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A Waldorf Journey Podcast

A Waldorf Journey is a podcast for teachers, parents, students and people who are passionate about Waldorf Education.
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Sep 16, 2018

In this episode I interview a former colleague, Jenna Dalton. Jenna has a completely joyful and inspired approach to music and sharing it with children. If you're wondering about how to go about fostering a healthy, joyful and inspired relationship to music for your children, Jenna is a great resource.

If you'd like to learn more about Jenna and the work that she's doing, you can reach out to her at her website Love, Music and Spirit. She offers consultation to parents and teachers who are looking for ways to bring music to their students. As you'll hear on this podcast, she's a delight to work with.

Aug 27, 2018

Information about my fall group coaching program.

Support through my Patreon page.

Or by clicking one of my Amazon Affiliate links.

Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers

Choosing your professional development based on theory or approach that inspires you. Examples:

  • Waldorf-specific
  • Responsive Classroom
  • Orton-Gillingham

Choosing your professional development based on subject matter. Examples:

  • Classroom management
  • Reading instruction
  • Math instruction
  • Assessment
  • Parent work

No matter what kind of professional development you choose, you'll experience some benefits.

  • Connecting with other teachers
  • Re-inspire your work
  • Find new ways of thinking about the work you do
  • Learn strategies and techniques that are directly applicable in the classroom.

How to decide what to do. At the beginning of the year outline goals and choose professional development accordingly. Determine your strengths and challenges as a teacher and face the real facts of the aspects of your teaching that you think really needs the most growth. This can be challenging to face, but our work and our students benefit from this kind of honest look at our own work. This is what it means to be a striving Waldorf teacher.

Aug 13, 2018

Interested in learning more about my fall teacher coaching program? Click here for the details.

Other ways to support . . . 

Responsive Classroom Resources

Teaching Children to Care

The First Six Weeks of School

Responsive Classroom Strategies in this episode

Interactive Modeling

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/what-interactive-modeling/

Morning Meeting

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/category/morning-meeting/

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/what-is-morning-meeting/

The Components of Morning Meeting

  • Greeting
  • Sharing
  • Group Activity
  • Morning Message

Hopes and Dreams

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/hopes-and-dreams-in-a-primary-classroom/

 

Jul 31, 2018

NEW! Fall Teaching Coaching Program

After launching a wonderfully successful summer planning support group, I'm looking to continue the good colleagueship with teacher coaching groups that will rotate all year long.

We'll have different topics and themes to discuss, depending on the different time of year and lots of different ways to work with the content. The 12-week program includes . . . 

  • Weekly goals and inspirations via email
  • Membership in a private Facebook group
  • Weekly group coaching calls
  • 2 one-hour individual mentoring sessions
  • Unlimited email consultation

I envision this group being perfect for new teachers needing mentoring as well as experienced teachers looking to infuse their teaching greater inspiration and intention.

For a list of topics (ranging from classroom management to parent communication to self-care to report-writing) check out the information page.

If you're ready to apply, here's the link to the application. Group size is limited to 30, so I want to make participants are really able to make use of the program.

Ways to Support

Patreon -- Join others and donate simply because you support the work that is going on here. I appreciate it.

Sponsorship -- Do you have a Waldorf business? Get in touch and we can talk about sponsorship opportunities -- on either the blog, podcast or on my email list.

This Week's Content

This week I talk all about thinking, feeling and willing and how they appear in the classroom in the various activities we do. I also share some ideas for how teachers can plan ahead and incorporate various activities into their weekly schedule.

"The human organism, that most complex of all natural organisms, can be described as consisting of three systems, working side by side. To a certain extent each functions separately and independently of the others. One of these consists of the life of the nerves and senses. It may be named, after the part where it is more or less centered, the head organism. Second, comes what we need to recognize as another branch if we really want to understand the human organism, the rhythmic system. This includes the breathing and the circulation of the blood, everything that finds expression in rhythmic processes in the human organism. The third must be recognized as consisting of all those organs that have to do with the actual transformation of matter — the metabolic process. These three systems comprise everything that, duly coordinated, keeps the whole human complex in healthy working order.” -- Rudolf Steiner

 

May 13, 2018

I intend to write a more thorough summary of my experiences of the movable classroom -- with photos of benches, cushions, and a more how-to approach, but because this is one of the most common questions I get from my readers, I thought I'd start with a podcast episode.

I've included some photos and links below, but hopefully I'll have something more thorough to share eventually. (Definitely click through to the blog post to see this content.)

Ways to Support

Patreon -- Join others and donate simply because you support the work that is going on here. I appreciate it.

Sponsorship -- Do you have a Waldorf business? Get in touch and we can talk about sponsorship opportunities -- on either the blog, podcast or on my email list.

Spring Update

This time of year is all about beginnings and endings!

Endings -- The year is wrapping up and I'm enjoying reflecting on the work we've done. If you're doing that too, and thinking a lot about the end-of-year reports that you'll need to write -- take a look at my 30 Days Till Summer Report Writing Challenge eBook. It'll give you the little extra boost of motivation you need to get those reports written! And I'm offering it at a 20% discount right now -- just a little over $10.

