CREATING A STEINER PLAYGROUP

From http://www.steiner-australia.org/other/playgroup.html

Guidelines for Working with Parents and Being with

Very Young Children (Under Fives) -

By Kim Billington

E-mail kim.billington@melbourne.vic.gov.au

From Steiner Schools in Australia
(
www.steiner-australia.org)

Notes from a lecture by Kim Billington December 1991, Warranwood, VIC.

(Revised in September 2001).

The basic elements that make up a Steiner Playgroup can be listed and described quite specifically in terms of guidelines for the environment, mood, routine, rituals, toys, songs, stories and such. However, without an understanding of ‘why’ things are done in a certain way, parents are unable to make the most of their playgroup experience and ‘take home’ with consciousness what playgroup has to offer.

This paper will describe both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of some aspects of Steiner Education with 1 to 4 year olds and their parents. Indications about the nature and needs of the small child set out below are drawn from several years work with families in Steiner Playgroups, from study groups of books and lectures, and from various workshops and conferences specifically about Steiner Education with the very young. Elisabeth Moor-Haas and Joan Almon are two experienced Steiner educators who have helped clarify for me and put into practice some of Dr Steiner’s Anthroposophical understanding of the small child. However, it is up to each individual to renew this knowledge for themselves, to read more about things not intuitively obvious, and to try out these indications and feel the benefits. Only with effort will understanding follow.

A Steiner Playgroup is fundamentally a place of heightened adult consciousness. The adult is fully awake, the child is in ‘dream consciousness’. The adult’s nature is to experience the world through the intellect with such ponderings as, "How can I improve life?" and "What does this child need to grow into a healthy older child?" The young child’s nature is to experience, explore and come to know the world through the senses and by physically ‘doing’. To grasp this premise and use it as a guide in our work is essential to the practical application of Steiner’s Philosophy.

At playgroup, the environment is prepared to meet the child’s nature and needs. There is no intentional teaching, which will prematurely stimulate the intellect. Their dream-quality and timelessness is nurtured in a rhythmic and joyous environment, together with other families who are also striving for a more wholesome and quality space for their children.

The following guidelines are not to be accepted as a dogma, but as suggestive possibilities based on Rudolf Steiner’s indications of early childhood development and their needs. In freedom they are offered and it is hoped that each playgroup leader will develop their own qualities based on the eternal human quest: Who am I? What are my gifts? What can I do to help those around me?

The aim of Steiner Playgroups is to develop a sanctuary of safe play for children and an oasis of peace and friendship for parents. The child needs to experience and live in an environment where goodness is personified - where adults can carry the child with a kind of reverence, where the child senses, "I can trust this adult. It is safe to be here. I do not need to fear and withdraw."

Parents

The creation of a joyous playgroup comes out of a striving by parents to understand their children, themselves and others. This is the beginning of a process of self-education that Dr Steiner believed is vital for those working with young children.

There is a tendency at playgroup for parents to let go too much, as the need to make the most of the adult company is often strong. However, we must strive to find a balance between our adult social needs, and an awareness of what is happening around the children. This consciousness is what creates a nurturing, safe and warm mood. The songs, stories or the venue are secondary to the influence of what we as adults through our self-discipline, bring to the group.

It should be remembered that to bring 2 to 4 year olds together in a structured group setting is not natural, and thus any child who finds such arrangements unpleasant should not be encouraged to come. When the primary motivating need is for a parent to have social contact, casual ‘coffee mornings’ can be arranged, where just a few children attend, instead of 7 or 8. These families can be invited to end of term picnics or other outings so that no one feels left out.

Venue

Young children are best in a "home like" environment, which means a building that the adults care for like their own home. The adults need to love and embrace the building. Honest, simple and homely activities such as sweeping, cleaning, dusting and gardening, done with care and devotion, certainly help foster good feelings about most venues.

Unattractive walls or corners can be draped with pastel dyed muslin cloth to ‘soften’ them. Posters or other wall fixtures are better avoided. Plain and simple decor with a soft, warm feels are best. Too high ceilings can be ‘lowered’ with draped muslin lengths, and large glaringly bright windows softened with the same materials. Wooden floors may need rugs to reduce noise and create a warmer feel, which enhances sustained creative play.

