Waldorf Lantern Walk and Festival

I said good bye at the end of last school year and it’s already Lantern Walk time.  Oh my goodness, how time flies.   So sorry dear readers, maybe someday I will tell you about my summer adventures.

Today is the Lantern Walk at my sweet little school.  This is one of my very favorite festivals of the year.  It is a lovely representation of the inner light of the human being bringing light to the darkness of the world.  It teaches the children not to fear the darkness, for they carry the light inside of them always.


At our school we gather at a local park for the Lantern walk.  It is already getting dark early in the evening.  And even in southern California it has been cold when the sun sets.  Each teacher assigns a few parents to bring hot cider for the class.  The children run and play while the teachers and parents chat.  When most everyone has arrived one teacher moves to the center of the group.  She sings a story gathering song and the whole group sits to listen.  The story is about St. Martin, a soldier who shared his warm cloak with a beggar.


When the story has finished parents and teachers pass out lanterns to the children and light them with fire sticks.  We all sing the lantern songs together as a community.  Then our Dean leads us on a walk around the darkening park with our voices lifted in song and our faces lit by the lanterns.


When we make our way back to where we began the parents gather their blankets and their children.  The teachers keep singing while they wave goodbye until the last family has gone.  Parents are invited to take their children straight home and tuck them quietly into bed so that the magic of the evening can be taken into their dreams.

Here are some of the Lantern Songs that we sing.  I hope they bring light to your darkness.


Glimmer lantern, glimmer
little stars that shimmer
over meadow more and dale
flitter flutter elfin veil

Pee-wit pee-wit
tick-a tick-a tick
ruku ruku

Glimmer lantern, glimmer
little stars that shimmer
over rock and stock and stone
wander, tripping little gnome

Pee-wit pee-wit
tick-a tick-a tick
ruku ruku

Daylight Dwindling

The daylight fast is dwindling
my little lamp needs kindling
It's beam shines bright in darkest night
dear lantern guide me with your light


Heard in the Classroom Series- Kindergarten Edition


This week I spent some time in the Kindergarten classroom at our little school.  It is quite a bustling place! I love these chances because they bring contrast between my little preschoolers, so new to the world, and the rambunctious kindergartners reaching their growing potential into sharp relief.  For many of them the age difference is only a year, but children grow and change so fast at this age that the two ages are very different.  Kindergartners often have very deep conversations, they start talking about divine beings, about their plans for adulthood, and they are fascinated by the concept of infinity.  This is one such conversation I overheard today.

Child 1: Do you want to com into my tent?

Child 2: No, we don’t want to!

Child 1: There are traps in there…

Child 3 (looking in the tent): No, there isn’t!

Child 1: That’s cuz the’re invisible.

Child 2: There’s no such thing as invisible.

Child 1: Yes there is!

Child 3: No!

Child 1: Yes there is.  Air is invisible.

Waldorf High School Art Show

I had a wonderful opportunity today and I just had to share it with you, dear reader.  I was able to attend the art show at The Waldorf School of Orange County.  I took way too many pictures, but I was just so blown away.

This Waldorf High School is only about five years old.  When the Waldorf School of Orange County was ready to expand they chose primarily recycled materials to build their high school.  Check out this video for more info.

Many of the contributors have been Waldorf students for most of their lives.  That means that they have studied in classrooms that use art as a way to increase learning and expression.  Their artistic souls have been given lots of love and nurturing.  The following pictures are what happens when you let children create, nurture their talent, and  educate them in love.

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I hope these pictures have inspired you!  Give the children you know art, it is a forever gift.

Warm wishes,




Preschool Daily Rhythm – Waldorf Style

Dear Reader,

I talk so much about my classroom and things that happen throughout our day but I realized I’ve never told you about the preschool daily rhythm.  So here you are, a day in the life of a Waldorf preschool.

9:00- The door to the classroom is finally opened.  My assistant and I have already been there for over an hour preparing everything for the children.  There is snack to be started, toys to be straightened, crafts to set up and much more.  There are usually a few children waiting with their mamas just outside the door, they can’t wait to come in.  We often hear soft knocks on the door five and ten minutes before it is time for school

As the children come in they take off their outside shoes and put on soft slippers.  Then they get right to work.  This may be painting, coloring, chopping vegetables, making butter, or kneading bread dough depending on the day.


9:30 (ish)- We have a slow leisurely start to our mornings.  We don’t rush and so we start circle whenever we finish our morning work.  Our circle is the heart of our day, it changes with the seasons and offers a wonderful opportunity for children to deeply experience the seasons.  For more about the Waldorf style circle go here.

