Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring and Me! Weekend Parent and Me Class Los Angeles, CA

Though our Mini May Faire may have been wee, I am replete knowing I pursued a vision of toddlers enjoying a sweet "Mommy and Me" based on Waldorf principles.  Over the course of 6 weeks, our sunflower seeds sprouted and grew so big (and will hopefully flower quite soon).  We learned many fingerplays and poems, made beautiful Spring-inspired artwork together, met baby animals, and made new friends.

We walked around the maypole saying good-bye to our class with this song,

Sow the seeds in the ground below
Add the sun and the rain
Watch a garden grow,
I can see in front of me,
A garden by "Rosie" just as pretty as can be.

(Each child grew a miniature garden in a picnic basket to take home at the last class.)

DIY: to make the Maypole I found a thick stick and nailed ribbons to the top, stuck in a flower pot with soil, and covered with cloth and flowers.

If you are in Los Angeles, please join the next session, visit

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Down to Connection

A genuine love of family, a profound feeling towards children propels my consciousness, guides me through my life's work.  I can't seem to listen to enough (conversations about) children, period.

I have been fortunate to attend two interesting lectures concerning early childhood in the past month.  One with Dr. Reggie Melrose at Maple Village Waldorf School and the other with Polly Elam at the RIE conference.  (I intend to write about those in more detail.)

A practical approach to parenthood and personhood is what I crave from life first and foremost--when I  am not doing it, I am learning about it.  Ultimately, there is a marked difference between knowing about something and being it.

And, though I imagine I will always attend and engage in conversations about the ways to see children and be with them, I probably have most singularly been influenced by my spiritual teacher, David Hawkins.  When asked how to be the best teacher for children, he offers, just love them, they know when you love them, they get it instantly.

When I reflect on what informs or at least navigates my approach, I would say I rely most heavily on an instant connection.  I feel the rainbow bridge, I see One, when I look into the eyes of my young friends.

Very grateful to pause for a moment and acknowledge that I am in the vortex of what I want to be when I grow up.  

I suppose out of love arises all of the right suggestions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

'Tis A Gift To Be Simple, 'Tis A Gift To Be Free

I am a huge fan of mermaids (luckily so is my child), and I have grown to have a deep appreciation for handmade dolls = win, win.  Thus, I am compelled to share Julie's Meltdown Monday Giveaway, where one lucky person takes home this beautiful handmade doll.  Dolls made from natural material with limited facial expression are tradition in Waldorf Early Education.  In this way, the children can project their own feelings and experiences onto the doll.  Also, recommended is to only give children one doll.  Let it be a mermaid!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.

My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I...
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky

We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood...
My kitchen wasn't swept today
But life was gay and good.

We found a cool, sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest,
Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.

We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill...
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,
We plucked a daffodil.

That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth
Will know, or even care.

But that I've helped my little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years, the whole wide world
May look and see and know.

(I Took His Hand and Followed, Mrs. Roy L. Peifer)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joe Newman: The Antidote

Is it just me, or does my parenting stink?--no, there's a whole room of us well-meaning parents and teachers who have raised lions and become lambs!  I went to a game-changing lecture, Raising Lions, at the local Waldorf School yesterday, and I literally feel it was the answers to my prayers.

Firstly, I was able to implicitly trust the messenger as it was part of a paradigm that I implicitly trust--Waldorf education.  I have admittedly become hardened to even renowned parent educators--something is always not perfect--it sounds good and then doesn't play out so neatly for us.

Secondly, because it addressed a problem, the elephant, that no one in my community seems to talk about--the errors (devastating sometimes) of too much honoring and no consequences.

"Current child rearing techniques seek to develop children who are confident, self-assured and unafraid to speak their minds--lions instead of lambs.  Although largely positive, this shift has brought with it some very serious problems in the area of behavior disorders.  Without going back to an authoritarian model, Joe Newman has developed new ways of helping children develop the ability to self-regulate without undermining confidence and individuality."

The 24 hours that followed the lecture, I have practiced what Joe recommends, and they have been the least complex and healthiest of all my recent parenting hours--second to those beautiful moments of connection of course.

Thank you Joe, and thank you Highland Hall families and teachers for being so honest and unabashed about the morning fights, getting ready for school and teachers for airing your frustrations with certain students.  What an endearing room, no politically correct parenting auras, just a sincere desire for growth and development.

I recommend Joe's book, Raising Lions, it is, in my experience, the perfect platform for being the parent and not the inner child.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Spade A Spade

Maybe "genius" for me has lost its original intended meaning--the weight, profundity, the gasp.  My way of recognizing genius is its fruit.  All of humanity  gets such a sweeping non-linear, formless gift that we all get to jump into a new paradigm of thought and behavior.  Many of us are not cognizant where the shift began or when, and we are sometimes unaware that yes, we have just collectively and impersonally made the shift.

I had heard a lot about Sally Goddard Blythe from the Brain Gym community and her work with autism and primitive reflexes.  For whatever reason (it took years) I am finally reading one of her books.

I am compelled to share the first page, the dedication page, from her book, The Well Balanced Child: Movement and Early Learning (Hawthorn Press Early Years).  Genteel, intelligent and sophisticated, this is what genius sounds like, this is how genius behaves and makes you feel.  This dedication could be about anyone in any field, at any time, it is irrefutable and universal, and it happens before she even gets into the gift or content of this book, before her sweeping work in neurophysiology and neural psychology:

Over the last 15 years I have been particularly lucky to meet men and women who were world experts in their field.  These were people of extraordinary intellectual and creative stature--pioneers who had spent a lifetime developing and testing their ideas.

Their published works often showed only a fraction of their thinking.  In hearing them lecture and in discussing ideas with them, I have learned more than in a thousand pages of reading.  With each one, I was struck by how these most brilliant of minds never belittled the ideas of others, and I have constantly been reminded that ideas are rarely born of individuals; rather, they are conceived as a result of thoughts and discussions shared.  In other words, creativity is usually born from shared experience and the sparks that fly between.

This book is dedicated to all the men and women of ideas who have shared their thoughts and wisdom, and by so doing allowed the knowledge of today to be, and the dreams for tomorrow to exist.