Nurturing your child

Written by Carrie Riley, Head of Early Childhood at Trinus

 

I will like to share information on Waldorf philosophy and ways we can reinforce the rhythms at home.  

Rhythm

Rhythm- is structure, it is what brings order out of chaos and we all know how chaotic life can be with young children. 

When we provide a rhythmical day for the little ones it brings them a sense of security in the knowing, a sense of well being, relaxation and sense of accomplishment. 

There is a yearly rhythm that is reflected in the seasons and a time to experience a feeling of community as we come together to enjoy the different feelings that nature provides throughout the year. There is a monthly rhythm with the waxing and waning of the moon. Women get to experience a monthly rhythm for more than half their lives. There is a weekly rhythm and daily rhythm that provides structure to our work life, family life and social life. It is the daily rhythm that effects the children most.

 

In Waldorf education when we look to create a rhythm for the children we look to format it in terms of an in and out breath. The in breath is a more formal or contained part of the rhythm where the out breath is the moment you can let it all go.  This is happening because our lives have changed and we have two working parents trying to get out the door by a certain time and the morning is a big IN breath for the children, so by the time they come to school they need an OUT breath which can happen during free play with active play, then for circle, IN breath, then OUT breath with the HUG shop, then snack IN breath etc.

breath

Picture from CBSNEWS

 

Breathing is rhythmical and it is the basis of life. If we move through the day this way we are teaching the children at the very core of their being how to live life in a healthy and balanced way. Plus it makes your life much easier. When they know the rules and what to expect they are much more likely to cooperate. 

 

Think of rhythm as the structure of the home, walls, ceiling, floors, windows, and the fluctuations of the day are all the decorations inside. You just get to redecorate your home every day; I know it leaves us all in constant amazement at how different one day can be from the other. Here are some ideas of how you can provide rhythm in your home.

 

  • Sleeping– try to put your child to bed at the same time every night. Have a simple routine that is just for those moments before bed. It helps them to know what is coming and what is expected of them. Lights in the bedroom come on when it is time for you to get up, if not on, it’s not time, go back to sleep.
  • Meals – try to have meals be at a similar time and place each night. Again have some type of ritual, lighting a candle, a song, a verse. Be clear with your expectations with your child. Do they need to sit until everyone is finished etc. Think about those things and stick to them. Your life will be easier when they become teenagers. Snacks when and how. 
  • Playtime, etc.
  • Clothing– Where are their shoes kept, jackets, what can they do by themselves. Create a rhythm of expectations before leaving the house. Do they need to keep their hat on?
  • Cleaning – toys and pick up, when they need to be picked up?

Much of it has to do with how your family’s day looks and how you can make certain moments in the day predictable and the same. 

 

Tools for supporting your child’s behaviors

(i.e. do  not give too many choices)

 

Rhythm is supported by firm boundaries with the young child. Again creating form and structure for them makes them feel safe. A young child does not want to be in charge. They don’t want to be the one making decisions. When a child is asked if they want to eat now or would you like to put on a jacket it creates a lot anxiety for the child. They want and need authority. Of course we want to approach this in a loving way. First we say “You may put on your shoes now.” or “It’s time for me to put on your shoes now.” Adding a bit of imagination works wonders. “ come to the shoe shop”  if a child is not wanting to put on their shoes, as this is common for most at some point, we can approach this with, “I will put on your shoes or your may do it”. 

 

                                            

Picture from Freepik    

Table

You may sit until we are all finished with dinner. Repeat until the child understands, it may take time and that is ok. By providing children freedom within the container you create they will feel safer, and can trust the world more. Don’t worry there will be plenty of time for them to be the decision maker.

 

Nutrition

Nutrition has a huge impact on behavior. Everything from cooperation, to sleep, to mood and most important health. This time of year we are all very interested in keeping our children healthy and free from as many colds and flus and we can make it possible. Nutrition is key in prevention of sickness. 

Providing nutrient dense foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats. Non processed, whole and if possible organic foods. One of the most important foods to avoid is sugar. When researching what amount of sugar is ok for young children, it was very difficult to find a recommended amount. Then I found out why when I came across a site that said no amount of sugar is ok for a young child. So there…no one wants to commit to an ok amount because there is no amount is ok. With that in mind…and the reality that we live in a world full of sugar. Grandparents give it, aunties and uncles give it and sometimes we even use it to bribe our children. However, we can do our best to reduce the amount as much as we can. So begin to find the hidden sugars in your child’s life. For example: 1 t is 4.7 gms of sugar so when a child eats one of those healthy organic fruit yogurts that has 18 grams of sugar you are giving them just under 4 teaspoons of sugar. Then we put a half sliced apple in there which is about 11 grams of sugar so just over 2 teaspoons of sugar. Then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich anywhere from 11 to 18 grams so another 2-4 teaspoons. What is happening to a child when they eat sugar. It spikes their blood sugar for a time. Then they crash, it activates their endorphins and adrenals, which over stimulates the child. When there is a lot of sugar in the blood, which in layman’s terms, is digested by the white blood cells and reduces the white blood cells ability to absorb any viruses or foreign agents in the body by 75% for 4-6 hours. If sugar is a must always couple it with protein to help reduce the blood sugar spike. Books say sugar is the cause of obesity not fat. Also that sugar keeps the immune system at risk. Give lots of good fat (nuts, avocado, olive oil, animal fats) to your kids for brain and organ development. And keep them warm, less sugar and more warmth with lots of sleep will help keep sickness at bay.

 

Warmth

Speaking of warmth, it is very important to keep your children warm. We speak of warmth in the Waldorf world on several levels: physical warmth, environmental, emotional warmth. It is an absolute necessity for a growing, thriving child. This time of year in colder climates however, physical warmth is in the forefront. Keep your babies warm. Even though a child’s temperature can often run higher than adults, children don’t have a developed enough system yet to maintain that heat, so they chill much faster than we do. They also don’t have the body awareness to understand when they are feeling cold, even up to 7 years old they may not understand that they are cold. When they get cold the body is using up its energy that should be going to maintaining the immune system, developing organs, building the body and the brain for keeping the child warm so they survive.  We don’t want our children to be in survival mode. Those are needs to be taken care of by us so they can be free to grow and develop. There are two rules of thumb used to gage your child’s warmth.

 

  1. Are their hands and feet cold? If so there is not enough warmth in the bodies’ core to heat the extremities. Put on more clothes. But if they are warm, it does not necessarily mean they are warm enough.  
  2. If you need two layers your child needs three. Always an extra layer than what you find you need. Do not make the mistake of asking your child if they are warm enough. They do not have the capacity of body knowledge yet to determine this adult body awareness yet. Remember to touch their hands and feet. 

 

It’s important to use natural materials like silk, wool or cotton.  Organic cotton clothes are important for your baby because you really want to limit their irritants and exposure to chemicals when they’re developing. This will not only keep them healthier and help them develop more natural, but it will also keep them a lot more comfortable due to limiting the irritants around them. 

Thank you for taking time to understand a little bit more about Waldorf education, rhythm and warmth.

