“The Three R’s”—Rhythm, Reverence and Ritual
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Here are the “three R’s” of Waldorf Early Childhood education: Rhythm, ritual and reverence.
How can we bring more of all three of these to our children’s days? I am copying an article for you that may help with creating some rhythm. We can look at the tasks/activities in our lives and think about how often we do them—daily, weekly, seasonally. If there is something we do daily, can we do it at the same time each day? If there is something we do weekly, can we do it on the same day of the week? What can we do to bring some ritual and reverence to our regular activities? It can be something very simple like lighting a candle, singing a song, a hug, using a special mug or plate for snack time or dinner, a prayer or poem. These things don’t have to take a lot of time, but they do take some thought. I have had parents tell me that after coming to parent child class, their child wants to light a candle before eating. Of course, mindfulness on our part can keep our rituals and our ordinary moments reverent. These precious moments, even the challenging ones, pass quickly. Our children keep changing. It is amazing to watch. Their bodies grow, their awareness of the world around them grows and changes. Their world changes so quickly that having safe harbors in their days helps to keep them steady. They also need quiet, unstructured time to sleep or just to rest and process all they are taking in. Like breathing, our children take in so much and they need a chance to exhale. So do we!
Rudolf Steiner speaks of the human being having twelve senses. One of these, and one of the earliest to begin to develop is the life sense. It is sometimes described as the sense of well-being, of knowing if we are well or if something is wrong. The child knows from birth when something is wrong, if he is wet or hungry, although he doesn’t know what is wrong at that age. The child’s environment, including the adults who care for him, and rhythm help the child to develop a healthy life sense—a feeling of inner harmony, as well as an awareness of pain and discomfort and the resilience to deal with it.
Next time we meet, I would like to start looking at Chapter 3, on festivals. In the meantime, we have several festivals coming up!
Parent Child Lantern walk—This Saturday, November 17, 4-5PM. Meet in the play yard.
Next Week—Thanksgiving week—We will have classes as usual Monday through Wednesday, but no class on Thursday.
December 1—CWS Holiday Fair