WALDORF EDUCATION

March 23rd, 2014 | Family, Sunday With Sarah, TV and Media, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

 

This week I answer a question from a viewer.

Angela S. wrote:

What do you do when your spouse isn’t on the same page when it comes to turning off the TV?

My husband is huge into video games and sci-fi movies and TV shows. He loves technology and has made a point that it’s important for children to know how to use technology because it is so prevalent in today’s society and will be for years to come. He has told me that he’s heard from a teacher that those kids [who haven't been exposed to technology] are always behind.

Also, what would be the best thing to do when someone offers to watch our son for us? They are doing us a favor and we feel a bit rude telling them that they can’t have the tv on the whole time. Our son has also come to really love a certain TV show and will beg to watch it and get really upset [if he can't]. He’s almost 20 months old.

I feel like it’s still possible to kick the habit, but how do I get others on the same page? And how do I keep him interested in other things? He also has no patience for being read to.

Click on the video link above to hear my response to Angela.

What is your feeling about young children and screen time? Have you pulled the plug? Thinking about it? Or do you feel that screen time in moderation is not a bad thing? Would love to hear your thoughts and questions!

 

 

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March 16th, 2014 | Family, Homemaking, Parenting, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (15)

 

Sing Through the Day!

After last week’s video in which I talked about the power of verses for easing transitions with children, I had many requests this week to share more verses.

So this week, here are five verses that can be sung during transition times throughout the day. I have printed the words to each below, and you can watch the video to learn the tunes.

And here is a link to an excellent article on how singing to children helps develop language skills. So sing, sing, sing through your days! (Even if you think you can’t.)

I hope you’ll be inspired to incorporate some of these into your days with children.

Good Morning Song

Good morning, dear earth
Good morning, dear sun
Good morning, dear resting stones
And beasts on the run
Good morning, dear flowers
And birds in the trees
Good morning to you, good morning to me!

Clean Up Time

Tick-tock goes the clock
What does it have to say?
Time for us to pick up our toys
and put them all away

(Can be repeated until all the toys are picked up and the room is tidy.)

Folding Laundry

Corner to corner
Meet and greet
Fold our cloth so nice and neat!

(As above, can be repeated until laundry is done.)

Meal Time

Blessings on the blossoms
Blessings on the roots
Blessings on the leaves and stems
Blessings on the fruit

(I always sang this twice with gestures.)

Good-Bye Song

Dear friends, goodbye
Dear friends, goodbye
Now is the time of day
When we all go our way
Dear friends, goodbye
Dear friends, goodbye
Go well and safely
Go well and safely
Go well and safely
Our love be ever with you

Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite verses, blessings, and prayers for children, many of which I’d never heard before. All were delightful. Please keep posting and sharing!

 

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March 9th, 2014 | Family, Gratitude, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (17)

 

Dear Friends,

Has it really been more than three months since I last posted here at Moon Child? Yikes!

Where have I been?

We had a very busy holiday season at Bella Luna Toys in November and December. My staff and I were putting all our time and energy in fulfilling holiday orders. We are grateful to so many of you for your support and being part of Bella Luna’s growth. I hope your holidays were filled with joy and love!

January brought our yearly task of end-of-year inventory, then I took a much-needed vacation to southern California to visit family and friends, and to see my son William who is a freshman at USC.

In February, I traveled to New York City for the NY Toy Fair, where I was excited to discover a bunch of wonderful new natural toys to introduce in 2014. Some have already made an appearance at Bella Luna Toys, so be sure to check out our What’s New? page if you haven’t recently.

The new year also brought the hiring of a new full-time staff member. Amy Sabaka, whom I’ve known ever since my son William and Amy’s daughter Rachel started first grade together at the Ashwood Waldorf School, is now our customer service manager at Bella Luna Toys. Amy was a kindergarten assistant at Ashwood for a number of years and has had a long relationship with Waldorf education, both as a parent and a teacher.

The next time you call Bella Luna Toys, it is likely that Amy will answer the phone. Be sure to say hi!

But now, with the help of Amy and our fantastic operations manager, Rob Wilson, my time is being freed up to get back to the work I love most—blogging, producing my “Sunday With Sarah” video series, and discovering beautiful new toys and products for families to introduce at Bella Luna Toys.

So now that spring is almost here, I am back—refreshed and renewed, and looking forward to reconnecting with you!

Here’s a new “Sunday With Sarah” video for you.

This week’s video is on on the power of verses in transitioning through the day, and for cultivating a sense of reverence and gratitude in young children. I hope you enjoy it!

