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Newsletter of LifeWays North America
Winter 2012-13
Rainbow Bridge
Peaceful Holidays
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
Making gingerbread cookies with my first class.



       The holidays can be a time of creating warm memories, or they can be a time of tempers running short and stress running high.  Consumerism and the ethos of more-More-MORE run so high in our culture at this time of year; what can we do to make sure that we protect children from the holiday craziness that can so easily overtake us all?  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or nothing at all, this newsletter is filled with ideas of how to approach this time in ways that protect and nurture children through these dark months.  If you're fascinated by Advent but don't know how to keep it going for four weeks, look at the ideas that Mary O'Connell gives on an evolving Advent Nature Scene.  If you are a caregiver and want to bring your families in but don't know how they'll all fit into your tiny space, look for ideas from Susan Silverio on how to Set the Tone for Festivals in advance.  



These ideas, and more, you'll find in this winter newsletter from LifeWays.

Keep Warm,
Faith Collins, Editor
In This Issue
Letter from Cynthia
A Winter Festival Celebrating Community
Setting the Tone for Festivals
Advent Nature Scene
Home for the Holidays; One Family's Traditions
Upcoming LifeWays Trainings
Upcoming LifeWays Workshops
First LifeWays Conference!
LifeWays Blog
Monthly Conference Call
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten  

Note from Cynthia header 


Cynthia (compressed)  Dear Friends,


It is inspiring to read of such simple ways to celebrate with young children. Some of the festive descriptions in these articles may be familiar to many of you, new to others.   There are similar features in all of them and some unique, distinguishing characteristics as well.   Most important, however, is the simplicity they offer.


How I loved this time of year during the years I was at home when my children were little. I sometimes wish I would have maintained that same level of simplicity when I became a kindergarten teacher and, later, a child care director.   If we are not careful we can try to be all things to all people when we are teachers or carers of other people's children. A striving for perfection and providing a wow quality can overtake us, and we end up offering too much. Can there be too much beauty, too much wonder, too much delight? I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is that I have met countless numbers of early childhood educators and parents who exhaust themselves during festive times. Please, as you read these lovely offerings, imagine creating just one or two of the things that most impress you. Clip your joy meter to your belt, and if you start to redline toward overwhelm, pull back. Remember - we are the models for these young souls, and we mostly want to model resiliency and joy. Perhaps the carol that offers us a good motto for this time of year is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - the first and the last lines.   "God rest ye merry gentlemen" and "Oh tidings of comfort and joy."


This is my wish for you, that you find rest, comfort and joy during this holy, sacred time of year, however and whatever it is that you celebrate.


With love and peace,


--Founder and Director of LifeWays North America

Articles on Peaceful Holidays:
Rainbow Bridge A Winter Festival Celebrating Community apples
By Rahima Dancy

Rahima describes how they celebrated with families on the last day before the holiday break each year, creating their own tradition.  The picture at left shows the Russian tale of "The Snow Maiden."  


Rahima Dancy ran the Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program, for four years.  The third edition of her book,  You Are Your Child's First Teacher, is now available. 

                                  Click here to read Rahima's article                         

Setting the Tone for Festivalsworkparty                                         By Susan Silverio                                           
  advent spiral drawing  
Have you ever wanted to do something special for a festival and then thought, "No, I could never get all of the parents to keep their voices down/sit still/wear appropriate clothing/sing the same song"?  See how Susan Siverio helps the parents at Spindlewood prepare for their Advent Spiral in early December. 

Susan Silverio is the Director of Spindlewood, a Waldorf  kindergarten and LifeWays program in Maine.
                              Click here to read Susan's article
milwaukee LifeWays    
By Mary O'Connell 

This article shares week-by-week photos of how their family's Advent scene grows over the course of the month.
Mary O'Connell is the Director of the Milwaukee LifeWays Early Childhood Center, and is Director of the LifeWays Training in Wisconsin.
Home for the Holidays: Pamela Perkins
One Family's Traditionsstorypoem

By Pamela Perkins 
A lovely narrative of one grandmother's experiences of holidays with her children and now, with her grandchildren, in Hawaii.
Pamela Perkins is a LifeWays graduate who lives and works in Hawaii. 

