Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Natural Parenting

When I returned to university three years ago to begin my journey to kindergarten teaching - I heard for the first time of the Steiner-Waldorf method.   Something about the educational philosophies really stood out to me.  Those were mostly to do with the natural materials children played with, rhythmical songs, caring attitudes and a lot of nurture from the teacher.  Involvement of the family is paramount and the desire for families to want a holistic educational experience is very common. 

So with some investigation into these ideas - I came another step closer to learning who I am and was created to be.  So much going on in this world clogs up my children's thinking and mine too for that matter. 

 In my earlier days of parenting as a young mother Miss G and Master S did have many a plastic toy and watch ABC kids.  We were often in the garden and creating things together.  Once Master J arrived - toys started to break and were steadily removed from the home.  At this same time though we noticed Master S's autistic tendencies and how little he actually played with these 'toys'.

Little have been replaced in the plastic realm.  We concentrated more on toys that are handmade from wood or felt.  Not all of the bits the kids play with are like this - they are huge fans of Lego.  We try to spend time creating - painting and drawing.

Why am I blogging about this you may be wondering.  Well - I took these pictures of the children last night playing in the garden.  Miss G looking for birds in the trees.  Master S had sharpened his own stick spear.  Master J had left me a collection of rocks on the front porch. 


There was an amazing calm last night at our house and there always is when the children are investigating through nature.

I went against the grain of what I have done for so long.  I let them play until it was dark.  It was a school night.  Usually they would be washed up and in bed by about 7:30.  I questioned myself today how many times I have parented in a certain way because a parenting magazine; the neighbours; teachers or friends have all made suggestions.  Often these bits of advice are great.  But I was thinking how often do we stop to actually parent intuitively and naturally?  I regret I am only gaining this wisdom now - however feel very blessed to be receiving it!

Today we went to Ikea.  It was chaos, distressful and exhausting for Master J and his friend Master E. I took a moment to pause and snap these pictures of our surroundings.  For our family who is living in quiet outer Melbourne town - the noise and sensory input was huge.

Noise coming from all directions; lights and unpredictability.  Look at Master J's face.  It explains it all.

Inside Ikea - it was all just too much.  Lots of people and lights - so much sensory input for one who cannot process it neuro-typically.  When I talk with Master S and Master J about our weekends and what they would like to do.....  It is to stay home.

I really thank God for the wisdom he gives us.  Parenting may come much easier on that 12 acres!  So I wish I had known 12 years ago what I know now.  I am thankful for our journey and our wondrous discoveries as a family. xo


  1. Dear Rach,
    I so love ready your blog. I feel very much like we are in similar places right now, maybe i am just a fraction behind you. I too feel as though i am learning new things about the way i parent and the way others parent. It is hard sometimes though as all of my friends follow the typical norm that seems to be out there. I found myself getting aggitated the other night at a conversation that was going on between an adult and a child (not even my child). It involved a discussion about what the child wanted for Christmas (in very specific detail), had they been good for the year, and did they think that Santa would give them what they wanted. What annoyed me about this conversation was the assumption that this child of 3 had been told about the infamous Santa and the assumption that the child had also been told they had to be "good" or santa wouldn't come. I choose not to highlight 'Santa' at this time of year. I think it places undue pressure on the children to perform (be good) and it places pressure on the parents to provide exactly what their kids want.
    I have never highlighted the Santa aspect of Christmas but it is only this year and with this conversation that i have really understood why as i am learning and seeking more knowledge and delving deeper into the core of who i really am and what i want for my kids. The advice that i am given, is all very well intentioned, but it just doesn't feel right for me. I often feel terribly guilty for what i didn't know or let myself seek out with Tyson and i see how it has made him into the person that he is. But i tell myself that it is not too late, that i can teach Tyson and my other two about the things that really matter (and that's not the t.v.), that i can find the real Tyson underneath all those t.v. shows, video games and computer games. Slowly but surely and with massive amounts of effort he is getting outside more, laughing with his brother and sister more and exploring the real world.
    We are getting the kids a cubby house this year for Christmas. I have had some strange looks from people as they believe that Tyson is too old for a cubby house, maybe he is, but i am just trying to reclaim his innocence. He has grown up too fast with all the 'gifts' he has received over the years. All plastic that mostly sit untouched in his bedroom. I am slowly trying to weed out the ones with no value and introduce different options. I want to explore and expand his creativity, his imagination and his sense of fun. Phoenix and Ashlee have had more of this side of me from the very beginning, which i am so grateful for. For me, my change is here and i am going to embrace it.
    Thankyou for this blog Rach. It lets me know often that i am not the only person in the world who feels it or sees it 'that way'. It is a true blessing to be able to read your thoughts.
    Talia xx

  2. Ditto Talia, thankyou for blessing me with your flow of comments - they mean so much xox

    I often sometimes feel I have missed the boat - so the night they were all embracing natural things, I felt encouraged that I have done an okay job! xo

  3. I can relate to the thoughts about parenting according to other people. I found I did that a lot but also did a lot of listening to my own way. I think one of the best things we did for our children was to have not TV for a number of years. The imagination and play that comes from those times is tremendous. Also the character building and thought is great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. By the way there is no perfect way of parenting and a lot of us learn as we go along and wish we had known better with the first one. Cherrie

  4. You my new Sweet mumma Friend..you have not missed the boat..i once found Steiner for my last 2 baby boys and i new id found my people..well some of my people...i love wooden toys and still have all of my boys Noah's arks....our jeremaih was so into it..but one day he asked his Steiner kinda teacher, why wasnt he able to use the green paint for his painting of grass..thats when i thought mmm, i need both worlds..i think it all starts at home...and your doing a fantastic job of being a mumma...



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