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The art of Waldorf-inspired parenting

Parent Toddler Waldorf Program
Parent Toddler Waldorf Program
Laurent Alfieri

Today I am reading a selection from Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing our children from birth to seven entitled "Creative Discipline." My little one's preschool teacher recommended this chapter from a Waldorf parenting book, and I'm devouring the specific tips about how to meet my 4-year-old at his developmental level while keeping harmony in my home.

For example, the authors suggest using the magic word "may" when giving instructions. Suddenly we are saying, "You may sit at the table for dinner now..." rather than "It's time for dinner, okay?" Amazingly, with this more authoritative approach and yet neutrally voiced request, my boy comes to sit down. How incredible that this statement gets such good results, when our former question -- often expressed with tones of begging -- could lead to a chase around the living room and a physical scooping of bottom into chair. The entire process is so much more peaceful!

Most importantly, I am searching the text for ways to retrain myself to be more objective, patient, positive and balanced. I love the tactic I'm learning about answering Bryles' many questions with "I wonder..." Somehow this keeps me in a state of wonder about our world, while also encouraging him to share his thoughts with me. I often find when I step out of the role as his teacher, he in turn teaches me.

Parenting these past four years has been a pathway to my own transformation, and I've been fortunate to receive bountiful support from our local Waldorf parent education community. If you, too, would like to find ways to parent your children or teenager through meeting their development and bettering yourself, explore these fabulous resources that support the "art of Waldorf-inspired parenting."

Waldorf Parent Education Courses (Adult Only)

Simplicity Parenting Groups, Facilitated by Sue Gimple

Join Sue Gimpel, Family & Home Life Coach, Waldorf Collaborative Counselor, and Simplicity Parenting Group Facilitator in a 7 session Discussion Group on Simplicity Parenting starting on October 20, 2010. Register now by calling 707-322-6933, as space is limited. $150 per person, $250/couple, plus $15 materials fee; Simplicity Parenting Book not included. Partial scholarships available. Groups offered in two convenient locations: Sebastopol Independent Charter School (Wednesday evenings) and Mill Valley (Saturday mornings). Call for exact dates and location.

"Exploring the Temperaments and the Waldorf Curriculum: A Creative Journey of Child Development", Facilitated by Karen Rivers

Join long-time parent educator Karen Rivers, as she engages parents in developing skills for creative parenting from the understanding of the temperaments. The workshop is scheduled for October 23, 2010 and will be hosted by the Marin Waldorf School. Call (415) 662-2147 or email to register. Also, be sure and ask Karen about her audio recordings of former workshops. Select from titles such as: "Parenting: - Cultivating Truth Beauty and Goodness in the Home" or "Parenting the Middle School Years: Our Children and Our Hope for the Future".

Introduction to Nurturing Arts: Fathers' Group, Facilitated by Mary Bowen

Weekly gathering for men to celebrate life! Through the artistic process we will study the 7 year cycles as they relate to our biography and others - through painting, drawing, sculpting, movement and story. We’ll find our way. Come and be in the moment. Nurturing Arts strives to bring balance through artistic sensory experiences. Mondays 10/25/10 - 12/13/10 at 7:00. Call Mary Bowen for more information at 707-528-2248 or see the Nurturing Arts website.

Traditional Waldorf Doll Making, Facilitated by Grandma Mary (Mary Bowen)

Spend Wednesday mornings hand sewing a traditional, large Waldorf doll (18-20" tall) with 30 year educator and Waldorf teacher Mary Bowen. "Grandma Mary" will provide you with the supplies, which include natural cottons and wool, as well as instruction or support for first time or advanced hand sewing. While you craft your doll, "Grandma Mary" will lead parenting discussions and share details about your doll's connection to your growing child. More than leaving with a beautiful doll - you'll find you've created a gift for your child infused with your own developing spirit. Supply fees run from $20 - $30. Mary requests a $10 fee for each class hour for each student. Classes are offered on Wednesdays through November 2010 in Mary's Santa Rosa home from 9:30 - 11:30. Call Mary Bowen for more information at 707-528-2248.