Professional and Personal Development  
for Teachers, Caregivers and Parents 
Completing the LifeWays´┐Ż Early Childhood Certification Program can open new opportunities, professional and personal, in the fields of early childhood, parent education and after-school care. Our one-year, part-time curriculum includes over 200 onsite hours, with independent study and personal mentoring between sessions. It can prepare you to open or transform your own in-home program, classroom or early childhood center. Many parents also enroll for inspiration in the Living Arts. 

See our website for information and details on all trainings, and please contact the director of your local training for more information.
Some programs accept participants part-way through the training.   
LifeWays graduates may attend all or part of another LifeWays training for the cost of food and materials.



Vancouver LifeWays Training ~ Vancouver, BC

 Next training begins March 2013LifeWays training 

Director: Margo Running 


See photos and learn more here!




Next training begins May 2013
Director:  Suzanne Down
See photos and learn more here!


Hawaii LifeWays Training 

~ Maui, Oahu and Kauai, HI


Current Training: Four 1-week sessions, Oct 2012 to June 2013

Directors: Kim Raymond and Cyndee Fehring

              See photos and learn more here!



Maine LifeWays Training ~ Rockport, ME

lifeways training     

Current training: July 2012 to July 2013 

Director: Susan Silverio

             See photos and lern more here!

                 ENROLLMENT OPEN FOR 2013:

 ~ San Francisco Bay Area

Next Training: August 2013 to June 2014

Group meets one Saturday per month

Director:  Marianne Alsop

 See photos and learn more here!




Wisconsin LifeWays Training~ Milwaukee, WI


Current training: Four 1-week sessions, October 2012 to August 2013

Director: Mary O'Connell

See photos and learn more here!




  Austin LifeWays training
Current Training: Four 1-week sessions, October 2012 to Nov. 2013
Director: Judy Frizlen
See photos and learn more here!



California San Diego LifeWays Training


Current training: Four 1-week sessions, July 2012 to Summer 2013

 Director: Bianca Lara

See photos and learn more here!




 "While I am still a student of these skills, I would like to give credit to LifeWays for my patience, presence, sense of humor (thanks, Cynthia), and equanimity, as well as my ability to consider the child in front of me as a spiritual peer, even if I hold the human authority."


                                                          ~  Carrie McGregor,

                                                        LifeWays Graduate 

Boulder LifeWays
Reach families who are looking for LifeWays programs and show your affiliation with a national organization. All programs are listed with links to your email and website, if you have one, and many people have told us that they receive inquiries regularly from people who found them on our website.  We will also keep you up-to-date with LifeWays happenings by sending you our quarterly e-newsletter, and staff at Representative Programs as well as LifeWays grads are invited to participate in our monthly conference calls.

Representative Programs enjoy the highest level of recognition by LifeWays North America and are listed first within each state. Click here to learn more about the criteria and benefits of standing in the world as a LifeWays Representative Program.

LifeWays Graduates
can list their programs and will be invited to the monthly conference call with Cynthia and other colleagues to share questions and experience. 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. Click here to list your program ($85/year).


LifeWays Students can list their programs prior to graduation for the discounted rate of $50/year.  Click here to list your program and pay online.


Aligned Programs include providers who haven't taken the training but feel at home with the LifeWays principles and organization. Click here to send us your information and pay online ($100/year).



   ~ Reclaim and protect childhood
   ~ Deepen family life
   ~ Change childcare in North America


Support this work by making a contribution of any amount. We will keep you up to date and inspired through our newsletter, published four times each year. Your annual contribution helps with tuition reduction for students and supports our public outreach through workshops and web presence.   


You can read Cynthia's letter about LifeWays' activities and their importance, and you should have recently received our first annual fundraising brochure in the mail.  Please remember us as you make your end-of-year donations!   


