North America Newsletter

Winter 2011
from Vancouver LifeWays
How LifeWays Meets the Needs of Young Children and Prepares Them for Future Academics


        Those of us who sign up for the LifeWays training intuitively know that LifeWays truly meets the needs of young children.  But in describing it to others, or promoting our own childcare programs, it can sometimes feel hard to describe.  Many parents, especially dads, want to know for sure that this methodology, which feels so "lovey-dovey," will be providing a strong foundation for future academics. 
          This newsletter is chock-full of evidence that, in fact, research is backing up many of the activities which LifeWays promotes every day:
research is showing that lots of free-play time promotes the development of executive function (see "All Work and No Play"), that singing to babies and young children lays the groundwork for language development (See "Singing and Language"), and much more.  I hope this
newsletter provides you with food for thought, and may provide an article to pass on here and there. 
Faith Collins, Editor
In This Issue
Letter from Cynthia
Math and Science in Steiner E.C. Settings
Satisfying Parents about "Progress"
Foundations of Literacy
LifeWays Graduates' Work
Winter Celebrations
New Videos, CEUs
Upcoming LifeWays Workshops
All Work and No Play
Joyful Toddlers!
Singing and Language
Teaching Our Children to Write
Featured Quote
Featured Newsletter
Let Preschoolers Play!
apple peeling in oregon
Letter from CynthiaCynthia and Child


Dear Friends,


          May this newsletter find you in the midst of spending time with friends and family and experiencing the overcoming of darkness with Light and Love.  The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be daunting at times, and this year, on top of the diminishing daylight, we also had a few weeks where Mercury went retrograde.  Did you have any machinery breaking, any well-laid plans getting reversed, any heightened levels of frustration?  Ahhh ... Mercury!  Well, let's celebrate that this dear red planet returned to its direct path a few days ago, just in time for our winter breaks, joyous celebrations, and deepening of our contemplative practices.

           Our LifeWays board is actively contemplating a few things right now.  We are engaged in a process with a publicity firm in Milwaukee that is helping us create a new logo that will more easily identify what we do.  We are also developing a new brochure and other outreach materials as well as coordinating our efforts to reach a broader range of people.  These steps are made possible because of your interest and support, and we thank you.  

          I don't want to turn this newsletter into an annual report, but I do want to tell you that 2011 has been a year of expansion.  In addition to our established trainings, we are laying the groundwork for new trainings in Buffalo, Vancouver, San Diego, and Hawaii.  Please encourage people to contact us about these locations.  We also welcomed new Representative sites with a few more in process (please check the website now and then to see our list of members).

sledding           At least two of our members (Rahima Dancy and Bianca Lara) were interviewed regarding screen-free child care, an initiative of Michelle Obama's to get children moving.  We thank our friend Joan Almon for helping us make that connection.  As a side note, Joan is retiring from the director's role for The Alliance for Childhood, and we send her our deepest thanks for all that she has done and is doing to further the protection of childhood and the fundamental needs of children to play.

           We are completing our first year of having an on-line newsletter, and we hope you have found it inspiring.  Please let us know.  Many thanks to Faith Collins for sharing her creativity with us!  Faith is one of a number of expanded part-time support staff, and again we thank all of you for helping us to grow.

           We want to reciprocate your support by offering interesting and engaging content, and in this issue we are addressing a question that comes up very often - how do the things that we do in our daily life practices with children actually lay the groundwork for their academic learning.  This is often a question asked by parents.   Lisa Gromicko wrote her LifeWays graduation paper on this theme, and it is included here.  In my introductory article on the theme, you will see an invitation to carry it on into our next newsletter with your own anecdotal stories. 

           Also in this newsletter you will read about the inspiring work happening in the Philippines with LifeWays graduate Kahlil Sucgang Apuzen-Ito.  Thank you, Kahlil, for sharing this with us. 

          So, we welcome you to pour a cup of your favorite warm drink, wrap up in a cozy blanket, and enjoy our winter newsletter.  And, in the meantime, tell your favorite story to a small child, pet a pup or kitty, and give a warm embrace to a fellow adult who treads this life path with you!

           I want to close with one of my favorite winter verses from Dr. Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul:

Cynthia by the lake with child

The soul's creative might

Strives outward from the heart's own core

To kindle and inflame god-give powers

In human life to right activity;

The soul thus shapes itself

In human loving and in human working.



