From Cynthia...
Cynthia Aldinger
Dear Friends,
I absolutely love this newsletter!  The terms "upside risk" and "downside risk" in Rahima's article truly resonate with our daily life experiences.  It is such a relief to even read the term "upside risk" considering that any risk at all is given such a bad rap.  I am also grateful that the plight of the elder has come into our LifeWays awareness.  At one time we imagined our work as covering the full span of life.  The world of risk taking has most certainly become an up-close-and-personal experience for me right now.  As my husband Michael continues on his healing journey, I can certainly feel the part of me that wants to hover, to constantly hold on to a belt loop on the back of his jeans as he navigates his walker, and that has to swallow my fear when he takes three or four "free-range" steps sans walker!  Yet every time he has lost his balance or almost fallen nothing catastrophic has happened.  Lessons have been learned, and the freedom to move is most definitely an "upside risk" that must not be denied.   It calls to mind something Rudolf said in 1919 regarding lifelong learning:  "... we have to learn in truth to experience not merely our youth as capable of development but our whole existence between birth and death."
Again I appreciated Judy's wisdom words about safety, reminding us that "there is NO formula" and that answers almost always lie in the pause as one considers best action or precaution to take.... Read More 
Introduction to our Theme:
"Safety & Risk"

When do we draw the line with safety and where do we make room for risk? This is a popular topic among anyone working with children, regardless if you're a parent or caregiver. We want the children in our care to feel free to explore the world around them, while also ensuring their safety in a world that can be a very dangerous place. Constantly being bombarded by news stories can make us fearful and question whether we're protective enough, while the increasing number of children unable to handle the common stresses and tasks of life can make us wonder if we've done too much. "Helicopter Parenting" has been put forward by some as 2016's issue of the year, and we're increasingly seeing the long term side negative effects of this style of parenting. 

There have been many discussions about why this is happening, and anyone over the age of 30 has their own version of how childhood was vastly different not so very long ago. We were all outside, from dawn to dusk with no parents in sight. No cell phones existed. We looked after each other. We knew when to come home, how to cross the street and look for cars, and how to gauge what stunts we were capable of and what would hurt us. And we did get hurt sometimes, and that was okay. It helped us build our resilience and self confidence. How did we forget this in such a short time?

Sometimes we don't even realize as adults how over protective we've become. I know I'm guilty of this. We assess the "what if's" and they're usually all on the negative end of the spectrum. What if we shifted this this view to all of the positive "what if's"? What if our children succeed? What is to be gained if my child actually climbs that tree or crosses that river on their own and doesn't fall?Confidence. Fine tuned motor skills. A smile from ear to ear and that most amazing statement: "I DID IT!" If we stand to the side and watch, we are often surprised to find out just how capable the young child actually is--as well as self-regulating an resilient.

Below we've included some articles on how to address parental hovering (in ourselves and others), as well as ways to address it with parents of the children in your care. Wishing you a beautiful "free range" summer!

Summer Blessings!
Amy Gerassimoff, Editor
Balancing Child Safety and Risk in the Parenting Dance
By Judy Frizlen

When to step in and when to step out is a fundamental parenting question, and the answer is personal, situation specific, and ever-changing along with the developing child. I must say that it is a question that gave me pause while parenting young children and still presents a challenge in my relationships with adult children. The answers to our questions lie in that pause. At the same time that we want children to build skills and confidence, we also want to ensure that they are safe.

There is no formula to apply because each child is unique, and whatever actions are taken must be authentic in order to meet the moment.  Any parenting approach that encourages self-development trumps a set of rules because it takes into account the individuals involved, the changing circumstances, and encourages decision-making on a moment-to-moment basis. Although there is no formula, there are things to consider while preparing for both age- and child-appropriate risk-taking and safety. They are: personal development for parents, creating the environment, having a first aid kit on hand, and finding community support.

Instead of No!try saying Oh!
By Lynn Coalson

Greetings from sunny, beautiful northeast Florida. In preparation for St John's tide (June 25th), I am remembering the summer festival we had during my LifeWays Training in Milwaukee, many years ago... 

