About Sarah

Sarah is an author, mama to two teenage boys, and Waldorf early childhood educator. She is also the owner of Bella Luna Toys, an online shop offering wooden and natural toys inspired by Waldorf education. She writes about childhood, play, parenting and Waldorf education on her blog, Moon Child.

A Day in the Life of a Waldorf Kindergarten

A Day in the Life of a Waldorf Kindergarten
Written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys

A note from Jamie: While not technically a homeschooling day, this post provides a helpful look into an early childhood Waldorf classroom, which is largely based on a home atmosphere. Many popular homeschooling curricula spring out of this philosophy, so I greatly appreciate Sarah sharing her expertise with us. Enjoy!

It’s “Soup Day,” in my Waldorf kindergarten class. My assistant and I arrived early to don our aprons and prepare for the day. A basin full of water has been set on the table. Vegetable scrub brushes lay nearby.

A small wooden cutting board, wooden bowl and “crinkle cutter” have been set in front of each chair.

At 8:10, the teachers gather to read the morning verse. We end with Rudolf Steiner’s words, “Receive the children with reverence, educate them with love, let them go forth in freedom.” We are ready to start our day!

At 8:15, the children begin to arrive, each one proudly carrying a vegetable to add to our “stone soup.” Lucy brings a potato, Aidan brings a carrot. Frances brings broccoli, and Max a beet. It takes a village to make stone soup!

Each child finds her symbol above her hook – it might be a bunny, an apple, the moon, or a squirrel. She hangs up her coat, takes off her outdoor shoes and puts on the soft pair of slippers that is kept at school.

Children then put on a small apron and come to the table where I am seated to help chop vegetables. The conversation is lively as we chop. I begin to sing, “Stone soup, stone soup, cook a pot of stone soup,” as we work.

Photo by Sarah Baldwin

As each child finishes, he brings his bowl of chopped vegetables to my assistant, who adds them to the big pot on the stove. Now it is time to play!
[Read more…]

Homeschooling preschoolers: life is the curriculum

The following post was written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys, and was originally published on September 9, 2011.

When I am asked by homeschoolers interested in Waldorf education to recommend a curriculum for their 3- to 6-year olds, I tell them, “Relax! Life is the curriculum for the young child.”

Young children will learn everything they need to know and be prepared for formal learning later by participating in family life, household tasks and receiving nurturing care.

Being conscious of what children need to grow in body, mind and spirit, allows you to provide them with everything they need during these early years through daily living.
[Read more…]

Waldorf Homeschooling: Learning to Let Go

Written by Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

A note from Jamie: This post from Sarah is such a great reminder around this time of year, as sometimes we all need to let go of our expectations and go with our guts. It first published August 23, 2010. Enjoy!

While my two boys, Harper and Will, spent most of their schooling years in a Waldorf school, we spent two years homeschooling. I am a trained Waldorf teacher and prior to this I had been teaching at the Waldorf school that my boys attended.

I spent years in graduate school studying education and had many years of teaching experience, but I learned more about how children learn during those two years than I did from all my teacher training and the plethora of books I’d read on the subject.

The Challenge

Being devoted to Waldorf education, I was determined to give my children a true Waldorf experience at home, so when we started, I did what I knew. I created a mini-Waldorf school at home, complete with lazured walls, wooden desks, and a large blackboard. It was beautiful!

Since I had also agreed to homeschool my niece, I was committed to offering the curriculum to three different grades, as it would be taught in a Waldorf school.

During the first couple of months, I would routinely stay up until midnight, sometimes later, preparing three different lesson plans and drawings that I would expect my students to copy into their “main lesson books” the next day. I had a curriculum and a daily schedule and I was determined to stick to it.
[Read more…]

When Should My Child Begin Music Lessons?

Written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

As a Waldorf early childhood teacher, and the mother of two young musicians, I have been asked many times over the years what the ideal age is for a child to begin music lessons.

I’ve been asking myself the same question for as many years. In my quest for an answer, I have asked many music teachers and experts.

Waldorf Education and Suzuki Music Instruction

As a young mother I became familiar with the Suzuki method of music instruction, in which children as young as three or four begin to learn an instrument. When my children started music lessons—older son Harper played piano, young son Will played cello—I chose Suzuki teachers for both of them, and as a result have become a strong supporter of Suzuki methods.

Because I am also a Waldorf teacher, I was struck by the many similarities between Suzuki and Waldorf education.
[Read more…]

Waldorf Education: Behind the Silk Curtains

Written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys

When one discovers Waldorf education, there can be a wide variety of first impressions. My own introduction was hearing that “the arts are incorporated into every subject.” That resonated with me, and I was eager to learn more.

Others may be introduced to a Waldorf craft activity, learn about Waldorf dolls, or attend a seasonal festival. These are all important elements of Waldorf education, but there is so much more to it beyond the art on the walls, silk curtains, or beeswax crayons.

What stands behind Waldorf education is a worldview called anthroposophy (an-thro-POS-o-fee) developed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the first Waldorf School during the early 20th century.

Anthroposophy means “knowledge of the human being.” Central to Waldorf education is Steiner’s view of child development and recognition of the human being as an individual consisting of body, soul and spirit.

Waldorf schools aim to teach not only the intellect, but rather to educate the whole child: “head, heart and hands.”
[Read more…]

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