My journey into Waldorf Education

I was first introduced to Waldorf Education when I went to graduate school at Fordham University from 2003-2005 through the Teach for America program I was a part of at the time.  We did not actually study this philosophy of education nor were there any classes offered on it, but I heard of it for the first time while pursuing a Master’s degree there and it stuck in my mind.

It wasn’t until 2005 when my husband and I moved to Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico that I learned first-hand what Waldorf was all about.  I attended a music workshop at the Colegio Yeccan Waldorf and fell in love with the method and practice of this realm of education.  I also met a parent of a Waldorf student while taking an abstract painting class at the Casa Museo Gene Byron and she was the one who first introduced me to the school in Guanajuato.  My husband and I had the privilege of attending the Colegio’s annual Elves’ Faire and ever since then, I have read about and researched the Waldorf philosophy on my own.

Upon moving to Nashville, TN in August of 2009, I discovered that the only Waldorf school in the state is right here in Nashville so by January of 2010, I had arranged to attend a “Windows on Waldorf” tour whereby I got to see classes in action, the learning community, and had the wonderful opportunity to ask many questions of the Enrollment Coordinator.

Since that tour, I have read many Waldorf resources which I would like to share here.  These are absolute must-reads for anybody interested in Waldorf Education, as well as raising children in a peaceful, nurturing environment that fosters a love for nature, art, and one another.

Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash, 2002

Waldorf Education: Schools for the Twenty-First Century by Eugene Schwartz, 2000

The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, Lisa Hildreth

Creative Play for Your Infant / Toddler by Christopher Clouder and Janni Nicol

The Waldorf Cookbook by Kelly Sundstrom

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six by Rahima Baldwin Dancy, 2000

“The Wisdom of Waldorf” article reprinted from Mothering, Issue #123 March/April 2004

“Waldorf Education…An Introduction” by Henry Barnes

“The Case for Working with Your Hands” by Matthew B. Crawford, The New York Times, May 24, 2009

“Let the Children Play (Some More) by Stuart Brown, The New York Times “Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times,” September 2, 2009

American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Play

“The New Untouchables,” by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, October 21, 2009

“Pressure-cooker kindergarten” by Patti Hartigan, boston.com, August 30, 2009

Current reads I am still savoring:

Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen L. Rivers, 1995

Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer, 2006

Oak Meadow Waldorf Resources

A book on my “to buy” list:

Seasonal nature tables are an invaluable way of making young children aware of the changing cycle of the year. With simple materials and basic knitting and crocheting skills, a series of colorful and effective tableaux can be made at home or in school for depicting the seasons and major festivals. Illustrated, with many in full color.

The Nature Corner
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Belinda
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 15:23:21

    Faye…where do you find the time to read all these books??? I am getting heart palpitations over how I’m supposed to get through all that reading!! Cliff’s notes anyone??

    Reply

  2. fehunt
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 17:29:56

    Well, I have been slowly working on them for over a course of a year. I mostly read at night and also read applicable chapters first, not the whole thing all at once. I checked out “Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out” from the library and it probably took me a few months to finish. The same thing with, “Waldorf Education: Schools for the Twenty-First Century.”

    I highly, highly recommend, “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six” and am still going through it here and there when the opportunity and inspiration arises. I also checked this out from the library but have since purchased it because I think it should permanently belong in our home. The cookbook and snack books are references as I figure out how to nourish our family so those are also constant go-to’s for me.

    The “Creative Play for Your Infant / Toddler” are two separate books (the first one is for infants, and I’ve seen it at Fairytales for sale, and the second one is for toddlers; I just condensed the title) and again, these are constant go-to’s as I try to get creative and make Quetzal Sol toys by hand. I am working on a fishing game made out of felt that is found in the toddler book. I actually have hosted a playgroup featuring easy felting toys (and wanted to let folks look through these books) but after people arrived, I completely forgot that was what I was going to do and nobody brought it up! Can you believe it?!?!?! I also photocopied the instructions in both books on how to make a Waldorf-inspired baby doll for my Mom and she recently completed two dolls for Quetzal Sol. I also found a stoller at a yard sale in our neighborhood for him to walk them around the house! It’s adorable.

    All of the articles were found in the folder that Waldorf provided me when I attended their “Windows on Waldorf” tour back in January and those are quick reads but really good references so I had to list them all here.

    This blog is really a product of a while of collecting sources and thoughts and having no one place to put them. Christopher inspired me to start this so I finally took the plunge. I want to write synopses of these resources but haven’t yet so stay tuned….those will be your Cliff’s notes!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and offer any insight to it! It is definitely a work in progress but I’m so glad if even one thing on it touches and inspires you and brings us both closer to a common goal of nurturing creativity in our children.

    Reply

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