A book is now available - consolidates and updates much of the past content of this website
Steiner Books or Amazon
Dear friends, about 8 years ago, I started this website as a way to collect and offer articles and resources that came to me from time to time during my teaching at Aurora Waldorf School, at the teacher development courses offered by the Association for a Healing Education, and during my independent summer intensives and workshop visits to other schools. This past year I picked back through all of this semi-organized material and put it into a more coherent format. As a result, a new book titled Educating for Balance and Resilience is now available from Steiner Books/Bell Pond Press. Because it incorporates updated/improved versions of many of the articles that have been on this website, I will be deleting some of the content you've found here in the past, leaving only items that are not in the book. But the remaining content definitely makes a good supplement to the book. Please use the contact page if you have questions or comments about this.
The Pandemic and the “Pedagogical Law”
Helping each other in times of stress
Our time on Earth may include a multitude of joys and pleasures, but the facts of life are that all sorts of individual struggles will be frequent, and then death is eventually a universal experience. The COVID pandemic has created a time when all are suffering together (some more, some less, but none unaffected). A global crisis thus unlike any other we’ve experienced is by nature especially disorienting. I guess you could say it’s “normal to think, say or do normally abnormal things under this type of pressure”. How can we help each other re-find our higher selves?
Rudolf Steiner’s “pedagogical law” – together with his description of the fourfold human being – offers a clear lens on the nature and facets of such shared disorientation, and on how we can help each other to better cope with the emotional aspects of this or any other dramatically changed life circumstances.
Feelings of stress and disorientation are the result of disruption of our “finer bodies” as described by Steiner. Our etheric body, also commonly known as our habit body or body of life forces, is under attack, with sleep problems, upsets to daily rhythms or diet, effects of increased screen time, etc. Our astral body, the body of motion and emotion, is pushed and pulled in many ways, including changes in exercise, reduced socialization, and all the pendulum swings of grieving as described by Maslow. Our ego body, our “self-image”, may be presented with great changes and challenges every single day.
Faith, Love and Hope
In various venues near the end of 1911, Steiner delivered a two-lecture presentation entitled “Faith, Love and Hope: The Third Revelation.” In the first of these, he makes a very meaningful and useful declaration about the anthroposophic terminology most often used to label the finer bodies.
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Jumping rope supports academic and athletic foundations
A guide to early skill development
Jumping rope is such a popular childhood pastime all around the world that it may escape attention just how beneficial this activity can be for the physiological development of growing children, as well as for a school’s academic program. During this period of social distancing it’s especially important to note that jump rope routines can still provide a great curriculum cornerstone. Classes can work in distanced stations with individual ropes, to learn and practice skills and tricks – perhaps even without masks if there is enough space outdoors. And when/where appropriate, groups of three taking turns in long-rope or double dutch skills can maintain at least six feet of separation. Distance restrictions aside, regular periods of learning and practicing in the early grades will always provide your students with a “super boost” of capacity-strengthening benefits, including increased focus and self-regulation, and deeper organization for writing, reading and math capacities. In short, vigorous activity sets the stage for quiet learning.
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Juggling - Steps to success
Distance learning environments take away many possibilities for the development of eye-hand coordination. Linked below are: a video of a juggling progression, and an instruction sheet. Since most students will not have juggling balls at home, I offer an easy homemade alternative that works very well.
Highlighting a few of the resources on this website
Two great articles on development through play & movement
I recently came across these two chapters in a 1984 anthology titled Child's Play and Play Therapy, edited by Anthony D. Pellegrini. If you are searching for ways to answer the frequent questions about movement goals and delaying team sports, I think you will find these both quite helpful. (Click here for a summary chart.)
Motor Development and Children's Play - contains powerful material about developing capacities before specialized skills. —> Read it!
The Young Child's Play and Social and Emotional Development - so often parents need encouragement to remember that ages birth to nine are an important window for development of right-brain skills, and that emphasis during these years on left-brain specialization can cloud this window. —> Read it!
Space is Human
from an article by Paul Matthews
In 1921 Fritz von Bothmer was asked by Rudolf Steiner to develop the gymnastic education at the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart. When Bothmer confessed to feeling somewhat inadequate for the task, Rudolf Steiner simply advised him to “be happy” in his work with the children. That is what he did; and gradually he evolved a series of gymnastic exercises. Bothmer did not start by imposing abstract theories onto movement. He started simply by moving. He started from the one question, “what is true human movement?” and grew from there, as we all can.
—> Read it!