Storytelling, Facilitated by Marianna de Croes

De Croes affirms stories offer a captivating means for guiding children, allowing adults to move away from less effective measures such as scolding. Telling stories meets children at their developmental level by using imagery, humor, archetypes, and often physical engagement (e.g. hand gestures or finger play) as instructional aids. As parents and other adults craft stories for children, a “shared imagination” develops between them. This sharing, also builds strengthened relationships. (Read more here.) Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in November 2010. Contact Marianna de Croes at 707-494-8990 to register.

Fathers on the Path of Waldorf Education Together, Facilitated by Roland Baril

These group sessions will be dynamic, informative meetings that will encourage sharing of experiences, as members work together to strengthen their parenting skills and their role as Fathers with their families through enhanced knowledge of Rudolph Steiner’s philosophies. Meets for 14 Saturdays for two hours each meeting for a fee of $125 and book costs. (Remaining dates are 10/23, 11/6, 11/20, 12/4, 1/8/11, 1/29, 2/12, 3/12, 3/26, 4/30, 5/14, 5/21). Email to discuss openings for Summerfield Waldorf School or to explore creating a community group. Contact: Doug Silberstein,

Mothers on the Path of Waldorf Education, Facilitated by Thalia Baril

Like the “Fathers on the Path” group described above, this group brings Mothers together to strengthen their parenting skills and deepen their understanding of their role as Mothers. The Mothers’ Group starts Saturday, October 16, 2010, 10 – 12pm. Dates for the Mother’s Group include: 10/16; 10/30; 11/13; 12/11; 1/22; 2/5; 3/5; 3/19; 4/2; 5/7; 5/21. The group will be meet in the White Rose Kindergarten. Contact Thalia for registration and fees at 707-843-3229 or

"Creating Healing Home Environments" and other workshops, Facilitated by Sarah Whitmore

"Artistic Beginners come forth! A safe environment for Adults to learn and create." Waldorf trained Kindergarten teacher and fine artist Sarah Whitmore offers workshops, consultations, and collaborative art sessions to local families. (Read more here.) Contact Sarah Whitmore at 707-824-9749 or to explore class offerings and personal sessions.

Local Waldorf Inspired Parent/Toddler Programs

Children’s Play Garden, Facilitated by Marcia Larkin and Line Westman

Parents and children join together in a world of wonder and beauty. Parents are gently guided in the art of parenting and handwork honoring the changing seasons. Children experience sharing and playing, using songs, stories, and outdoor play in a joyful and rhythmical way. Facilitated by experienced Waldorf teachers and parent educators, this class is currently offered on Wednesdays from 9-11 in Sebastopol. Course fees are $20-30 per class – call (707) 823-2062 today to discuss joining a current group or starting a new group.

Summerfield Waldorf School’s Roots and Shoots, Facilitated by Donna Stusser

Parent/Child classes provide a nurturing experience in a beautiful classroom and playground, under the guidance of experienced Waldorf teachers. Discussion, article reading, and observation provide opportunities for parents to learn and share. Call Sallie Miller at (707) 575-7194 ext. 102 for scheduling, costs and openings.

Marin Waldorf School Parent Child Program, Facilitated by Barbara Rosen and Leanne Tarantino

Now enrolling for the Winter and Spring sessions. The classes include songs and movement, handwork and playtime, conversation and community. Spaces available in the Older Toddler class on Saturday mornings - a wonderful opportunity for the dads to be involved in a group experience. There are also openings in the Infant, Crawlers and Young Toddler classes. Please visit the website at for more information or call (415) 479-8190 ext. 147 or email

Parent Coaching

Need one on one support customized to meet your family's current needs? Local Waldorf trained educators offer "parent coaching" on topics such as environment, rhythm, scheduling, creating sacred spaces, and transitions.

Mary Bowen, M.Ed

Sue Gimple, Simplicity Parenting Coach

Laurie Tuchel, Simplicity Parenting Coach


  • Profile picture of Dana Beigel
    Dana Beigel 4 years ago

    Nice detailed article. Thanks for sharing so many resources.

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