How have I come to be who I am? Does my life, and the relationships I form within it have lasting meaning? Each of us is born into a specific life situation, a set of seemingly random circumstances encompassing gender, inherited genetic and ethnic traits, a social grouping that may – or may not, help us to thrive. While the nature-nurture debate rages on we all know of instances, perhaps within our own families where similar life situations produce very different individuals leading very different lives. In her new book, Why on Earth: Biography and the Practice of Human Becoming, Signe Elkund Schaefer explores the idea that each of our lives expresses a uniqueness of spiritual intention within the unfolding of universal rhythms and possibilities. What mysteries are at work in the development of human consciousness, in the unfolding of history, in the evolution of the universe? Continue reading →
Since we no longer have television in our home, friends often ask me how my kids stay “busy” and entertained. I’ve decided to post about some of the activities, games and toys we have around the house that keep them engaged along with products I personally love.
Marble Runs: One of the toys and activities that have endless entertainment value for boys and girls of all ages are Marble Runs. You don’t have to start with a big expensive set, add-on kits are always available and are a great suggestion when friends and family are stuck for gift ideas. If you are handy you can make your own or watch as your child creates all kinds of clever inventions using ordinary objects as inspiration – hours of entertainment.
DIY Kits: Now that my children are more independent they love to sit down with an activity that they can accomplish on their own, and I love the Do it Yourself kits that come packaged with instructions. It’s also simple to create your own, package it, and write your own instructions. You can find tons of DIY ideas on Pinterest by searching DIY, and then clicking “through” the actual image to the originating website. I love this clever DIY gift that was made for fort enthusiasts, an assortment of fort building supplies in a canvas bag with a home printed label attached.
Felting Projects: Each Fall we usually pull out our big basket of felting supplies, the wooly puffs of rainbow colors are lovely on a gray day. My kids love to work on felting projects while they listen to stories. Felting has two benefits – like any craft the activity itself is soothing and fun, then the end product can be given as gifts to friends or grandparents. Each year I try to add some more wool, needles, or felting books for our collection. For ‘new felters’ you can get special protected needles so that they don’t stick themselves and forms such as cookie cutters which can also keep fingers safe. For the very young, a kit for wet-felting is a fun way to start.
Dress Up Box: So many parents I know have told me that their kids enjoy dressing up all throughout their childhood. The younger kids love the pretend play aspect of Knights and Fairies, while older children might like the challenge of putting on a play or performance with accessories of all kinds. Think about adding to your collection of dress up to make it fresh and inspiring again by taking a browse inside a vintage store where you might pick up an inexpensive hat or a magnificent frock for the kids. Challenge them by having them create a theatrical performance -complete with scripts, props, and scenery. Invite friends over to watch the performance!
Blocks, Blocks, Blocks and More Blocks: The play value of blocks is endless and our family has bins of various shapes, sizes, and brands. Whenever I can add to the collection with a set that gives it some new dimension. I am particularly fond of blocks from Grimms Toys (Germany) . I love the colors and shapes, and pairing blocks with wooden animals, dolls, or felted creatures can be great fun. My kids also love to partner blocks with silks (also a must for the dress up box!) so that they create landscapes, or use them as a covering to make caves where little creatures can burrow.
Blocks make great roadways for cars, amazing structural support for marble runs, or just for plain good old-fashioned architectural design!
These are the reflections of Tabitha Jorgensen who joined the Meadowbrook Waldorf School community more than 12 years ago when her eldest son began kindergarten. He has since graduated from high school but Tabitha has three younger children at the Meadowbrook. She is currently the Enrollment Coordinator and Latin teacher.
So I decided to climb a mountain for my 40th birthday. Not a small mountain, but Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. A sleep outside for 9 nights, no running water, altitude sickness, sub-zero at the top kind of a mountain.
Why would I want to do this you may ask? A legitimate question – when I invited my sister to come with me, she responded that for her 40th we would be doing something sensible like drinking wine in Italy. She, of course came out obligation and duty. But truly, as this birthday approached, I could feel my life changing in profound ways. Continue reading →
I originally wrote this piece for Of Dragons and Angels. The children have pseudonyms because this is not their story; it is my story of being a parent. This the sixth year of my journey as a Meadowbrook parent and I am continually delighted by, and grateful for my fellow travelers. A heartfelt ‘Thank You ‘to all who share this path. Beth Riungu.
On a golden, play-filled, end of summer day my daughter turned nine. Packing the picnic things ready for home I became aware of her running at the edge of the park. A game of hide and seek I think, her lengthening shadow flitting between the trees. The still green leaves seem to hold their breath, reminded by early evening’s crimson tones that a change of season is at hand. I feel it too.
Parents at Waldorf schools hear much about the Nine Year Change; a distinct developmental phase characterized by the child’s more realistic or critical outlook as he begins to move away from the dreamy world of early childhood. Class teachers prepare us to recognize the child’s growing consciousness of his individuality; of being part of the family and the world yet separate from both. We are given notice of the unsettling new realities both we and our child will experience with this realization of Self and the ambivalent yearning for independence it may provoke.