Ok, so maybe that’s not pc. We’re not called “poor people”. Maybe financially challenged. Maybe “ascribing to the poverty bracket”.
We’re perpetually broke. Welcome to parenting, right?
That is not the point of this post. The point of this post, actually, is to empower people to practice Waldorf on their own without inhibitions.
Of course, I’m being vague. A quick search of Ostheimer toys, Stockmar liquid watercolors, play silks, Waldorf playstands, birthday rings, Waldorf dolls, and anything felted will have you walking away thinking that you might need to take out a student loan just to pay for your child’s homeschooling. Think again.
I’ve done some research of Waldorf education and values, and here are the principals that I thought I’d highlight today:
- Children learn through play and exploration
- Sensory stimulation is both a form of play and education
- Imagination is integral to learning and developing as a whole human being
- Children learn life skills through working alongside us and pretending to do “real life” work
- Television and advertising are naturally toxic for children and rob them of their imagination
- Toys bought at most stores are based on entertaining a child, rather than allowing them to entertain themselves
- Routine is crucial
- Music IS math
- Self-esteem is not built through praise, but subtle recognition and independence
- Children have natural problem solving skills
- A non-moving body is a poorly one
- Ritual gives children a sense of order in a world based on the abstract concept of time which they do not understand
And I think that’s enough mind-blowing for today HA!
That being said, please, by all means, read all of these books which I gleaned FOR FREE from my library, which participates in the inter-library loan system:
That is the first step to Waldorf, pobre style. Your library is your biggest asset. The minimalist in me reminds us that WE are not meant to be libraries, hoarding away books in our home that we only glance at every now and again- that is what libraries and sharing is for. Let’s share our books, and take notes if necessary.
Children’s books are necessary too, and you can also get them at the library.
The second step is to never ever ever order a Waldorf catalog unless your husband is a neurosurgeon. You will cry at the beauty and break out your credit cards. Just kidding. The second step forward is to make things.
Unhealthy consumerist behavior aside, Toymaking With Children will exemplify that you should MAKE your children’s toys. This is the very ESSENCE of Waldorf- making with your children or around them (sometimes they’re too young, like mine). Think of the difference in lessons between your child receiving a $99 Ostheimer nativity set vs them watching you whittle it from branches in the back yard. This is a piece of old fabric that I dyed with liquid watercolors to make a rainbow silk. Look how it livens up the raw backyard!
What if you’re not crafty? Learn. After all, these are lifeskills, and if you don’t learn, how are you going to teach your children? If they are grown, learn alongside them. You have nothing to be afraid of except failure- and failure helps us LEARN and GROW! What a great opportunity to realize how human you are and to teach your kids how to dust themselves off and get up again…
The third is to think objectively about what you need. This is a chipped pottery dish that I foraged at a thrift shop, along with these shells. For children, baskets (which are in abundance at most yard sales and thrift shops) full of feathers, stones (which you can even paint), shells, sea glass, interesting sticks, and other things from nature are integral to play, and lead to many imaginative games.
Art is a must. It’s part of our daily activities. But I have a tiny apartment, and was really concerned about where I would put it. SO I used some twine and some pushpins to put up some lines in the kitchen.
Notice everyone has their own little line because mom makes art alongside them.
I don’t have fancy watercolor supplies, but I do have two artists boards, masking tape to tape the edges of watercolor paper (to prevent warping when wet), and watercolors. The kids didn’t notice…
Speaking of which, here is the gluten free play dough I made for “baking”.
The other thing I have mentioned is that we can’t exactly follow some of the ritualistic aspects of Waldorf as far as the songs and such are concerned. I found some great songs on youtube by Dawud Wharnsby Ali, and this is a watercolor with the verses on it, which I have hung in our art area. It helps both me and my oldest to begin remembering the words, so that eventually, rather than all singing and dancing along, we can play it independently. I’m currently looking to buy a duff, an Islamic drum. We have shakers and such right now. I’ve collected quite a few neat little instruments for the kids. But if I hadn’t, I would have made some.
And my absolute favorite DIY Waldorf would be our “playstand”. I live in a 720sqft apartment with 2 children. Even if we could afford Waldorf playstands, I’m not sure where I’d put them. I always have allowed the kids to build tents in the common areas with various old sheets and tapestries, but the rainbow silk I made is nice because it lets more light in. Even better, when the day is done, helping the children understand that it’s cleanup time is easier. On days we don’t make our tent, the kitchen and washer/dryer toys are readily accessible in their usual stations.
Our tv entertainment center is an old bureau, and I can’t keep the dvd player and such on this shelf because my son is Mr. Destructo, so instead, I let him keep household toys there.
Indoor clothes racks are both collapsible and cheaper.
If you use the couch, you’ve got an upstairs. This is Abe’s “room” where he is eating pizza.
Of course, there’s his babies.
Well, and aside from following along with Toymaking with Children to problem solve making Waldorf dolls and carved figures, that’s really the basics! I’ll continue to touch more on the subject as we go along!