Miss Carrie   

Carrie Riley

Ideas on appropriate behavior rewards

by Carrie Riley, Head of Early Childhood in Trinus

Reading time: 5 minutes

 

There comes a time in every parents or educator´s day experience and routine were we have a golden opportunity to encourage the right kind of behavior we strive for in our homes or class. There are many  daily examples. Your child eats their meal. They use the bathroom. They clean up their toys. They follow your instructions. And when they decide to insert their own will, wants, desires it is often the very opposite of what we wanted them to do in the first place. Now what?!

 

I’ve seen parents reward with cookies, candy, ice cream, donuts, cake, soda pop, fast food, money, toys and the list goes on. You know. We’ve all been there at one time or another.

 

Sadly the things our children may respond to the most is sugar rewards. You want to know why? It’s not just the obvious answer, sugar is yummy, but more complex. Sugar is addictive. It is so addictive that it is considered more addictive than drugs! And once we lovingly introduce this into their system, it is a hard addiction to break. It seems so innocent. I mean we all grew up with sweet treats and we turned out okay for the most part, right? Here’s the thing. Sugar is not the same 30 years ago as it is now and was not as big of a problem as it is now. It is highly processed in some foods and full of chemicals as well. Not only is there sugar in the treats we give, but hidden sugar is everywhere! Did you know one yogurt has the same amount of sugar as a candy bar? Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich has as much sugar as a slice of iced chocolate cake? The food you buy at the store has many ways to sneak sugar into your diet and your child’s. Most kids’ cereals are packed with sugar too. “Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. Your brain also sees sugar as a reward, which makes you keep wanting more of it. If you often eat a lot of sugar, you’re reinforcing that reward, which can make it tough to break the habit.” (The truth about sugar addiction, Webmd.com)  And that is one reason food company’s add sugar to unnecessary products they know how addictive it is! It is comparable to a cocaine addiction.

 

 

sugar
iStockphoto.com

 

Rewarding behavior with food is also linked to eating disorders, weight issues, dental decay and behavior issues. Studies have found that when parents use food as a reward or punishment, kids are more likely to prefer high-fat, high-sugar foods (like the ones often used as rewards). The bottom line is rewarding wanted behavior’s with food will most likely backfire in the long run.

 

So what is a good incentive to get our children to do what we want?

 

What our goal should be is to get our children to want to do the right thing! We want them to feel a part of our family, classroom and ultimately a good citizen of the earth. We can do that at any age but starting off with helping our children to develop healthy habits  from the beginning is  the best way to ensure a child will want to do what is expected of them.

 

Start off by not over praising your child. The more you praise, the more they seek approval from outside forces. Not from themselves. Just notice them. Let them know you see them doing something from coloring “ Oh! I see you really like to color with green today!” Or “Wow Mary! You really cleaned up your blocks and that makes your room look so nice!” 

 

Make “I”  statements when you can “ I see you tried your beans!” or “Mary, I like when you help your brother clean up!” this helps the child know they are seen and will make them feel proud to do the right things. They will know by your tone and the fact you’re not following them around smothering them with praise.

 

If you must do something as a reward, try these ideas:

  • Sticker
  • A new book ( not toys)
  • New crayons and paper
  • Extra time with you
  • An extra book/ story at bed time
  • Time outdoors together
  • Craft project with you
  • Helping you make a meal

 

Mama e hija

Photo created by prostoleh

 

 

Now all of these ideas work well if you have implemented a family daily schedule ( daily rhythm). Children’s behaviors are greatly improved if they know what to expect and the consistency of your boundaries.

 

Another aspect of nurturing our children’s good behavior is getting enough sleep. This is huge! Children under age 6 need 12 hours a day. 

 

Good nutrition is also key! Instead of all the sugary sweets we give our children, how about frozen fruits? Sliced bananas with cinnamon on top? Make your own frozen ( unsweetened) yogurt with natural sweeteners like  fruit and mix and freeze.

 

To summarize this article let me highlight the points.

In order to get our children in our care to cooperate we can try the following:

  • Create and maintain a daily rhythm
  • Be consistent
  • Proper sleep
  • No screen time for children under age 5 or very little
  • Never allow screen time during meals and snacks!
  • Healthy eating practices 
  • Try a new food at least once a week

 

Remember, reinforce the good behavior in a neutral way and consistently.

 

The unwanted behavior must have a consistent consequence. That can be a favorite toy to be taken away for the day, no books at bed time, no screen time, No sticker if using a chart. Keep exploring for a way to reach your child. Not all children react the same to these ideas. You have to find what works for your family.

 

Being a parent is a challenge. So is being a brand new human on this earth! Let’s help guide our children into courteous, helpful and happy children. They want us to be happy with them. But here’s the thing. It is up to the adults in your child’s life to make sure they learn how to do this. Giving into your child’s every want is setting up your child and your family up for disappointment and frustration. They crave rhythm, love, consistency,  positive attention and our time. Let’s set our children up  for success!

 

Here is an visual example of a chart to track healthy new foods they try:

Try new Foods Chart

 

Photo in Parents.com by Sally Kuzemchak

 

Try these tips and you will see the change in your children.

Regards,
Carrie Riley

Carrie Riley

Guatemala me da tanto

Escrito por  Gabriela de Erichsen, Mamá y socia de Trinus
 Tiempo de lectura: 3 minutos

 

Queridos amigos guatemaltecos, 

Septiembre es el mes en que Guatemala se viste de azul y blanco, colores que representan nuestra bandera, la camiseta que nos identifica como chapines, nuestro orgullo. Mes donde recordamos los textiles coloridos que forman parte de nuestra identidad, donde repasamos nuestros únicos y emblemáticos símbolos patrios; sin mencionar el sabor de su comida y sus bellos y coloridos paisajes. Tanto nos da Guatemala que no sabríamos por dónde empezar para devolverle tanto. Por lo que propongo que le devolvamos todo el año felicidad, orgullo, respeto y amor. Septiembre se puede ir, pero el azul y blanco que nos identifica nunca se debe apartar de nuestros corazones.

 

 

Este 15 de Septiembre, me encontré con un escrito de una ex compañera de colegio, y me pareció que merecía ser leído por todo guatemalteco que ha recibido tanto de nuestro bello país. Les recomiendo leerlo en familia para que juntos podamos abrir nuestros ojos a todo lo bello que nos rodea. A apreciar y reconocer lo dichosos que somos por vivir en Guatemala. Se los comparto:

 

Guatemala me da tanto

Guatemala me da tanto, todos los días.

 

Me da un paisaje de montañas y volcanes siempre verdes, siempre cerca.

 

Selva enigmática y curiosa, fauna diversa, flora coqueta de la primavera eterna. 

 

Guatemala me da una bandera azul y blanca ondeando libre, bajo el cielo celeste que se viste de colores en cada atardecer.

 

Guatemala es color vibrante que vive en las artesanías de hilo y tejido, de cerámica, madera o jade. Es riqueza cultural que a veces parece querer esconderse pero al apreciarla sale imponente con sabiduría milenaria en cada rincón. 

 

Guatemala me da una oferta incalculable de sabores, desde la tortilla recién salida del comal, hasta platillos de recados elaborados y cocción lenta. Con sus dulces típicos, caldos, verduras coloridas, e infinidad de fruta fresca otorga día con día, un festín al paladar y una sonrisa interna.

