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Newsletter of LifeWays North America
 Summer, 2012
floating boats
Children and Nature


Faith at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
Me with my first class
       I love summertime.  I love sitting in my adirondack chair, drinking iced tea or iced coffee, watching the children run, climb and dig.  I love seeing the plants that I cared for so tenderly in the spring, now well-established and growing everywhere.  I love walks to the creek, visits with the chickens or the goats, conversations over the fence with Neighbor Dave as he works in his garden.  I love the open, relaxed feel of summer, as we set up the sprinkler in the sandbox and go on a pretend trip to the beach.
        When we give children these extended hours outside, going in only to go potty and then for naptime in the afternoon, we give them something special: a sense of timelessness in the middle of a hectic, over-scheduled world.  A sense of unfolding as they watch the melons swell and ripen, then the plums, then the grapes.  A sense of ease as they become friends with the ants and the spiders and the bees that seemed so scary in the spring.
        This newsletter is all about inspiration.  Look at the beautiful play-yards and gardens that our LifeWays friends have created, from Canada and Wisconsin, all the way to San Diego and Hawaii.  Dream about your own garden spaces, whatever your climate.  Get creative with your space.  If you don't have outside space of your own, how can you help children get outdoors?
Walks through the neighborhood?  Trips to the park or the woods?  
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
        When we give children enough time to be out in nature that they can really watch the slow unfolding of plants and the quick shifts in weather, they can really relax into their bodies, and their time indoors becomes less hectic, less frenzied, and more deeply imaginative. Slowing down in this way is a gift not only to them, but to ourselves as well.

Faith Collins, Editor
In This Issue
Letter from Cynthia
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Pumpkins All Year Round!
Gardening with Small Children
Children in Nature
Outdoor Play!
Gardening as an Integral Part of my LifeWays Setting
Featured LifeWays Program
Upcoming LifeWays Trainings
LifeWays Videos, CEUs
Upcoming LifeWays Workshops
Monthly Conference Call
Job Opportunity in Kansas City
Home Away from Home
Join LifeWays on Facebook
hands with worm
Note from Cynthia header 


Cynthia Aldinger

Dear Friends,


               Wow!  What a wonderful array of stories - children in gardens, children in nature, LifeWays director on a tractor (!), and the delight of the ever-giving pumpkin!  And much to my delight, Pamela also mentioned the biodynamic preparations that can truly enhance the earth's experience of human tender(ness) and spiritual intention.  If you want to learn more about biodynamic preparations, you may wish to contact the Josephine Porter Institute or the Biodynamic Association of North America, or you can obtain home-grown compost preparations from the oldest biodynamic farm in North America by contacting  I am eager to support this third generation of Zinniker farmers as they have been one of the many raw milk farms that lost the battle with the government recently.  Now they are resurrecting with other products.


               What is it about nature?!  It heals us.  And all it seems to ask in return is that we return the favor!  And even when we become forgetful or selfish, nature often finds a way to re-group and/or to remind us of its magnificent strength.  Nature provides the ever-present metaphor that out of the ashes can arise new growth, beauty and sometimes something unpredictably new!  Just think of how many animals have become extinct and then look at how many new animals and insects have been "discovered" in the past decade or so!  While we are called upon to exercise our best morality in relation to care of the earth, we can also be open to the earth's resiliency and evolving nature. 


               Last week, I drove by a tree in my neighborhood and noted to
Michael, "Look at that tree. It is becoming beautiful again."  I had to admit that after the ice storm a few years ago that destroyed many trees in my neighborhood, I could not understand our neighbor's choice not to cut down the tree in his front yard.   It was, forgive me, UGLY - pruned by nature to almost internet nothing!  It was beyond my imagination that it could possibly come back from the fragment that remained.  Once again my limited viewpoint was proven incorrect.  I thought of the wonderful verse on Faithfulness offered to us by Rudolf Steiner.  You know the one that reminds us that there will be times when one you love(d) can become darkened in your consciousness.  You can barely remember why you loved that person in the first place.  Dr. Steiner calls upon us to remember the archetype of the individual - the archetype, the highest and best self of the individual.  Whether or not you stay in direct relationship with that person, you can still hold that image of them on their behalf.