Beginnings -- Summer planning! There's nothing I love more than a new beginning and I just LOVE my summer planning time. (I'm a bit of a nerd that way.) I've thought A LOT about the best way to go about planning and I've put together a course that is all about Waldorf planning. You can check it out here if you want more info.

Also, if you're interested in becoming part of a little mastermind/summer planning support group, send me an email. I'm thinking about how we can support and keep each other accountable with weekly check-ins. I'm super-excited about putting something together, and I'd love to hear it if you are too. Click here to email me.

Movable Classroom Takeaways

Take a listen to the podcast to get a more elaborate description of these things, but for now I'm just copying and pasting my rough notes here. Reach out if you have questions.

Description of the movable classroom set up in my room.

  1. Primary benefit – flexibility. We could move our benches and have a clear open area in less than a minute. Also pushing benches together and working in stations. This lets students chat with each other while they work, which is a skill I want them to learn.
  2. Next – Opportunities for movement – I definitely didn’t make use of all of the possibilities – if you do a search you’ll find suggestions for stacking benches 3 high, piling up the cushions – lots of different things. I played it safe, but still found so many different ways my students could move with their benches. Every day my students stand on, jump off, sit on and write on their benches.
  3. Core strength – most common posture my students use with them benches is sitting on it. Because the bench doesn’t have a back, they must hold themselves up. When we’ve had parent meetings, the parents get tired of sitting on the benches after a little while, but my students are strong and sit up straight.
  4. Think through the different ways your students will interact with their benches and set a framework. The first few weeks of school are about teaching your students the correct postures. Process for handing out cushions, etc.
  5. Don’t worry about the W sit. I did lots of research and found just as much evidence that it isn’t something that needs to be worried about. Also, cushions that are high enough – some teachers use little benches – they won’t collapse into the W sit anyway.
  6. Drawback #1 – Writing. There is no doubt that for writing tasks, a proper desk and chair would be better. But, writing tasks took up about 15-30 minutes of our day, not too worried about it.
  7. Drawback #2 – Squirminess. A few of my students swirl about on their benches, sometimes laying down or sliding into their bench partner. There isn’t a lot of definition of space and some students spill out of their own place. Though this tendency takes some management, the upside is that I get to see which students have this tendency and it is a clue that they might need some extra movement work.
  8. Drawback/benefit #3 – Teacher help. One of my colleagues said that she did not like the movable classroom because it prevented her from working close enough with students. With their working surface so close to the floor, it is hard for the teacher to stoop down and help. She referred to students who really needed a teacher to help hold their hand and form the letters properly. This is certainly true. It would be difficult to do this. I do, however, appreciate that the lower position of the students makes it so easy for me to scan the classroom and check to see where everyone is in their work. I have not found it necessary to provide that individualized hand-in-hand support, and I’d be hard-pressed to do it with my 27 students.

Overall, movable classroom takes a lot of holding. You need to think through every aspect of their movement, but if you think things through and map them out well enough, I think you’ll love it. I’m a little sad that we’re moving on to desks next year!

Mar 4, 2018

Episode #26 – Top 5 Waldorf Resources

Welcome to A Waldorf Journey, a podcast for teachers, parents, students and people who are passionate about Waldorf Education. I’m Meredith and I’m glad you’re here.

You can find shownotes for this episode, along with a lot more useful content on my website, awaldorfjourney.com. While you’re there sign up for the newsletter to receive updates about new content on the blog and podcast.

You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as awaldorfjourney.

Today is Sunday, March 4 and this is episode #25. I’m happy to talk to you today about some of my favorite Waldorf resources. These are the books that I have turned to again and again, gifted to friends and loaned out over and over. If you are a Waldorf teacher or homeschooler or just want to know more about Waldorf education, these are books that you’ll want to have on your shelf. 

First thing to mention: If you want to stay up to date with updates on the blog and podcast you can get on my email list by texting the word WALDORF to 444999. You’ll get a message back with an option to enter your email address and get added to the list. I send updates out 3 or 4 times a month, when there is something new on the blog or podcast.

Also, if you’re teaching the lower grades, I’ve got a handy little worksheet that can help you track your students’ progress and development. I’m finding it really useful as I prepare to write end of year reports, which is right around the corner. If you go to http://www.awaldorfjourney.com/skills you’ll find a little form and you can put your email address in and I’ll send it to you.

Ways to Support

There are a few other things you can do to help support the blog and podcast, and one of them is by supporting on Patreon. I’ve linked to it in the show notes. 

I think it’s a great little platform where you can simply express your appreciation and support of the podcast with a cash donation. It’s kind of a novel idea – paying for something you can easily get for free – but it’s a good thing to do and definitely much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials

If you are a Waldorf teacher or homeschooler, check out the curriculum materials I have available on the site. I've recently released more guides for the upper grades, including 7th grade Human Physiology and 8th grade Physics and Meteorology. 

