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.”
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Creativity in Your Homeschool

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

Creativity is a dominant theme in our homeschool and is one of our family values. Earlier this winter I wrote about my creative philosophy and shared the story of my own blossoming in this area.

I didn’t grow up thinking I was creative and I am not an artist in the traditional sense.

But watching my children grow and appreciating their creative enthusiasm has taught me that we all have the capacity to create.

I’d like to share with you some practical tips to encourage creativity in your homeschool.

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8 Ways Having a Rhythm Helps a Mom’s Day

The following is a guest post written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

It was a few days after Christmas, and our house was a mess. The pantry was empty and there was a house-wide sock shortage.

It was at that point, I realized, that we had definitely lost our rhythm.

I first came across the idea of rhythm when reading about Waldorf education methods a few years ago. It appealed to me as a way to help my children know what to expect in the course of a day, week or even season.

Only later did I realize how rhythm brings me a personal inner-peace, and how that positively impacts our days.

It often takes a busy time (like the holidays or vacation) to realize the many ways that having a rhythm helps me as a mother.
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Painting Wet on Wet: Waldorf Watercolors for Children

Written by Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

Wet-on-wet watercolor painting is a technique taught in Waldorf schools and enjoyed by many homeschoolers. It’s a satisfying artistic experience, and the beautiful results can be turned into lovely gift cards, book covers, paper lanterns, or any number of beautiful objets d’art.

Why Wet-on-Wet?

The intent is to give young children an experience of color, not form. Because the wet paint is laid on wet paper, the colors flow, blending into one another in beautiful, unexpected ways.

I recommend painting with one color at a time to get comfortable with the technique. Single colors can be painted as “clouds” of color with varying intensity on the page, allowing some white to shine through here and there. You’d be surprised how beautiful a painting with just one color can be!
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Waldorf Toys: Choosing the Best Educational Toys for Your Children

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

As a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, one of my favorite “parent evenings” to offer was on the subject of toys and play. Over the years, I don’t think there was a single parent who walked away from such a meeting without a new consciousness about choosing healthy playthings for his or her children.

At the outset of our meeting, I explained how a young child learns about the world through all her senses. Unlike adults, a baby or toddler does not rely solely on her sense of sight, and make quick judgments about things based on a visual perception.

When it comes to toys, a baby will grasp a toy, feel it, smell it and put it in her mouth. Did you know that along with the fingertips, ours lips are full of nerve-endings and one of the most sensitive parts of our body?

Experiencing Toys Blindfolded

Well, I didn’t really blindfold them, but I asked parents to close their eyes and not to peek. Then I would hand each parent a different toy.

I would randomly hand out an assortment of toys from a typical child’s toy box–a Barbie doll, a metal toy car, an action figure, a baby doll with plastic head and limbs, Legos, plush animals, a My Little Pony, toys that make noise, and so forth.

Other parents would be handed toys typically found in a Waldorf early childhood classroom–things like a smooth river stone, a Waldorf doll made of cotton and wool, carved wooden animals, play silks, a wooden toy car, a handmade puppet or a shell.

I asked the parents to feel each toy, smell it, touch it to their cheek, and taste it (as a young child would) if they dared! After the adult had an experience of one toy, he would hold it up and I would place the opposite type of toy in his hands. [Read more...]

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