               I couldn't help but wonder if that had something to do with the neighbor's decision to keep his tree.  Perhaps he remembered the archetype.  Perhaps he had even planted that tree, seen it through its gangly youth, nursed it to full growth, and mourned its seemingly tragic demise.  And when it, through nature's course, appeared hopeless to me (the judgmental onlooker), the owner held hope.  He remembered the archetype!  We did not have that privilege with our beloved hackberry which cracked completely in two and had to be cut down.  But guess what!  A new tree is growing from the stump!  We are participating this time in its shaping.  Let's leave that low branch, I will say to Michael; I think that will help it become a climbing tree.  Sure enough, this Easter, three-year-old Ben could climb that baby tree.


               Cynthia by the lake Thank you, Nature, for teaching us about resurrection, resiliency, respect, reverence and robustness!  As an early childhood teacher/caregiver I came to learn early on that when I was outside with children, I was no longer the "teacher."  I became the assistant to Mother Nature, and I was never disappointed by her "curriculum!"


Nature's Blessings to You,



--Founder and Director of LifeWays North America

Articles on Children and Nature:
How Does Your Garden Grow?      by Bianca Lara                                           
  A Child's Garden of Thyme  
This lovely article shares seasonal crafts and baking projects to do with children over the course of the year, along with gardening tips from water "ollas" to biodynamic preparations.

Bianca Lara is the Director of A Child's Garden of Thyme, a Representative LifeWays center in San Diego.  She also is the Director of the LifeWays Training in San Diego and plays with The Gypsy Groove, a hot jazz band.

                                            Click here to read Bianca's article

Pumpkins All Year Round! 

spindlewood By Susan Silverio   


A photo essay showing how you can incorporate the experience of pumpkins all through the year.  


Susan Silverio is the director of Spindlewood Waldorf Kindergarten and LifeWays Center in Lincolnville, Maine.


Click here to read Susan's article        

Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
Gardening with Small Children:  A World of Wonder and Rhythmic Impression
by Lisa Boisvert Mackensie 

Practical tips for making a garden that is welcoming to children.

Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie is always happy to find herself in a garden with children. She blogs at Celebrate the Rhythm of Life and serves on the Board of LifeWays North America.
 Click here to Read Lisa's Article

Children In Nature       
by Les Beecher, Aleksandra Martinka, and Jacqueline Beecher for The Orchard

  The Orchard

Once a week, the folks at The Orchard pack up their things and walk to the woods. 

Jacqueline and Les Beecher are a husband-and-wife pair running The Orchard, a LifeWays Representative Center in Wisconsin, where Aleksandra is the lead teacher.


vancouver lifewaysOutdoor Play!   
by Margo Running 

This sweet article looks at the fabulous play-yard at the LifeWays Center in Vancouver, BC, and revels in the power of outdoor play for children.
Margo Running is the director of LifeWays Childcare Centre, a Representative Center in Vancouver, as well as Director of the LifeWays Training.
Click here to read Margo's article          
Gardening as an Integral Part of my LifeWays Setting  taken by Pamela Perkins      
by Pamela Perkins 

This paper, submitted as part of Pamela's LifeWays training, outlines her struggles and success as she works to establish a garden in Hawaii.
Pamela finished her LifeWays training in 2010. She is a grandmother of eight.  


Featured LifeWays Program:
Milwaukee LifeWays Gains Paradise Farm

  Milwaukee LifeWays

By Mary O'Connell


LifeWays' own Mary O'Connell hops on her tractor on the historic farm her family recently acquired.  Read about their trials and successes during their first year, as they open this land up to the families at LifeWays of Milwaukee.


Click here to read about Paradise Farm

Professional and Personal Development for Teachers, Caregivers and Parents 
LifeWays graduates may attend all or part of another LifeWays training for the cost of food and materials.






Colorado: Next training May 2013 to May 2014




MaineMaine LifeWays Training ~ Rockport, ME

Next training began this summer, July 8, 2012 

Contact: Susan Silverio

The latest LifeWays Training in Maine began July 8-19. New students may join if openings occur; please enquire if you're interested.