Fresh flowers and plants are just wonderful gifts from nature to help create the right mood of life, love and joy. They are especially good for the story corner, where a table and the storyteller’s chair may be found. On the table can be a candle and snuffer (blowing out is not advised a~ it disperses the mood created by the story). Different cloths for each season can help develop our adult sensitivity to the changing rhythms in nature. Some add a shell or a gemstone to represent the animal or mineral kingdoms. Others have a print of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna which Dr Steiner felt was a special picture for those working with the young. It gives an artistic image of the celestial joy of angels with the birth of a child and so much more. Unfortunately, this is often misinterpreted as some kind of religious statement. However, it could well be brought out on a child’s birthday and during Advent without adults feeling uncomfortable.

Administration

FOR AUSTRALIA: We strongly recommend that groups belong to their State ‘Playgroup Association’ as they offer excellent insurance cover[...]. Subscription to ‘Star Weavings’ is also recommended. ‘Star Weavings’ is a very informative newsletter produced twice a year by the Australian Association For Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education. This magazine contains valuable resources of songs, stories, articles and information about conferences, books and such. Subscription is $45 for 4 issues over 2 years. Please make cheques payable to ‘Star Weavings’, Star Weavings, PO Box 446, Samford, QLD 4520, Phone: +61 7 3289 3602 email: avenuesforchange@gmail.com

The Australian Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education welcomes membership - contact Heather van Zyl, P 0 Box 449, Bowral 2576, enquiries to the secretary Renata Long-Breipohl, 44 Manor Road, Hornsby 2077, Telephone 02 9476 6222.

FOR ALL:

Playgroup leaders who also have their own toddlers with them can be nurtured by creating a ‘mid- term break’. I have found 8-week terms to be essential for my mental and physical well being! Wages and rent too need to be seriously regarded, and a commitment by parents to pay for a term, in advance, to cover costs. Consider an adequate fee for an 8 week term which covers venue, song sheets, tea and coffee, wages, rent for a 7 to 8 family group.  [In 2009,  groups range from $100 – 150 for 8 weeks.]

Toys

Natural materials are provided at playgroup because they have an inherent beauty, character and history, which leads to wonder and wisdom. For example, a seashell or a seedpod has arrived with the creator’s imprint on them and not a corporate logo. Thus what is experienced at playgroup will slowly, slowly awaken a sense of wonder and a sense of what is beautiful and what is good. Such materials can be used in free play as food, characters, to decorate pretend cakes and so on. Wool-scraps are often the most sought-after playthings with 3-year-olds.

Small cars are not so good as they tend to be the centre of ‘ownership’ play. Rocking horses are wonderful, as rhythmic movement is so soothing. They are especially useful if children have just had a long drive to playgroup.

Knitted and wooden animals are good, especially if they are not too formed or detailed, that is, with some features left to the imagination. Tumbling men that rock from side to side as they travel down a wooden length, and other toys that need the child’s physical action to create the game are good, knitted balls, pop-up-puppets, pull-along ducks etc. However, the room ought not to be overcrowded with toys, which is a common sight in many children’s environments in our materialistic age.

Pottery, wooden or metal teapots, jugs and cups help foster creative play, as does a play stand or two to enable the building of cubbies (see Freya Jaffke’s book, Toymaking). Cubbies need many large cloths in muslin, cotton or silk, with a wide variety of colours, excluding black or brown, as they are too heavy for the consciousness of the small child. Silk or cotton capes are good dress-ups for the imaginative 4-year-olds. Cane hoops and wooden spinning tops also challenge the skills of older children.

Handmade dolls, dolls’ clothes with buttons or press-studs rather than velcro, and a cradle and blankets bring about much valuable play also. Dolls thrown about or left lying on the floor should be quietly and carefully picked up, wrapped and put in a cradle. Try not to say, "Poor doll" etc which brings a moralising tone to the experience. Sentimentality has no place in the child’s world.

Block play is often wonderfully creative, and off cuts from the wood box are better than machine made manufactured toy blocks. The off cuts are more ‘organic’ in shape and better for the child’s own organic development. Great big stumps and unusual shaped pieces are good. The sandpapering and waxing of blocks is a healthy, natural activity too.

Sandpit play is a place for rich imaginative play. Real tablespoons, muffin trays, metal egg cups, saucepans and trays together with wooden off-cuts and perhaps a few trowels for digging have proved invaluable over the years. In the summer months, the children can have access to a tap and watering cans too. If parents are close by with their drinks or sewing, then supervision is there. The children need to feel a supportive mantle of awareness and care from all the adults rather than an authoritative adult dominance. Simple rules, phrased in the positive are enough: "Lets care for our friends and keep the sand in the sandpit". This works better than "Stop throwing sand!"