Amazon

The other way that is definitely relevant to this podcast, is to make purchases on Amazon by following the links on my website. Every time you do Amazon gives me a little bonus, at no extra cost to you. If you’re making purchases for holiday shopping, please consider clicking through one of the links on my site.

All of the links to products in the show notes are Amazon affiliate links and if you click before purchasing I get a small cut of whatever you spend. It’s a simple way to support the podcast, doing something you were probably going to do anyway.

Sponsorship

Finally, if you have a business that you think my audience would be interested in – Waldorf supplies, dolls, books, homeschooling or crafting materials, and you’d like my audience members to know about it, get in touch. You can email me at Meredith@awaldorfjourney.com. I’m being pretty picky about sponsors for the blog and podcast, but I’d love to talk to you to see if we’re a good fit.

 

Top 5 Waldorf Books

School is a Journey by Torin Finser

The Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum by Kevin Avison and Martyn Rawson

Teaching Children to Care by Ruth Sidney Charney

 A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics by John Van de Walle

Dec 7, 2017

How do you maintain the values that support your child's Waldorf Education at home during the holidays? It can be tricky with all the busy-ness during this time of year. In this episode I talk about the holidays, the challenges we face and how we can get through this busy time of year feeling happy and healthy.

In the episode I refer to a couple of posts I recently wrote about gift-giving during the holidays. You can check them out by hitting the links below.

Art Supplies through the Grades

Books through the Grades

Nov 26, 2017

Ways to Support the Podcast

Join the email list by texting WALDORF to 444999 and get updates about the blog and podcast right in your inbox.

First Grade Basics

I'm so glad to be releasing my first grade basics package! It's got all of the documents that I put together at the beginning of the school year to set myself up for the year. If you're a homeschooler or teacher looking at teaching first grade in the future, this is a great resource. 

Maybe you're a teacher training student trying to wrap your mind around taking a class and teaching first grade in the future -- this package can get you in the right frame of mind.

In this package you'll find . . . 

  • My 1st grade block rotation, along with the thoughts that went into creating it
  • My 1st grade morning rhythm
  • The songs and verses that I use in my morning rhythm
  • Our 1st grade weekly schedule
  • A 1st grade skills checklist (get this one for free by putting your email address in the form on this page.)
  • My sample 1st grade back to school letter
  • A great conflict resolution tool to help first graders work things out.

All of these resources will get you set up to teach first grade for only $12. I hope to be releasing individual block plans in the future, but for now this basics package will go a long way towards getting you started.

Amazon

Click any of the Amazon links on this site and a small portion of your purchase will end up in my pocket. This is a nice and easy way to support by spending the money you were going to spend anyway. Remember to think of supporting A Waldorf Journey before making your big back-to-school supply purchase.

Patreon

I love the idea behind Patreon. Imagine paying for something you can easily get for free, without anyone even knowing. But it feels good to make the donation and it is much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials and Resources

See if any of the digital documents I’ve got for offer on the site can help support your Waldorf teaching or homeschooling.

Sponsorship

If you have a Waldorf business you think my listeners would like, get in touch. You can become a sponsor on the podcast. You can get more information about sponsorship opportunities over at my sponsor page.

Shownotes

Most of the things I talk about in this episode can be found in my blog post about planning supplies. 

Here are links to some of the products I talk about. Many of these are Amazon Affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the podcast.

Oct 10, 2017

 

I'm happy to finally be back talking to you after my big trip with my kids to Central America. It took me awhile to get back on my feet after starting the new year with a new group of students, and it's harder to find time to record, but I'm determined to find the time. 

In this episode I talk a bit about the things I notice about teaching 1st grade, in comparison to middle school. It's a whole different ball of beeswax, and not necessarily in the ways I thought. 

Either way, I'm just loving it and enjoying finding new challenges and getting to know new families.

Join the email list by texting WALDORF to 444999 and get updates about the blog and podcast right in your inbox.

Amazon

Click any of the Amazon links on my site and a small portion of your purchase will end up in my pocket. This is a nice and easy way to support by spending the money you were going to spend anyway. Remember to think of supporting A Waldorf Journey before making your big back-to-school supply purchase.

Patreon

I love the idea behind Patreon. Imagine paying for something you can easily get for free, without anyone even knowing. But it feels good to make the donation and it is much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials and Resources

See if any of the digital documents I’ve got for offer on the site can help support your Waldorf teaching or homeschooling.

Jul 16, 2017

Ways to Support the Podcast

Join the email list by texting WALDORF to 444999 and get updates about the blog and podcast right in your inbox.

Amazon

Click any of the Amazon links on this site and a small portion of your purchase will end up in my pocket. This is a nice and easy way to support by spending the money you were going to spend anyway. Remember to think of supporting A Waldorf Journey before making your big back-to-school supply purchase.

Patreon

I love the idea behind Patreon. Imagine paying for something you can easily get for free, without anyone even knowing. But it feels good to make the donation and it is much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials and Resources

See if any of the digital documents I’ve got for offer on the site can help support your Waldorf teaching or homeschooling.