Peace and Love,


Summary of Articles in this Issue:
agaftopMath and Science in Steiner Early Childhood Settings 
by Lisa Gromikofolding laundry 1

        Written during her LifeWays training, Lisa Gromiko looks at what research has shown young children need as foundations for math and science, and then examines how Steiner-based early childhood programs fulfill those needs.

Lisa is currently working as a Kindergarten teacher at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Colorado.

handsontopSatisfying Parents about "Progress"  

 By Rahima DancyRainbow Bridge

        Rahima Dancy shares her methods of communicating with parents at her LifeWays program, Rainbow Bridge.  These links reassure parents that their children are "learning," build community and connection, and help keep retention as high as possible.


Rahima is the director of the Representative LifeWays program Rainbow Bridge in Boulder, Colorado, and is a member of the LifeWays board of directors.


Click here to

scotttopFoundations of Literacy, Numeracy, Honesty, Integrity and LifeLong Learning
which lifeways program?By Cynthia Aldinger
            Cynthia looks at what we really want for our children, and how to best provide these qualities.  Both provocative and inspiring, Cynthia challenges us to trust our instincts as parents and caregivers.
         Cynthia is the Director of LifeWays North America, and oversees all of the LifeWays trainings.  She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.


Click here to read the full article.          

brookstopLifeWays Graduates' Work in the World: The Mindanao Early Childhood Workshop in the Philippines 
By Kahlil Sucgang Apuzen-Ito mindanao, Philippines

Kahlil organized a two-day workshop in Mindanao, Philippines on Nurturing Our Children and Communities.  Many of the participants had never heard of Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner.


Kahlil Sucgang Apuzen-Ito is a longtime LifeWays graduate.  She currently lives in Hawaii but is actively working to bring LifeWays and Waldorf to her homeland of the Philippines.  If you are interested in supporting her work, please email her at


 Click here to continue this article

gendertopWinter Celebrations:  Nurturing and Protecting the Senses 
By Rosario Villasana

Rainbow BridgeRosario looks at how LifeWays care providers can work with parents to protect children from the craziness that often comes with the holiday season.


Rosario Villasana is a member of the LifeWays board of directors, and lives in California. 

trainingstopLifeWays Now Offering 5 Videos, plus CEUs

See LifeWays childcare providers in action by watching our 5 new videos on "LifeWays: Relationship-Based Care."


The 75-minute DVD is available for only $25 and covers six modules:

*  Family-Style Child CareSettling into Sleep

*  Home Away from Home

*  Forest Kindergarten

*  Settling into Sleep and

*  Nurturing and Nourishing


If you need continuing education units for your licensing, these videos are also available as "mini-courses": accompanied by articles and questions that you answer, each unit is recognized for 3 contact hours by the state of Wisconsin and you may be able to submit them in your state, as well. The cost is only $25 per module, or $100 for all five (15 contact hours).


For more information and to order from our on-line store, click here.


These training modules are part of the LifeWays "Whole Child, Whole Teacher Series" developed by Mary O'Connell and filmed at the Milwaukee LifeWays Center.

Support LifeWays:
Join or Renew Today!
You can support the work of LifeWays with children and families by joining or renewsing as a Friend of LifeWays ($35/year), or as a Self-Affiliated or Trained-Affiliate Member ($100/year) if you are working with children or parents.
Have your program listed on our new website as a Trained- or Self-Affiliated Member. Here's the list!And Trained Affiliates can join Cynthia and other colleagues on a monthly conference call to discuss questions and share expertise. 
To Renew or Join Online, click here. Or call 405-579-0999.
Full Articles Below:
agafarticleMath and Science in Waldorf Early Childhood Settings  


by Lisa Gromicko

folding laundry 1

(LifeWays, May 2010)

     Steiner-based, early childhood settings abound with rich opportunities for the development of math and science concepts.  This may be surprising to some who can easily see the beauty, language, and coziness of the Waldorf kindergarten, but not necessarily the mathematical or scientific side. A primary focus of Waldorf early childhood education is on the care and development of the physical body of the child, and that of the child's environment.  Considering the 'physical' basis of the early years, it then becomes possible to glimpse the natural mathematical relationships. In reality, all activities of Steiner-based early childhood education are math and science based, including activities of language acquisition and pre-literacy, such as listening and word recognition, patterning, and story sequencing.  

Read the full article....

