LifeWays North America Newsletter,  Autumn 2015
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Letter from CynthiaIntro
Dear Friends,
     What sweetness to think about all the wonderful stories that have been told to children since the beginning of time!  Told lovingly and with focused interest, perhaps all storytelling is therapeutic.  I remember the power of the pedagogical tale when I was a kindergarten teacher years ago.  One of my favorites was about a child and a little undine (water fairy) who liked to hang out with her.  When they were out playing the undine would ask to go inside to see the big bowl that swished the water round and round whenever the child pushed the lever after she peed.  The girl for whom the story was written had started wetting her pants at home after having been continent for some time.  The story settled into her, and her incontinence stopped.  I am sure we could tell you many, many examples of tales such as these.  The articles offered here are wonderful and inspiring.  Many thanks to all the authors.

     Since becoming a grandmother, I have discovered another reason to tell stories: just for fun!  And also to build a content that exists just between you and a small child whom you dearly love.  For me, the tales are about Alleleutia, a young boy whose father is a fisherman, and how it eventually came to pass that Alleleutia was allowed to start accompanying his father and the crew on their outings.  We got to know Cookie, Hank and Old Joe as part of the crew, as well as Father who was the Captain.  Another favorite character, Marianne, was Alleleutia's best friend who would stand on the pier and sing a good-bye song every time they set sail.  Read more...

Introduction to our Theme, 
"The Transformative Power of Story"

 Happy Autumn! What a magical time to be alive-- with blood moon eclipses and the beautiful autumn colors dancing in the changing breeze, this is the perfect time to create wonder and let your imagination soar. In this newsletter we will discuss one of my favorite topics, "The Transformative Power of Story." As a teacher, caregiver or parent, story is the absolute best tool we have in our toolbox. It can help us inspire transformations in behavior, offer healing through difficult situations, assist with transitions and captivate our hearts to see things through the eyes of others. The articles below are amazing resources on how to use this transformative power in different settings and situations, followed by some great tips and resources for using stories of all kinds. I hope you find them as inspiring as I did! 

Love & Light,

Amy Gerassimoff, Editor

Using Stories with Toddlers in a
Parent-Child Setting
By Simone Demarzi
     In most Parent-Child programs that come out of a Waldorf School or Waldorf-Inspired Programs, story time and circle time become something everyone looks forward to.  With all the oral traditions that we have in our Waldorf Schools, it is good to give examples to parents looking into this form of education for their child.  I found it conflicting however, in the beginning, as I am not a strong supporter of "entertaining" children while they could be playing. 

     So balancing out the need to introduce oral traditions to families while also teaching the concept of "uninterrupted play" became my mission.  I accomplished this by creating a schedule for my classes that emphasizes play for the first full hour. During the play time we do not interrupt the children to do a circle or tell a story or sing a song; rather, I help the parents focus on allowing the children to play and help them overcome their need to entertain their children.  After that hour of play, then we clean up and gather around the table for some songs and finger games before we say a blessing and eat our snack. I focus on seasonal and also popular nursery rhymes made into finger- or hand-movement games (I make up the movements).  I always start with the same verse and then change the finger games every few weeks or seasonally,--or if it's raining, then we do the "drip drop" finger game from Wilma Ellersiek.

mother and baby puppet
The Gift of Story
By Kerry Brokaw

     One of the greatest gifts I ever received as a mother was the use of therapeutic storytelling in the raising of my children.  From small squabbles or tantrums to moving to a new town to the death of a grandparent to just needing a quiet meditative listening time for all of us, story was my ally. Story gave me the confidence to meet whatever came our way, and opened the door for peace and grace to enter.

     Nancy Mellon, who is a masterful storyteller, therapist and author, introduced me to the three-minute therapeutic story, letting our inner storyteller tell the tale with no preconceived plots or twists or finale. For anyone wishing to tap into the wellspring of story, let us begin with the basics of this method of storytelling for your immediate use.  First, know that each one of us is inherently a storyteller, and that our inner, intuitive storyteller in the humble loving service of children is our most trusted guide in the telling of our tales.
Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos:
Helping Children and Families through Puppetry 
By Karen Viani

"Peace is not only in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace is in the midst of things as they are, when there is calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace." 
From the story "Portrait of Peace"
   The room was bright with lots of windows and florescent lighting that flickered and buzzed. It was a large room, set up for adult learning. The bright white walls were covered with pictures and stories, some tragic, of the many women who had passed through this room on their way from hopelessness and homelessness to opportunity and a better life. Many of these women have small children, their lives filled with chaos and uncertainty. It is my privilege to lead these women through a parenting series which, of course, includes storytelling and puppetry.