Play

Elisabeth Moor-Hass was adamant that we must not get down and play with the child, as our adult work is our serious work, and for the child their play is their serious work. To pretend to play with their toys can be quite false. Thus the children should be left to create their own play as far as possible. However, nowadays, some children may need a brief yet rich "show-me-how". For example, the blocks and animals may be partly arranged to invite and inspire those not yet using imaginative play. A spontaneous story could be told using them.

Grown up work has certain aims, motivations and end products that are not visible in the child’s play. The mood of devotion to our tasks, near to where children are at play can ‘carry’ to the children, and help them become engrossed in their ‘work’. They may wish to help the adult, but this is often not possible, and it is fine to say, "Yes come and look, and one day at kinder you may prepare the fruit, and now I am doing it." We must be strong and patient enough to allow the child to go through periods of frustration before they achieve depth and satisfaction in their play, rather than us intervening too early because the child appears ‘bored’. The short term ‘peace’ is a poor compromise for long-term free play skills. Delayed gratification is a useful capacity to nurture. "I will come soon." or "It is your turn next" are helpful phrases.

Children will often act out something they have seen or heard and their power of imitation astounds the adults. This is because the child’s capacity to imitate is more than merely copying, it is a ‘secret’, and it is deeper than we can grasp. The child’s whole inner urge is to be alike, to be at one with the environment. They need plenty of unhurried time, some safe space and a mood conducive to this imaginative, imitative play. Thus they need to be surrounded by adults whose actions (and feelings and thoughts) are worthy of imitation.

The time for indoor play is a most important feature of Steiner Playgroups because this is a precious time for the child to enter into true, free, creative play. The outdoor time is often quite full of running from here to there, and is not helping the child’s will forces to find healthy channels. Thus, about three quarters of an hour is a good length of time to allow for the development of quiet, concentrated indoor free play. This is best at the commencement of the session. The term ‘free play’ indicates no adult directives. Children need to learn not to depend on adults for their play.

Loud and boisterous ‘car’ or ‘wild animal’ games and wrestling are best quickly and quietly diverted, as these are rarely creative and generally disruptive. However, it is a myth that only ‘gentle’ play goes on in Steiner Playgroups! We must rejoice in the liveliness of our young and use our intuition to guide our actions, rather than embarrassment in front of our peers, when responding to undesirable behaviour.

Tidy up time is a beautiful activity if approached with the same feeling of devotion and reverence as previously mentioned. There is no need to call out "Tidy up time!", but one or two adults begin to slowly and gently pack away at the same time each session. This timing is crucial to the child’s learning processes. Within a few weeks, the children will begin to tidy up at that time spontaneously, so strong is their learning through rhythm and routine.

Routine and Mood

Humans have a strong tendency to form habits, as do many animals. This can help or hinder us depending on our level of consciousness. Whatever is done on day one of playgroup sets the scene for the rest of the sessions. So we must think out carefully the morning routine and how transitions will be made. However, no matter how permanent the routine is, each session will be magically different, reflecting the ever-changing nature of life.

If the person opening up is always early, and begins to arrange things with slow, careful and loving movements, when others arrive, playgroup begins with a feeling of calm and order. There is no hurry or confusion rather, goodwill and joy can be felt. This atmosphere is both rare and precious in modern life and is easily lost amid loud gossip or sensational entrances by new arrivals. Our task is to be ever sensitive to the mood we are trying to create. We have the power to create harmony as we consciously prepare a room for any gathering. It can help to wear a flowing skirt rather than trousers or shorts as we are forced to walk more slowly and thus become more aware of our gestures as we enter the space. It isn't necessary to wear a skirt, but it MAY help to be more gentle.

The mood changes as the morning progresses and a kind of ‘breathing’ takes place. During the indoor play time, if the children are playing seriously and creatively, there will be an ‘in’ breathing, and when they begin to prepare morning tea, wash hands there is an ‘out’ breathing. As the circle is formed and the blessing is sung an ‘in’ breathing is felt. Then ‘out’ for outdoor play, and ‘in’ for the songs and story. The program of activity should take into account the need to have this breathing process in a flowing and harmonious manner. Dr Steiner said that education means learning how to breathe, and children are particularly responsive to such arrangements of their day.

Children soon learn there are times to be excited and times to be still, times to sit next to others and times to be alone. Playgroup is also helpful for children to develop the habit of hand washing before cooking or eating, wearing sunhats for outdoor play and such. They do not need to rebel against doing "as they are told," for the routine of the desired action directs and strengthens their will.