Return to list of articles

handsonarticleSatisfying Parents about "Progress" 

--by Rahima Baldwin Dancy, Director of Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Center and LifeWays Board Member 

Rainbow Bridge
Rahima wet-felting with the children at Rainbow Bridge
I feel confident that what we are providing children through LifeWays is so health-giving for them now and is the best preparation for the rest of their lives.  The question, really, is how to convey that to parents, especially as their children grow older? At Rainbow Bridge we work with 17 families (11 or 12 children each day, ages  1-5 years) and find that educating the parents about the real needs of young children and how LifeWays meets them is an ongoing process. Here are the things I utilize:
  • The LifeWays Principles are included in the inquiry packet
  • The LifeWays brochure (the green one with the hands) is also in the packet so parents understand that we are part of a national movement.  Members can request copies of this from the national office.
  • Once parents have signed on, I give them a copy of my book, You Are Your Child's First Teacher.  Later in the year I give them a copy of Simplicity Parenting (discounts from Amazon make the price so low, that I find it's an affordable investment--and one that makes our lives so much simpler, too).
  • I send out an email every week or so about what we are doing during the day-which story, circle games or finger plays, seasonal activities, etc. This helps parents understand that we are offering much more than "child care."
  • Emails sometimes also include links to relevant articles, such as the ones featured in this newsletter.  They also give news about relevant activities at the local Waldorf Schools, speakers of interest, etc.
  • Parent evenings provide an opportunity to talk about what their children really need, how we are providing that, and how they can build on that home. I usually have introductions early in the year, then I present something (a fingerplay or puppet show) and then something briefly on a topic (warmth, play, media, etc.).  Then I open it up for questions.
  • Seasonal festivals provide another opportunity for parents to socialize and to connect with one another in community. They learn how much parents value keeping their children here year after year.
  • We don't do "regular parent conferences" with each family, but we certainly do them if there is a question from the parents' side or concerns from our side.

We are providing such a gift to children and their parents! Finding creative ways to include the parents in that process is an ongoing challenge. Most programs lose a third to a half of their children each year, for all reasons taken together: "aging out" (going on to kindergarten, in our case); moving; losing a job; or a few because they want "more stimulation" for their child in a preschool setting that doesn't include younger children. This still happens despite our best efforts at parent education-often with fathers who have "gone along with" their wives when the child was one or two but now want to have more of a say. The difference in having an established program compared with a program that is just starting, is that it becomes easier to fill the new spots each year, but you can plan on having a third to a half of your spots available each fall, even under the best of circumstances. 

--Rahima Dancy

You can see Rainbow Bridge's website at


 Go Back to List of Articles

scottarticleFoundations for Literacy, Numeracy, Honesty, Integrity and Lifelong Learning

Cynthia Aldinger, Director of LifeWays North America

          Can daily life really be a curriculum?  Can little children truly be prepared for the rigors of academic life through play and through participation in practical activities of the household?  What are our ultimate goals, hopes, interests on behalf of our children and the children in our care?  We accept that early childhood experiences lay  foundation for future capacities for abstract learning.  We also recognize that their early encounters are foundatinoal to the human qualities of caring, having compassion, being resilient, and finding joy in life. 

        Is it possible that our goals for the development of these lofty soulful characteristics and the more materialistic academic capacities can be achieved through similar means? 

Click here to read the complete article.           

Go Back to List of Articles


brooksarticleLifeWays Graduates' Work in the World:

The Mindanao Workshop in the Philippines 


mindanao, Philippines
Workshop participants
Nurturing Our Children and Communities: A Workshop in Mindanao, Philippines


By Kahlil Sucgang Apuzen-Ito


On October 15 and 16, 2011 in Davao City, Philippines, nineteen elementary school teachers, childcare providers, community activists and organizers, pastors, nongovernmental organization (NGO) staff, and individuals participated in our workshop called Creative, Holistic, and Mindful Nurturing of Children: Sharing Steiner-Inspired Educational and Childcare Philosophy.  Many of the participants hadnever heard of Rudolf Steiner or Waldorf education, but there was an overwhelming interest in learning more holistic ways of raising and teaching children, especially from teachers of the Barangay (village) Sibulan community, for which the workshop was originally created. 