The Magic of Therapeutic Stories in Parenting
By Cindy Brooks

     Creating and sharing therapeutic stories with a child can feel like you have some real magic in your parenting pocket!  Stories reach the subtle depths of a child's soul where new understanding, feelings or intentions are born.  Stories can help children heal from troubling experiences, cross new thresholds of development, or learn new attitudes, feelings and behaviors.
     The power that a therapeutic story gives to your parenting can be very reinforcing.  You just have to get over the hump of your resistance and doubt that even you could make a therapeutic story for your child!  It is not that hard.  A therapeutic story doesn't have to be super elaborate or long. 
      Interested?  Let's look at the steps one by one...

Faith reading with children
Storytelling with Toddlers
By Faith Collins

     I love telling stories to toddlers. Although I enjoy reading stories to toddlers as well, I find the act of telling a story much different from reading one. Reading a storybook is a nice cuddly activity, where children snuggle up with me on the couch and we look at the pictures together, and talk about what's going on (I rarely read the words). This is a great activity to do when the kids are tired and grouchy, or when they're wound up and need something to help them calm down.

     Telling a story, on the other hand, is a much different experience: I tell it from memory. I use the same words or very similar words each time. The children are watching me instead of looking at a picture. And these are the stories that show up in the children's play again and again. They are alive for the children in a way that picture-book stories never are.
Resources and Practical Tips
Under Wraps!  
by Rahima Baldwin Dancy 
How do you keep children seated, especially when puppets are so inviting?  Or if you're doing an in-home program by yourself?  I already knew about expectation, setting the mood, playing the lyre, etc, but I learned from the first LifeWays student I mentored (Clari Schmidt, many years ago!) to tuck the children in on the couch with a blanket and/or silks.  Here we're celebrating a birthday, so parents are present, but the blanket is indispensable if you're alone!
Therapeutic Stories:
"How the Little Unicorn Girl Got Her Rainbow Horn"  
by Cindy Brooks

Cindy writes: This is a story that I wrote recently to help a family inspire their child to greater self-regulation.  Joya [Birn] created a needle-felted adult unicorn to be a symbol/puppet for this family to use to remind their child in daily life at moments when self-regulation is needed.  

     Once there was a lush green valley that was home to many unicorns and other creatures, where everyone was friendly to each other. The valley was ringed on every side by some of the tallest blue mountains on earth, and every one of those mountains was capped with sparkling white snow all year long. The valley's unicorns and all their friends were so glad to live in this beautiful place, for here they had everything that they needed to enjoy their lives.

Seasonal Stories, Monthly Newsletters, Puppetry Books and Kits, Classes and Other Resources
Juniper Tree Puppets is dedicated to supporting your love of storytelling, puppetry and children. They offer resource books, a monthly newsletter with seasonal stories, puppet-making kits, and much more.
Many LifeWays students have been fortunate to have Suzanne as their teacher for Language Development and Storytelling.
Connect to Juniper Tree

Suzanne Down
"Sharing the Magic of Nature through Stories and Puppets" 
Video of Suzanne Down's keynote address at the Waldorf in the Home Conference (DVD or streaming download)  
        When we trust the depths of goodness living in nature's stories and share them with our children when they are young, we build skills and understanding for them to want to become the future earth healers in a challenging world. 
Includes two puppet shows by Suzanne! 
Only $20 for either a streaming video download, or add $4 shipping and handling for a DVD.  More information

"The Art of Therapeutic Storytelling" by Claudia McLaren Lainson
(CD or MP3)    Stories help the child see through behaviors and events to the underlying patterns. They make sense of the insensible and create a vertical certainty in turbulent times. We are all storytellers. How do we begin to remember this ancient art?
Audio recording of Claudia's workshop, as a download ($12.50) or CD (plus $4 s/h)
More information

"Sharing Stories with your Children"  
by Daena Ross (CD or MP3) 
How can you make up stories that are age appropriate? How do you memorize stories, and how much should you dramatize them? This storytelling workshop will help you build confidence and investigate themes and sources of inspiration that can enrich your life as well as your children's. Audio recording for download ($12.50) or as a CD (plus $4 s/h).  More information