As a federally tax-exempt organization, all donations are tax deductible.  Thank you for your support! Donate online, or mail your check to the address below. 

Join Our Mailing List
LifeWays workshops

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

  wisconsin training?


Me, Myself and I:
          Adult Development

with Cynthia Aldinger
Milwaukee, WI
February 12-13, 2013
Contact Mary O'Connell, for information and registration

"Back to the Drawing Board" Children's Drawing Workshop with Bente Goldstein
Milwaukee, WI
February 14, 2013
Contact Mary O'Connell, for information and registration

Heavy Baby Waldorf Doll Making Workshop
with Dawn Imes
Milwaukee, WI
February 15, 2013
Contact Mary O'Connell,  for information and registration

Nurturing and Nourishing
with Dr. Mark Kamsler
Milwaukee, WI
February 16, 2013
Contact Mary O'Connell, for information and registration
Nurturing and Nourishing: Care of the Child and Caregiver
with Elizabeth Sustick, RN 
Rockport, ME
April 12-15th, 2013


Nursery Rhymes, Puppetry, Storytelling and Language Development
with Suzanne Down 
Buffalo, NY
Oct. 30 - Nov. 4th, 2013




The dates have been set for the first
LifeWays Conference
May 17-19, 2013
at Marin Waldorf in San Rafael, CA
More information will follow in a separate message.


Seasonal Activities
Lea McCall
LifeWays Grad Jennifer McCall Shares:

"In addition to an indoor tree, we decorate a "tree for the animals" outdoors, putting peanut butter on the bark (where later we see squirrel foot prints), hanging popcorn and cranberries, along with pine cone bird feeders. And we scatter acorns and chestnuts we've gathered for the squirrels.  This is the first time during the year that we also fill our bird feeders and bird bath, continuing this weekly job until Spring returns."


     Other Resources:

 Joyful Days with Toddlers and Preschoolers 

  rainbow bridge

 This multi-media Tele-Class uses conference calls, video footage from Faith's LifeWays program, readings and online discussion, providing practical ideas and inspiration to increase your enjoyment of the children in your life.


Next Class Starts Jan 27th 


"This class was great.  I really do feel like a different parent; much more of the parent I've always wanted to be.  More creative, more effective, and generally just happier."    -S.B.




Have You Seen the LifeWays Blog Lately?



Check out this timely post for the holidays by our own  

Mara Spiropoulos:


Giving and Giving,  

and Giving  



Get Continuing Education Credits with this LifeWays video and workbook! 


Settling Into Sleep 


This packet contains articles, a workbook, and a 15-minute video of a peaceful and nurturing naptime routine and LifeWays.


Buy this video or others from the LifeWays Store online.



Hanukkah Crafts 
for Kids

Move beyond cotton balls and glitter and check out the links to Hanukkah crafts from many different websites on The Crafty Crow.  Most are actually adult-level crafts to do with children, and most are lovely.

 Call for Action 


A Message from Michelle Reid in North Attlboro, MA:



I am wondering if there is anyone interested in helping to start a Waldorf/Lifeways initiative working with children at risk in the foster care system? I am a foster/adoptive mom, and helped cofound the Waldorf School of Cape Cod MA.  These children in foster care truly need to have this type of care and schooling.  Please contact me if you would like to be a part of this, so all children can have magic in their lives, not just some.

My email is [email protected].  

Michelle Reid


Conference Calls for Representative Programs and LifeWays Grads
from internet  
The next monthly conference call is
Tuesday, Dec. 11

for staff at Representative Programs and LifeWays graduates who list their programs on our Program Directory. See the article at left for how to list your program. 


Winter Festival Resources: 

little acorn learning     


Little Acorn Learning has a new Winter Festivals E-Book for sale, with 144 pages of crafts, verses, songs, book recommendations, and more.

LifeWays North America 
403 Piney Oak Drive, Norman, OK 73073.