The Story of Sibulan and Their Search for Sustainable Livelihood          


mindanao, philippines
Bagobo-Tagabawa tribal dance performed at the workshop


Sibulan is a village in Davao City, on the island of Mindanao. It is nestled on the slopes of Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines and is home to more than 4,000 rural indigenous peoples, most of whom are of the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe.


The idea of a Steiner-sharing arose when I had a meeting with organizers from the Foundation for Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in Mindanao, Inc. (FARMCOOP) and teachers of Barangay Sibulan's Mt. Apo elementary school regarding funding for the integration of their indigenous Bagobo Tagabawa culture into the school's curriculum. After the meeting, the FARMCOOP organizer asked if I could share Waldorf and Lifeways philosophy to the teachers. I gladly accepted the honor, considering that there are aspects of Waldorf education such as oral storytelling, nature observation and nature play, andreverence for nature, to name a few, that can be found in many indigenous cultures in the Philippines. As the community organizer and I were walking on the red muddy road towards our truck, discussing plans, I remembered being filled with awe and respect for the Sibulan community for its perseverance and determination to preserve its own Bagobo Tagabawa culture and pursue not only a more inclusive education but also a sustainable way of earning a living for its community, despite pressures from outsiders to give in to conventional agriculture.


I first heard of the Sibulan community from my father who manages Foundation for Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in Mindanao, Inc. (FARMCOOP). FARMCOOP is a social development nongovernmental organization founded in 1995 by leaders of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the banana industry that provides technical, legal, credit and market accessing, and capacity building services to agrarian reform beneficiaries and small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples groups. 


In 2003, agents of banana multinational companies (MNC's) frequented Sibulan, enticing the farmers to lease their lands for banana production.  The agents allured the farmers with five years advance rental, the amount of which sounded a fortune to the farmers, and employment as farm workers. But they were not that easily persuaded having witnessed the destruction of the farmlands and forests and pollution of the environment in the other tribal villages where these MNCs were operating. To come up with a well-informed decision, the village council called a village assembly where they invited the agents of the MNCs to present their proposal. Having heard of FARMCOOP, they also asked my father, to be one of the presenters. While the agents promised advance payment of rental and community development through monocrop and chemical farming, my father spoke of the farmers' need to preserve their environment and culture as they struggle to alleviate their poverty by growing the bananas themselves the organic way.


The village people made the right decision and opted for organic banana farming. With the help of FARMCOOP, they organized two cooperatives: SOBAGROMCO (Sibulan Organic Banana Growers Multipurpose Cooperative) for the small-scale farmers, and PACOBAGROW (Pamara Cooperative Banana Growers). To enable them to engage in organic banana production, FARMCOOP provided them access to grants and credits from CORDAID and BROEDERLIJK DELEN (Dutch and Belgian funding agencies, respectively) while FARMCOOP provided technology, capacity building, and marketing. But success in growing organic banana did not come easy for the cooperatives and FARMCOOP as there was as yet no model for commercial organic banana farm in the Philippines from which to learn. They were the first. I was told that for four years they experienced failures and setbacks but their combined determination and perseverance pulled them through. Since then, the cooperatives have been producing the only upland certified organic banana in the Japanese market.  Organic farming is only part of the cooperatives' Sibulan project.  They are also planting endemic fruit trees and are researching vegetable crops and animal husbandry to incorporate in their long-range goal of a sustainable agroforestry program.


Vision of Sustainable Community Integrates a Holistic Perspective in Raising Children and Families

As poverty is being slowly addressed and alleviated through efforts of SOBRAGOMPCO and PAGCOBAGROW, FARMCOOP is expanding its perspective on community development to include the quality of family life, the quality of the environment in which children are raised, andthe values being formed in families and community-the approach is more holistic towards the sustainability of community and spirit that holds the community. When we proposed this workshop, I was astounded by the full financial backing, logistical and staff assistance this workshop received from FARMCOOP in a way that we were able to offer the workshop for free, abound with reading materials.


Workshop on Holistic, Mindful Nurturing: Sowing Seeds on Steiner Philosophy


"I don't know what is happening with the children and teenagers these days," says one of the Sibulan early childhood teacher in tears, "They no longer listen. I don't know what to do.  Children are different now; not like the old days." She continued to give her gratitude that this workshop was being offered and looked forward to learning.  Such were the sentiments shared by several teachers and other participants, setting a general mood of openness to what would unfold for the next two days. 



mindanao, philippines
Learning the Caterpillar-wrap movement game
Nurturing the Twelve Senses 
On the first day of the workshop, we explored the phases of childhood followed by participants drawing their memories of childhood.  This exercise gave us a natural transition to the topic of Steiner's picture of the twelve senses wherein, nurturing the four lower senses--touch, life, movement, and balance-and their connection to the higher senses were emphasized. To demonstrate further how these lower senses can be nurtured in early childhood, we explored body games and massage for children, sung verses and told stories with movements and finger games.