Books from other Waldorf Master Storytellers
Books by Susan Perrow:
Therapeutic Storytelling: 101 Healing Stories for Children 
Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour

Books by Nancy Mellon:
~ Storytelling with Children 
~ Storytelling and the Art of Imagination 
~ Body Eloquence: The Power of Myth and Story to Awaken the Body's Energies
News from LifeWaysNews
Online Course to be offered again in January
"Home as the Model -
      Life as the Curriculum" 
with Cynthia Aldinger and  Mary O'Connell

January 13 to February 12, 2016
Enroll now and receive your free copy of Cynthia's new book, Life is the Curriculum
Our first online course was offered last spring to 83 students to from six countries!  It is based on themes developed in Cynthia's newest book, Life is the Curriculum, included free with your registration. 
Students in the course explore how the best curriculum for the young child springs from life itself.  This interactive multi-media course consists of four weekly lessons that provide an introduction to how LifeWays nurtures children and families.  Students will be learning how Life, the Child, the Adult and the Environment all form the perfect learning ground for the young child, whether at home or in childcare/preschool.  Ideal for parents as well as childcare providers and early childhood teachers (15 CEUs available). New material is provided every Wednesday for four weeks, but you always have access to the material and can work at your own pace.  Read more.
Next Course: Wednesday, January 13 to Friday, February 12, 2016
Enroll now and receive your free copy of Life is the Curriculum!

Order your copy of Cynthia's new book now!


Life is the Curriculum:

Exploring the Foundations of Care for Young Children through the Insights of Rudolf Steiner, Founder of Waldorf Education


By Cynthia Aldinger


Transform your experience with young children by exploring how the best curriculum for the young child springs from life itself. Learn how Life, the Child, the Adult and the Environment all form the perfect learning ground for the young child, whether at home or in childcare/preschool. Cynthia describes the principles behind LifeWays childcare with numerous examples and shows how they grow out of Rudolf Steiner's indication to "take home as the model" to meet the needs of young children. A practical book for parents, childcare providers and early childhood teachers from across the spectrum of approaches today.



Available now! 96 pages, with photos. Only $11.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling (96 pages).  Pay with a credit card (through Paypal) or use your Paypal account.


ORDER NOW ($11.95 plus $4.00 s/h) 

LifeWays BlogBlog
Did you catch our recent post on 
Storytelling for Times of Change
By: Jaimmie Stuggard

"At LifeWays, story time is a time for bonding and sharing in the artistry and wisdom of this ancient tradition.  Pedagogically, we can use stories and verses to promote language development, guide behavior,  offer an explanation or mark a transition. " 
Read more....

And don't miss Susan Silverio's Commencement Address for the LifeWays Training in Maine, on "Life is Good"--it's REALLY good!
Read more....
Upcoming LifeWays Training Programs
Inspire your life with young children!

Completing the LifeWays� Early Childhood Certification Program can open new opportunities for you--both  professionally and personally.  
  • Our one-year, part-time curriculum includes over 200 onsite hours
  • 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. 
Find a LifeWays Training Program near you!  
      Click here to request an information/application packet. 
Alaska, October 2015 - July 2016,  Learn more.  
Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, Alaska (alternating sessions)
Lori Berrigan, Student Services Director, 907-315-4030. [email protected] 

Asheville, North Carolina NEW! February 2016 - March 2017.  Learn more.
Ashley Masters, Student Services Director, 828-989-9189. [email protected]   
Marianne Alsop, DIrector.  Enrollment full.

Canada (Toronto), on-going weekends throughout the year.  Learn more.  
Laurie Harper-Burgess, Director. [email protected]
Colorado, May 2015 - June 2016, Boulder, Colorado.  Learn more.   
Faith Collins, Student Services, 720-256-8843, [email protected]
Northeast,  dates and new location to be announced (2016-17)

Oregon, July 31, 2015 - June 2016, Portland, Oregon.  Learn more. 
 Anne Kollender, Student Services Director, 503-786-6010, [email protected]

Pennsylvania, March 2015-April 2016 , Kimberton, PA.  Enrollment full.

Marianne Alsop, Director. Enrollment full.

Southern California, Dates and location to be announced. 

Kelli Hoisington, Student Services, 512-971-2223,[email protected]

Bridget Shetty, Student Services Director, 414-476-5149,[email protected]

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