Gestures of Care
Northern California And Nevada Regional Conference For Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers
November 12 & 13, 2021
Gestures of Care
Hosted by Diane David and Anna Rainville With Keynote Speakers Anjum Mir, Dagmar Eisele, Sage Nunutsi Otterson and Ken Smith
“Care for the Child in these Times” with Anjum Mir
Experiences in the early years build a child’s foundational perception of the world and bring them into relationship with themselves and with other human beings. The bedrock rhythms and routines that support this critical development have been disrupted by the insecurity of these times and the changes they have necessitated in the way we live. They have deeply impacted the child’s development in predictable ways that we can already observe and in long term outcomes that have yet to reveal themselves. What insight can we take from the healing tools of Waldorf Education and our constantly evolving understanding and observation of the child’s needs, to care for children that are just beginning their lives during this uncertain time?
“Care for the Classroom Environment” with Dagmar Eisele
In our uncertain world, how do we ensoul our classrooms in support of the wellbeing of the child? Our loving care of the classroom environment aims to foster a sense of security, harmonious order and consistency. The young child unconsciously experiences the intentions, artistry and meaningful care that imbue the space, enhancing the powers of imitation and supporting the child’s feeling, “the world is good’.
“Care for the Child in Nature” with Sage Nunutsi Otterson
Caring for the child in nature safely brings about familiarity with the natural elements of water, earth, air and even, upon occasion, fire. A hands-on connection with nature can bring a sense of unity as well as a growing courage and trust in oneself to engage with the world. Four early childhood practices of the Tsalagi (Cherokee) can be found mirrored in Waldorf Early Childhood education and can provide practical inspiration for modeling and introducing caring activities. These practices include formal address of nature ( inclusive of blessing ), the practice of closely tending bodily needs, the practice of giving over something which starts a cycle of reciprocity, and the practice of daily appreciating the beauty of nature.
“Care for the Community” with Ken Smith
The picture of our era that we have from Rudolf Steiner is of an increasingly strong experience of individualism and a corresponding increasing need to deliberately, consciously work to build a healthy social life and be awake to the anti social forces that are everywhere entering into our relationships. The recent increase in our use and dependence on digital technology has highlighted the need for us working in school communities to pay attention to the changing conditions of the human soul life.