Gentle Days: Who? What? Why?
We’re a bit unusual. Not exactly a typical mums & tots group:
We meet in a woods - though most of the session is indoors, in the peaceful “bird room” with windows onto the butterfly garden.
We’re a group for parents, as much as for babies, where we feel nurtured ourselves as we try to nurture our little ones.
We draw on the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and Emmi Pikler, which emphasise play, respectful care of infants, and the child’s natural, unhurried development. You will find only simple toys made from natural materials rather than brightly coloured, plastic toys; and mats or sheep skins on the floor, rather than bouncers or cushions for propping babies up before they are ready to sit by themselves.
We’re a group of parents from various places in Lincolnshire. Our group grew out of Lincolnshire Waldorf Parent & Child group, when we identified a need for a more gentle, peaceful group for new parents and babies.
I’m Laura, I’ve been leading Gentle Days for a year, and came to GD as a parent prior to that with my youngest child. I also have two teenagers, whose babyhoods pre-date Gentle Days - but I really wish that we’d had a baby group like this!
We drink some tea, we spend some time quietly watching our children, I teach you some songs and rhymes that I think you’ll like. Most parents go for a sling/pushchair walk in the woods at the end. Each session, I aim to bring an idea or a short reading of something relating to young children or parenthood that I find inspiring or useful, and that I think is worthy of your consideration. We have a short period of conversation around it.
The rules for the group are twofold:
No phones, no photos. We want to be fully present with our babies and with each other, at least for an hour and a half.
Kindness. That’s all. No-one has to explain or apologise for their choices, whether you exclusively bottle feed or breast-feed until age 4; whether you go back to work after six months or home educate for 18 years; whether you’re male or female or something else, whether or not you’re genetically related to your baby... you get it. We care about each other, we support each other, we ask curious questions to understand each other - not to challenge one another or create a debate!
We believe in the importance of natural outdoor spaces for our well-being and our children’s healthy development. We recognise the need to look after ourselves and get our own needs met as parents, in order to care for and nurture our children. And we have found Steiner and Pikler to be helpful and inspiring influences in creating the environments we want for our children, and in becoming the parents that we want to be.