According to some traditions, a bonfire was often built to celebrate midsummer and the birth of St John the Baptist, and as the fire burned down to embers, adults and children enjoyed leaping over it!  At first, I was a little taken aback....Thoughts of someone falling and getting burned flooded my imagination.  Second, I thought of Cynthia Aldinger's words, "When experiencing something new, instead of saying 'No,' try saying 'Oh.'"  "Oh, that looks fun. I want a turn!"  What I experienced was a joyous release of negativity and a triumphant receiving of possibility!  I almost let fear and that inner "should not" and "what if?" rob me of this moment of joy. Preparations for the festival included safety precautions: buckets of water were placed near the fire; someone had a first aid kit, and fire safety guidelines were clearly explained in a friendly manner to all who attended the bonfire, before it was ignited. Parents guided their own children in the leap of faith over the embers, and ... everyone had fun and nobody got hurt.

At a recent First Aid/CPR training class, our instructor explained that putting safety protocols in place actually allows for greater enjoyment. This was certainly the case in our St John's festivities, and a model we follow at the Seaside Playgarden Forest Kindergarten.  Our Forest Program takes weekly field trips to a local park on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The park provides the perfect setting with its pristine Florida scrub hammock, forest, wetland, dunes, and beach all in one location. The parents drop off and pick up their children at a designated area within the park.
Read Full Article 
Boys outside WI
Safety and Relationship-Based Care
By Mary O'Connell 

The Wisconsin licensing procedures for group daycare are pages and pages long, and of the thousands of rules and regulations, most are regarding safety. I remember when, as a new director, I was looking through the regulations with our licensing specialist and exclaimed about how many rules there were, and expressed concern that I would never get to know all of them well enough to make sure our center was in compliance.  She looked over her reading glasses at me and said gravely, "Just remember, for every rule that's in this book, some-thing happened to a child."  Indeed, every accident that occurs somewhere in the state seems to prompt the implementation of another new rule.  

Stories like this one [the paper had reported on the death of a child in childcare] shake me to my inner core, and are a potent reminder that caring for other people's children is serious business.  How do we reassure parents that their child is safe when they drop him or her off at LifeWays in the morning?  Can we promise them that nothing bad will ever happen to their son or daughter while in our care?  No, we really can't.  But we also can't give in to the gripping fear that tends to accompany a "what if" mentality. 

"Surplus Safety"-- An Issue for Elders as well as Children
By Rahima Baldwin Dancy 
After a working for many years in early childhood and parent education, I took care of my mother and mother-in-law in our home for six years. Feeling like I was "in the slow lane" with "the ladies," I was delighted to see an ad in the paper that said something like, "One night a week forever and you can get a masters in gerontology." So I completed an interdisciplinary masters in "Gerontology and Organizational Change" and have connected with the "culture-change movement" in long-term care which--guess what?--is trying to make assisted living and nursing homes less institutional and more home-like, providing care that is less medicalized and more person centered and relationship based.
These are just a few of the parallels between what LifeWays is trying to provide in the early years and the revolution needed at the end of life....  
Additional Resources 

Check out these books on our topic:

Home Away from Home 
by Cynthia Aldinger and Mary O'Connell

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

And these web sites and articles:

Room to Roam: Encouraging "Free Range" Children

lifeways training
Credit for your LifeWays Training -- Chart of Equivalencies

LifeWays is pleased to make available this "crosswalk" that shows how the LifeWays Early Childhood Certification Training aligns with the NAEYC (the National Assoc. for the Education of Young Children) and the CDA  (Child Development Associate) Competency Standards. 

These are two national standards used to evaluate a caregiver's performance with children and families; therefore this document is useful in showing to licensing representatives, state quality rating systems representatives, and other policy people when seeking credit for your LifeWays Training!

Click here to view the chart.

