July 30th, 2010 | Photographs | Permalink | Comments (5)

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week, inspired by Amanda Soule. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, join in over at SouleMama.

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July 26th, 2010 | Art, LifeWays, Photographs, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (11)

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching several sessions to LifeWays students who had come to Maine for the east coast training. The experience allowed me to take a welcome break from the endless data entry I’ve been doing to ready the new Bella Luna Toys website. The LifeWays Child Care Training is a comprehensive training to give students the understanding and skills they need to transform themselves and their work with young children, and is inspired by Waldorf education and the insights of Rudolf Steiner. These students teach in Waldorf schools, childhood centers, pre-schools or home programs.

Among the classes I taught were crayon drawing with beeswax block crayons, and wet-on-wet watercolor painting, as practiced in Waldorf education. I had a marvelous week preparing for the class, immersing myself in form and color! With thanks to Madrona Wienges and her camera, I am able to share images of our classes with you.

Sarah Baldwin Teaches Coloring

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings

Coloring with Beeswax Block Crayons

Coloring with Beeswax Crayons

Birthday Pictures

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings

Scott

Painting with Stockmar Watercolor Paint

Waldorf Watercolor Painting

In addition to the Stockmar Beeswax Crayons, Stockmar Watercolor Paint, Waldorf art supplies and the book Painting With Children which are currently available from Bella Luna Toys, I am excited to be introducing new resources for coloring and drawing when the new site goes live. Stay tuned!

Have questions about drawing or painting? Leave them here, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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July 23rd, 2010 | Childhood, Inspiration, Natural Toys, Photographs, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (5)

Right now I am spending every free moment working on the new Bella Luna Toys website, about which I’m all aflutter. I can’t wait for you to see it! As a result, I’ve had very little time to write blog posts.

So here today, inspired by SouleMama, I am sharing Amanda’s Friday ritual. A single photo, no words, capturing a moment. (And, in this case, a sneak peek into what I’ve been working on!)

Wooden Toy Train from Bella Luna Waldorf Toyscopyright Sarah Baldwin, all rights reserved

Wishing you a wonderful summer weekend full of play!

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July 19th, 2010 | Childhood, Play, Sensory Play, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

On Saturday, I stopped by Free-Range Kids, one of my favorite blogs written by Lenore Skenazy, author of the book by the same name. I was delighted to find there a guest post by Mary O’Connell, a colleague and fellow board member of LifeWays North America. Mary offered an essay about the problem she has with sand tables being considered essential pieces of equipment in early childhood classrooms.

You can read Mary’s essay on Free-Range Kids here.

Photo by LaPrimaDonna

I was surprised at how many comments were left in relation to this post over the weekend, and astonished to discover how high emotions seemed to be running in defense of sand tables, and how much vitriol some people expressed toward outdoor sandboxes. Who knew? Readers defended the value of sand tables for giving children valuable sensory input (no argument there), but many of them also bashed sandboxes and playing in dirt as being impractical, messy and unsanitary. Having read most of the 90 follow-up comments, I thought many readers were missing Mary’s point, and offered the following comment of my own:

I am a Waldorf early childhood teacher. My take on the essay was not that Mary was condemning the sand table as detrimental for children, but rather that she was trying to raise our consciousness by asking if we are, in effect, replacing children’s outside play time in nature, by attempting to bring those experiences indoors.

Sand tables seem to have become de rigueur pieces of equipment in early childhood classrooms in recent decades. I’ve used a sand table at times, sometimes filled with sand, sometimes with beans, and the children enjoy it. There is nothing inherently wrong with a sand table (even though, Mary’s right that they DO make a mess!).

But I think that Mary’s point is that they shouldn’t become a substitute for the real thing. Children who are lucky enough to have plenty of time for outdoor play in nature will get all the sensory experiences they need in order to develop healthy brains and bodies — by digging in dirt, playing in sandboxes, wading in water, or climbing trees.

Some of us may teach in urban areas with no outdoor play space (but I wonder how many of us don’t even have a concrete playground with room for a covered sandbox). Some of us may live in apartment high-rises with no yard or outdoor space. If there is not even a park in your neighborhood where children can play outdoors, then a sand table could be considered a necessity. One might also want to have a sand table indoors during the cold winter months when the sandbox is frozen. But, in my opinion, sand table play is no substitute for being outside, digging, and making tunnels and mud pies in real dirt

And as to the animal feces argument against sandbox play, it is so easy to cover a sandbox with a tarp at the end of playtime. The children in my class would help with this task everyday. There are also covered sandboxes which are readily available. [Which I just so happen to carry at Bella Luna Toys!]

Just my two cents in defense of Mary’s original argument.

Dear Readers, have a look at Mary’s essay, and let me know what you think. On which side of the sand table do you stand?

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July 12th, 2010 | Archives | Permalink | Comments (1)

The winner of Making a Family Home by Shannon Honeybloom (chosen at random) is Mia Cavalca who wrote:

While I am not a Waldorf-trained teacher, I have been fortunate over the 15 years I have been in the field of ECE to get to know and become friends with some amazing either Waldorf educators or ECE practitioners who grew up in a Waldorf setting. While my teaching philosophy is eclectic, I take a lot of inspiration from Rudolf Steiner’s ideas (nature, beautiful natural materials, rituals, just to name a few) and continue to read books that are somehow connected to Waldorf-inspired practice. Sharifa Oppenheimer’s book is one of my faves. I regularly follow Shannon’s blog and will add Moon Child to my list, for sure! Would LOVE to add Shannon’s book to my collection of resources and free is good right about now, as I have been without a job for nearly a year. (yay, for california’s budget cuts! not!)

Shannon Honeybloom

Making a Family Home

For those of you who didn’t win, please note that Making a Family Home is available from Moon Child‘s Bookshop listed under the category “Homemaking.”

Thank you to Shannon for the great interview, and for offering a copy of her book!

The winner of a Princess Dress from Sarah’s Silks is Hallie, who wrote (on Not Just Cute‘s blog):

I know two little girls that would just love to have the princess costume or playsilks…the imagination is endless with both!

Sarah's Silks

Princess Dress and Princess Hat from Sarah's Silks

And, finally, the winner of the pair of Play Silks from Sarah’s Silks is Barbara Houck who became a friend of both Bella Luna Toys and Sarah’s Silks on Facebook, and wrote:

Already was a fan of Bella Luna Toys on facebook, but I also just “liked” Sarah’s silks too, so hopefully that means we are also entered into the play silks giveaway!

Play Silks from Sarah's Silks

Thank you to Sarah Lee of Sarah’s Silks for generously donating the giveaway items, thank you to Amanda Morgan for partnering with me, and thanks to all of YOU who entered, visited Shannon’s and Amanda’s blogs, and left your thoughtful comments.

But wait the fun’s not over! There’s one more way to win a free play silk from  Sarah’s Silks. Become the 500th Friend of Bella Luna Toys on Facebook to win! If you become friend #500, leave a comment on our wall to claim your prize.


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