10:00-  By this time we have sung our circle and each child has changed back into outside shoes.  The don hats every day, jackets if it’s cold, and we head outside.  What follows is nearly an hour of joyful out breath.  I marvel at the changes in the children’s play throughout the year.  I love how they create new games everyday and how they cherish their perennial  favorites.  Sometimes we go for long walks during this time around our neighborhood and to close by parks.


10:45 (ish)- After lots of outside play we clean up the toys and go back inside for a warm snack.  The table is set with cloth place mats and napkins (a certain color for each day).  Each child has a cup from home waiting for them at their seat.  Snack is either brown rice, vegetable soup, or rye bread with new butter and honey.


11:15- After they eat the children clear the table.  They put any leftover food into a bucket for the pig, then they wash their dishes and put dirty linens into the laundry.  Now it is time for more play!  We spend about an hour exploring our classroom and the many beautiful toys.  During this time my assistant and I clean tables, knit, arrange flowers and general keep busy with practical work.  This gives the children an example of productivity as well as allowing them the space to sink very deeply into the world of their play.


12:15-  When the classroom is all tidy the children choose a soft pillow and snuggle in to hear a story.  We call to the fire fairies and light a story candle, making this a very reverent time.  I tell stories that I know by heart, most often classic fairy tales.  These are sometimes accompanied by a puppet show.

12:30- The story candle is gently blown out and the children put away their pillows.  They fetch the delicious lunches that were lovingly packed for them and we sit down to eat.

1:00 After singing farewell to our friends we go out to meet our parents and oh what warm meetings they are!

And that is our preschool rhythm!  For these dear ones preschool is the first big step away from the arms of their family and into the wide world.  The classroom and rhythm offer children a warm and inviting space to stretch their wings and begin the journey of growing into their own person.

Warm wishes,


Mother’s Day in the Classroom

Dear Reader,

Long time no see!  It’s been a while, but I have good reasons.  I have been planning a beautiful Mother’s Day treat for the parents of my students.  Now I get to share it with you!

For the Mother’s Day gift I was pretty clever if I do say so myself.  We recently did a block of gnome songs and stories, and as part of that I brought in a box of geodes for the children the crack open.  For weeks we took them outside with us and worked on them.  I brought a pair of old socks, slipped the little rock inside and handed a three year old a hammer.  We had so much fun and even better, no one got hurt! So I was left with all of these beautiful crystal filled rocks and I decided to make something with them.


I settled on a necklace, so I bought some gold paint, pendant bails, jump rings, and necklace chains.  I have a wonderful classroom budget that allows me to be reimbursed for all of these things, otherwise I would need to be a little more creative.  Each child selected a piece of geode and painted the back.  When the rocks were dry the children got to choose a necklace chain and we glued the rocks into the bails.  They turned out beautifully!  One little girl said “It’s so pretty, my mommy will share this with me.”


The Morning of the Mother’s Day Tea I was up early cooking up scones for the party.  At school I used a painting done by each child to make cards.  They drew pictures in the cards and told us a special message for their moms.


While the children were playing I set the tables.  I brought lovely table clothes from home as well as plates cups and tea pots.  The little ones had so much fun playing at the tables!  I finally had to shoo them back to their play when the forks were set out.


Finally it was time for the mammas to arrive.  We cleaned up the toys and sang a few circle songs.  As the moms came in they joined us and when everyone was there we sat down to Tea.  The children wanted to give their gifts more than they wanted the cookies or scones.  They were so proud of what they had made.  It was such a beautiful day.  The moms were so appreciative.  I truly feel that moms are not honored enough.  They work so hard to nurture the future of our world.  I hope you hugged you mom today!

Warm wishes,


Heard in the Classroom Series


My students are pretty adorable.  I know I am biased but really, they are just charming.  Sometimes they make my heart melt even when they are driving me crazy.  Some of the things that they say in the classroom are absolutely astonishing, hysterical, and sometimes alarming.

Somehow many of our funny quotes seem to center around food, not sure why that is, hmmm.  This conversation occurred during our lunch time, I was eating a sandwich and one student asked me:

Child 1: “What’s that in your sandwich?”

Me: “It’s spinach.”

Child 1: Oh, spinach! That fills my heart….with joy”

Child 2: Me too, that fills my heart with joy too”

Child 1: “Do you know why my heart beated? Because it’s full of joy.  I can feel joy in my heart.”

Child 2: “Yes, because you have spinach”

Now this exchange would not be very funny if you imagine it being said by adults. But, when it’s two three-year-olds in a classroom, it’s pretty funny!

Warm wishes,


Are We Ready to Be Discovered? by Dorit Winter

I came across a wonderful article today written by Dorit Winter.  She is the director of the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training.  It shares a very interesting perspective.  Waldorf education might not be on the fringe for much longer, and are we ready for that?  Here is one of my favorite excepts.  I highly recommend reading the whole article using the link at the bottom of this post.