Sponsorship

This is a brand new program I am launching, inspired by the flood of traffic I have received in recent weeks. If you have a Waldorf-friendly business and want to get connected with my audience, I am offering advertising space on the blog and podcast, as well as sponsored posts for products I think my audience would appreciate. You can get more information about sponsorship opportunities over at my sponsor page.

Shownotes

Check out the series of blog posts about the rhythm of main lesson.

I also mention a resource written by Kevin Avison with a list of review activities.

Jul 2, 2017

As I record this, I am in the midst of preparing my new classroom, getting my house ready for our summer-long absence and finishing up my end-of-year reports. It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m excited to leave you all with some content to enjoy while I’m gone.

Ways to Support the Podcast

Join the email list by texting WALDORF to 444999 and get updates about the blog and podcast right in your inbox.

Amazon

Click any of the Amazon links on this site and a small portion of your purchase will end up in my pocket. This is a nice and easy way to support by spending the money you were going to spend anyway. Remember to think of supporting A Waldorf Journey before making your big back-to-school supply purchase.

Patreon

I love the idea behind Patreon. Imagine paying for something you can easily get for free, without anyone even knowing. But it feels good to make the donation and it is much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials and Resources

See if any of the digital documents I've got for offer on the site can help support your Waldorf teaching or homeschooling.

Sponsorship

This is a brand new program I am launching, inspired by the flood of traffic I have received in recent weeks. If you have a Waldorf-friendly business and want to get connected with my audience, I am offering advertising space on the blog and podcast, as well as sponsored posts for products I think my audience would appreciate. You can get more information about sponsorship opportunities over at my sponsor page.

Shownotes

I wrote a series of posts about main lesson rhythm awhile ago. Here is the one about the morning warm-up. There is some good information there, but not as thorough as what I talk about in the podcast. I've learned a lot since then.

My favorite games books (mentioned in the podcast.)

The New Games Book

Games Children Play

Games For the Playground Home School and Gymnasium

In the past couple of years I encountered a more mainstream philosophy that lines up really well with the Waldorf understanding of the warm-up as I learned it in my teacher training.

Responsive Classroom philosophy suggests that every day begins with a 20-30 minute period of time called “morning meeting.” When I read about the 20-30 minute period of time as Responsive Classroom describes it, it resonated very strongly with my Waldorf experience. When I realized how great these ideas worked together, I realized that Responsive Classroom resources would work really well when it came to creating my morning warm-up activities.

Responsive Classroom Resources

The Morning Meeting Book

Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 1-3

Doing Math in Your Morning Meeting

Doing Language Arts in Your Morning Meeting

99 Activities and Greetings for Your Morning Meeting

I often have a hard time finding activities that are fun, engaging and all about warming my students up so they’re ready for the lesson.

Responsive Classroom suggests that the “morning meeting” which we refer to as the warm-up in Waldorf education includes 4 elements
• Greeting
• Sharing
• Group Activity
• Morning Message

In the podcast I go through each one of these and talk about how they line up with Waldorf, what they look like in the classroom, and why they are essential for warming your students up. Along the way, I give some suggestions for activities and some resources that can give you more ideas.

Imagine each of these activities as a gradual arriving at school, connecting with each other and getting ready to start the day.

Jun 18, 2017

Summer is upon us and it is often the most difficult time to maintain a regular daily rhythm. It is natural to become a bit more loose with your daily rhythm when school lets out and the summer sun is calling us to spend more time outside, but don't abandon your rhythmic ways completely. 

This episode is all about rhythm and how to keep it going in a comfortable way throughout the summer.

Ways to Support the Podcast

Join the email list by texting WALDORF to 444999 and get updates about the blog and podcast right in your inbox.

Amazon

Click any of the Amazon links on this site and a small portion of your purchase will end up in my pocket. This is a nice and easy way to support by spending the money you were going to spend anyway. Remember to think of supporting A Waldorf Journey before making your big back-to-school supply purchase.

Patreon

I love the idea behind Patreon. Imagine paying for something you can easily get for free, without anyone even knowing. But it feels good to make the donation and it is much appreciated.

Curriculum Materials and Resources

See if any of the digital documents I've got for offer on the site can help support your Waldorf teaching or homeschooling. 

Sponsorship

This is a brand new program I am launching, inspired by the flood of traffic I have received in recent weeks. If you have a Waldorf-friendly business and want to get connected with my audience, I am offering advertising space on the blog and podcast, as well as sponsored posts for products I think my audience would appreciate. You can get more information about sponsorship opportunities over at my sponsor page.

Shownotes

Types of rhythm

  • yearly (the seasons)
  • monthly (many things in the financial realm)
  • weekly (weekdays/weekends)
  • daily (mealtimes, waking and sleeping)

A great article about rhythm at Lavender's Blue Homeschool website.

