Anthroposophy shows us that we are both physical and spiritual beings. Our ethereal souls leave the spiritual world, cross the rainbow bridge into the physical world and life as a human being begins. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. EVERY experience is an opportunity to further develop the soul towards enlightenment, peace, and self-actualization.
In raising our children, we are provided ample opportunities to further the soul. Every tantrum is helping the parent develop patience. Every screaming, stubborn action your young child takes is an opportunity for you to practice empathy and try to take their perspective to assist them with love and compassion. Even when they're total assholes, it's their soul asking you, "Can you love me regardless how my earthly self copes with discomfort?" This is a challenge, but if you can view it as an assignment from the universe, you may find yourself coping with parental challenges easier.
The first few years of the chlid's life they're still connected to the mother on an ethereal level. Your energy is their energy. They feel your lows and your highs. They feel your angst, your compassion, and drain you more than they fulfill you at times. This is why the new mother must rest and conserve her energy. Because her energy is shared with the young child.
Then, the first EPOCH is the hands realm where everything must be felt kinestetically. The child wants to move, climb, jump, run, touch, taste, smell, and experience the world through DOING. The focus of this epoch is on goodness. Preserve, and support, this realm by showcasing goodness with gentle songs, finger play, massage, laughing, essential oils that dont offend the senses, soft lighting, warm rugs, natural materials, and fair tales without violence or aggression. Keep the child believing in magic by allowing them to share their views of the world rather than intelellectualizing everything at the adult level.
The second EPOCH is the heart realm between the ages of 7-14 or so. Everything is felt with strong heart connection including the good, the bad, and the ugly. They begin to seek social connections, romantic relationships through crushes, obsessive friendships, and see the injustices of the world in a dramatic fashion. They want to save the planet and everyone in it! Use this wisely and focus on beauty (and still goodness). Beautiful drawings, artistic expression, musical opportunities, dance, poetry, folk tales, and legends. Encourage group play and foster friendships with like-minded kids their age. They're slowly moving away from their intense connection with caregivers and seeking a connection with a world outside the home. Help them see the beauty of the world through rich sensory experiences, nature walks, and travel!
The third EPOCH is the head realm. The soul is firmly in the child's body and they've lost their baby teeth entirely. They're beginning to look, and act, more like an adult human. They may have let go of childish ways or are transitioning a bit more into the adult world. They're seeing truth, logic, and using ration. They're making sense of all their experiences thus far and thinking forward into the future. They desire independence, but need a caregiver to support and guide without interfering. They're stepping into their own and challenging their parents (and all other adults) in an effort to find out what's real, what can be trusted, what's conditional, what's consistent? Help them find truth by allowing them to explore all aspects of self. Trust that with loving guidance and a form foundation, they'll find truth, even through hardships and they'll return to their roots!
If you'd like to explore more about anthroposophy, let me know! I'll share wonderful resources!
I spoke with our fabulous teacher candidate last night for the umpteenth time! I just can't get enough of his insight and knowledge on children and their place in the world. I can hardly wait until he joins us to lead the children in their learning this Fall! He said something that stood out to me, "There's nothing in our culture, outside of Waldorf, that truly honors spring."
He's right! I started thinking about it and realized that, outside of structured religions and the focus on the Easter holidays, there's nothing that honors the transition from the harsh winter months into spring. In Waldorf education; however, there's a strong emphasis on the seasons of the year as it provides internal rhythm for the young child! Here's what I'm loving, and doing, this spring with my boys.
"The Rainbow" puppet show by The Hidden Bloom on youtube (learn it and perform it)
Toddlers/Preschoolers can reinact it with their own silks and figurines.
Ages 5-7y can illustrate the story using beeswax crayons, pastels or watercolors.
Older children can retell the story in their own words by making a book or writing a screnplay!
Create a nature table for SPRING using play silks by Sarah's Silks and items from each life kingdom such as flowers, trees, rocks, crystals, animal figurines, and perhaps a chalkboard drawing on a mini board. Don't be afraid to use ALL the colors of the rainbow!
The Story of the Root Children by Sybill Von Olfers
Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow
Spring, by Gerda Muller
A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
Planting a Rainbow
Pippa & Pelle and the Spring Garden
Thumbelina by Elsa Beskow
Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Kenkes
Have you discovered Toy Making Magic yet? This is an $8 a month toy making subscription service by a fellow Waldorf mama! Definitely look into it.
Unfinished, wooden eggs are in the craft section at Hobby Lobby and Amazon.com. Let kids paint eggs and then create a nest using items from nature.
Use large basin, planting pots, cinder blocks, or whatever materials you have to create a play garden for your child. A pair of gloves, shovel, watering can and seedlings are all that's needed for hours of fun and months of enjoyment! We pulled weeds the other day and rescued worms that were at risk in the sun after we accidentally disturbed theuir home.
The most important thing to do this season is get outside! Don't worry about having the right "toys"! Simply get out in nature and feel the sun on your skin and enjoy the sounds of the new animals, birds, and bees buzzin' in the spring air.
Let me know how I can support your journey whether it's homeschooling, enrichment, daily rhythm, or parenting- I'm here for YOU! Thank you for joining the tribe!
Chelsea Vail, Whole Heart