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20 Nelson Road
Ithaca, NY, 14850
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607-256-2020

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Karen's Newsletter

Delvin Collier

Please find Miss Karen’s newsletter and download here.

Hello Friends,

I thought I would write a combined newsletter for the Cherry Blossom families and the Parent and Child families today. It was such a lovely week with warm Spring weather! Two birthdays were celebrated in the Cherry Blossom classroom this week, such sweet celebrations with the children. Our Monday parent and child class was so calm and enjoyable as well - parents were busy sewing crowns for the children to wear next Saturday at the May Faire and the little ones played so sweetly together. It was so nice to have Rebecca and Cecilia Lesser join our group! Mina was so excited to see someone smaller than her and Cecelia loved looking at all of the "big" children and holding hands at circle time. What a wonderful beginning to our last 6 week session together!

Often as I drive to school I like to listen to BBC Outlook on the radio - it comes on just as I am leaving the house around 7am and I get to hear many interesting stories about real people around the world. One story this week really touched me and made me think about the work we do in Waldorf Education and as parents of small children. Maybe some of you heard it. It was the story of an Doctor in Sweden who cares for premature babies. One day she was struck by the realization that these tiny beings are often lying alone in cribs and incubators with pretty harsh surroundings - lots of lights, people, machines and noise. She began to wonder how music affected the premature infant's brain. Long story short, she contacted a musician and asked him to write some music for the babies and they would experiment to see which sounds were most effective.

Now, I think we can all understand and realize that of course music could be soothing to infants or any human being, but the interesting thing to me was that she asked him to write music to help the babies wake up, music to interact with when they were awake and active, and music to help them fall asleep. They did that and found some tunes and sounds which were enormously effective - it was very ethereal, slow, and the melodies had only 2 or 3 notes. The sound used was a flute which sounded close to a human voice.

I realized while listening that the wonderful thing this doctor did without maybe realizing it consciously was that she had created a daily rhythm for these babies - some of whom could not be held or touched. By creating that music to coincide with their natural breathing in and out of sleep and wakefulness she was giving them a rhythm to their day, something to help them begin to  regulate their body  and soothe themselves.

It was a picture for me of what we strive to build into the children's lives as they come into this world. By creating healthy rhythms in their day, week, month, year, we are helping them learn to "breathe" into life. The other important aspect of this is the affect it has on the 'life sense' of the child. I had talked previously about the 12 senses that Rudolf Steiner identified for us and perhaps the hardest to grasp is the life sense, but I feel that by creating healthy rhythms into the child's day we can help them strengthen and nourish that sense. It can help to establish a sense of well-being and inner balance - something to hold on to and feel 'well'.

For adults, establishing a rhythm can be a chore. I'm sure you all have experienced this... I'm going to exercise every day...I'm going to meditate 15 minutes when I wake...etc. You know what I mean. Establishing rhythms in the home for the children can also feel difficult at first because you have to continue to do whatever it is you are trying to achieve the same each time so that it builds muscle memory and good habits in the children. A simple thing like putting our boots side by side on the tray every time we take them off when we come inside can take months of reinforcement, but there are so many benefits. For the children it is easy to see that they are carried through the day with ease if they know what is coming next, we are able to keep things a little tidier if we always clean up after play, or before bed, etc. One big benefit that many of us don't recognize off the bat is how helpful it is to us as adults. Creating these rhythms in the day and week and year for the children also gives us some stability in an ever-changing world, and is in itself a form of meditation.

I will be the first to admit that I am not always good at it. I get tired and don't feel like doing it exactly as I should. There is certainly lee-way, we are not robots, but I do notice how good I feel when I can use the rhythms I am trying to establish for the children to help carry me through the day, week, and year by doing them consciously as well. None of us is perfect , and in striving to hold our children by creating a space and rhythm around them that is healthy and nourishing to their souls, we are in turn creating healthy rhythms in ourselves and I believe it reaches out to others and the world.

Blessing to you all for the wonderful parents you are and I will see you next week. Have a lovely weekend!

Love,

Miss Karen