Free Play, Nature Play We also covered the importance of free play and in particular, nature play in which participants brought leaves, rocks, flowers, and shared the variety of ways they have played with elements in nature.  Our discussion exemplified that regardless of economic, ethnic, educational, and cultural background, all the participants shared a joyful, dynamic, and creative exploration of nature in their own childhood play. We briefly touched on child study through objective child observation.


A Surprise Conclusion for First Day: Bagobo Tagabawa Dance  The day was concluded with teachers from Sibulan dressed in traditional lumad (tribal) attire and danced to the gongs being played by a couple of Bagobo Tagabawa youth. They invited a few of us to dance with them and what appeared like simple footwork was in fact a far more complicated movement giving one the essence of earth, plant growth, and air. Indeed, I learned much about the sense of touch, of life, of balance, and of movement in the Bagobo Tagabawa dance that day.


Day 2 of Workshop:  Phases of Childhood, Brain and Heart Research, and Mindful Parenting

On the second day, we delved deeper into the phases of childhood and covered the recent brain and heart research that corroborated the age-appropriate approaches of Waldorf education and Lifeways childcare philosophy.  We also talked about the studies and research showing effects of media, particularly television, movies, video games, and computers on children.  Participants used drama and songs to demonstrate some foundations on mindful parenting and creative discipline.


Follow Through and Moving Forward  As the workshop ran its course, participants expressed that the topics covered in the workshop were not only relevant but also much needed.  They shared their feelings and thoughts regarding the changes taking place in their communities and in their own families, as well as their concerns for the future of their children, their students, and their community.


The following summarizes the group and personal plans of participants:


-The Mt. Apo Elementary School teachers of Sibulan planned to do a sharing with other teachers who were not able to attend the workshop. They hope to learn more about Rudolph Steiner's ideas on teaching and nurturing children and apply what they learned in their work. The teachers also plan to conduct parenting seminars on holistic parenting and to create organic herbal and vegetable gardens in their schools.

-The Community Childcare providers of Sibulan plan to enhance Parenting Effective Seminars and encourage mothers to have backyard gardening.

-Plans by the FARMCOOP staff and community activists as well as other attendees  included improving their parenting and nurturing skills; creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool; learning and continuing with Child Study and Nature study; learning songs and movements and further sharing with colleagues in coordination meetings.


The week after the workshop, I conducted a few follow-up exchange with the NGO community workers and FARMCOOP staff, sharing with them meditation techniques such as picturing the child, backward review, and child observation. The meditations were well-received and it is my hope that they will be able to share these techniques in future meetings with their families and respective communities.


Currently, FARMCOOP is having a bimonthly "lunch and learn" where its' staff explore different topics of the Holistic, Mindfulness and Nurturing Workshop. The FARMCOOP staff reported not only on the growing positive changes in their parenting outlook and ways of caring for their children but also transformation in their children.


From Community to Individual, Individual to Community


For individuals who choose a career in a community service organization such as the FARMCOOP; who work in social change as have the community organizers and activists at the workshop; or who are dedicated to education for the future of the children in rural indigenous communities as are the teachers and caregivers of Baranggay Sibulan-- it is common for these individuals to devote their full energy toward these pursuits.  While doing so, however, it is often a struggle to make ends meet especially with the changing demands of today's socio-economic system.  And often, the family unit, the individual's own health, and the energy and time to raise children in a healthy natural way suffer.  By exploring the twelve senses that need to be nurtured not only in children but also in adults; by educating ourselves about the effects of media, materialism, and consumer culture on the health of children as well as the community; by learning the phases of childhood and adjustments we must make as parents and teachers; by learning to bring back free play and nature into our families and schools; and in making time for integrating mindfulness, in nurturing our children and ourselves--this workshop was able to provide a breathing space, a time to pause and reflect on how one can better support one's personal, family, and community ideals for a more sustainable, holistically healthy life.  Our own striving to grow as parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends while continuing our active work in the community brings to mind one of my treasured verses.