This photo is from a Field Trip to Deb Soule's Avena Botanicals Herb Garden and Apothecary in Rockport, Maine.  Deb was a keynote speaker at the SteinerBooks Conference in New York City.




HawaiiHawaii LifeWays Training ~ NEW~ 


New training begins October 2012

Contact:  Cyndee Fehring


Cynthia in Hawaii
Cynthia doing "research" for the training in Hawaii

 We will be starting the first LifeWays Hawaii training this autumn.  Come and join us!  


Experience and explore the magic and beauty of the Hawaiian islands. The course will take place over the year on two of the Hawaiian islands. 


Along with the rich LifeWays training, students will learn about the Hawaiian culture through Oli (chant), Mele (song) and Hula (dance) while enjoying the local foods.


We will start the training on magnificent Maui on the slopes of Haleakala mountain and we will finish the training near the sea on a family farm on the Garden Island of Kauai.  An opportunity of a lifetime!






SanDiegoCalifornia San Diego LifeWays Training

New training starts July 16, 2012

Director:  Bianca Lara

San Diego LifeWays



This ten-day session launches the first LifeWays training for the Southern California region. We have woven together a silken tapestry of diverse teachers, activities and a wealth of content to wrap you up in. 


Don't miss out on a training whose gifts will live in your heart, home and classroom for years to come! Still accepting applicants for the second session.


 Visit the LifeWaysSanDiego website




CAcoast California Coast LifeWays Training

~ San Francisco Bay Area

New training starts August 25, 2012

Director:  Marianne Alsop


Wisconsin Training

The California Coast training meets in the San Francisco Bay Area, one Saturday a month for eleven months (all day, 8am to 5:30pm), and six half-day (9am to 3pm) Saturday sessions with a focus on music, handwork, movement, and professional development.


In addition there are three long-weekend retreats for cooking, gardening, outdoor observation, circle games, wet felting, puppetry, storytelling and more. Independent learning includes reading, observation and writing between sessions. For those who wish to receive the LifeWays certification there are also monthly telephone conversations with a mentor, who is also available to visit you for two days near the end of your training.  




New training to begin May 2013
Director:  Suzanne Down
Boulder Training
A table-puppet made in the Boulder Training
Our training consists of 4 full and wonderful weeks over the course of a year.  Click on the title for exact dates.


This beautiful, scenic Rocky Mountain town is a delightful location to hold the Lifeways training, deepening your understanding of the very young child and exploring ways to integrate the Lifeways approach in your homes or childcare programs.  Our curriculum is supported by outstanding local faculty who are leaders in their areas of expertise. You can follow our Lifeways Rocky Mountain Training on Facebook where we have current articles and information to support your life and work with the young child.  Contact Suzanne with any questions, or for further information.    
NYTrainingNew York LifeWays Training~ Buffalo, NY
New training group starts October 31, 2012
Director:  Judy Frizlen

Ten Reasons to Join the Buffalo LifeWays training:

  1. Faculty includes Cynthia Aldinger, Suzanne Down, Maria Ebersole and Lisa Carrow.
  2. The Rose Garden Early Childhood Center is a working LifeWays Center.
  3. There are BOTH a good coffee shop and a used bookstore around the corner.
  4. Three museums are within walking distance.
  5. We are not far from Canada AND we have a lovely waterfront.
  6. There are parks close by for nature walks.
  7. We are NOT meeting in January.
  8. Buffalo has big city amenities and a small town feel.
  9. There are several restaurants nearby as well as fun shops.
  10. The local architecture is world renowned.



WIWisconsin LifeWays Training~ Milwaukee, WI

New training group starts October 7, 2012

Director:  Mary O'Connell


milwaukee LW training
Doll-making at the Wisconsin training

Our group will finish its final session the week of July 29th, graduating on August 4th!  We are enrolling NOW for our 2012-2013 session which begins in October. We still have space available!!

During the last training week in May, we started off the week immersed in language development and storytelling with Suzanne Down. Then we explored our gardening curriculum with a field trip to the farm, where we enjoyed a little lesson in Biodynamics from Michael Aldinger and began to plant the LifeWays garden for the children at LifeWays Milwaukee. It was a beautiful spring week filled with fun, friends and festivities!! 



