Within the pedagogical literature of Waldorf Education, there seems to be a lot more press about the developmental changes at ages six/seven and nine than there is about the developmental changes at twelve. This is unfortunate, I believe, because some of the biggest changes within the first two seven year cycles take place at age twelve.
Ages six and seven may be more of a “you’re not the boss of me” age, and nine may be an age of sensitivity and tenderness as children often seem to experience an underlying realizations about loss, life cycles, and separation, but twelve, to me, has the most dramatic changes and unfolding out of these three transitional periods.
A good deal of separation of the child’s own personality really begins at this age, and shows in the will of the child. The child may set now set goals, especially in learning, and may work at activities to really conquer something in the outside world that they are interested in intently. The will shows up coming from a place of inner individual moral development and personality.
The social element awakens; there can be a grouping off, especially after grade six. You start seeing this generally as early as around age ten, which is where fractions is introduced into the Waldorf curriculum in grade four, and this grouping off continues to progress. Many people remember this about the middle school years. It is important to make sure the children are in a group in a healthy way at this point – trekking, hiking, kayaking, caving and other bodily will exercises in a group is stimulating for this group and age.
You start seeing development that looks more based upon gender at age twelve than ever before. Girls tend to band together socially in a way that can be different than the boys – more hanging out, daydreaming, talking. The boys can be brimming with activity. Physically the girls are different than the boys. As the girls approach puberty, Continue reading
Elizabeth Foss is enjoying her first grandbaby, and I enjoyed her post regarding the days after birth here: http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2014/05/in-praise-of-the-babymoon.html
I find it interesting if one looks on the Internet regarding “planning” a babymoon, most of the top posts have to do with planning some special time with a spouse prior to the arrival of a baby! This is baffling to me. Most attached parents, and parents who hold childbirth and the parenting of children in the most sacred terms, do not think of babymoon as a honeymoon getaway, but as a sacred time after a baby is born when life as a family with children begin.
Having a first baby, having multiples babies, all changes things. Nothing is or should be the same as it was, but perhaps not in the “inconvenienced” way general society assumes. I wrote some time ago about the joy of the first forty days after birth, and encouraged readers to slow down for an extended time after birth. Here is that original post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/17/40-days-after-birth-and-beyond/.
There are many beautiful ways to prepare for the first forty days: Continue reading
“I also did not like the word “preschool” since it implies that somehow the learning done before age 5 is not valid. In my mind, there is no such thing as “pre” school. In most European countries, there is not even such a word as preschool. The children attend daycare until age 6 and then start formal education at age 7. When I attended an international conference, the European participants thought it was quite humorous that I kept referring to our young preschoolers as students. This showed my cultural bias in that we think of even our youngest children as responsible for measurable learning.
– From “Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way” by Erin K. Kenny
If you are planning for preschool, (and you can see more about what I think about “preschool” here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/11/waldorf-101-waldorf-preschool/), focus on a strong component of rhythm to your days being present together at home. The things that preschoolers are working on – washing themselves, using the bathroom, the gentle rhythm of setting things up for a snack or lunch and then washing dishes and clearing plates – those extraordinary moments of everyday life is what the core curriculum for preschoolers should be. Continue reading
For several years now I had been in this period of life where things were sometimes light, sometimes dark, but usually just a mingled grey. It started with overwhelm as things slowly happened one after another, built up and then moved into this climax of life: people passed away that I loved and things that I loved died. I hung on to being in the now, because the future seemed far away and murky with nothing there to really grasp or see. I also felt like I was in the “middle” a lot, and just didn’t feel strongly enough to “really” fit anywhere. All I had was the faith that God had a plan for me, and perhaps, yes, even a plan for the me that I am outside of my own children and family. I felt like He was calling me to something, but I had no idea what.
In this Eastertide, in this very first inkling with the seedlings of the earth, several things started mingling in my head and my heart….It started with Continue reading
The last post I wrote about the twelve year old was here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/09/10/the-twelve-year-old/. I have a little girl who is almost thirteen now, and I wanted to write some more things about the twelve year old before we move out of this age.
First of all, The Gesell Institute has some things to say about the twelve year old in general terms which most parents find helpful. In general, the age of twelve is more calm and tolerant of everyone around them than eleven year olds. Isn’t that a relief? Twelve year olds tend to be kind of detached with their mothers, and sometimes with their family in general, but friendly. Twelve is also often willing for adults to have some of their own “adult’’ life and not watch too carefully over that. Twelve year olds are more tolerant of siblings (sort of!)…in general, twelve year olds get along well with siblings who are under the age of four and those over the age of sixteen. So, sibling quarreling can still exist. Friends are important, too. Most twelve year olds are branching out to have a larger social circle. I have found this to be true with some homeschooled children, and not true with others. Opportunities to make friends and be a friend are part of being twelve.
Other points about twelve: Continue reading
You can see where my sixth grader and I left off in history in this last post about Ancient Rome here http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/01/24/gallery-of-work-from-sixth-grade-ancient-rome/ (There are three separate posts about Rome on this blog). We moved on to Medieval History this past month so I wanted to finish up our sixth grade history journey for you all.
My main resources were: Continue reading
do things that are child-like. Love them anyway.
push “buttons” that you didn’t know you had and push boundaries. Love them anyway.
go through hard challenges and problems because they are human. Love them anyway.
bring up your own baggage from the past. Love them anyway. Continue reading