The healthy social life is found

kahlil and her mother
Kahlil and her mother, who helped organize the workshop.

When in the mirror of each human soul

The whole community finds its reflection

And in the community

The virtue of each one is living

                        Rudolf Steiner   

If you are interested in supporting Khalil in her work with the Sibulan project, please email her at

Back to List of Articles

genderarticleWinter Celebrations:  Nurturing and Protecting the Senses 

By  Rosario Villasana, LifeWays board member

Rainbow Bridge LifeWays encourages caregivers to support families through modeling healthy activity and practices.  During the Winter along with celebrations many families feel the stress of extra activity and expense.  In my work I find that students and parents are often relieved to hear, during our meetings and informal talks that it is fine to slow down and make arrangements for alternate childcare while they attend to shopping and arrangements for family or social events.  In this day, when most young parents don't have extended families  some LifeWays providers have offered extended services providing evening, weekend or overnight care. For many caregivers this is simply not possible, we have our own families and events and need for rest.  However, those who are able to do so share that the benefits are far reaching.  They experience a warm sense of community and enjoy seeing the children in a more relaxed context.  One caregiver offers Friday night "date nights" once a month which parents are grateful for, especially because this provider doesn't charge extra.  Some charge and this service is still gratefully received as parents appreciate leaving their children with known and trusted caregivers.   Another offers "Holiday Shopping Care" on a Saturday in December with games and arts and crafts for the morning. This is also a good business move in that it builds "customer loyalty". 


LifeWays caregivers also share their knowledge and make suggestions about protecting family life and children's senses through the Holidays.  Too often children are seen in malls late at night crying as parents try to finalize their holiday preparations. Gentle reminders about how children learn through ALL their senses and how over-stimulating shopping malls are for young children can help parents make decisions about how to best meet the needs of their children.  


Offering ideas for activities during the Holidays is also a help that bridges home and child care.  Suggestions and even written directions for handwork activities that nurture the sense of smell, hearing and touch can help parents make healthy choices.   Parents often ask for copies of songs we sing so that they can join the children at home.  There are many opportunities for making music, cooking up cinnamon tea or yummy smelling cookies, and working with felting or knitting that can make for warm family evenings and weekends.  We can also offer reminders about keeping the Holidays simple: 

  • carefully selecting toys and purchases so that they support the four basic senses:  Touch, Movement, Balance and Life,
  • providing a nurturing environment that offers quiet places and opportunities for vigorous play,
  • protecting the child's open senses from over-stimulation and damaging influences and,
  • encouraging a balance of daily activity to allow for an in-breathing and out-breathing  that brings a healing rhythm

Sometimes parents need assurances that these activities are the building blocks for later academic success.  Research and basic child develop show that vigorous physical activity and working with the hands is the best preparation for school.  Gross motor development leads to fine motor development; too often we forget this in the "race" to school success.   LifeWays can support parents as they carve out these protections for their children, protections that are so needed to strengthen the children as they grow.  


 Return to List of Articles

If you have any questions, comments, ideas for future articles, or news items that you'd like to share, please don't hesitate to contact me!  Just press "reply" to this newsletter, or email me directly at 


 Faith Collins, Editor
 LifeWays North America
 403 Piney Oak Dr., Norman, OK 73072. 405.579.0999 
Contribute to the New LifeWays Blog! 
Harvest Feast
You can find the blog on the LifeWays website, or by clicking here. Be sure to follow the directions and subscribe. 

We would like our blog to be written by LifeWays providers, FOR LifeWays providers!  Would you like to be a guest writer?  Or, if you have a blog of your own, we will happily provide reciprocal links.  If you write a newsletter for your program, we'd love to see your article!

Send articles, suggestions and inquiries to Faith Collins at 


Upcoming LifeWays
basket making
The Development of Speech:
How Storytelling and Puppetry Support this Profound Stage of Development
Austin, TX
Feb 29 - Mar 3, 2012
Contact Laura Olson for info

Early Childhood Conference
March 23 & 24th, 2012
San Jose, CA
The Development of Speech:
How Storytelling and Puppetry Support this Profound Stage of Development
Boulder, CO
March 24-26, 2012
Contact Suzanne Down for info
The Development of Speech
Milwaukee, WI
May 7-9, 2012
Contact Mary O'Connell for info
The Development of Speech
Freeport, Maine
Oct 4-6, 2012
Contact Susan Silverio for ino

dolls by ashley d'ambrosi masters 

From The Atlantic Magazine:
All Work and No Play:  Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed
Click on photo to read article

For more than fifty years, children's free-play time has been declining, and it's keeping them from turning into confident adults, writes Esther Entin in The Atlantic Magazine.