 

Guatemala me da gente bella, chapines trabajadores, sonrientes y amables, valientes, curiosos, solidarios, jocosos y emprendedores. 

 

Guatemala me da notas de marimba que me hacen viajar en el tiempo, abrazar a mis abuelos y sacar a bailar a mi corazón. Me da escalofríos de orgullo cuando escucho “Luna de Xelajú” en el extranjero o la chirimía en el interior del país.

 

Guatemala me da pretextos para celebrar, con sus solemnes procesiones en las calles alfombradas con aserrín y flores, con fiambre de mil sabores, nacimientos multicolores y posadas que caminan al ritmo de la tortuga y “El niño del tambor”. Antorchas de independencia, luces pirotécnicas y árboles de Navidad. Ferias patronales, con churros y tamales, chocolate caliente, café y atol.

 

Guatemala me da tantas razones por las que amo saberme chapina. Pero Guatemala también me da dolor. Dolor al conocer las historias de los migrantes, desolación al ver los rostros del hambre, que la corrupción impide saciar. Guatemala me da contrastes, sus cielos abiertos me inspiran a soñar y a la vez me da pesadillas al vivir en carne propia los látigos de la delincuencia, de tanta agresividad colectiva que provoca muerte y maldad. Y entre su abundancia, Guatemala me muestra pobreza y tanta necesidad. Y el dolor que provoca sentirse impotente hace que muchos cerremos los ojos tratando de ignorar la realidad.

 

Guatemala me da tanto… porque más que sólo ser una extensión territorial, Guatemala es todo lo que vive y ha vivido, somos tú y yo junto a la historia de ayer y hoy.  Y si Guatemala es un intercambio y ella me da tanto, vale la pena preguntarse ¿qué le doy yo? 

 

A Guatemala yo le doy mi trabajo diario, le ofrezco mi cambio de mentalidad egoísta por uno que incluya el bien común. Le doy mis rezos, buenas palabras y energía positiva. Hoy a Guatemala le doy un abrazo de cumpleaños, honro lo que ha vivido, agradezco lo que a diario me da, lamento, pido perdón y perdono tanto dolor y me dispongo a aceptar y amar su realidad, con el objetivo de transformarla para que sea mejor. 

 

Guatemala reparte a diario innumerables bendiciones, muchas que quizás no sabemos del todo agradecer. Hoy es su cumpleaños… si escucháramos lo que dice al hablarnos… ¿qué crees que nos pediría de regalo?

Y a tí, ¿qué te pide Guatemala?
Por Anna Evelyn Valdez Meléndez 

 

 

 

Que nuestro mes patrio sea todos los meses, que nuestro orgullo por Guatemala sea todos los días. Que podamos esparcir por donde vayamos los colores de nuestros textiles que irradian alegría y vida por doquier. ¡Guatemala tu nombre inmortal!

 

Feliz cumpleaños a nuestra querida Guatemala,

Gaby

Gabriela de Erichsen 

CUANDO JUEGA, ¿TRANSFORMA EL OBJETO EN OTRAS COSAS?

Cuando el material de juego es abierto nos permite trascenderlo y darle la forma que nos vaya mejor según nuestras necesidades.

Es algo natural que hacen los niños, ¿has observado lo poderoso que es? Este mes Casiana Mónczar de Joguines Grapat  nos habla de ello.

Seguramente os ha pasado más de una vez, y más aún en estas fechas, que cuando un niño abre una caja de regalo, retira el juguete que viene dentro y al cabo de un rato está jugando con la caja más que con el juguete.

Imaginación

 

Nins ® vecinos hablando de la lluvia.

Cuando las formas del objeto son demasiado definidas, incluso sus colores, el niño debe tolerar y adaptarse a lo que el material concreto sugiere en lugar de ser al revés.

En este caso el juguete solo tiene una utilidad o algunas pocas, y generalmente la actividad a la que se presta viene dada desde fuera.

Cuando el perro tiene forma de perro y nada más, el impulso interno del niño se ve mermado para dejar paso a unas pocas formas de utilizarlo. Y cuando miro con ojos de niño llego incluso a sentirme subestimada.

En cambio, si el objeto tiene formas primitivas, inacabadas, podrá transformarse para estar al servicio del juego.

Una pila de libros viejos, todos del mismo tamaño, que encontramos en un contenedor han sido durante años el material estrella en casa, construcciones horizontales, verticales, casas de muñecas, camas, carreteras, barras de equilibrios, prensas de hojas secas, obstáculos en carreras de animales…

Así, entiendo el material rico, como aquel que puede ser transformado.

Cuando el niño necesita un caballo encontrará un caballo allí donde un palo se lo permita.

niñas jugando

© Joguines Grapat

Vaciar el objeto de contenido

Cuando un niño juega con una mesa, la vacía de significado.

La mesa pierde su contenido y su estructura de objeto cotidiano para imponerse con fuerza al niño, quien trasciende esos significados hasta transformarla en la cueva o refugio o en la cima de una montaña.

Le encontrará incontables utilidades, formas y usos, y la combinará y relacionará con otros objetos hasta llegar a darle ese contenido que lo ayuda a poder nutrir la experiencia de su momento lúdico.

Cuando al iniciar nuestro proyecto desarrollábamos nuestras casitas, pensamos pintarles puertas y ventanas, sin embargo pensamos que añadir estos dos elementos reducían las casitas a solo casitas.

Con el tiempo hemos podido comprobar que sus formas simples podían transformarse en tren, en pista de canicas…

juegos de madera

 

juegos de madera

 © Joguines Grapat

¿Qué otros materiales podemos tener disponibles?

En casa siempre hay unos básicos que no pueden faltar, aquellos elementos complementarios que pueden ayudar a que la espada-palo aún coja mas forma de verdadera espada.

Procuro ofrecer varios elementos variados, piezas sueltas diversas, pero las que para nosotros son imprescindibles son, la cinta adhesiva de varios tipos:

la normal de papelería en varios colores y transparente, cinta de pintor, cinta americana, de embalar en papel kraft… Cuerdas y lanas, papel reciclado y cartón.

Pero el básico que nos ha abierto un sin fin de posibilidades son los palos. Tenemos incluso varias sub-clasificaciones; largos, cortos, ramas de encina, “palos de mar” que son aquellos que trae el viento y te los encuentras gastados y pulidos por la sal en la orilla del mar…

Los palos se merecen un post en sí mismo…

juegos con palos

 

© Joguines Grapat

juegos de palos

© Joguines Grapat

Puedes encontrar el artículo original aquí: http://www.demicasaalmundo.com/blog/cuando-juega-transforma-el-objeto-en-otras-cosas/

HERRAMIENTAS PARA FOMENTAR LA INTELIGENCIA EMOCIONAL EN LA FAMILIA

 

Escrito por Isabel Saravia, psicóloga clínica con máster en asesoramiento educativo familiar.

 

Es importante conocer, aprender y fomentar la inteligencia emocional en casa, enseñándoselo a los hijos desde que son pequeños, conectando emocionalmente con ellos según su forma de ser, habilidades, debilidades y edad.

 

Para facilitar la enseñanza a los hijos, es indispensable que primero los padres se conozcan bien para poder dar ejemplo en casa.

