Updated: Aug 16, 2020
The Rooted Family - Waldorf Parent and Child Group
How I found Waldorf Education and why I decided to create my own Waldorf Parent and Child Group
It was the artwork on the walls that started the conversation.
I had been commissioned as I was then a Documentary Family Photographer - Documenting real-life stories as they happen. In 2016 I was invited to document a home- birth in Herefordshire.
I was in the family's kitchen documenting little details from around their home for the photograph collection and it was the colourful paintings that caught my eye. The colours were so beautiful, and they flowed into one another harmoniously, and so I asked the question "Who painted those pictures?" Not expecting them to say their 8-year-old daughter had painted them. I was shocked, I thought they had been done by a skilled artist who had spent many years mastering a craft. Their daughter had created the beautiful paintings. I said, " Wow, how did she learn to paint like that?" It was here that they told me about the Waldorf School she went to which taught all the subjects creatively. I had never heard of such a school, but being an artist myself and spending many years enjoying art I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it.
At the time my son was 2.
I looked into Waldorf briefly and then didn't look into it again for another year or so when we were on our home education journey I was put in touch with Jill at Little Oak Learning who created Rhythms, a curriculum to follow but it was a Rhythm, hands, heart and head, crafts, nature walks, puppetry stories and purposeful work and I learned that she had the roots of Waldorf education. It somehow seemed that whether it was books I was buying or people I loved following on Instagram even, I looked into it and realised they were all connected to Waldorf education. There was something about it that drew me to it.
A year later someone had arranged a get together with a Waldorf teacher in plan to arrange a group for parents near where I lived, I attended this and it was in May 2017 I believe. It was so lovely. A kindergarten teacher came along and did a puppetry story with beautiful silks and it was something I had never in my life seen before. It was so beautiful and etheric and I could see how this would be magical and nourishing for a child. I remember the puppetry and I don't remember what was talked about specifically, then there was a lady I stayed in touch with online which was really lovely and she trained as a kindergarten Waldorf teacher.
Approaching when my son would start School I knew I wanted to home educate because mainstream just wasn't for us. If you want to learn more about our home education journey you can read the post here and here. I decided to go to the open day at the Waldorf School and everything in my heart said yes - it didn't feel right moving 2 hours away from where we were with no guarantee we would get a space anytime soon. There were plenty of options for using Waldorf at home though with home education and that is the route we took.
I read so many books and blogs and became part of online Waldorf communities to learn more but this really was not until my son was 3-4 so for those first few years when my son was little I found it difficult to find groups that I felt really connected to. Often they were so big and loud. There were so many toys. Crafts were very much sticking on paper plates, It was hard to feel connected to anyone as there seemed to just be little cliques everywhere. I didn't find enjoyment in them at all. I honestly thought it was just me. They felt soulless and dull. Perhaps I was being too picky, I found myself stop attending these local groups and me and my son would just spend every day in nature together, and often times we would meet a friend or two that we connected to along the way in one way or another. It was the connection to nature that was what we enjoyed. It was calm and peaceful and I felt I could connect more with the adults I was with and the children could spend their time in deep imaginative play in Nature without being overbearing with the mounds of plastic toys on offer in playgroups, the loud noises, and the stark bright lights.
The photograph above is the little oak learning materials
I had read about Parent and Child Groups and there were none of these around me. I started researching more about them and I read books that I purchased and I took a puppetry course with the fabulous Suzanne Downs. At home, we were using the little oak learning Rhythm which was so beautiful. Now my son is 6 and we have our own Rhythm. Waldorf education has really brought all the feelings and things which I wanted within my home, finding things purposeful and meaningful, using our hands to bake and create things with nature and natural materials, being connected to beautiful stories and nature and living throughout the Seasons. Living each day purposefully.
I am sad that we didn't have the experience of attending a Waldorf Parent and Child Group with my Son. However that was my journey into Waldorf and perhaps I wouldn't have felt the disconnection the mainstream had I not had the experience I did to find something holistic, meaningful, and nourishing for both parent and child.
I decided that at some point I would certainly like to create a parent and child group and I spoke to my friend who I had met at the meeting that time and she encouraged me with some ideas to get me started.
I would like to have more children so there were a few reasons I hoped to create it with my family and my community in mind.
1. I want to meet likeminded parents who want to grow
2. The community needs more nourishing options for parents
3. I want to create it for my future children that I have so they can reap the benefits of it
Who knows if there are enough people interested we could start a little co-op too.
So watch this space for more information about the Parent and Child Group.
Lot's of love