“Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will”

This book, by Stephen Spitalny, one of my favorite authors, is just wonderful and I have chosen this book to be our next book study on The Parenting Passageway. I hope you will all consider getting a copy and following along week by week!

Here are some tidbits from the introduction in which I hope to appeal to you WHY this is such a very important book.  The second sentence really grabbed me, and I agree with its essential truth:

The challenges we face as early childhood educators and parents of young children are, by and large, the result of diminishing will capacities of the young children.  One of the causes is the proliferation of technological gadgets that are promoted as necessary for modern life, and specifically those marketed for children.  Consumer culture has conspired to deliver to the young child exactly what is most detrimental for its development (foods and gadgets) while advertising wizards spin these very same products in such a way that parents line up in droves to make sure their child is not left out.

Gadgets take our children out of their willing,which is where tiny children live.  Explanations, instructions, the million questions that parents ask children take children out of their will lives and prematurely awaken children. 

The goals we look for with small children is to be able to imitate, to be able to live in their bodies comfortably, and to be able to “do” something with themselves.  The will of the adult is the answer.  We must be active in what we do – we must become makers, says the author.  Making food, gardens, toys, dolls, etc is healthy for a young child to be.

Please come with me as we explore this wonderful book that will change how you think and live with small children.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE, besides the book “Connecting With Young Children:  Educating the Will” by Stephen Spitalny is ‘Toymaking With Children” by Freya Jaffke. 

RECOMMENDED ACTION THIS WEEK:  Get rid of all screens for your children under 12 this week.  Turn them off and be done with it cold turkey.  I have many, many back posts on this topic if you will search.


12 thoughts on ““Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will”

  1. Dear Carrie, I am always inspired by your posts and often share them with the parents in my Nursery class. I am a waldorf Nursery teacher, blessed to be with children ages 18 mos to almost 4..five days a week from 8 15 am until 3:30 pm! I have purchased this book and look forward to reading along with you. Perhaps I will be inspired to share more with the parents. Blessings on your fine fine work and family.

  2. I’m all for a screen free home – it would be a challenge for me but is an impossiblity for my very sweet but tv-loving husband 🙂 But I do get it and think the less screen time the better. I really noticed this when my mother bought a copy of the the dvd jungle book for my 2 and half year old daughter. I would not let her watch it at all (she would only watch it when grandma was over) until she was recently unwell as well as I and put it on now it’s “let’s watch jungle book” everyday as opposed to going out for a walk….so I really get it especially at their age. This is on my wish list but was going to get Simplicity Parenting first – would you recommend reading this before Connecting with Young Children or vice versa? Sorry for the silly question in advance!

    • Francesca – I don’t think it matters which one you read first, really. They are both really great books! I am so glad you brought up about the screen free home and husbands. I think so many mothers are in that position! I adore you as one of my long-time readers – really sit down and talk to your husband. Just because TV is “okay” for adults..well, children are different. Their brain physiology is different and there is a lot of research to support no media with little ones, which you totally get. I wish you love in delving further and deeper into this area!
      Blessings and hugs, 🙂

    • Resa, In Waldorf Education ‘early years” generally refers to birth through age seven, although I think in this book some of the things are probably most applicable to three year olds to seven year olds.
      Hope that helps,

  3. I’m so excited for this book study! Book is on its way and I already got so much out of Stephen Spitalny’s blog- was not familiar with him before now. My 3 year old will benefit so much if I can put some of these ideas into practice.

  4. Thank you for giving us so much inspiration, Carrie. 🙂
    Every time I come to your blog, I find something that fills my heart with new energy and inspiration. Like the advice about this book which sounds really great! I am now reading Simplicity Parenting and enjoying it so much, thanks to you! Wishing you a wonderful day. 🙂

  5. Love this. You are really inspired and pumping out some good posts. I don’t always comment and I breeze through them, but I’m here. Right now I am taking a break from embroidering. It is very important for the children to see me making things, I do know this, as I watched my Grandmother make endless things. Sewing, embroidering, gardening, cooking. It REALLY does imprint, and I am blessed to know this first hand. Home educating is not easy, but I am not afraid of these tasks, as a matter of fact I quite enjoy them all. The challenge, the inner work. I am not sure I have time to read this book at the moment, but I will follow the posts.

    In peace,
    Nichole Upchurch Goff

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