 

Les comparto algunas herramientas para trabajarlas en familia.

 

Ejercicio de meta-emociones

 

Como padre/madre es importante conocer e identificar tus emociones, que te gusta o disgusta, que te agrada o molesta, que te detona y que te tranquiliza, etc.

 

Para esto es este ejercicio. Tú decides si lo harás 1 o 7 veces a la semana, por la mañana, tarde o noche –cuando tengas el tiempo-, puedes apuntar en un cuaderno si lo deseas.

 

Escoge 1 o 3 situaciones de tu día, piensa sobre cada una: ¿Qué me hizo sentir?, ¿Qué pensé?, ¿Cómo reaccione?, ¿Cómo me sentí después?, ¿Cómo me hubiera gustado reaccionar?, ¿Qué hubiera preferido decir en lugar de?, ¿Por qué no pude decirlo o actuar así?

 

Contéstalas para ti, no todas las preguntas aplicarán para todas las situaciones.

 

Recuerda que deben ser situaciones que te hayan generado una emoción que te cueste manejar o pasa desapercibida (felicidad, tristeza, miedo, enojo). Puedes enseñárselo a tu hijo(a) mayor.

 

Diario emocional familiar

diario

 

Compra un cuaderno bonito y decóralo con tu familia, lo pueden poner en la portad el nombre “Diario familia”.

 

Explícale a tus hijos y pareja que no es un libro de quejas o de contar que nos pasó en el día. Se trata de escribir cuando pasa una situación con algún miembro de la familia y una emoción.

 

 

Ejemplo: (Se puede colocar la fecha o solo el mes, como desee la familia)
1. Hoy en la mañana me molesté con mama porque me habló muy fuerte y me sentí mal. (se coloca el nombre de la persona que escribió)
2. Lo siento, por la prisa no me di cuenta, no fue mi intención hacerte sentir así. (Mama o el nombre, ya que es la persona que responde)

 

 

Al final de la semana, si pueden ser los domingos, tomarse 15-20 minutos –según las edades de los hijos- para comentar lo que es escribió en el diario durante la semana.

 

Esto ayudará a fomentar la inteligencia emocional, a conocer mejor a los hijos, crear un ambiente de apertura y confianza y a conectar emocionalmente con ellos.

 

 

Cada miembro de la familia puede utilizar un solo color si así lo desean – es opcional -, pueden dejar los lapiceros en un vaso o donde deseen.

 

Procurar que el libro este a la vista de los hijos, talvez en una mesita o donde se pueda ver y lo puedan alcanzar los más pequeños.

 

Semáforo emocional

 

Corta dos círculos de color rojo, dos verdes y dos amarillos, pega una paleta de madera si lo deseas.

 

Explícales a los hijos y pareja que significa cada color, como actuar en cada uno y que este semáforo se utilizará cuando estén en una conversación y alguna de las emociones quiera desbordarse en alguno de los participantes.

 

 

ROJO Para: cálmate y respira profundo. Considera los sentimientos de todos.

AMARILLO Piensa: ¿Cuál es el problema? ¿Cuáles son las opciones? ¿Cuáles son las consecuencias de mis actos?

VERDE Actúa: Toma una decisión correcta. Platica con alguien de confianza y pide ayuda.

Escala de situación versus emoción

 

Explícale a tu(s) hijo(s) que de ahora en adelante habrá una nueva regla o dinámica familiar, en la cual deberá darle una puntuación a la situación que esté viviendo y otra puntuación a la emoción que está expresando. 1 es lo más bajo y 10 lo más alto.

 

 

Si el niño estuviera muy alterado, el papa o hermano le puede ayudar haciéndole la pregunta: ¿Qué puntuación le darías a este situación? Y ¿a la emoción que estás expresando?

 

 

Es importante habérselo explicado bien al niño antes de ponerlo en práctica. Se pueden realizar varios ejemplos en el hogar antes de comenzarlo a hacer fuera de casa.

Esto ayudará a que el hijo reflexione sobre su estado emocional y se conozca mejor.

 

 

Deja de pedir permiso a tus hijos para todo, y fortalecerás su individualidad

Por Gerson Pérez Cardoza, co fundador de la Comunidad de Aprendizaje basada en la Pedagogía Waldorf – Niño Mágico en Guadalajara, México.

Preguntamos todo, sin darnos cuenta

mama preguntandole a su hija

Este artículo empezó a gestarse una hermosa mañana de Febrero, de esas que todavía nos recibían con frío, cuando llegaba a la escuela una pequeña de año y medio de la mano de su joven y siempre radiante madre:  Se detienen ambas por un instante ante la puerta de entrada, y después de saludar amablemente, la madre nota la indecisión de su pequeña, se inclina ligeramente y le pregunta con toda dulzura: “¿Quieres entrar ya a la escuelita?”, a lo que la niña responde de inmediato moviendo la cabecita de lado a lado, sin decir palabra, en un suave pero enérgico gesto de negación.  La madre, desconcertada, replica diciendo: “¿No quieres entrar?, mi vida, ya es hora”.  Alcanzo a notar cómo el gesto de la niña empieza a convertirse en una negación cada vez más contundente y su cuerpecito se echa hacia atrás, jalando la mano de su madre en dirección opuesta a la entrada.  De inmediato, me dirijo a la niña, quien a esto ya está a punto de empezar a llorar, la tomo de la mano, y sin decir nada la veo, le sonrío y paso con ella por la puerta de entrada, entregándola a sus maestras que la reciben adentro con la alegría de siempre.  El día transcurre con total normalidad.

Regresando a la puerta, le digo a la madre que me gustaría comentarle algo, y simplemente le digo que no es necesario preguntar a los niños pequeños si quieren hacer algo, basta con hacerlo con ellos, las palabras sobran, porque en la etapa de desarrollo en la que se encuentran, no son capaces de hacer la valoración interna de sus deseos, y no pueden ofrecer una respuesta desde su yo, lo harán desde el impulso del momento.  En cambio, nosotros los adultos que estamos a cargo de ellos, sí sabemos lo que es mejor para ellos, ya lo hemos elegido, y consecuentemente no es necesario preguntárselos otra vez.

Sorprendida, la madre me dice: “¿De verdad le pregunté? ¡No me di cuenta!”, y claro, es que vemos a nuestros hijos tan bellos, tan dulces, que deseamos ser siempre suaves con ellos, y sin querer, les preguntamos todo: “¿Ya te quieres ir? ¿Quieres comer ya? ¿Quieres dormirte ya? ¿Le apagamos a la tele? ¿Te cambio de ropa? ¿Quieres más verdura? ¿Me devuelves mi celular?” en fin, les peguntamos TODO. La joven mamá, se retira de la escuela, comprometida a auto observarse, para saber si existe o no en ella el hábito de preguntarle todo a su hija.

Elegir por el niño, es quitarle un estrés innecesario

niño confundido

Podemos sentir que decidir por ellos, es no reconocerlos como individuos, cuando es precisamente lo contrario.  Yo lo reconozco como ser individual, estoy totalmente consciente de sus necesidades, hago las elecciones por él (pues él no puede hacerlas, es pequeño aún), y de esa forma le estoy dando su lugar, permito así que sus energías vitales se enfoquen en desarrollar lo que en ese momento le corresponde, y no le distraigo con tomar pequeñas decisiones a lo largo del día, decisiones que sólo le generan un estrés innecesario, y que para nada le preparan para tomar decisiones.