Rhythm should support:

  1. Your family's well-being (meals, self-care, etc.)
  2. Your family's culture and values

Rhythm Hacks

  1. Start with where you are. Don't do what I did when I suddenly decided to turn my family into morning people. I recognized the value of spending some time outside every day, but it didn't need to happen first thing in the morning.
  2. Think of the things that must happen and build around them.
  3. Create a rhythm that is unique to your family. Don't look up the activities that happen in a Waldorf kindergarten and build on that. Identify the things that are important to your family and look for ways to strengthen those values.

How to Improve Your Family's Daily Rhythm

  1. Start with an observation of a typical day. Write out your activities, especially the key moments -- waking, sleeping, mealtimes, etc. Write down times if you know them. If not, just write out the flow of the day. What stands out and was significant about the day?
  2. Was your family's well-being supported by the rhythm you lived out this day? did the meals get made, the dishes washed, the teeth brushed, etc.? Usually these are the first things to be done, so you may feel pretty good about your rhythm when it comes to your family's well-being.
  3. What is one aspect of your family's well-being that could have been better supported this day?
  4. Change one aspect of your rhythm to better support your family's well-being.
  5. Take another look at your summary of your daily rhythm and ask yourself the following question. What family values does this rhythm express?
  6. Identify what values your family has that are not expressed in this rhythm. Would someone looking from the outside guess that outside time/reading every day/doing chores together is an important value to your family?
  7. Choose one value and make one change to your rhythm to better support your family's values.

Note that you are choosing only two things to change about your rhythm, and hopefully they're pretty minor changes! The goal is not to completely turn your rhythm upside-down. And remember, it takes a month to create or change a habit. Be patient with yourself and try to stay consistent for a month before making any other changes.

Jun 4, 2017

I hope you enjoy A Waldorf Journey Podcast, a Waldorf podcast for parents, teachers and people passionate about Waldorf Education. Each week I hope to provide you with interesting and relevant content about Waldorf Education. I hope you’ll subscribe in iTunes and give me a review or a star rating.

If you’re interested in participating by suggesting a topic, asking a question or even being interviewed, don’t hesitate to drop me a note

Ways You Can Support the Podcast

Patreon — Make a donation. Per episode, per month, one-time donation — it’s up to you and much appreciated on my end.

Purchasing the resources on my site — Get The Waldorf Home ebook, one of my curriculum guides or my guide to record-keeping and feedback.

One of my most popular guides right now is my 30 Days Till Summer Report-Writing Guide. This guide will walk you through, day by day, and get you in the frame of mind to get your reports done by July 1. I'm sure you'll find it helpful in your efforts to get your reports done, and not wallow away working on them all summer long.

Order my 30 Days Till Summer Report-Writing Guide.

Amazon — Many of the links on this site are Amazon affiliate links. This means that a small percentage of anything you purchase goes towards supporting the work that is happening here at A Waldorf Journey (at no additional cost to you). It’s an easy way to support the podcast and blog with purchases that you were going to make anyway!

My Conversation with Jean Miller of Waldorf Inspired Learning

I had such a great time chatting with Jean and she referred to some pretty useful resources. Here are links to some of the things we talked about.

Alan Whitehead's Spiritual Syllabus -- Most of these resources are out of print, but there are a few still available on Waldorf Books.

Stephen Sagarin's blog -- What is Education

Jean's Taproot Training

Jean's Online Planning Group Plan It Out

Jean's article about the Seven Lively Arts

Contact Jean.

May 21, 2017

Ways You Can Support the Podcast

Patreon — Make a donation. Per episode, per month, one-time donation — it’s up to you and much appreciated on my end.

Purchasing the resources on my site — Get The Waldorf Home ebook, one of my curriculum guides or my guide to record-keeping and feedback. 

Since you're listening to this podcast about writing your end-of-year reports, you might be interested in my 30 Days Till Summer Report-Writing Guide. This guide will walk you through, day by day, and get you in the frame of mind to get your reports done by July 1. This year I'm spending 6 weeks of the summer on the road, so I'll definitely want to get my reports done. I pulled out this handy document and found all kinds of support, tips and reminders about how to get those reports done in a way that is efficient and enjoyable.

Order my 30 Days Till Summer Report-Writing Guide.

Amazon — Many of the links on this site are Amazon affiliate links. This means that a small percentage of anything you purchase goes towards supporting the work that is happening here at A Waldorf Journey. It’s an easy way to support the podcast and blog with purchases that you were going to make anyway!

The Waldorf End-of-Year Report

What parents want

  • to know that you know and understand their child.
  • an update about how academic skills are progressing.
  • confirmation that their child is doing well and that they made a good decision to send their child to a Waldorf school.

What you want

  • to reinforce parents' confidence in you as a teacher -- make sure the report is professional, free of spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • to document results of assessments, questions and concerns.
  • to convey your enthusiasm and pride for the student and everything that he or she has accomplished.
  • to give well-wishes for the summer, along with summer reading suggestions, activities, etc.

What the report is NOT for

  • Finally expressing the big concern or worry you've never spoken about. There should be nothing in the end-of-year report that the parent has not heard before. No new information. No big surprisees.
  • Conveying big concerning information in a more powerful way, hoping that the parents will finally listen this time.