New training group to launch in June 2013


               One word comes to mind immediately when I think of the Austin training

Suzanne Down works her puppet magic

 this summer: Beauty. Starting with the daily presence of little Mateo, not quite four months old, who attended with his mother and auntie every day.  What a sweet little soul he is.  This was also the summer of silk dyeing, watercolor painting, puppet making, creating beautiful things in wood, and coloring delightful moveable picture stories, among other beautiful experiences like Eurythmy, Spacial Dynamics, and singing.  Another sort of beauty showed itself in the project and paper presentations of the students.  We heard stories of how early childhood programs came to birth, how workshops for the public were put together, how play yards were improved, how seasonal story aprons were created and used for festive occasions, how to prepare food for children, as well as poignant presentations on sustainability in our work, strengthening the adult etheric, and ways to bring the living arts to bear in the midst of chaotic life changes.  Wrapped around all of this beauty were our continuing courses on human development and introspection and the ever-present tender loving care of Melba Caldcleugh, the Administrative Director, who really stepped up to the plate throughout this whole year!


laura olson's new baby
Baby Abel

               Perhaps the crowning beauty was when our director Laura Olson walked through the door the morning of graduation with baby Abel in arms.  Those of you who have been following Laura's story know that she needed to step away from active directorship after Abel was born due to her own health condition.  Not very long after her initial recovery we all learned that her second youngest child, Levi, was headed to Pittsburgh for brain surgery.  While the story is in a positive chapter right now, the saga is ever unfolding, and we extend continued prayers and love for Levi's continuous healing and for growing strength for Laura and the whole family. 


               Do you have friends interested in coming to Austin for our next training?  It is, after all, the city with the motto "Keep Austin Weird."  And it is the kind of weird we all love!!  Good food, good music, good people - and that is just in the training itself!!  While Laura is busy with her family right now, please encourage folks to contact me ( or Melba ( if they are interested in Austin 2013-14 LifeWays Training.       

LifeWays 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 CareSimone's Infant Care

*  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.

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.


LifeWays workshops

These workshops are open to registration by the public, and all except Kimberton can be taken by LifeWays grads for the cost of food and supplies.

  lifeways students tellling tales with puppets


CA Coast Parent Seminars: Inner Development of the Parent
San Francisco, CA
4 Saturdays, Sept-Jan

Protecting Childhood in our Modern World: the Essentials
Kimberton, PA
October 4-7

The Development of Speech: Storytelling and Puppetry
Rockport, ME
October 5-8th, 2012

The Development of Speech: Storytelling and Puppetry
Buffalo, NY
Oct 30-Nov 4th, 2012
CA Coast Parent Seminars: Child Development
San Francisco, CA
4 Saturdays, Dec-Feb
Nurturing and Nourishing: Care of the Child and Caregiver
Rockport, ME
April 12-15th, 2013

Wisconsin Training 

Congratulations to Kerry Madrid and Michael Ingram, from LifeWays Representative site The Little Red Farmhouse in Sebastopol, CA.  After three days of stop-and-start labor, she delivered her sweet son at home on June 11th.Welcome, Francis Finch Ingram!


Little Red Farmhouse  

Gardening Inspiration  

Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten

Use Scarlet Runner Beans to grow a full-sized bean teepee like this one at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten

Joyful Days with Toddlers and Preschoolers 
Rainbow Bridge  

Joyful Toddlers will be splitting its classic Tele-Class into two sections this fall: one specifically for care-providers, and the other for parents.



This multi-media class uses conference calls, video footage from Faith's LifeWays program, readings and online discussion.


 Learn more here.


Do you have an online store or blog? List it on our Website!


LifeWays members can now have their blogs, toystores, or other online ventures listed in the new Resources section of our website as part of their membership benefits. Please send your information to

Faith Collins.



Gardening Inspiration
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten

Make an easy hidey-place with a trellis from Home Depot, zip-tied to a fence corner.  Grow a grapevine or wisteria around it, and you're set!