“Waldorf education needs no greenwashing; neither does it need any whitewashing. It stands on its own merit. Waldorf education was “green” before there was such a term. For over nine decades it has set a pace so far in advance of conventional thinking about education that it has been misunderstood, mislabeled, even abjured. But, if Microsoft recognizes itself as being a threat in need of a remedy, we in the Waldorf world better take heed. For it could happen any minute that we are discovered by a broad spectrum of people who yearn for a lifestyle — including, therefore, a form of education — built upon human values. The big question, then, for the next decade is: are we ready to be discovered?”

I found this article while searching for more information about Dorit Winter.  I may have the opportunity to attend a seminar of hers.  I am really looking forward to hearing more of her ideas!

Warm wishes,


Source: Are We Ready to Be Discovered? by Dorit Winter | Waldorf Today – Waldorf Employment, Teaching Jobs, Positions & Vacancies in Waldorf Schools

Rod Puppet Workshop with Suzanne Down

This weekend I had the pleasure of attended an amazing workshop with master puppet maker Suzanne Down.  I have long been impressed by Suzanne’s puppet work as well as her stories.  If you are not on her mailing list at junipertreepuppets.com, you should be.  Every season or so she sends out sweet stories for young children as well as notifications of her various puppet workshops and events.


This particular workshop was a two-day process to make a rod puppet.  We began by needle felting a head.  This can actually be harder than it sounds and includes quite a few steps.  I always find noses very challenging, many of my felted dolls end up with nose jobs 😉


After our head shape is ready we add color and it really begins to come to life.  Suzanne did a wonderful job  encouraging us to allow the puppets to develop on their own, so to speak.  Sometimes, although you love the look of blue eyes, your puppet is actually meant to have brown eyes.  At this point with eyes mouths and hair they all looked so beautiful!


Once we had a finished head it was time to add the rod.  We carefully made a hole in the center bottom of the head, filled it with glue and inserted a pre-measured dowel.  Then the heads sat upside down to dry for a while, they looked a little like crazy candy apples.


We made the dainty little hands with pipe cleaner and more felt.  Then we attached one to a  small stick and the other to a bit of elastic the size of our thumb.  The next day with our head dry it was time to choose some clothes.  After cutting the simple square of soft fabric the puppets were assembled.  It’s incredible that with a bit of wool, wood, cloth, and nimble fingers I made this charming rod puppet.  Her name is Fiona and I think she will meet the children today!


The Art of the Waldorf Circle

The circle is the heart of the Waldorf early childhood curriculum.  If I needed to sum up our day in a few words they would be: eat, play, circle.  The theme of the circle corresponds with the current season or festival.  It should help the students to deeply hold the mood of the season.  This is important for very young children as we sometimes forget that they have only seen a few years on our beautiful planet.  A circle should offer children an experience, maybe one they might not ever really have like chopping wood to stay warm in the winter or gathering apples on a crisp fall day.

The Waldorf circle is a journey.  While on this journey the children learn songs, games, and poems (or verses).  They also practice working together, turn taking, and imitation.  Teachers often include actions that are slightly challenging for their students such as crossing vertical and horizontal midlines, hoping, or skipping.  This is a good way to assess motor skills in an unobtrusive way.

A clever teacher finds a way to both project the image that the children should follow and watch her students to see how they are experiencing the circle.  Some children are so open to the world around them that it seems like our songs flow from our mouths and right into their hearts, they seem to know the words after hearing them only once.  Other children will wait and watch for weeks until finally they burst with perfect songs and gestures.

Here is a sweet song from our current spring circle:

Spring is here said the bumblebee

How do you know? Said the old oak tree.

For I saw a daffodil, dancing with the fairies on yonder hill!

Warm wishes,



I am attending a puppet workshop this weekend and I can’t wait to share some beautiful pictures with you!

Reading Rudolf- Theosophy

Forgive the alliteration :-)

Rudolf Steiner’s books and lectures are notoriously challenging to read and understand.  I started with the book Theosophy which details Steiner’s philosophies about what it means to be human, and the accompanying spiritual processes.  This is a book I am still studying and each time I pick it up I find new insights into the process of making myself a more spiritually awake being.

The great thing about theosophy is that someone was nice enough to put it up as a free audio book here.  This makes it easy to ponder Steiner’s baffling words in the car, at the gym, or anytime you are in need of spiritual enlightenment.  I won’t say that I understood every word as I listened to it, but it made it easy to understand some of the broader concepts of the book.

It’s worth taking a listen.  However, I’d like to point out that this book presents more of a lifelong puzzle to be pondered than a straightforward narrative.  In other words don’t give up when it doesn’t make sense, give yourself credit for trying and pick it up again in a day or two.

Warm wishes,