Format

Lower grades -- narrative form, overview of the year that is the same for every child, 1-2 pages about individual child in all of the important areas. Keep in mind thinking, feeling and willing.

Middle grades -- Still narrative but can include rubric. Be careful about going too quantitative. Some parents find it reassuring, others find it scary.

Upper grades -- Collection of block reports with 1-page letter/narrative with warm fuzzy information about individual child, appreciation and anecdote.

May 7, 2017

Ways You Can Support the Podcast

Patreon -- Make a donation. Per episode, per month, one-time donation -- it's up to you and much appreciated on my end.

Purchasing the resources on this site -- Get The Waldorf Home ebook, one of my curriculum guides or my guide to record-keeping and feedback.

Amazon -- Many of the links on this site are Amazon affiliate links. This means that a small percentage of anything you purchase goes towards supporting the work that is happening here at A Waldorf Journey. It's an easy way to support the podcast and blog with purchases that you were going to make anyway!

As the school year winds to a close, all the teachers at my school are starting to think about next year. We're looking at our new classrooms, making plans for summer trainings and ordering supplies. 

Every year I find the supply ordering to be one of the most challenging tasks. It's just so hard to get in the right frame of mind for the next school year when the current year hasn't yet ended. But there are great discounts to be had if you order your supplies early, so it's a good idea to make an effort to wrap your mind around it and make that order.

This episode is all about helping you figure out the supplies you might want to order to be ready for the next school year. It's hard to cover all of the supplies you'll need for 8 different grades, but I make a pretty good effort here.

I've also written about the topic before. You can check out these posts for more information about supplies.

Note: The links on this page and the pages linked below are mostly Amazon affiliate links. When click through my site and make your purchase Amazon gives me a little bonus. This doesn't cost you anything extra and is a nice, easy way for you to support A Waldorf Journey.

My best resource is the list I put together that I link at the top of the page on the site. I get so many questions about supplies, I decided to put everything together in one place. 

Waldorf Drawing Supplies Your Child Must Have -- I wrote this during the summer before teaching 8th grade. Some of the supplies mentioned are better suited to the upper grades, but they're worth checking out for younger students, too.

Waldorf Supplies for 4th Grade

Handmade School Supplies

Waldorf Supplies -- A Fresh Look

Ordering Supplies -- I wrote this post before my second time through 6th grade. I made some different choices that year than I did the third time through. The main difference was working in large main lesson books. I really liked the larger format but when I came to 6th grade again my new school had a tradition of working on loose paper and binding books together in 6th grade. I ended up liking the flexibility of this approach much more.

Places to Order Supplies

Mercurius

Dick Blick

Amazon

Apr 25, 2017

In this episode I go through my process in planning my main lessons and how the two contrasting ideas of form and freedom come into play.

Mentioned resource: The Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum

The aspects of my lessons that bring more form:

  • The curriculum (the particular block, must-tell stories) -- History blocks tend to be a bit more prescribed than other blocks.
  • Resources -- The resources I use certainly form and limit my lessons.
  • Skill-building benchmarks -- Some skill-building activities (like reading and writing) are non-negotiable.
  • Time limitations -- Time is definitely a limiting factor that makes us pick and choose wisely.

The aspects of my lessons that bring more freedom:

  • Teacher interest (with both content and activities)
  • Student interest (content and activities)
  • The transformation of the content that occurs in the night.

We can't have our lessons be at either end of the spectrum. We couldn't plan out every aspect of our lessons months in advance, without leaving time for any freedom or inspiration.

By the same token, if we don't plan our lessons at all and allow teacher interest, student interest and the whim of the day to dictate where our lessons go, we run the risk of missing out on some of the gifts of the curriculum and the development of certain required skills.

So accomplishing this balance is definitely an art. In the rest of the episode I talk about my experiences navigating this balance.

At the end of the episode I share a listener question about whether Waldorf teachers, especially kindergarten teachers, can wear the color black. I give my opinions and feelings about it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments.

Apr 6, 2017

Today I'm heading into the list of questions that I've received from listeners in the past few weeks. Hope you enjoy.

Want to subscribe to my email list? Head to A Waldorf Journey or text WALDORF to 444999. You'll receive an email with a link to download my free main lesson review sheet.

Question #1

What do you think about unschooling vs. Waldorf education.

Though I'm no expert when it comes to unschooling, I'm happy to share some of my thoughts about the merits of the Waldorf curriculum, which is a far cry from unschooling. Some of the things I talk about . . . 

  • Free-spirited, non-traditionally educated parents finding a home in Waldorf and expecting it to be a bit freer and more alternative than it really is. Waldorf is definitely not unschooling.
  • Waldorf as a developmental curriculum. The genius of Waldorf is that it brings just the right content at just the right time for the developmental stage of the child. The child's own interests may not lead them in that direction.
  • The importance of will-development. There is value in finding something difficult and pushing through and doing it anyway.
  • All education is self-education. I believe in this statement and perhaps this is the place where Waldorf Education and unschooling overlap.

