Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finding playfulness

I just had our parent teacher conference. And every time I attend any meetings that involve Waldorf teachers and what they do it just reinforces why I love this education!  This meeting was no different.

At our conference, the teacher tells me "D is a firecracker!"
(Yes, we all know that) Aside from that, she is very good in the classroom.  She is very organized and can always be depended on to clean up or do whatever task is asked of her.  She's very "buttoned up" so to speak.  You must have chores for her at home?  (Uh, not really.  I mean, yeah, we ask her to clean up after herself but she rarely I'm glad to see that she saves her best for the teacher).  She also is very good at playing with her friends. She likes to direct play.  She can get a bit fiery when things don't go her way, but she doesn't dwell on it.

But this is why I love Waldorf education.  The teacher tells me, "Every day we take a very long walk and it is so good for the children.  I can see it." (Our school operates out of a Wilderness Park, 11 acres of wooded forest)  "And every day we hike up a little hill and the children run down it.  I watch every one of them running down the hill because you can see a lot about a child by how they run down a hill at this age.  I can see that D is very secure in her being and that is good."

I ask her, "Well, what other signs are there that you can read in other children?'  She responds, "Well, for instance if a child is hesitant and a bit cautious then he/she is not quite secure in his/her being and it is my job to help them become secure.  It's very important that children are secure in their being, to have their feet firmly planted on this earth."  I LOVE THAT!

In Steiner philosophy, the first seven years is spent developing the child's will.  That is what the teachers strive for as they watch the children at play.  The rhymes, the stories, the rhythms all are carefully chosen to help develop the child's will.

Another thing that I love that the teacher said is when she sees D acting in a kind fashion, she will whisper in her ear, "The stars will shine brighter tonight because you helped your friend." She actually tells this to all the children at different times when they are kind and she can see that their faces light up.  They hold that thought within their heads and they are proud.  Amazing!  Everything that Waldorf teachers do is to support the child's growth and self-confidence.  Imagine how a child would feel inside when that is whispered in her ear?  A sense of pride and inner joy, I would imagine.  A sense of wanting to do more.

And the teacher says to me, "And I do believe that! The stars do shine brighter.  Essentially what you are telling the child is that the world is a better place because of that act of kindness."  How beautiful is that??!

The meeting concluded with the teacher telling me, "D is very organized, but I see that she is just so serious.  If you can, try to be playful with her.  You live by the beach, take her to the beach and let her frolic in the water!"  When I hear that I say to her, "Yes, D is serious because I am very serious around her...I am hardly playful."  And the teacher says, "Well I am not telling you to change who you are, but it will be helpful for D.  Everyone needs to laugh and have humor. Don't you think?"

Yes! I do think so.  I mean, yes, I give D the death stare when she ever spills anything.  Never mind that she has only been younger than 4 years old.  Oops.

And that is why I also love Waldorf education.  Because there is always room to grow, even as adults and the teachers and their workshops help us to see that.  I've always known that I am too serious around D and have tried to work at not being so strict.  Sometimes I lose sight of my goal.  But now this meeting has just reinforced my drive to be better.

Today, I took D to the beach with a friend.  We dug in the sand, they went in the water and when D asked for a piggy back ride with a full run...several times, I did it.

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