He escuchado muchas veces decir a padres de familia y he leído en Internet de padres que les preguntan todo a sus hijos, para que se acostumbren a tomar sus propias decisiones. Refutar este argumento es realmente sencillo: Tomar decisiones es una habilidad adulta, que empieza a desarrollarse hasta el momento en el que se es capaz de ponderar pros y contras de cada opción, es una actividad eminentemente intelectual (hablo aquí de las decisiones racionales, no de las decisiones por impulso, que para fines prácticos están supeditadas al sentir del momento, casi diríamos que por el azar), y como actividad intelectual, sólo surge tras adquirir la real conciencia del yo, cosa que ocurre hasta la infancia media (entre los 11 y los 13 años).

Que nadie se espante, no digo que debamos esperar hasta los 13 años para preguntarles a nuestros hijos si desean algo o no, sino que no es hasta ese momento en donde la habilidad de tomar decisiones racionales empieza a desarrollarse con intensidad.

Entonces, ¿No le pregunto nada?

Me han preguntado: “¿No debo preguntarle ni siquiera si quiere el vestido rojo o el azul? No quiero ser dictatorial con mi hijo, e imponerle hasta el color de la ropa”, se trata aquí de reconocer la muy sutil diferencia entre una decisión que surge de una preferencia, y una decisión que surge de una ponderación de factores.  Los niños pequeños hoy dirán que su color favorito es el rojo, mañana dirán que el verde, y al día siguiente que el azul (o al mes siguiente, o al año siguiente), eso va y viene, porque aún no está en desarrollo esa cualidad del yo que es capaz de reconocer los límites entre la vida exterior y la vida interior. Así, si un compañerito dice que su color favorito es el rojo, el de al lado grita exaltado: “¡El mío también!”, y el día termina con esa preferencia, a la mañana siguiente, repitiendo el ejercicio, uno de ellos dice: “¡Amarillo!” y es probable que el salón completo termine adorando el amarillo. Entonces, si yo pregunto a mi niño de menos de siete años: “¿Quieres la camisa lisa o la de cuadros?”, puedo esperar una respuesta hoy y otra muy diferente en una semana, consecuentemente, es una pregunta que es más o menos irrelevante en términos de la actividad interior que genera.

Plena consciencia

niños jugando con la pelota

Muy distinto es el caso si estoy en una fiesta infantil con mi hijo, y a las 6:30 pm, le pregunto: “¿Te quieres ir ya?”, su respuesta obedecerá a cómo se siente en ese momento:  Si el niño está jugando muy alegremente, su respuesta será: “No quiero mamá”, pero yo que soy el adulto a cargo, sé que ya ha jugado muchas horas, que probablemente sus reservas de energía están próximas a terminarse (lo que quizás lo ponga sensible y propenso al berrinche), que está cayendo la tarde, y que es momento de empezar todo el ritual de preparación para dormir, y que es momento de irse, entonces, no le pregunto si se quiere ir ya, lo tomo de la mano y le digo: “vámonos hijo”, es así de sencillo.  Claro que esto demanda plena consciencia de nuestra parte, demanda estar atentos a las necesidades de nuestros hijos, mantener siempre el radar encendido.  Es más sencillo (pero irresponsable) aventarles a ellos la decisión.  He escuchado frases como: “Anoche nos dormimos muy tarde, porque el niño no se quería dormir”, y me pregunto ¿Dónde estaba el adulto a cargo?

No es que sea más cómodo para nosotros, es que es mejor para ellos

La joven madre de la que hablé al principio, llega al día siguiente, radiante como siempre, deseosa de compartir con todo el mundo su gran descubrimiento: “¡Mi hija ayer comió todo lo que le ofrecí, comió casi el doble que el día anterior, se durmió temprano y no me hizo ningún berrinche toda la tarde! ¡No lo puedo creer! ¡Me di cuenta que le preguntaba todo, y a todo me respondía que no!, ayer simplemente hice las cosas con ella sin preguntarle, y todo fluyó de maravilla”.  La niña llevaba varios días sin comer bien y la madre empezaba a estar visiblemente preocupada por el problema, que se resolvió de un día para otro, con un cambio muy simple.

No hay imposición alguna, no hay dictadura, es de verdad simple: Yo elijo por ti, tú dedícate a ser niño, yo cuido tu alimentación, tu vestimenta, su sueño, todo, mientras tú desarrollas en tu alma las fuerzas que te permitan una suave encarnación al mundo, para que, llegado el momento, tomes las mejores decisiones.  Por ahora, te tomo de la mano y te muestro el camino, sin preguntar, sin explicar, pero sí, reconociéndote como ser humano y honrándote como ser en crecimiento.

 

Screen time

Written by Rene Petersen, teacher at Trinus

Let’s clear something up right from the start! A misconception exists that Waldorf schools are “anti-technology”. BUT…. According to the dictionary, technology is defined as: “science or knowledge put into practical use to solve a problem or invent something.”

Waldorf schools are not anti-technology. How could we possibly be? Technology is about the progress of mankind and this is celebrated in Waldorf schools! The question here is around electronic/gadget technology. Specifically, how much time our children spend in front of a screen e.g. a tablet, cell phone, computer, TV etc. Something to keep in mind about Waldorf Education- EVERYTHING we do is based around child development. We want to give children what is age appropriate in the healthiest way possible. We want to make sure that all aspects of the child’s being are developing healthy. So when we consider screen time it is from this point of view: “What is right for a child of this age? What is right for THIS child? Is this healthy?”

Instead of telling you as parents what to do in terms of screen-time, I would rather offer some points to consider in order for you to make decisions that work for your family:

1) ELECTRONICS TAKES AWAY THE LEARNING PHASE: Often when we use a device/gadget, we bypass the effort of learning a new skill and go straight to the shortcut. Two examples: 1) Calculator– Mathematical thinking is not only about finding the solution/answer or speed. It is about logic, reason, critical thinking, problem solving, patience, the beauty of the process… We take that away when we give children a calculator and then we should ask ourselves: “who is doing the thinking?” 2) Why teach cursive writing? Why do children need to learn this antiquated writing skill when they could just type? Because cursive is not only about communication- it is about effort, beauty, training the brain, hand eye co-ordination, flexibility and options. It helps us find our own style of writing- often a combination of print and cursive- individualization.

Niño escribiendo

2) EFFECTS ON THE BODY: There is so much research being undertaken at the moment about what is happening to our children today and how their bodies are suffering. This research is now coming out of mainstream universities/institutions. Physical development is being impaired because screen time is taking away play time and time for activity. Today there are more children with sensory issues- who cannot properly process sense impressions; rising occurrences of ADHD; children who can’t sit still or focus or concentrate. Childhood obesity is on the rise in the world. Children no longer know the limits of their body; they have no idea of temperature and they do not know how to handle pain. Children cannot self-regulate because they don’t play and challenge themselves and they do not USE their bodies as they were designed. It is no coincidence that these things are happening at a time when our children are moving less and less. As adults we know this too- rising levels of back ache, stress, illnesses, chronic diseases, mental health challenges…. And as adults we are encouraged to “switch off/unplug”, so why are we not applying the same to our children?