Each playgroup will have its own routine and flow, but it should remain constant all year, along with the arrangement of the room and the chosen ‘blessings’ with the meal.

Most children love the ritual of morning tea. At Playgroup the children happily wash and dry hands around a communal bowl and then sit in a circle, holding hands, quietly waiting for the others to come. A plate of carefully arranged fruit, is placed before them. A verse is sung in which we give thanks to the sun, earth and rain for our food. The meal is then shared with a mood of celebration and peace. Parents eat the fruit too and have a quiet ‘cuppa’.

At home time, a verse is sung (but not too sad!) and we say goodbye until next week.

Parents are encouraged not to linger and chat, as the playgroup leaders usually have those 1001 things to do and the children are normally hungry for lunch and ready to go. Leaving quietly allows the special mood to be carried home.

Songs

Singing is a listening activity. This is most important to understand. Singing is a very deep process and our ‘awake consciousness’ when singing can enrich the experience.

The child has come from the heavenly realm and needs sweet, high, soft tones; preferably pentatonic and without minor chords, descending notes, solemn, sad tunes and other earthly and mature qualities. Lively folk-dances or similar tunes can make the children too excited, and are not appropriate for playgroup. So what does one look for?

Joyful and pretty melodies are best. Quality, beauty, and a sense of richness or truth is a good guide. Seasonal songs are fine, but they must be worthy of repeated singing, week after week for a term. They must not be chosen to ‘teach’ some aspect of the season; this is better left for the primary years. The song (or verse) should feel as though it is nourishing something within. Songs about fire trucks, bicycles and such, are only superficially amusing and have no depth and because children are so open to absorbing everything totally, the songs must be chosen well. (Reference: ‘Songs & Stories Together’)

Often a nursery rhyme with its humour, history and wisdom is ‘safe’. (However, they are often sung with the ‘beat’ too emphasised for this age, and a more ‘floating’ quality is needed). A lullaby is wonderful if sung just before the circle dance or story, as it brings such a feeling of peace and calm, that the children are ready with new concentration to begin their next experience. If sung slowly and softly as the children snuggle under blankets on the parent’s laps, this can become a very special time for the parent and child.

Circle dances should move slowly to the left (towards the heart) without marching beats or hopping, which belong with the child of the next stage of consciousness.

Artistic body movements are often included, as are finger plays. However these must be slow. Realism is to be avoided, and an ‘archetypal’ gesture is preferred. The songs are best sung quite slowly so that little eyes, ears and arms have a chance to keep up. If the adults remember to be listening at song time, then the music will sound gentle and soft, sweet and joyful.

We must be sensitive to those children who often wish to be observers only. That is fine! Participation must only be by free choice without coercion. Handholding is also quite a difficult experience for some children, as is singling out of children, which is not recommended until later. Some children sing all the songs at home but not during the group - all this is normal! Other children may be loud to get attention - that is fine too, just smile lovingly at them and then look away for a while. Keep a warmth of heart for them!

Song sheets for parents to take home are great, as the other parent or grandparents can learn and sing along too! The morning verse is best kept for the year, with other songs changed with each term. To alternate a rhyme and then a song is a good way of arranging the selected pieces, and again, this brings that breathing quality to the song time. Playgroup leaders often meet before each new term to share ideas, seasonal songs and stories.

Musical instruments are not necessary. Guitars become physical barriers to the flow of energy, and recorders can bring too much of the adult’s personality into the space. Again, they are better experienced in the primary years. The ‘child’s harp’, or lyre is often used in Steiner Kindergartens to indicate the beginning of song time or story time, but generally not used to accompany singing. If used, it must be kept in excellent tune. If in doubt, rely on the best instrument of all the human voice! The quality of a voice is not dependent on it’s tunefulness but on the love and joy inside the singer. Singing slowly and softly, with devotion, will certainly bring forth a lovely tone. Audiocassettes are the antithesis of the Steiner philosophy. Children need to experience the life of real human souls in their world.

Storytelling

The story chosen must ‘speak’ to the teller, ‘touch’ something within him, and be age appropriate. Then it can be inwardly prepared in the teller’s mind through a process of picture images, sequence flow etc. If memorised well with several practice tellings, when told slowly, with care, the story will ‘speak’ to the child in a deep way. Stories may be traditional, such as Goldilocks, or one of the Brothers Grimm’s such as Sweet Porridge, or a Once, when I was only a little older than you…, or nature stories where the flower speaks to the bee and such. Rhyming stories using the toys from the environment are especially successful with 1 to 3 year olds as at this age, the ‘free-imagination’ is still evolving and the visual ‘puppets’-style meets their need to see and afterwards touch it all! (Ref: ‘Songs & Stories Together’).

