on-line store in CD and DVD versions) and Barbara Dewey’s section on the twelve senses in her book “Beyond the Rainbow Bridge”. 

I am by no means an expert on the twelve senses, although I will say the twelve senses make a whole lot of sense to me due to my background as a neonatal/pediatric physical therapist.

Steiner postulated in his lectures that there were not only the five most obvious senses that we think of, but actually twelve senses that required development.  This has been proved in the medical community, although sometimes in medical literature and therapy literature you see reference to “systems” rather than “senses” although they are truly talking about the same thing!

The twelve senses are what unites the inner and outer world of the individual and what allows us healthy interaction with other people at the highest developed levels.  It takes a long time for these senses to be developed, but the foundational senses needed to develop some of the upper senses are most developed in the first seven years.  There we are, back to my soapbox about the first seven years!

The Lower Senses are seen in our will forces, they are unconscious, and they manifest in the metabolic-limbic system.  These include:

The Sense of Touch – through the organ of the skin.  This includes what is inside of me and what is outside of me.  Important ways to boost this foundational sense include vaginal birth, swaddling, holding, positive tactile experiences (NOT PASSIVE experiences, like through media or Baby Einstein! Active experiences!)  The lack of completion of this  sense is strongly related to ADHD according to Daena Ross. 

The Sense of Life or sometimes called The Sense of Well-Being – this encompasses such things as if you can tell if you are tired, thirsty, hungry.  The best way to boost this sense is to provide your children with a rhythm to help support this while it is developing.  Some children have great difficulty recognizing their own hunger or thirst cues, their own need for rest or sleep. A rhythm can be a great therapeutic help in this regard.

The Sense of Self-Movement – this is probably more familiar to therapists in some ways as the “proprioceptive system” in some ways.  This sense encompasses the ability to move and hold back movement, and can also encompass such sensory experiences as containment (which can be a form of massage for premature babies) and also swaddling.  Childhood games that involve starting, stopping can also affect this sense.

The Sense of Balance – This is balance in two separate realms, from what I gather from the Daena Ross presentation.  It is not only the ability to balance by use of the semicircular canals of the ears  for midline balance so one can cross midline but also refers to the  balance of life and being able to be centered, which again goes back to rhythm and the idea of in-breath and out-breath.  Donna Simmons calls this one a gateway to The Middle Senses.

The Middle Senses are seen in our feeling lives, involve us reaching out into the world a bit, they are seen as “dreamy” senses and manifesting in the rhythmic system.  THE CHILD HAS NO FILTER TO FILTER THESE SENSORY EXPERIENCES OUT IN THE EARLY YEARS.   In the later years, the arts build these senses, which is why the Waldorf curriculum includes teaching through art in the grades.   These senses  include:

The Sense of Smell -  strongly correlated with memory.  This can be an ally in education of the grades age child, but beware of scented everything when your children are in the foundational first seven years. 

The Sense of Taste – Not only on a physical plane, but an emotional plane in naming experiences (a “putrid” experience, a “sweet” experience)

The Sense of Sight  – with two different ways to visualize something:  one is the ability to distinguish color, and the other is the ability to distinguish form (which Daena Ross says is more related to The Sense of Self-Movement).  The best way to help this sense is to protect the eye from media while developing.  A way to bolster this sense in the grades, but not the Early under 7 Years, is through form drawing.

The Sense of Warmth -   Donna Simmons calls this one a gateway to The Higher Senses.  This sense does not fully develop until age 9 and can literally cause a hardening of creativity and new thought as the child matures, but also can refer to a literal inability of the child to be able to tell if they are hot or cold.  Warmth implies not only physical warmth, but warmth on a soul level.  Joy, humor, love, connection are all important developers of this sense along with PROTECTION from extreme and garish sensory experiences that would cause hardening.  This is a very important sense, and children need help with protecting this sense until the age of 9 or 10, so much longer than many parents think!

The Upper or Higher Senses develop during adolescence and require a strong foundation of The Lower Senses and The Middle Senses to come to maturity.  These senses are associated with awakening of the individual, with being concerned with other people and are seen as being centered in The Head.  These senses include:

The Sense of Hearing (which Daena Ross calls “a bridge between The Middle and Higher Senses” in her presentation)  This requires completion of The Sense of Balance – both of these senses involve the organ of the ear.

The Sense of Speech or The Sense of the Word (this is the speech of another person, not yourself) – Requires completion of The Sense of Self-Movement as you must be able to quiet your own speech in order to really hear another person.

The Sense of Thought or The Sense of Concept (again, of the other person, not your own thoughts!) - Requires completion of  The Sense of Well-Being.  Rhythm builds this ability to quiet oneself in order to hear someone else’s thoughts.

The Sense of  the Individuality of the Other (Donna Simmons also calls this the “I-Thou” relationship of boundaries) – This requires integration and completion of all senses, but particularly involves The Sense of Touch according to Daena Ross. 

The most important take-away point for my parents of children under the age of 7 is that children need rhythm, a balance of in-breath and out-breath and protection of the senses from too much stimulation, from media and boundaries set by the parents to wear clothes (VERY difficult with some little nudists!).  The development of these senses is also profoundly related to sleeping and what occurs during sleep to build all of this up.