Update: LifeWays Completion Program Unable to Go Forward with WECAN's Policy Change

     One disappointment we had to face this week is that the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) has just changed the criteria for their path to membership for training organizations.  Although our application to WECAN to offer our Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at Kimberton was warmly received this past spring and we proceeded accordingly, we recently received notice that their new policy excludes LifeWays from being able to become a WECAN-approved teacher training institute. We are sending a letter to our students and graduates with more details about WECAN's decision and, of course, will be refunding those who have sent in an early application. 

This decision has no impact on our well-established 220-hour early childhood certificate training for home- and center-based caregivers and preschool teachers, parents, parent-child teachers, kindergarten assistants and nannies.  Although their decision was surprising and disappointing, we are looking forward to discussing other new possibilities at the LifeWays board meeting in August, which we will share in the Fall newsletter!
Report on Michael Aldinger

As mentioned in Cynthia's welcome letter, Michael is improving every day as his muscles and nerves continue to re-learn how to communicate.  He has regular physical and occupational therapy as well as acupuncture, care through his anthroposophical doctor, body code work, and potentially a relatively new electrical impulse water chamber therapy.  Still living with their son's family in Sacramento, in May Michael was able to attend a full day of The America Conference at White Feather Ranch in the foothills of the Sierras.   Keynoted by Nancy Poer and organized by Carol and Jack Petrash, it was attended by around fifty people from 18-85 years old!  It was Michael's first all-day venture. Just a few weeks later on Father's Day, the family was able to walk/ride the first wheelchair accessible wilderness trail, only 90 miles from Sacramento!   While recovery is still a long-term process, the improvement from last September to now is exponential, and Michael and Cynthia continue to experience deep gratitude for all the care and prayer they receive daily.   
wisconsin training?
LifeWays Training and
Early Childhood Certification Program

Completing the LifeWays� Early Childhood Certification Program can open new opportunities for you--both  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.  Certification programs are currently available at locations throughout the United States, with weekend programs in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Click on the location for more information:

New Dates! Oct. 2016 - Aug. 2017
Newtown, Connecticut
Eileen Straiton, Student Services Director

This Training fills up--only two spaces remain!.
San Francisco Bay Area
Marianne Alsop

Register by Aug 31 and save $225!
San Diego Area (Encinitas)
Liz Alvarado, Student Services Director

Trainings are being held and will be offered again in many  other locations. Follow the link below to find a training near you!

Learn More
Home as the Model - 
             Life as the Curriculum
with Cynthia Aldinger & Mary O'Connel

Starting again: 
     September 7 - October 5, 2016

Register NOW to assure your place and to receive your free book.

Have you wanted to learn more about the magic of LifeWays? Join Cynthia and Mary for a four-week course 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.

Each Wednesday for four weeks a new lesson will be posted with a variety of learning activities:

  • new reading material
  • audio downloads of conversations between Cynthia and Mary  
  • practical activities, with journaling
  • videos and
  • rich online discussion forums with the presenters and other students
Learn on your own time and at your own pace, and always have access to the course materials. Contact hours available (15 CEUs).  Nearly 200 people have taken this course--read what they have to say about it:

Learn More
Healthy Home Rhythms
A Collaboration with Mothering Arts
& LifeWays North America
Ongoing Open Enrollment

This popular online course, developed by Kerry Ingram at Mothering Arts, supports you to create a balanced home rhythm rooted in presence and joy. In this self-paced course, you will work with four water-colored seasonal rhythm wheels (printer required), a meal planner wheel and LOTS of practical resources to develop a rhythm wheel that is unique for your own family.  

Create a more connected home life with the help of this inspiring, step-by-step, course that you can do any time and access again and again as the seasons-and your family-change.
Home Health Care:
Nurturing & Nourishing Ourselves and Children
Presented by Trish McPhee, FNP
July 30, 2016 9am - 6pm & July 31, 2016 9am- 12:30pm
Palmer, AK
Birchtree Charter School,  7107 E Palmer-Wasilla Hwy, Palmer, AK 99645

In this hands-on course, you'll learn how to care for your family at home with natural home health care techniques, such as wraps, poultices, massages, and inhalations for common childhood illnesses and fevers. Trish McPhee will explain the importance of warmth, sleep and good nutrition for your growing child, the role that childhood illnesses play in your child's development and more - all with practical suggestions for everyday use.