Each retelling of the same story over the term should be done with care and freshness. Exaggerated facial expressions or body movements must be avoided, as must any dramatic voice change... even if the wolf is talking!

To be aware of the dream quality of the child’s soul and the mood being created is a vital task of the teller. Also, to remember that the children ‘drink us up’, especially during such rituals. They have the capacity to live into what is deep within us: our motivations, fears, feelings and such. Thus we must only tell stories to children with the purest of intentions, and with the knowledge that far more than our words are absorbed by the children. The careful way we touch and fold up a story cloth speaks volumes. We do not externally ‘teach’ anything at playgroup, but the children and parents ‘learn’ so much in the atmosphere created.

Television

Separate articles and books are available about television and its harmful effects on the small child. Even half an hour a day can destroy the child’s capacity to create imaginative mental pictures, which they need for later intellectual work, and to truly enjoy the wealth of stories Steiner Schools give to children. We must avoid introducing the habit of TV watching to our children, or the need to seek for external sources of entertainment. These habits are most damaging in later years and rob the young child of hours and hours of irreplaceable time to play.

Activities

Normal playgroups are full of gluing, cutting, painting and such. They really are time fillers, to occupy the children and to fulfil the parent’s need to have something produced at the end of the session, or to have some skill taught such as ‘able to cut with scissors’!

My recommendation is that with children under four years, only the adults have prearranged activities. These may be sewing or knitting little felt or wooden toys, brought out during the first half-hour of each session as the children are busy with their indoor play. (See craft items in ‘Songs and Stories Together’) By modelling healthy and honest work a moral atmosphere is created.

At Steiner Playgroups with 4 year olds, home based activities are chosen because they are true images of work. Cooking, cleaning and gardening with the occasional festival activity such as making Christmas crackers, lavender bags or painting blown eggs are some of the experiences children enjoy. Tying pre-cut crepe paper strips to fallen twigs to fly in the winds is a wonderful springtime activity, and gathering dead firewood in the bush to create a roaring fire for a mid winter festival is also satisfying. Washing parents’ cars, or fleece (to stuff knitted toys) or dolls’ clothes; polishing blocks, dusting shelves and squeezing oranges, are not just fun - they are really useful and honest activities. As a rule, play dough or threading macaroni necklaces are avoided as they model the use of food for play. Far better for children to work their hands, kneading the mixture, to make bread to eat. These activities can be done side-by-side with the parent and often little siblings.

It must be remembered that these are adult-contrived, structured activities with external adult expectations and imposed purpose. They should really only be done because the adults are delighted to be involved in them in an artistic and soul-filled way. From this, the child feels free to also joyfully participate. At this young age there ought to be no compulsion or coercion but free imitation of an adult’s example.

Wet-on-wet painting and beeswax modelling are healthy for the older children if the deep process and not the ‘formed’ product is the motivation. There is a strong tendency for today’s parents to begin to formalise these experiences with concept questions and information, such as "What colour is....?" Or "That is a .... (type) flower", or "See what happens when...", or "What will happen next?" It is really important to allow the small child space to experience life without this early intellectual stimulation; without going to the library to get books about this and that. There is plenty of time in the primary years for such ‘follow up’ and ‘left brain’ explanations, and then it is appropriate. In Steiner Schools these learnings are presented artistically in picture form, so we must take care not to work against the way the child learns best.

Young children will not ‘get ahead’ if they are mentally stimulated. When experiences are interpreted factually, or made formal too early, children soon become fed up with "being taught", robbed of the joy of discovery, left with nervous tension, lack of self motivation, fear of failure and such. Thus, numbers, letters, colours, time concepts and facts about nature or science are best left to unfold naturally until the next stage of development.

When children are under seven, their ‘formative forces’ are building up their physical body and nervous system (their ‘will’ (doing) activity is high.). They experience the world predominantly through their senses, and not through their intellect. Prematurely stimulating the intellect can weaken children because it misdirects these formative forces which should be directed to their body. We must try to not hurry the awakening process. Their consciousness is still dreaming, this is what gives children that spontaneous and innocent quality of childhood.

Behaviour

This is always an issue needing to be addressed. A good guiding phrase to remember is that Playgroup is a place where we must all feel safe. That is, the child being hurt or harassed, the one inflicting the pain through words, gestures or whatever, and the parents too! Too often we judge one another. Such responses can be harmful for the entire group. We need to ask ourselves, "What do I fear? What stops me loving this other parent/child/toy etc?"