Waldorf Education is first and foremost about health and the twelve senses provide a glimpse into some of why things are done in Waldorf the way they are!  I encourage you to investigate the twelve senses on your own.  In this age and day of skyrocketing ADHD/ADD, autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, this should be mandatory learning for all parents. 

With love,

Carrie

Where Do I Go Now?

What do you do when you realize your method of homeschooling has been more detrimental  than the goodness you thought it was bringing to your child? Or that your child just has tremendous imbalances between their body, their head, their social and emotional skills?   I am talking about parents of very,very bright children who were reading at age three fluently, the very smart child who is so incredibly “gifted”, the children who are so ahead of themselves and so logical…..

Until the parent begins to notice that this very bright child can relate to no one of his own age at all.  That the child has poor gross motor skills.  That the child is only drawn to books and textbooks and such.  That this child has very little creative ability, is very serious, has difficulty playing.  That the child seems very in their head, worried about adult things, in fact seems more like an adult than not…..

In my experience many of these children do  feel isolated, depressed, anxious – and they are still children and whether they can verbalize it or not, they are looking to you to take the lead, to make it better.  They are still small, they still need your protection.

And the parent is thinking now this child is 7,8 or 9, what to do, what to do?  Can Waldorf education help this child?

My first recommendation is this:  Call one of the national Waldorf consultants for a consultation.  This is important, because  sometimes you are dealing with an out of the ordinary situation, not just where the child is coming in late to Waldorf, which also may have its own challenges, but there may be therapeutic issues to be dealt with.   Here is the link with all the names of consultants I know:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/01/03/waldorf-consultants/

My second recommendation is to look at yourself!  This will take hard work, change, motivation, being matter of fact and peaceful with your child as things change and they complain about the change!  Can you:

1. Stop talking and putting adult decision making on them?   Do not ask them if they want to “do Waldorf homeschooling.”  It is not their choice at this point.  They should have completely limited choices at this point on life issues.  They already have had enough pressure and the decision making process has worked on their psyche to the point where they are no longer children.  Help them reclaim their childhood by being the Authentic Leader in your home. You set the tone right now.

2.  Can you read some of Steiner and really penetrate what teaching first, second or third grade is  about?  What level these children are normally at in these grades in Waldorf? And there is more than academics at stake here – where are they gross motor wise, emotionally, socially, artistically, fine motor wise?     It is probably going to be very different than what you are used to.    Can you be okay with that while you take a year to heal and to shift toward balance?

3.  Can you be okay with balancing the child without the use of textbooks in these early grades, with the use of outside time, hiking, gardening, being in nature without identifying trees and bushes to death?  Woodworking, knitting, dyeing things, having an aquarium without all the plant and fish identification, having an art farm or worm farm, looking at the stars with the naked eye with Native American legends and stories as the backdrop would all be healing.  Apple picking, berry picking, making jelly, going to the zoo and aquarium (without writing reports or taking one of the those damned nature journals around with them to draw and identify everything by the latin name? just looking and being and seeing how those animals move), swimming, singing and jumping rope would all be very healing.

4.  Can you show them how to play by setting up stations for playing in your home?  Most eight year old girls still like to play with dolls.  Maybe your child has forgotten how to play!  Copious outside time will help.  Can you set up a woodworking bench, a knitting area, a sewing area, an area for art?  Can you work on some handwork yourself for an hour in the afternoons and set up that model, that expectation for your son or daughter?

5.  Think about warmth – less words, stop explaining, can you show your delight in your child WITHOUT words at all?  Smiles, hugs, fun!  Can you as a family go and have fun?  Hiking, ice skating, roller skating, picnics, – is this child’s seriousness coming from you?  This child is small and needs to be joyous!

6.  Think about early bedtimes, consistent meal and snack times with warm food.  Lots of fresh air and fresh unprocessed foods.

7.  Bring in stories to heal your child’s soul – fairy tales, legends, nature stories, stories from your childhood and from when your child was very, very small.  Lots of storytelling.  Remember, the academics in Waldorf can be adjusted to where your child is, but the stories for each grade is designed for the child’s soul development.  And while we would want to focus on what a child needs for that age, and not go backward, I see nothing wrong with lighting a candle and telling a fairy tale at night to a third grader!  Adults love fairy tales too!

8.  Can you bring in music?  The joy of having music as a family?  This is so important.

9. Can you make a big deal about preparing for festivals where school does not go on as usual?  Festival preparation is an integral part of life for the Early Grades child.

Your Waldorf consultant will have other suggestions based upon your child’s needs.  Waldorf is a healing method of education, but it takes commitment and a matter of fact peaceful kind of energy.

Peace and may goodness go with you,

Carrie

One of the 12 Senses: Warmth

This is an excellent article regarding one of Steiner’s 12 senses that is important developmentally for young children: warmth.

Please check out this link to read a great article on Warmth, Strength and Freedom:  http://tidewaterschool.blogspot.com/2008/12/warmth-strength-and-freedom-by-m.html

Happy, happy reading!!

Just a few thoughts from my little corner of the world.