Learn More
Storytelling, Puppetry & Language Development  
Presented by Ashley Masters & Sharifa Oppenheimer
Oct 8 - 9, 2016
Asheville, NC

The development of speech and language is one of the greatest achievements of our lifetime.  It begins with the first cry at birth, and can grow in leaps and bounds throughout the first 7 years.  Yet research shows that language skills and thus literacy are rapidly declining in our schools.  What lives in the mystery of speech mastery, and how can the therapeutic art of storytelling and puppetry be one of the best supports for our children's love and aptitude for language?  We will look at the development of speech in the first years of life, and focus on the wisdom of rhythm, alliteration, consonantal delight, and joyful soundings of the nursery rhyme in storytelling and visual presentation through puppetry. Puppet making included.

Featured LifeWays Representative Program: KULANU 

KULANU brings together nature-based Jewish tradition and festival observance, and Zen mindfulness practice, into a Waldorf Lifeways environment. Located in west Sebastopol, California, KULANU welcomes infants through preschoolers, year-round, into the rhythms and simple joys of daily family life. Children spend most of each day outdoors, engaged in spacious, open, creative play -- surrounded by nature and immersed in beauty -- filled with wonder and delight.
Responding to requests from several families, Yael Raff Peskin began leading Morning Nature Walks in her beautiful country neighborhood in the summer of 2013. Her belief that children's healthy development can be greatly supported when they spend most of their days outdoors, led her to develop a three-day program from 9 am - 1 pm for the toddler children of several of her friends. As word caught on, and interest grew, Yael applied to become a licensed Family Child Care Provider the following summer. In November 2014, KULANU received its license to provide care for up to eight children.
The following month, Yael hired an assistant and began offering care four full
days/week (Tuesdays-Fridays, 9am-4pm) for
 eight children. Currently, there are a total of twelve KULANU families, with some children coming 4 days/week, some coming 3 days/week and others 2 days/week. The Morning Nature Walk continues to be an integral part of the day--rain or shine!--giving children the opportunity to spend time exploring nature together and to delight in the gifts of each season outdoors.
Yael began her Waldorf Teacher Training in 1992 through Rudolf Steiner College's San Francisco Extension Program, and completed an early childhood certificate program through Lifeways North America in Hawai'i in 2013. KULANU is our newest LifeWays Representative Program; the name means "All of Us" in Hebrew.

For more information: Kulanu Sebastopol

New Arrivals

We congratulate Audrey Lawson; a graduate of the CA Coast training, and her family on the birth of William Ivar Killian, born Saturday June 4th. Mother and baby are doing well!

Angie Richardson (Colorado) shares:
"Our baby boy was eager to join us this summer and came weeks early.
All of my time and care is going directly to his growth and my healing as we navigate life in the NICU. We will be home mid-July."  Blessings to all of you, Angie!

Job Openings
LifeWays Early Childhood Center Milwaukee, WI

LifeWays Early Childhood Center is a non-profit organization that provides child care, 
school and parent-child enrichment activities for families with children ages infant to six years. LifeWays focuses on mixed-age, relationship-based care, providing young children with the best elements of care found within a healthy family.
Located on the Koenen Land Preserve in the vibrant Riverwest community, LifeWays Early Childhood Center is seeking dedicated and hardworking individuals who are passionate about working with children in a warm, family-oriented environment.  At LifeWays, life is the curriculum and there are ample opportunities for experiential learning.  Daily outdoor play, gardening, baking, storytelling, washing, singing and sweeping are among the home-like activities that the children and caregivers share at LifeWays.  

LifeWays currently has the following openings:
Email or call Jaimmie Stugard at [email protected] (414) 562-0818 for more information or to arrange an interview.

LifeWays North America