The mood of playgroup should be one of support, reassurance and non-judgement for both adult and child. We can foster a mood of love of ourselves, and goodwill towards others in this special playgroup setting. Very few people have such a haven to practise loving in! We must halt our tendencies to be self-critical, and work at being more forgiving of our own weaknesses, and strive to correct these weaknesses one at a time. This way of approaching our self-education reminds one of the phrase in Desiderata which says ‘Be gentle with yourself, and this is comforting.

We recommend that the following suggestions be pondered over, tried when appropriate, modified, or rejected if it doesn’t work for you. Discipline is only effective if it is dynamic ever changing to meet the ever new child who stands before us.

Avoid using the words, "You must share", because this is too abstract and carries with it moralising. Much better to quietly say, "Claire can have a turn after Jessica". When a child bites another child, give the child an apple and say, "Here is an apple, you can bite this." "Let’s be friendly". Really inappropriate behaviour which is disrupting the play of others, or the story, is best handled by the calm removal of the child. No specific rules are needed, and those ‘difficult’ questions can be answered with a "We’ll see", if you haven’t yet decided yes or no. Other phrases such as "Oh, we do other things at playgroup" are invaluable when the child wants to bring bikes or other inappropriate things along!

Children can learn by imitating our example to say, "No thank you" to others who are upsetting them. Also, it is OK for us to say "sorry" for the child, rather than having another battle trying to extract an insincere "sorry" from the embarrassed offender. We can be the models of good manners for the children. Also, when children are playing well, or show us something they have done or a new dress they are wearing, then a small nod and a smile is preferable to verbal praise. We must take care not to train children to depend on other people’s approval for how they look or act, since they need to very gradually learn acceptance of themselves and others. Far better that we try to model self-confidence and steady warmth.

Rudolf Steiner said that every gentle and loving action, every violent and impatient movement has its deep effect on the child’s organism. This makes the task of both parent and educator vital, that is, to strictly guard against anything being done in the presence of a young child that he must not imitate. He said that education of the little child should consist principally of the self education of those around him; the task in these early years being to make ourselves worthy of their unconscious imitation.

Remember our intentions, actions and feelings speak louder than our words.

Conclusion

Steiner Playgroups are a relatively new development in the Waldorf Education process. However, because they reach the parents, who are the child’s first teachers, they can help avert many difficulties the child may later experience. This is because the child’s first seven years have been lived in the presence of adults who are striving to understand themselves and the child, and to create the right atmosphere to help the child grow strong and balanced in all his capacities. The great responsibility of our parenting task must be understood. However, we shouldn’t expect to achieve some glorified ‘ideal’ or ‘perfection’. Too many parents are distressed by their feelings of blame, anger and guilt because they dwell on the mistakes of yesterday. Worrying about the harm that may have already been done can only drain our energy, create more guilt, and make us fearful of repeated failure. This cycle of critical reflection is a habit that robs us of our inner joy. The only way to nurture children is to focus on the now each living moment, and in this very instant, strive to be a good enough parent and learn to love ourselves.

The closing remarks made by Elisabeth Moor-Hass at her 1989 Vital Years Conference in Sydney were:

"who dares to be with young children now?"

And her answer:

"We must all dare, because who else would?.. it is not a matter of one’s spiritual development it is a matter that we really try hard.. .that we do something. Know thyself!Know where there is weakness, and on one little thing at a time try with all your heart.. ..We must put in effort this is morality!"

Recommended Reading

Songs and Stories Together - a book and video of over 100 songs, verses and rhyming stories especially for 1-5 year olds by Kim Billington.
The Incarnating Child by Joan Salter. Hawthorn Press 1987.
You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin. Celestial Arts, 1989.
Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by B J Patterson. Michaelmas Press 2000.
Work and Play in Early Childhood by Freya Jaftke. Floris 1996.
Lifeways: Working with Family Questions by G Davy & B Voors Hawthorn Press 1987.
Child and Machine by Alison Armstrong.
The Plug-In-Drug by Marie Wiun. Penguin, 1986.
Who’s Bringing Them Up? by Martin Large. Hawthorn Press 1990.
The Education of the Child by Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophic Press.
Childhood: A Study of the Growing Child by Caroline Von Heydebrand. Anthroposophic Press, 1988.
The Way of a Child, and The Recovery of Man in Childhood by A C Harwood.

Conscious Parenting Guide www.consciousparentingguide.com 2009 

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