Joyful Days With Toddlers and Preschoolers! 
Next Class Starts Jan 22
Here's a sneak-peek of video footage: 
Joyful Toddlers: Life as the Curriculum
Want to increase your enjoyment of the children in your life?  This six-week TeleClass with Faith Collins gives loads of practical advice, techniques, things to try and things to think about.

Next Class Starts Jan 22
Designed for parents and daycare providers, this class includes conference calls, video footage from Faith's home daycare, readings and online discussions. 
Here's another sneak-peek of video footage:  
Joyful Toddlers: Toddlers Learn Thank You
Joyful Toddlers: Toddlers Learn Thank You

Next Class Starts Jan 22
Faith Collins is a LifeWays graduate, and LifeWays North America helped sponsor this course's creation.  Faith helped found Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program, a LifeWays Representative Site, and works part-time for LifeWays North America.


For pricing and enrollment information, click here or email Faith at 
From The Guardian newspaper:
Singing to Children May Help Development of Language Skills
Click on photo to read the article

This article reviews the findings published in a new book, The Genius of Natural Childhood, by Sally Goddard Blythe, published by Hawthorne Press.  The book asserts that lullabies, songs and rhymes play a key role in preparing a child's ear, voice and brain for language.  Music and rhyme are an integral part of the LifeWays curriculum.


LifeWays in the National Debate 
A Child's Garden of Thyme, San Diego
       Bianca Lara, LifeWays graduate and director of A Child's Garden of Thyme in San Diego county, has been selected to participate in Michelle Obama's upcoming "Let's Move America" campaign webinar.  The campaign is focused on reducing childhood obesity, and the webinars will serve as resources to childcare centers across America to help reduce screen-time, get children moving, and promote healthy food choices.  
       Bianca was interviewed earlier this year about her center's success as a screen-free childcare program and the LifeWays curriculum and methodology.  Based on that interview she was selected to participate in this webinar.
--Way to go, Bianca!
From Susan Johnson, MD:
Teaching Our Children To Write, Read and Spell--A Developmental Approach
waldorf student writing
Much of this newsletter is about why it's better to let academics wait, and how the domestic arts, nurturing arts, (find others) are setting a good foundation for later academic life.  This article takes a peek ahead, and looks at when we DO start teaching children academics, how can we do it in a way that fits in with how children develop, both physically and intellectually. This article, written by Susan Johnson, MD, FAAP, is a fascinating look at these issues.  See her article here.

Also check out Susan Johnson's website,
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Featured Quote
By Helle Heckman
folding laundry with baby 

"Everyday chores and rhythms of the day can be the same through a child's first seven years.  As a child grows, and because it grows, it will get a more nuanced experience of its surroundings. Therefore, a one-year-old and a seven-year-old will look at everyday life very differently, even if they live in the exact same surroundings. They grow into life and notice how the world becomes larger and larger, but the world becomes larger in a recognizable way. It creates security for children to find out how life affects them if they can do it by themselves and in their own tempo. Children need to seize the world before they can understand it."

-- Helle Heckman, in an interview with Janni Nicol published in Kindling: The Journal for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Care and Education (UK), Autumn/Winter 2011. 

Featured Newsletter
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The newest edition of The American Journal of Play is now available free online at 

This last issue has articles looking at play and Multiple Intelligences, the effects of play on moral development, and more.

Monthly Conference Call for Members
mixed age suite

If you are a Representative or Trained-Affiliate Member, you are invited to participate in monthly conference calls with Cynthia and other colleagues. The next call is Tuesday, Jan. 17, and details will be emailed to you.
From The Daily Beast:
Let Preschoolers Play!
photo from Tang article (internet)
Click on photo to read article

Worksheets, computers--America's hypercompetitive education system is trickling down to preschool.  But growing research shows that pushing academics at an early age can backfire, writes Joyce C. Tang.

Featured Book
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Learn more about LifeWays childcare.  For early childhood professionals and parents.
$18.95 plus s/h
Order from our online store
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