Question #2

Struggles with limiting media due to outside influences (friends and relatives with more media exposure.) Child asks for movies and video games all the time.

The struggle is real! It's not going to go away. There used to be a time you could get rid of your TV and pretend that it just didn't exist. It is a rare family that can manage that these days. This means you have to handle things differently.

  • Make media access times as rhythmic as possible. Often this rhythm will solve the problem on its own. But if not . . . 
  • Try to view it as an opportunity to for parenting. You get (yet another) opportunity to remind your child that you care enough to set a boundary (as exhausting as it may be.)
  • Don't beat yourself up. Don't feel like your child "shouldn't" be asking to use media again. If they're asking, all it means is that you get to answer again. It doesn't mean that you're somehow failing as a Waldorf parent.
  • Don't be afraid to use consequences and rewards. If you are really tired of your child asking for access to media again, set a boundary. Maybe asking 3 times outside of the regular media access time means time is reduced.

Finally -- fight the good fight. This is definitely a cause worth getting behind. Reducing media will make a huge difference for your child.

Question #3

Resources?

  • Jean's list of resources at Waldorf-Inspired Learning is the best (she's why I haven't created an exhaustive post of my own.)
  • If you've got a school in your area, try to make a visit happen. Even if you can't enroll your child yet, you can make connections and find out about educational opportunities.
  • If you don't have a school in your area, see about visiting one for a special speaker night.
  • See about attending a training course at one of the Waldorf teacher training institutes. I highly recommend Sound Circle Center in Seattle and Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Even their weekend courses for parents are fantastic and a great way for parents with young children at home to access some Waldorf inspiration.
  • If you're looking for books, check out my other site -- Waldorf Reviews. I haven't updated in awhile, but there are some good resources there. (I recently found a post I wrote years ago about the resources I used for my anatomy block. It got me going in the right direction for my block prep!)
Mar 20, 2017

Waldorf podcast In this episode I address two questions that came to me from the A Waldorf Journey Teacher Tribe Facebook Group. If you'd like to become a member, head on over and send a request and I'll approve you quick as a wink. (I'm pretty careful about spam, though, so if your profile isn't clear that you're an honest-to-goodness hopeful member, send me a message through FB.) The other thing I mention in this podcast is Patreon. Please take a look A Waldorf Journey on Patreon and consider supporting the podcast with a donation. I just love this platform that allows content consumers to support creators with cash donations. Your cash donation will help pay the hosting fees that come along with creating a podcast like this. You can make one time or per episode donations. Every little bit is appreciated.

Student Absences

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I talk a lot about my philosophy of how to manage student absences, what teachers should be responsible for and how to communicate with parents about it. My basic idea: Waldorf Education is a living, breathing thing that cannot be recreated for absent students. Most often I find that it is just best to let work go, rather than try to help absent students catch up. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it, though, so share your ideas in the comments below or on the Facebook group.

Pre-Teen Struggles

Sort of a two-part question -- I talk about how to cultivate an attitude in yourself that can help you through those challenging, adolescent-attitude moments with your students, and I also talk about how to guide students through struggles that they might have with one another. Two pieces of advice:

  • Be ready to resolved struggles, especially after recess.
  • Give students a formulaic script to begin difficult conversations and guide them through step-by-step. Starting with a respectful script can get the conversation off on the right foot, even if they need to break from the script to really get at the heart of the matter.

Some resources I've used: I Statements The following script spent a few months at the top of our chalkboard in 4th grade.

I feel ______________ when _______________ because ______________. I would like ________________.

We found that just about any conversation could start out this way, but it took awhile for the students to get the hang of it. We did lots of interactive modeling and working through sample imaginary situations before using it to work through a real one. The format involves the other person first echoing what the person said and then making their own I statement. Talk it Out by Barbara Porro I former colleague recommended this book to me and it is a fantastic one for helping students learn to manage their own conflicts. Please take some time to leave a star rating or review in iTunes or drop me a note (meredith@awaldorfjourney.com) to let me know what you think of the podcast or if there are any topics you'd like to hear me talk about.

Mar 5, 2017

I recently put out a call for questions on social media and received some great topic ideas. I thought about plowing through all of the questions in one episode but realized that many of the questions deserve their own episode. This is one of those questions.

In this episode I go through the comments and reactions I get when I tell people I've taught the same group of students for five years. I share my own thoughts about the experience and the various looping models I have seen in place at various Waldorf schools.

What kind of looping arrangement does your school work with? Do you like it? What do you consider to be the biggest benefits of teaching the same students for several years. Drawbacks?

Participate in the conversation by commenting on the website.

Dec 20, 2016

In this episode I am happy to address the topic that I hear about the most from Waldorf parents -- media and screen-time. Though the benefits of limiting screen-time are clear, many Waldorf parents struggle with how to make limited media a reality in their homes. 

Some of the things you'll hear about in this episode include . . . 