3) ACCESS: For me, one of the scariest aspects is that it is VERY difficult to shield our children from what is out there. Movies, internet…. they can access everything. And it is up to us to try put up the filters. A good website to filter the movies is www.commonsensemedia.org

4) GESTURE TODAY: EVERYBODY is always looking down at a screen in their hands. When we are walking from one place to the another. We are doing it and our children see us doing it. With this gesture- are we seeing the world we live in? Are we seeing each other? Are we noticing what is going on around us? Are we appreciating life or just engrossed in a screen?

Niños en celulares

5) WHAT IS SCREENTIME TAKING AWAY? Think of a family sitting at a table in a restaurant, the children are on phone or iPad while parents are having a conversation. Children are used to demanding the iPad. Giving it to them its damaging them more than helping them. 1) Children don’t have to learn how to behave properly!! My sister and I had to sit still and behave and be quiet otherwise we got into trouble! Nowadays children are not expected to behave well. 2) Quality time- is this family sharing even though they are sitting at the same table? 3) We are not teaching children how to wait patiently- we give them something to fill the time and we are teaching them to exist only with instant gratification. It is ok for children to be bored.

6) LACK OF IMAGINATION- Through electronics the pictures given to children are ready-made. They don’t need to learn how to pay attention or focus or think or create pictures. The bright colours, sounds and loud music over stimulates them… This level of high stimulation becomes the norm and everything else is boring!! It also narrows their interests because children would rather watch a movie or play a video game than do anything else. Even if they are watching documentaries- still, the main activity they want to do is WATCH.

niños construyendo

7) OF COURSE CHILDREN LOVE IT!!! Some people are paid a lot of money to ensure your children like what they see and want more!

8) AGE APPROPRIATE: Regarding contents of movies/TV shows/games even books: besides being scared- Can a child who is 9 understand what 16 year old Harry Potter is going through?? Can they appreciate the depths of stories and understand them as intended??

9) BUT THE CHILDREN WILL BE LEFT BEHIND!! NO WAY!!! Children’s brains are wired differently today. This is a fact we can see all around us. Those fingers know exactly what to do, where to press etc. I remember my mother asking, my 3 year old brother to change the TV from satellite to DVD because she couldn’t figure it out. And he could do it after being shown only once. We all know parents who have said: “my child did something to my phone now I can’t work it.”  Or parents who need to set up a passcode because their children know how to operate the phone…. Plus, electronic technology is everywhere. They learn from us, they see us. They know how to use skype, Facebook, etc., because some live all over the world now. Do we teach accounting in primary school? No! And has this affected the accounting world negatively? No!

** ADULTS are the ones that are currently calling for increasing our children’s screen time. Adults who see NOW how electronics have made their lives faster and easier. Adults who didn’t grow up with electronics in the way they are freely available today. So, it would be very interesting to see what decisions the current generation make out of their experiences having had gadgets freely available.

When we are making choices regarding screen time for our children remember to consider- what are we taking AWAY from our children when we put them in front of a screen? What are the screens replacing? How are we helping them grow and develop physically? Is it healthy and age appropriate? Is my child interacting and experiencing the world healthily or only through a screen?

Don´t forget to take a look at: Commonsensemedia.org for guidelines regarding the content of movies, games and TV programmes.

Please contact us if you would be interested in reading articles related to this topic. We would be happy to send you more information.

Differentiating Instruction

Written by Rene Petersen, teacher at Trinus

In the classroom, teachers are often faced with the challenge of teaching a group of children with varying learning styles, abilities and interests. Their classrooms may also include children with special needs and they also need to be taken into account when planning lessons and teaching. This can create various dilemmas for the teacher who has to accommodate for each child in the classroom so that they can all learn optimally. In this essay I will discuss the method of “Differentiating Instruction” and look at various ways the teacher can teach and other strategies she can use to include and make provision for each child.

What is vitally important, from the start, is for teachers to thoroughly assess their children in order to gain a very clear picture of their capabilities, understanding and needs in the classroom. This enables the teacher to know the children’s strengths and weaknesses and so know exactly what their needs are and how best she can meet and cater for these needs. This is valuable so that the teacher can plan lessons accordingly with each child in mind.

There are many ways to differentiate instructions:

  1. Differentiating the content or topic: This is where teachers vary the content being taught according to the abilities and needs of each child. For example, the students who show understanding of the concept being taught don´t need much instruction and can move straight onto applying these concepts by working with them. These students can work independently or in groups, thus freeing the teacher and making her available to help those children who need direct instruction in order to learn the concept. It is important that children are engaged in the classroom and that they are working with the concepts being taught. By differentiating the topic, the teacher can ensure that the children with stronger abilities are not left in a state of boredom while she is teaching the others. It also means that she has the space and time to teach those who really need it. There can also be various sub topics within a theme- so children with lesser abilities maybe only look at one aspect of a theme or conversely students with greater abilities could do further research on their own.
  2.  Differentiating the process or activities: Here the teacher varies the strategies and activities to “provide appropriate methods for students to explore the concept being taught”. Some children will benefit from drawing pictures or maps or making charts etc. The teacher can present them with a wide range of ways to address and approach the problems thereby helping more children connect with the material. They may need to be shown a number of processes they could use to help them with the content being taught. This is particularly true when teaching mathematics- some children will need other tools that will help them find solutions easier.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aprendiendo distinto
  3.  Differentiating the product: To do this the teacher varies the difficulty and nature of the tasks she sets in which the students show their understanding of the work. This will vary according to each child’s ability, which is why the teacher needs to have a clear idea of what each child is capable of. There is a wide range of activities she can choose from to do this. This is also a way she can stimulate the child’s interest and generate excitement around completing a task. Sometimes teachers are asked to have “reduced performance expectations” for certain children. I agree that it is important to not expect more from a child than what they can give you or to demand work that you know they are not capable of. However, I strongly feel that it is important for children to be striving or aspiring towards something. For them to still be challenged, comfortably and safely, so they can feel that you know they are capable of great things and that you are not setting work for them that has perhaps obviously been “dumbed down”.
  4.  Differentiating by manipulating the environment through accommodating individual learning styles: This is an important aspect for us to consider, especially with classrooms including children with specific learning barriers e.g. autism and ADHD. Here the teacher needs to look at her classroom, its lay out, structure and what possible distractions or challenges the physical structure holds for children with specific needs. For example- do the pictures on the walls make it difficult for certain children to concentrate? Is there a quiet area for those children who need a break? Is there lots of activity outside the window and would it help to have a curtain put up? Are the desks arranged optimally or would a child benefit from sitting right by the teacher’s desk? The teacher really needs to put careful thought into her classroom and whether or not it is suiting each child’s needs and think about what changes she can make in order to facilitate easier learning.
  5.  Group work: These co-operative learning groups provide opportunities for peer teaching and provide a wonderful space for children to learn how to work together, how to be more supportive and caring towards each other and how to gain from one another’s strengths. It also teaches children how to be more responsible and how their actions and efforts affect each member of the group. These groupings should be flexible and vary according to the task at hand. Here it is up to the teacher to know exactly what the intention is of the group work so that she can structure them meaningfully or randomly depending on what is being asked of the children.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trabajo en equipo
  6. Personalized or individualized projects: This is a great way to stimulate interest and allows the children to explore topics in ways that interests and excites them.
  7.  Various learning styles: The teacher needs to include different approaches in her lessons to engage the various learning styles. Some children need more visual/ auditory/ kinesthetic, etc…approaches in order to learn. Or she may need to include activities with lots of movement, music and rhythm for the children who respond better to those. She will have to include various teaching strategies in order to reach each child in the classroom.Aprendiendo con arte
  8.  Anchoring activities: These are activities that the children can fall back on when they have completed their other work. This is another way of ensuring that students are engaged and kept busy throughout the school day. What is important though is that these activities must be meaningful and of benefit to the children and must make constructive use of their time. They also need to be appropriate to their needs and add to their growth and learning in a fun way.
  9. Learning contracts: These contracts is where the teacher and the student sit down and plan the work that needs to be completed that day or that week. This is usually done with children that have certain barriers to learning.

