Many natural-minded parents are drawn to Waldorf education for its emphasis on play, daily rhythms and connections to the natural world. Potomac Crescent Waldorf School, the only Waldorf school in Northern Virginia, offers programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children through fifth grade.
A family event at a Waldorf school offers wholesome fun with nature-based crafts, outdoor imaginative play, healthy food and magical puppet and marionette plays that engage young children in a deep, profound way. Two such events this fall include the Fall Festival on October 22 at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Alexandria, Virginia and the Fall Bazaar at Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, Maryland on November 19. Both events go on rain or shine event with fun for the whole family. Read More
Most parents want their children to feel calm, and the folks at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School have worked hard to create a peaceful, soothing environment in their new home at Fairlington Presbyterian with in Alexandria. Before the school moved into the space last fall, parents, staff and alumni transformed the classroom walls using a painting technique called lazure. Paired with the abundance of natural wood and textiles in Waldorf classrooms, the skillfully painted soft peach walls help children and adults alike feel calm and grounded. Read More
This fall I’ve had the opportunity to attend several events at which I’ve learned great information on health and wellness that I’m using at home and at my children’s school. My reaction to these learning opportunities tends to be first elation, then the heavy weight of responsibility, thinking about all the things I need to research and do for my health and my family’s health, and then the desire to write about what I’ve learned, both to process it for myself and to get up here on the site.
And yet, what most of those events have had as their fundamental lesson is the importance of reducing stress! And the importance of cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude. So rather than bemoan the fact that I haven’t yet done in-depth reporting on all of these events, I’m going to shift my perspective to consider it a gift that I got to go to them and that I can share them with you in this fall recap.
Okay, I’ve rolled up my sleeves so here we go!
The fall health and wellness season launched for me at the end of the summer, when I gathered five other panelists to address the topic of “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health” with me at Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria’s August meeting.
We talked about positive parenting, calming ourselves and modeling healthy coping strategies for our children, food as trigger or healer, energy healing modalities (Reiki, Accunect and hypnotherapy) and bodywork (craniosacral therapy, chiropractic and massage), spiritual coaching, and more. We then did a daytime meeting repeat in October, at which got another demo of Accunect, read the children’s book Anh’s Anger and talked more about our challenges and shared strategies.
There may be a lot of fall festivals and holiday bazaars, but there’s nothing quite like an event at a Waldorf school. Even the classrooms — with their soothing pastel colors, soft light and natural materials — make you feel like you just curled up with a candle and a cozy blanket.
But then there are the activities that fill those homey rooms. Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington recently held its Fall Festival, the last at its home near Crystal City before the school begins a 10-year lease at Fairlington Presbyterian in Alexandria in 2015. Despite the chilly weather, there were plenty of children enjoying the marble run and other outdoor fun, including a visit with a blacksmith. Inside children enjoyed crafts with wool, leaves and silk.
And oh, the puppet shows. Waldorf schools may be the one place where art is so sacred that no one is going to snap a photo during a marionette show or a puppet play. It’s like against a silent code that you’re only allowed to pay attention to what is in front of you and to hold it in your head — not on a screen — for eternity. So I have n o image, but trust me, these performances are truly magical – slow, patient, pentatonic, and dreamy. If you’ve ever doubted the ability of children to sit still if something is not blinking and buzzing at them, see one of these shows for yourself and become a believer.
This Saturday you’ll have the chance at the Washington Waldorf School annual Fall Bazaar, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Celebrating 45 years of educating children in pre-K through high school, the Bethesda-based school puts on an amazing event with a wide variety of crafts and activities for children as well as vendors and artisans. Click here for a full listing of the offerings, which include a children’s shop where little ones can purchase treasures for others using tickets.
Tickets for activities ($1 each, activities vary in number of tickets) are available at three locations throughout the school in addition to at the main entrance. However, tickets for the puppet plays are only available outside on a first-come, first-served basis. “The Magic Gourd” is geared toward children ages 4-8 and will be performed in the library at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. “Mouth Finds His Winter Home” is for children aged 2-3 and will be performed at 12:00 and 12:45 p.m. Tickets sell out, so be sure to arrive early to get yours.
Click here for a map of the day’s activities. The school even has a newsletter with reflections by bazaar contributors and organizers. New this year this year is a woodworking room and the making of thumb pianos with the help of NeighborWood‘s Bill Merkel.
Also debuting is a vendor preview night on Friday, 7:00-9:00 p.m. so you can shop without children in tow! The array of artisans is always impressive and includes vendors selling beeswax candles, ornaments, textiles, jewelry, wooden toys and art, and much more. You could really spend all day there and never take your child to a single activity. So instead, go Friday night! Tickets are limited and cost $10.
On Saturday, refreshments will be available in the Snack Shop 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Bistro Café and Patisserie 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be coffee in the auditorium for the whole 10-3 event.
The school even produced a video to showcase the event and let you know what to expect. Enjoy!
Washington Waldorf school photos courtesy of the school.
Simplicity Parenting is one of the books I had out last week at the Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria daytime meeting on “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health,” and I was excited when a member told me the book’s author, Kim John Payne, was coming to speak on October 11 at a daylong event organized by Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery, which is celebrating its 50th year serving families in Takoma Park.
The flyer for the Saturday event reads: “Looking for ways to support children in being calmer and happier, more focused at school, finding it easier to comply with family rules and become less picky eaters?” The school elaborates: “In this lecture and workshop, Kim explains why less is more and presents four simplicity pathways you can take to help your child feel calmer, happier and more secure. This is the work and the workshop which provided the inspiration for Kim’s book by the same name (published in August 2009). It presents not only the four simple steps, but examples of how to bring “the power of less” into your home on a daily basis.”
The event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, and is taking place not at the school (which has one of the most amazing natural play areas I’ve ever seen!) but rather at Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (GPS: use 8525 Fenton Street), three blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Transit Station. Click here for parking information. Payne will lecture 9-11 a.m. Lunch follows 11-12 and is provided in the $60 fee (or $55 per person if coming as a couple or pair); vegetarian options and some gluten-free options are available. Then, from 12 to 3 p.m. will be the workshop portion of the day. Register at www.acornhill.org.
There are a lot of Simplicity Parenting pieces I have tried to incorporate into our family life, including scheduling in quiet time and do-nothing days and limiting media. So far this school year we’ve stuck to no weekday screen time. Well, not counting Nationals baseball highlights. I expected my daughter would attend a Waldorf preschool like her brother, but when she was offered a spot in the Montessori class at my son’s public magnet school, we saw how much simpler it would be for the family to have them in the same place with the same daily schedule. If I hadn’t had chronic health issues, we might have still done the two-school shuffle, but in the absence of perfect, consistent and streamlined will have to do!