Keep your Eye on the LifeWays Blog


A warm welcome to Mara Spiropoulos in Madison, WI who will be joining the LifeWays team as the new Blog Coordinator.  She will be coordinating several regular columnists, as well as working with guest bloggers.  Keep a lookout for that work starting soon.


More Resources on Children and Nature
girls in forest

Check out these stories, videos and other resources on Children and Nature on the Waldorf In the Home website.


Conference Calls for Members
mixed age suite

Tuesday, August 28
If you are a Representative or Trained-Affiliate Member, you are invited to participate in monthly conference calls with Cynthia and other colleagues 
These calls are a wonderful way to connect with other colleagues, ask questions, and get new ideas. Information about the calls will be emailed to you.
Job Opportunity
The Madison Waldorf School is looking for a trained, warm, loving individual to lead the youngest group (2.5 years to 4 years) of our two Early Childhood Classes beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

from madison ws website
Qualified candidates have a bachelor's degree (or equivalent teaching experience) in addition to Waldorf teacher training. The school's wage and benefits include a salary of $35,000 to $38,000 and full tuition remission for dependent children enrolled at MWS.
To apply, please send a letter of application, references and resume to:
Hiring Committee
Attn: Laurie Nagus
Madison Waldorf School
6510 Schroeder Rd
Madison, WI 53711 


Featured Newsletter

Juniper Tree Puppetry  


Juniper Tree Puppetry's summer newsletter is about storytelling outdoors.  Click on the picture to get instructions on how to make the felt ladybug pictured above, and the story to go along with it.


Gardening Inspiration
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten

Grow a raspberry patch or a blackberry patch for maintenance-free enjoyment, year after year.


Join Lifeways on Facebook! 
LifeWays Logo Web
Caregivers, teachers, parents and LifeWays students are sharing articles, asking questions, and chatting on the LifeWays facebook page.  Join the fun!
Featured Website:
Children & Nature Network

This great resource has lists of recommended reading, research, resources for teachers and families, and an online community of like-minded folks.  Check them out: 


Business Opportunity in Kansas City, MO 

Message from Beth Cooper:


I own and direct a Self-Affiliated Lifeways child care program in Kansas City, Missouri.  We are a licensed Family Child Care Home and have been in operation almost 8 years. Due to health problems I am looking for someone to take over the entire business, including the home leased as the school, the handmade materials, etc. I am looking for someone who can provide strong overall guidance for  developing LifeWays education with 10 families, 3 teachers and a wonderful cook. I live at the school but plan to move to be closer to my adult children. 


It is important to me and to the families that the new owner/director have LifeWays training or LifeWays/Waldorf teaching experience or understanding.  If you are interested in this opportunity, please email me.


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


Use log rounds to make a pathway through your garden

Please FRIEND Us! 
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten  

Will you be a Friend of LifeWays?  You can support the work of LifeWays with children and families by becoming or renewing as a Friend of LifeWays for only $35/year.  Your support of LifeWays helps us support our students and our LifeWays Representative sites.


Become a Friend of LifeWays


Job Opportunity  

Message from Bethany Stewart:

Hello, I am starting a new childcare center (18 months to 5 years) in Middletown, RI, and we are very inspired by your work and that of Waldorf
education and RIE.  We are looking for a lead teacher for our toddler group of ten.  We are offering competitive salaries, ample vacation time and partial to full medical benefits.  We are a year round, full day program. I can be reached at 401-787-2259 or

Our website is  Thank you!

Featured Book: 
by Sharon Lovejoy  

This fabulous book by Sharon Lovejoy is chock-full of fun ideas for gardening with children.



Dandelion Hill

Put stumps around your playground like this fabulous sandbox at Dandelion Hill  
Featured News Article:    

Plastic Not a Necessity In the Garden


Thanks to Chinyelu for submitting this article!


Join Our Mailing List
Support LifeWays:
Join or Renew Today!

You can support the work of LifeWays with children and families by contributing as a Friend of LifeWays ($35/year), or as a Self-Affiliate or Trained-Affiliate ($100/year).  See how to do this on our website. And we are eager to support any of our LifeWays graduates who would like to become Representatives sites.  


Have your program listed on our new website as a Trained- or Self-Affiliated Member. Here's the list!


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.