  • My kindergarten parent evening story that brought home the importance of limiting media exposure
  • A teacher's perspective on why you should limit media exposure
  • Strategies for making it easier to minimize media exposure in your home
  • Suggestions for healthy ways to engage with media when you do decide to allow screen-time

It's a complicated and challenging topic that can inspire guilt and shame in parents who don't manage it as well as they would like, and my goal is to minimize those negative feelings by empowering parents to make conscious decisions that work for their own families.

Media Episode Notes

Some of the things I mention in the podcast . . . 

My new ebook The Waldorf Home. Now available for purchase and download

Our Facebook group A Waldorf Journey | Teacher Tribe

The Facebook page A Waldorf Journey

American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations

Are you interested in hearing some thoughts about the challenges of media for older children and teenagers? Social media brings along with it a whole different set of challenges that parents need to think through and carefully guide for their children. Is this a challenge you are facing? Let me know in the comments if this is a relevant topic for you and your family!

Resources

Other media-exposure and screen-free resources

Media Mindfulness from the Denver Waldorf School

Media and Waldorf Education YouTube video from the Marin Waldorf School

Media Philosophy from the Waldorf School of the Peninsula

Nov 22, 2016

My students and I had a difficult reaction to the presidential election and the day after turned out to be one of the most difficult days of my teaching career. That day inspired the topic of this episode -- Working with Children When You're Emotional.

There are lots of different ideas out there about whether parents should conceal their emotions from their children or not. In this episode I talk a bit about my thoughts on the matter and share some of my own experiences. 

I apologize for the coughing and my shaky voice -- I'm still recovering from a cold. 

Some of the things I mention in this episode:

My new ebook The Waldorf Home. Please check out the website for more information. It's all about using the power of connection to create a more conscious and intentional homelife. I'd love to hear your questions and stories about creating a Waldorf home. Email me at meredith@awaldorfjourney.com. Your content could be featured in the book!

Check out this Psychology Today article about showing emotion in front of children.

Read the blog post about my post-election lesson plan.

I'd love to hear about your experiences discussing the election, or other upsetting topics with your children. What do you do when you're emotional and you must go on caring for your children? These are the things that challenge us most as parents and teachers. Let's support each other with our ideas.

 

Oct 10, 2016

This week I talk about a lively conversation that happened recently in the Facebook group. I hope you'll enjoy the episode. Here are links to some of the things I talk about.

The blog post for this episode.

A Waldorf Journey Facebook Group

Learning Disabilities of America website

Trainings

Remedial Education Training Program at Rudolf Steiner College

Rudolf Steiner Centre Healing Education And Remedial Training

Books

The Extra Lesson by Audrey McAllen -- Unfortunately this book must be out of print. It is sold out at Rudolf Steiner College bookstore and ridiculously expensive on Amazon.

The Symphony of Reflexes by Bonnie Brandes

Therapies and Remedial Strategies

The Handle Institute

Therapeutic Eurythmy

Orton-Gillingham

Barton Method

Lindamood Bell

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

Email me at meredith@awaldorfjourney.com.

Sep 26, 2016

When I first started teaching I remember feeling overwhelmed by the idea of filling two hours with creative, inspiring and interesting content. I worried that I would present all of my material within a half hour and my students would be expectantly looking at me for more for the last hour and a half of main lesson.

These days my inclination is to go the other direction. I never have enough time to bring all of the content and experiences I want to share with my students.

Whichever side of the spectrum you tend to gravitate towards, the key is planning with purpose and consciousness. Make sure you are aware of the amount of time you are spending on each component of your lesson and be clear about the content you want to share during the time you have with your students. 

The Waldorf main lesson typically is made of 4 components -- 

Each component could be an entire podcast of its own, which I hope to get to one day, but until then, you can read my blog post series on each component by following the links above.

How you order these parts is up to you, and that's what I go into in this episode. Take a listen for more information about the different scenarios.

Scenario #1

  • Warm-Up
  • Review
  • Bookwork
  • New Content

Scenario #2

  • Warm-Up
  • Review
  • New Content
  • Bookwork

Scenario #3

  • Warm-Up
  • New Content
  • Review
  • Bookwork

What structure to you prefer? Share in the comments below. Or join the Facebook group!

Sep 11, 2016

I'm so grateful to have this interview with Natalie Norman to share with you this week. Natalie is our school's fifth grade teacher and college chair and she has shared with me her very thoughtful and intentional meditative practice. I know that this is an area of our work that doesn't come easily to many Waldorf teachers, and Natalie gives some great suggestions for getting started and setting yourself up for a successful meditative practice.

Here are some of the resources that Natalie mentions in the course of our conversation.

Guided Meditations

Abraham Hicks' General Well-Being Meditation on YouTube

Wayne Dyer I Am Meditation on YouTube

General Meditation Books

The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Law of Attraction by Esther Hicks

Steiner / Anthroposophy Books

Finding Your Self by Torin Finser

Knowledge of Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy in Every Day Life by Rudolf Steiner

Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path by Rudolf Steiner

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