Hi, I am a new mother who recently landed in “baby world” trying to educating myself on what the correct colour and consistency of poop should be, if a R5000 cot is better than a R500 one and numerously turning to Dr Google trying to find out if I can overdose my baby on Colic drops… This all in between laying in a bed, covered in cabbage leaves (my granny suggested that) and breast pads (thank goodness I am past that stage!!)
I am the mother of a beautiful 19 month old baby girl. Gosh my life changed suddenly and dramatically and I would not want it any other way! The daily dose of entertainment I get is priceless but it does balance itself out with the crying and as all you mothers might well know, the back arching tantrums.
Last week I took Isabella with me to fetch her cousin who is attending Waldorf kindergarten school, he is 5. As I entered the class room I was pretty much sure I was in the wrong place as I did not see any toys, or play mats or you know, things you would see in a nursery.. Behold, to my shocking realisation, I found myself in the right place.. As I made my way into the room, I was, well shocked and surprised and brought back to reality of what “play” really is about. Think back to how it was when we were young (I’m an 80’s baby). I played in the field everyday after school, playing with sticks and stones and broke some bones, chased dogs, making stuff out of well, nothing or whatever garbage we could find laying around.. I had a moment of déjà vu.. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am no hippie mother, but there was just something inside me that said “This is how it’s supposed to be”
Just for those of you who are interested on what Waldorf Schools are all about:
“Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Its pedagogy emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of pupils.
Steiner’s division of child development into three major stages is reflected in the schools’ approach to early childhood education, which focuses on practical, hands-on activities and creative play; to elementary education, which focuses on developing artistic expression and social capacities; and to secondary education, which focuses on developing critical reasoning and empathic understanding. The overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence. Qualitative assessments of student work are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, with quantitative testing playing a minimal role in primary education and standardized testing usually limited to that required for college entry. Individual teachers and schools have a great deal of autonomy in determining curriculum content, teaching methodology, and governance.”
In the classroom were woven baskets filled with sticks, stones, shells and wooden blocks. My inner spirit wanted to let loose and start playing as all these things was so familiar to my kindred young soul!
There were knitting stations with wool, handmade cards and recycled items.
Now I am getting super excited as I make my way outside, a tree swing! A vegetable garden (yes, they teach the nursery kiddies how to plant their own crops!)
For a moment I was swept away from technology, away from bright lights, plastics and robotic voices.
I came home looking at her tremendous amount of boxes filled with rather pricey toys, plastics that mimics cellphones and computers..
There I was standing when it all made sense to me.. I am surrounding my child in a plastic world, creating perceptions of a false fantasy world. It was time to bring my kid back to basics, back to reality and back to nature. I packed a box and donated some of her toys and only kept a small basket of her favourite things. I cancelled a monthly subscription to a company where they deliver a box with “developmental” toys, convincing you that this will make your kid, well smarter… Now that I write this I actually realize how stupid and gullible I was. A toy that will make your kid smarter? #FacePalm
I am her mother, her mentor and her teacher, she learns from the best and no other programme or toy will make her “smarter”. A “smart” kid is raised in a “smart” home by “smart” parents in a “smart” environment. By “smart” I guess you figured I mean “healthy, happy, values, morals, manners etc”
I ditched the overcrowded, expensive children’s play parks for trips to the botanical gardens or the beach where we now collect baskets full of shells, dried insects and different shaped stones. I placed a basket in our kitchen where I collect all our plastic bottles, glass jars and empty toilet roll holders for DIY projects.
The Ipad has taken a back seat only making its appearance for emergencies like long flights or a five minute break for mom. I am dusting off my old finger board games, my sewing machine and my old nursery books. I even pinned some images on creating a cosy reading corner in her room.
I have decided to spend no more money on plastic, flashing toys or pricey educational programmes. Back in the day kids had everything they needed and the world produced some pretty awesome humans.. Just think.. Louis Pasteur, Walt Disney, Imhotep, Sigmund Freud, Galileo Galilei, Albert Einstein, Orville and Wilbur Wright, William Shakespeare.. I could go on and and on and on but I think you get the picture. As for a plummet in social skills in today’s youth, well, let our lifestyle speak for itself.. (raising my hand because I am guilty as hell).
It is a transition I am working on daily, it is not easy, but I’m trying..
Till next time! xoxo