The children in our classrooms are all different and unique in their own ways and no two children learn in an identical way. The task of Differentiating Instruction is not an easy one for the teacher. And in some situations teachers are faced with extremely varying capabilities. Teachers need to be creative, inspiring and to put in the extra effort required to meet the needs of each child. We need to ask for help when we need it, be it from the school or the parents. We need to find and use whatever resources are available to enhance our teaching. We need to ensure children are engaged, interested and being nourished by what they are learning during the school day. And we need to make sure that we know our children well enough to know what we need to do that suits them best. And at all times we need to teach the children how to think for themselves, regardless of their abilities. This will help them grow in confidence and give them the independence needed for their later, adult life. It is challenging, but not impossible.

Creative Discipline

Understanding Creative Discipline in the early years

By: Réne Petersen, Trinus teacher

Introduction

As teachers and parents, every day is filled with moments which require us to consider which lessons we would like to teach our children. Creative discipline is then a process which we work with constantly so that we become more flexible and confident when approaching our children. We need to be open and flexible and accept the fact that we will make mistakes and that that is ok! We love our children and want what is best for them and we are human. Children are incredibly forgiving and when we act from a space of love, we also must love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes, as this is a journey for us too. Children do not want to hold grudges. They need to know we love them and they want to love us!

Aprendiendo imitando

Thoughts to consider:

  • IMITATION-BE IT!!! WE NEED TO SHOW THE CHILDREN THE QUALITIES WE WANT THEM TO LEARN BY LIVING THEM. Young children learn by watching and imitating us. This is a fact we need to absorb, reflect on and accept. E.g. so to have Good manners- they need to see us saying please and thank you. To learn Punctuality- they need to live it with and in their families and environment.
  • MOTIVATION– Can the child understand WHY they need to do what we say? Young children do it for US- for our love and attention and to make us happy. As they get older we need them to do it out of themselves!! As children get older we need to develop their inner motivation skills. Beware of reward based motivation as this does not develop internal motivation- here children’s motivation is dependent on rewards or getting something other than inner satisfaction, pride and the love of hard work.
  • EXPECTATIONS: Tell them” this is how it needs to go” so they KNOW exactly what is expected of them BOUNDARIES are also essential for children. They need to feel safe- so they know: “I can push this far and then I meet my teacher or my mother or father- so basically I am held. My surroundings and my world are reliable, stable” (As far as possible because we do live in an unpredictable world!)  I have worked with special needs children as young as 2 years old; and this idea of never saying no to a child is something I have had to think deeply about. Because clearly there are some things/situations behaviors which are a definite NO! And children need to know that! Also- in this day and age saying “no” is a problem many adults struggle with. So why not show our children that it is ok to say no.
  • RHYTHM- SAFETY AND SECURITY!! Rhythm is important so children know what to expect and that makes them feel safe and secure, again, that they are held in the world. There is a time and a place for everything. Rhythm is another way we can develop good habits that become second nature to the children.
  • ATTENTION: Why is the child behaving this way?? Do they like negative attention- because being “naughty” gets the attention of adults?? Some children act out because that is how they get your attention.
  • Here PRAISE and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT come in strongly. Acknowledge their efforts when you see them doing well so that they want this positive attention. And don’t forget to acknowledge and “see” the good children too.

 

Aprendiendo haciendo

Why is the Waldorf approach to discipline different?

Because we don’t go straight to one standardised policy on discipline. In working with the entire being of the child we always ask “What does this child need, how will I teach them and WHY am I doing this?”

  • CHILD APPROPRIATE: Different strategies are needed because children react differently to different approaches. In the classroom one of the most effective discipline tools is to be silent even. Then children know that this is serious. Some children just need to MOVE. At times children lash out because they need to release some of the pent up energy they have. So when it comes to creative discipline it is ESSENTIAL TO KNOW THE CHILD! Then one can sense what the right way to approach the problem is.
  • AGE APPROPRIATE: A young child cannot sit and discuss their feelings with you because they do not yet have a true sense of self. They are not yet capable of that self-reflection and analysis. At different ages children need different approaches. Discipline must be age-appropriate in order to be effective!
  • CLEAR INTENTION– what do we want the child to learn or gain? So for a repeated litterer writing lines wouldn’t help us teach the child the lessons. So we let this child clean! With the young child we have them with us while we pick it up. We want children to learn from their mistakes. We want to SHOW them the appropriate behaviour and we want them to think about how to FIX IT. If you tell your child “if you don’t clean up I will take away your toys” and they say: “Ok daddy I don’t want this anyway” then take the toys! Don’t worry that they are not learning anything because once the toys are taken away YOU won’t have to pick them up again or struggle with this
  • DISCERNMENT– PICK YOUR BATTLES! Sometimes it is best to laugh it off, sometimes we can leave children to figure it out amongst themselves, and sometimes we can ignore it. We also need to learn to use the long discussion effectively. Ask yourself: “Is it really the end of the world if my child goes to the car without shoes on?” Picking battles is also important because it is linked to Consistency. Because if you do it once you need to do it EVERY time.
  • OPEN TO TRY ANYTHING- we can’t say “I will never say no to my child” or “My child will never be forced to do anything like I was”. We can NEVER give up on our children! So we try something and then try another. We need to be FLEXIBLE in our consistency!!
  • BOREDOM- is the birthplace of creativity but also can be negative if a child is unstimulated or not challenged enough. I am not talking about a child saying “I’m bored” after sitting with a puzzle for 5 minutes after you took their iPad away. Because that “bored” is because the puzzle is too difficult or actually the only thing they want to do is watch a movie. I am talking about a child in Math lessons who is not stimulated by the content or engaged enough. I am talking about the child who is bored after watching movies all day… These children may act out or misbehave because they are totally disengaged or unstimulated. This is something to watch out for and balance- child specific.
  • SENSE OF HUMOR! It is ok to laugh with your children!! Laughter is like a breath of fresh air and it lightens a tense situation. Sometimes you don’t laugh outwardly but inside you can keep your spirit light and discipline more creatively out of that space. This also helps with discernment- because some things are really not that big of a deal when we don’t take ourselves or life too seriously. A sense of humor is also a great way to connect with your children as it shows them things are not always serious.
  • FROM A PLACE OF LOVE. The heart of discipline is that WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN. So repeat this over and over in your head when faced with a difficult situation. Ultimately we do what we do because we love our children and care about them. Keep that as your intention.
  • THE PAUSE!! This I love about being a waldorf teacher- we foster an environment of space, both inwardly and outwardly. So take a breath, pause and think “What is the right action here?” We can give ourselves space by dealing with something later. Some children are too emotional to deal immediately so we can leave the “lesson” for later once they (and often we) have had space to calm down. And in the pause we can say our mantra “I love this child so much, I love this child so much…” J Let’s remind ourselves to be patient with them and with us

niños gozando el colegio

Strategies we employ in Trinus which is Waldorf inspired:

