The Art of Story Telling to the Preschool Child

Contributed by Sarah Wiberg (Parent-Child Class Teacher)

& Nancy St. Vincent (Early Childhood Class Teacher)

Waldorf story telling captivates preschool children

Preschool Puppets

One special part of a Waldorf Early Childhood experience is the use of puppetry to tell a story. The teacher is able to express a variety of deep story themes and soul moods with the simplest of gestures.  The magic for the viewer, whether they are young or old, is that the atmosphere surrounding the story is held with complete reverence and respect.  Lighting a candle and singing a simple song marks the beginning of this special time.

Engaging imagination in a preschool child

Stories rich in language and archetypical characters lay the foundation for creativity and imaginative thinking in the child. Colored silks and wools are used to reflect the seasons and the gestures of these archetypal figures.  Puppets that are lovingly handmade bring the story to life. The puppets are often without faces so the child is free to have their individual experience of the story.  The puppets and the props for the story are made from natural materials such as wool, silk, and wood.  This connects the child to the natural world. Stories follow the characters as they experience joy as well as struggles.  The characters are always able to find their way to the safety of home.  This is a very comforting message. The life of a young child can have many challenges and they need to know that they have a safe and secure place to return to.

Experience the Waldorf way of story telling with your child

Every year, the early childhood faculty at Meadowbrook Waldorf School present a marionette or puppet show for Holiday Faire visitors. This event allows parents a peek into the special world that their children get to experience, and for children and adults who have never seen it before, an opportunity to connect with something truly magical.  We invite you and your child to experience the wonder of story telling and puppetry at the upcoming Holiday Faire.  Please come to witness this simple, beautiful gift.

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Come join in the 2014 festivities at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire.

Friday, November 21rd from 6-9 PM (Adults’ Night)

Saturday, November 22th from 10-4 (Family Day) 

Time for Tea

Sarah Wiberg leads the Meadowlark Parent Child class. Here she shares her thoughts on taking time to reflect.

Create moments of inner peace, distinguish the essential from the inessential.                               ~ Rudolph Steiner

I recently came across a pile of tea cups that I had collected over the summer. My intention was for us to have tea during the Meadowlark Parent-Child classes. The idea seemed like a perfect way to encourage what I hope for the class; a calm, quiet, relaxing environment for both the parent and child.  Isn’t it funny how our best intentions can get sidetracked? It reminded me of a comment a good friend said to me, “Should I even offer you a cup of tea, because you never drink it.” And she was right. Every time she made me a cup of tea I never sat long enough to enjoy it. I would easily get distracted and end up with a cup of cold tea. I could blame that on my children but I think I was that way long before them.

It is my very active practice now to sit long enough to enjoy what I have before me; a meal, a game with my children, a book, and a cup of tea. It is too easy to become distracted by the list of chores or commitments that need to be accomplished for the day. I have a picture in my head of who I want to be and that person recognizes the gift of a quiet mind.

For the Meadowlark class I picture a quiet, peaceful room where parents are able to sit, observe, reflect and feel the joy of their child. This peaceful place is possible if we practice the art of being quiet in multiple ways. If we are quiet in our thoughts and bodies our children will respond, their play reflects the environment that they are in. If we are easily distracted, they will be too. If we are calm with focused intentions then our children will feel peaceful and focused too. This brings about purposeful play where children can develop their own capacities such as being able to follow through with an idea.

This class is also a time when we can talk as adults. We may not want our children to overhear these conversations so we can try to be mindful and connect during outside playtime where our voices are not enclosed by the room. Being able to talk freely and share our daily joys and struggles helps us move out peacefully into the rest of our day.

Let’s see if we can get our lives to a place where we can all have a cup of tea … and finish it!



Kindergarten Comes to Casey Farm

Jane Francis, or Miss Jane as she in known to the children of Primrose class wrote this piece about her experience taking Meadowbrook into the community with Kim Eccleston, who Miss Kim of the  Morning Glory early childhood class.
Meadowbrook Waldorf kindergarten made some new friends at the farmers market recently.  I wonder if you saw us at Casey Farm and came over to our “tent” to say hello?

Many young children brought their parents in to play in the “kitchen” or under the silk “roof”; to take care of our beautiful dolls or just relax in the big bean bag chair.  We had boys and girls cooking up delicious meals at the stove , working hard –all around the market – with the wooden wheelbarrow, setting up scenes with  our wooden animals and people; some were sailing away on the rocking board or setting up house, complete with bunk beds.

Everyone played so well together –  a lovely morning had by all.

In the middle of the morning we even had time for a puppet show.  Everyone sat and relaxed while Kim enchanted us with a tale of a very wise little girl (Mashenka) who made a plan to get back to her loving home, when a large bear had other ideas!

We talked to parents about the type of kindergarten experience they want for their young children:  warm teachers, safe atmosphere, plenty of time outside, good food, imaginative and creative play. All in all a good foundation for the academic work of the grade school.  Others were interested in our School Fairs and in the handwork groups for adults – knitting, felting and doll making seemed to be favorites.  Others wanted to know if we have a summer camp (we do!).

We were inspired by all the interest and questions.  Many thanks to Bevan Linsley, the Coastal Growers’ Market and Casey Farm for hosting us, we hope to return soon.


The Illusion of MORE

From time to time, I open up the contents of my childrens lunch box to find a great article from their teacher.

This one was from my son’s early childhood teacher, entitled TOYS ARE NOT US by Thomas Poplawski.

These articles are a great reminder for me, and so helpful in supporting me to be a more conscious Waldorf parent because… god knows I cheat (I know my childrens teachers know I cheat too). I think they also realize that to be a parent in today’s modern world AND a dedicated and completely infallible Waldorf parent is very, very difficult.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget things like the article points out; like reminding us that toys are not a substitute for spending time with our children, or using toys, digital gagets, and TV to occupy them while we get “our time”.   I look around my house and realize that there would be a lot more “room” for creativity with LESS.  That filling rooms and closets with distractions for my children’s play things might just be undermining their creativity altogether. Allowing more outside time with simple tools will make for satisfying play.

Digging Outside

As a family, I’d like to teach my children that “less is more” and to grow up with a consciousness about the difference of NEED VS. WANT, and that feeding a belief that they can find satisfaction with “stuff” will only serve to foster a less desired attitude about living sustainably, and simply in an increasingly complex world.

When I was a kid I had very few toys.  The basement was the place for us to “play” if it rained, and open ended toys were what we had access to:  blocks, books, blankets for forts, a baby doll and some trucks and cars. Birthday’s were “special” because the gifts were few, and very modest.  Having owned a children’s toy store, it was very easy for me to bring home “extras” that never seemed to be a substitute for quality time, nor did they provide much lasting play value.  I’ll admit I’m human, and I too get swept up with the belief that more = better.  It’s time to really tidy up, and as the school year comes to a close, I look forward to releasing the grip on things I’ve continued to stock-pile with a huge summer yard sale and donation bin. I’m done fooling myself that those items should take up valuable real-estate in the landscape of our lives and home.