Why Waldorf? Choosing a Parent & Child Group
Why would you choose to go to a Waldorf group - often at a cost and a distance - when there's a free stay & play session at the local children's centre?
The first thing to say is that it's not an either/or: children's centres offer a fantastic and extremely valuable service to families and communities. Definitely attend, enjoy and support your local children's centres! Same with church-, school- and village hall based groups. Many of them are really super! But having worked in several children's centres, and tried to bring a Waldorf influence, I found that it was difficult. Impossible, actually.
Waldorf groups, in my experience, offer something qualitatively different, and I can only say you have to go and experience it.
When I moved to Lincolnshire, heavily pregnant with my second child, my overwhelming experience of our local toddler groups was negative: noisy, stampeding toddlers, parents cajoling their infants to share the beeping, flashing toys, superficial conversations with other mums, usually about sleep (or lack of), or comparing our children's development - which tended to make one or both of us feel anxious! - and endless (tediously stereotyping!) renditions of the wheels on the bus... There's no wonder so many parents go back to work, I thought!
Happily I'd been to a Waldorf group back in Norwich with my first baby, and knew things didn't have to be this way! Norwich Steiner group was led at that time by a gentle, softly-spoken man - Richard House - who radiated warmth, kindness and respect. Adults chatted around the craft table while children played freely with simple toys and natural materials. The little ones watched, intrigued, as he lit a candle at the meal table, we ate together round the table, and we sang songs according to the season. We went outdoors to the little garden in all weathers, the children climbing, jumping and splashing in the puddles!
So that is how Lincolnshire Waldorf Group began in 2006: it grew out of some mothers’ desperate need for connection with like minded parents and a respite from the overwhelming, exhausting and often isolating world of parenthood. It grew out of a longing for peaceful, nurturing, healthy spaces for ourselves and our children.
We were a small group of friends, at first meeting at our own homes, later in various venues. Eventually we found our permanent home in the wooden-floored, wood-burner heated centre at chambers farm woods, with windows onto the butterfly garden and paths to the "magic circle" in the woods. Our sessions are characterised by free play with simple toys, and a connection to nature and the changing seasons, reflected in our crafts, events and songs.
My involvement in Lincolnshire Waldorf Group has been a big commitment, and it is often beautiful and creative work. The shared tasks of organisation and event planning have built community and developed friendships that I will always value. For me, it has been the inspiring, nurturing, community-building experience that has made early motherhood possible and often wonderful!
If you’ve never been to a Steiner-Waldorf group before, you are more than welcome to come and see who we are and what we do - your first session is always free. Drop us a message on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lincolnshirewaldorf/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org