  • RHYTHM: Essential- a strong, stable sense of rhythm helps children feel safe. There is a rhythm to every day, every lesson, there is rhythm through the year by the seasons; there is rhythm in our bodies and in our thinking and in our hearts.
  • HEALING STORY: A uniquely Waldorf strategy- the teacher writes a story for the child displaying the inappropriate behavior to give the child pictures they can identify with and relate to. So we don’t say “you are so clumsy no one wants to play with you because you break everything and are too loud” Rather, we tell them a story about an elephant who gets so excited she rushes into everything and knocks over her friends games…. Etc. And we always have a moment of redemption in the story “the elephant let her friends show her how to be gentle and she learned to use her body well and now she plays so happily and calmly…….” We can take the story to sad place, then redemption!! It is good to engage their feelings deeply. The child will identify themselves and those in the class will too.
  • MAKING IT EASY TO BEHAVE: We want to prevent bad behavior- so the day allows for breathing- so bodies don’t get restless, so minds don’t get tired. Want to make it fun! They behave because they don’t want to miss out. They know what is coming in the rhythm of the day. They know what expectations are and where the boundaries are strongly in place. So when situations come up we can deal with them as they arise.
  • SHOW THEM/LIVE IT: as teachers we show the behaviour we expect. For example, if I make a mistake I say sorry. At lunch I finish all my food. This is of course easier said than done, but for them to see our efforts/that we are trying is very powerful.
  • TEACHER AS LOVING AUTHORITY: children need to love their teacher and respect them. So we put much effort into creating this sense of warmth and community- wow my teacher sees ME and really cares about ME. And at home it is the parents as the loving authority.
  • REPETITION- instilling good behaviour is not a one off thing!! We guide children by repeatedly demonstrating appropriate behaviour. We doing the right thing become habit- so every day we pack away what we played with. Every day we eat all our food, every day we sing and share TOGETHER. And children have to DO something and be active!! Strong connection to rhythm, expectations, boundaries, consistency. This is for all our children. Let them work!
  • STRONG CONNECTION BETWEEN HOME AND TRINUS! Children need to know that we are all a community. That the parents know what is going on at Trinus and vice versa. This is why it is essential for parents to communicate any changes at home or disruptions from the routine e.g. mother travelling death in the family etc. Children are so sensitive and the younger ones may not be able to tell us what is going on- but their behavior will reflect this. Then I also implore you- please do not overreact to your child’s stories about “Oh my teacher did this or said this” PLEASE FIRST CHECK WITH YOUR TEACHER! We need to speak well about one another and respect each other so that the children know there is no space for them to play us against each other. And to teach them about respect and co-operation.
  • CHILDREN´S ATTITUDES: Creative discipline may make sense for us as adults but for children this is so difficult! So they will come home and possibly paint a picture of a teacher who is an ogre, because really- who wants to be told what to do all the time. But a teacher who is involved is the one who cares!! My children think our fruit time is a party- and that is ok! We are developing our healthy classroom environment and eating fruit and enjoying being together! We want our children to LOVE coming to Trinus. And such powerful work and skills are being developed through play.

If you only remember one paragraph from this let it be:

Creative discipline must be:

  • Age Appropriate
  • Child Appropriate
  • With clear intention- what do you want the child to gain or learn?
  • Open to try anything- we cannot give up on a child
  • Flexible
  • With a sense of humour
  • Consistent
  • From a place of love

6 Waldorf-Inspired Principles Every Family Should Adopt

Article written by Sanya Pelini

Waldorf education is guided by a few key principles. Here are 6 key principles of Waldorf education every family can adopt:

1 | Childhood isn’t meant to be a race

Steiner once said “Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves”.

Children do not all develop in the same way, nor do they develop at the same rhythm. Waldorf education teaches us to be attentive to the needs of each individual child and to stop expecting our kids to be what they’re not.

2 | Become a storyteller

It is said that Einstein once said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Waldorf education shares this view.

Rudolf Steiner believed that storytelling was a gift, and storytelling has remained a central feature of Waldorf education.

Stories help children to connect, they teach them new words, and they take them to places they’ve never been. Waldorf education emphasizes the importance of telling stories rather than reading stories. Storytelling builds a child’s imagination.

Making up stories can be difficult but it gets easier with time. You can also tell simple stories you remember from your childhood. Going through the story before you tell it will make the storytelling experience more fulfilling for both you and your child. Young children like to listen to the same story several times so they’ll be happy with the same story repeated for a while.

3 | Connect with nature every day

Children thrive on physical activity. Playing outside also spurs their creativity. Connecting with nature means teaching our children to be more attentive to the world around them. It means teaching them to take the time to smell the flowers and observe the different things and people in their environment. Nature also has a calming effect on children.

Opportunities to connect with nature abound: smell flowers, pick flowers, collect pebbles, take pictures of insects, pick leaves, paint or draw still life objects, play with sticks, build forts, dig, play with sand, scavenger hunts, etc.

4 | Teach your kids to play

Waldorf education is based on the principle that the simplest toys foster the greatest creativity. Steiner emphasized the need for the most natural toys and argued that toys should provide children with sensory experiences. He believed that when toys are simple and open-ended, they spark children’s creativity because children can then use their imagination to create other objects.

Waldorf education favors simple and eco-friendly toys to which everyone has access: pinecones, shells, acorns, yarn, silk rags and handkerchiefs, sticks and branches, wooden blocks, acorns, stones, cardboard etc.

5 | Establish routines

In Waldorf education, each morning begins with “circle time”. Circle time is a special moment during which children come together to sing, recite verses, do movement exercises, and do finger plays based on specific themes (for example seasons).

There are many benefits to establishing routines. The authors of the book “Simplicity Parenting” (incidentally, one of the authors is a Waldorf educator) are convinced that rituals and routines give children a sense of security and provide them with roots. They believe that establishing routines can simplify parenting and make parenting a more fulfilling experience.

6 | Make room for art

Art is an important aspect of Waldorf education.

Making room for art means providing our children with unstructured moments in which they can practice creative play. It is in these moments that they develop their creativity.

Steiner believed that fewer and simpler toys helped children develop greater creativity. He also believed that organized spaces (toys arranged tidily in baskets or shelves rather than in piles) played an important role in child development. The importance of organized spaces is an aspect shared by Montessori schools.

This quote by Rudolf Steiner pretty well sums up his philosophy: “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the very nerve of education.”

You can read the full artícle in parent.co