Bringing Warmth to the Rhythm of Our Lives: A Reflection on Waldorf Education
We found them sitting out in front of the cottage on tree stumps. They were singing, digging in the sand, and drinking tea.
I’m sorry were late, I said.
Oh no, you’re a mama, you’re always right on time, she replied.
Phew, I thought. A place I can just be. Thank goodness.
They offered us tea, said cheers to our names as they clinked our glasses, and continued on with the song.
Soon, we went inside and I was instantly inspired by the environment. Thick rugs, warm lamb skin rugs, soft dolls, wooden toys, beautiful cloths.
She said, you can join, or not join, you can do what you want here. Then, she moved her hands in front of her in the motion of water, and said, “Your own rhythm.”
I let my bare feet nestle into the lambskin.
I ran my fingers across the wood. Then, we started baking. I got Sophia an apron and we sat side by side, singing “Mr. Baker’s Man” with our dough. We rubbed our hands in the flour. We pounded and rolled the dough. We marked it with a “B.”
After that, I sat in the rocking chair and began sewing a hat.
Sophia played with another girl in the wooden house beside me. They peeked their heads through the yellow cloth and I said, “Boo!” They squealed with delight + I did it again.
Tears came to my eyes as I recalled the sterile environments of my youth.
White, linoleum floors scrubbed with bleach. Bright florescent lights. Cold cots upon which to nap in large rooms full of cold air.
This is what I needed, I thought. My sensitive spirit needed warmth, freedom, cooking, baking, freedom to explore with my hands…
Waldorf education was created by Rudolf Steiner in Germany. He himself seems to have been a psychic of sorts with many spiritual experiences.
The Philosophy of Waldorf
Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner education is based on an anthroposophical view and understanding of the human being, that is, as a being of body, soul and spirit. The education mirrors the basic stages of a child’s development from childhood to adulthood, which in general reflects the development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present.
The central focus for the Waldorf teacher is the development of that essence in every person that is independent of external appearance, by instilling in his/her pupils an understanding of and appreciation for their background and place in the world, not primarily as members of any specific nation, ethnic group or race, but as members of humanity and world citizens.
Thus, the Waldorf kindergarten cultivates and works in support of the pre-school child’s deep, inborn natural attitude, belief and trust in and basic reverence for the world as an interesting and good place to live in.
In the lower grades in elementary school, this leads over to more of a stress on using artistic elements in different forms (rhythm, movement, color, form, recitation, song, music), not primarily as a means of personal self expression, but as a means to learn to understand and relate to the world, building an understanding for different subjects out of what isbeautiful in the world in the broadest sense of the word.
And in the upper grades and high school, this leads in steps to an ever more conscious cultivation of an observing, reflecting and experimental scientificattitude to the world, focusing on building an understanding of what is true, based on personal experience, thinking and judgment.
The goal of Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner education is to enable students as fully as possible to choose and, in freedom, to realize their individual path through life as adults.
One of the things I love most about Waldorf is its emphasis on toys and dolls made of natural products.
It highly encourages the use of play + imagination for the young child, who they say is in a “dream like” state for the first six years.
As such, Waldorf teachers and parents spend a lot of time sewing and making crafts of felt or yarn. This lends itself to an extremely aesthetically pleasing tasks and environments.
I’ve really enjoyed creating our home to add warmth, texture and natural toys + products wherever possible. It’s inspiring to say the least!
What’s bringing warmth to your spirit these days? Share with me in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
All my love,