A little reminder of why we choose to send our children to this amazing school.
This article offers some thoughts for the parents of Kindergarten children parenting at a time of world crisis. Steiner’s guidance in a nutshell for those working with children from birth to seven years was let the child experience “the good” (in the second seven years the focus moves to experiencing “the beautiful” and from 14 on – “the truth”). These are mighty banners of guidance not to be taken in any narrow sense but they point to how we can most effectively love the child unfolding it’s potential in time.
Waldorf Kindergarten teachers strive to create experiences of goodness for our children. In the physical environment, the goodness of well crafted wood, the textures of shell and bark, the goodness of silk, cotton and fleece. Then there is the goodness of the striving human being. This striving to receive the child in reverence is felt by the children as a wonderful moral force that upbuilds their bodies. (Sometimes when they come home from school you can sense this inner activity.)
There is a striving to establish rhythmic and joyful activity. The teachers use the richness of the spoken and sung work to connect the child through story, rhyme and movement with imaginations that nourish the
The understanding is that during the first seven years the child absorbs from the matrix of their environment the forces upon which they will found the rest of their lives. You may know the old saying, “give me the child till he is seven and I’ll show you the man”. Whatever the experiences in these early years is drunk in with no filtering system in place, because the objective intellect is not yet developed. All experiences are nourishment (or otherwise) for the actual physical organs that are being built.
The first seven years then are necessarily a time of protection. The early Waldorf environment keeps the children “soft” or “open”, ready for their next birth at seven years. Their souls can be more absorbent and impressionable than children undertaking forms of education, which call on early intellectualizing.
This protection that we provide in the first seven years has a remarkable effect on the child at fourteen when another birth of thinking takes place. You as a parent will need to be prepared for the entry of your child into the ardent quest for moral truth that erupts in a child whose foundation years have been steeped in the striving for goodness.
So how do we deal with world events in respect to our young children? Keep as your ideal for them that the world is good. This takes a certain courage on our part. We are called to uphold a positive conviction in the face of enormous cynicism and violence.
As adults we need to know what is happening and take our own thinking stance. We need to discuss and share with other adults and older children. The young children do not need to be part of this process. The presence of young children in our vicinity can remind us of the need to re-double our efforts in creating pictures of positive human actions. The media would love to whip us into extreme states of inner discord. A young child viewing television images of war, of destruction will not be able to think them away. The faculty of intellect which creates a barrier or buffer between self and world is just not there. The young child drinks in all images without discrimination. These images lodge in the organ building processes and reap results of disruption now and in the future. Protect your children as far as possible from viewing such images.
We can strive to create shrines of peace in our own homes. Let us cultivate the inner poise to create the good in our own lives in spite of what the world brings. Let us guard our youngest so that they may carry the seeds of peace into the future.