With love,

 

Here are the verses shared in the video:

CANDLE LIGHTING

Fire spirit, fire sprite
Share with us your golden light
Come for us our candle light!

MEALTIME BLESSING (Can be spoken or sung)

Earth, who gave to us this food
Sun, who made it ripe and good
Dearest earth and dearest sun,
We’ll not forget what you have done.

Blessings on our mealtime and on each other!

REST TIME/BEDTIME VERSE

Now the sun has gone to bed
The stars are shining overhead
In their nests the birds all sleep
Into their homes the snails will creep
Children now no more will roam
It’s rest time (bedtime) now and we’re safe in our home.

Does your family incorporate verses at home? At what times of day? Please share your favorite verses with us here!

 

 

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November 10th, 2013 | bella luna toys, Natural Toys, String Games, Sunday With Sarah, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

 

In this week’s video, I discuss the benefits of string games such as Cat’s Cradle for children’s learning, and why a simple finger string is my favorite stocking stuffer or party favor for children 5 and up.

Did you play Cat’s Cradle or other string games as a child? Does your child play? What are your favorite string games?

 

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October 16th, 2013 | Art, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Hey, Friends! Happy Autumn!

I apologize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Sunday with Sarah” video. I love connecting with you through my weekly video series, but we have been so busy at Bella Luna Toys getting ready for the upcoming holiday season (be on the lookout for the dozens of new natural toys and crafts we will adding for the season!) that it’s been a challenge to find time to turn on my video camera each week.

Hoping to be back with you in video land soon!

In the meantime, I get questions by email weekly about Waldorf education, parenting, and toys. I realized that when one person writes, it is usually with a question that many others share.

So rather than replying privately to individuals, I thought it might be helpful to post those questions and answers here, for others to benefit from.

This week’s question comes from Nicole, a recent LifeWays grad who recently began teaching Parent/Child classes in Florida.

QUESTION:

hello sarah,

i hope you are enjoying the fall in maine. it’s finally beginning to cool here in miami although that means that we have highs in the mid 80′s and low in the high 70′s!
i wanted to introduce crayoning to my mommas in my parent child group this thursday and just happened to read something by barbara dewey that confused me. contrary to what i have learned she says that the young child needs stick crayons to draw those archetypal drawings and block crayons shouldn’t be introduced until first grade. i can see her point as drawing houses, stick figures, etc would be hard with block crayons. now i don’t know what to tell my parents. should i present both sides and allow them to decide? any ideas or thoughts on this topic?
thank you,

Nicole

 

ANSWER:

This is a great question, Nicole! It is a question on which not all Waldorf teachers agree, and one for which there is no clear answer.

In addition to the idea that stick crayons are important for being able to draw archetypal figures (with which I agree), there has also been a lot of research conducted within the last couple of decades that suggests that the use of stick crayons also helps to develop a child’s grip and their pre-writing skills. Developing this “triangular grasp” is also connected with brain development.

On the other hand, block crayons seem to be easier for younger children to hold and they are less likely to break, which is why they were used exclusively in Waldorf early childhood settings for so many years.

From my understanding, block crayons were originally developed for use by Waldorf grade school children over the age of seven to create borders in their main lesson books, as well as wide expanses of color when creating a drawing with sea or sky.

Without a definitive answer, I chose to offer both types of crayons to the children in my kindergarten class, believing that each type of crayon offered benefits and that children would instinctively choose the crayons they needed developmentally.

I found that in most cases children would choose the stick crayons to draw people, animals, trees, and other representational figures. Some of the 5- and 6-year-olds would imitate me as I drew, and use the sides of block crayons to create sea and sky. I found that 3-year-olds tended to gravitate to the block crayons, and you might find that block crayons are more appropriate for the 2- and 3-year-olds in your Parent/Child classes.

Joan Almon, a leading authority on Waldorf early childhood education, wrote the following article which you might find helpful:

Crayons in the Kindergarten: Block or Stick?

Parents and teachers new to Waldorf education often seek “rules” and have the feeling that there is one correct “Waldorf way.” As you delve deeper into this work, you will learn that there are many areas of ambiguity and difference of opinion among Waldorf teachers. It is always best to do what makes sense to you and to have a reason for your choice.

Your choices may change along the way as you learn more, and spend more time observing the children, and that’s okay! One should never let one’s teaching get rigid and bound by “rules.” That kind of teaching is not living and breathing.

Hope this helps. Let me know what information you decide to share with your parents!

With warmest wishes,

 

 

Have a question on Waldorf education, parenting, or play? Leave it here, and I’ll do my best to answer them all in future posts!

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