Monday, December 28, 2015

In January at Acorn Hill:

Announcing a New 6 week Parent Infant II class!

6 weeks $148.00 Fridays 1:30-3:00 Jan 8, 15, 22, 29,  Feb 12, 19 

(No class Feb. 5)

This is an added class in response to many requests! 6 Friday afternoons of mindful observation and conversation in an environment supportive of babies free movement, play, and natural abilities.  Parents can be with their babies in a relaxing, natural setting that nurtures their parenting intuition.  Classes are based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner, Emmi Pikler, and current research on child development. To register, call Acorn Hill, 301 565 2282 or send in this registration from


New Parent Infant II class

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Holiday Gifts

"Black Friday", "Cyber Monday." More stuff is about to invade!!!

Parents in my classes are expressing concerns about how to handle the holidays--all the gifts that come from well meaning family members. They also are wondering how to have a more simple, meaningful observance of the time of year that is about light in the darkness. Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice. So below are just a few suggestions and quotes....

  • "Speak to our major bearers of clutter (I mean gifts), extended family and especially Grandparents about your wish for simplicity. Thank them for raising you in such a way that led you to make conscious parenting choices, that they gave you the strength to not be manipulated by marketers and the morals to not confuse love and care with “stuff”. Framing a conversation about your parenting values first takes the potential sting out of a request to keep the gifts simple".--Kim John Payne  Simplicity Parenting

  • A good guideline, especially for babies is "Passive object, active baby" and to avoid the "active object, passive baby"
  • ask your family to give 'experiences' , take your toddler for a walk in the woods, a walk through the Zoo, or help pay for one of the parent toddler classes....
  • ask for only homemade/handmade gifts instead of participating in the commercial frenzy that happens at the holidays
  • have a 'recycling' family gift exchange-- give and receive something that you or family members own and have enjoyed.
When looking ahead at the celebrations, spend some time now each day--maybe just a few minutes, contemplating what the holiday means to you --what is the essential, deeper meaning that nurtures you --gives you renewal?  Then spend some time in reverie--how to bring that in a simple way to your family? 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Winter Classes at Acorn Hill Registering Now

Parent Infant and Parent Toddler classes blending Waldorf and Pikler/RIE approaches to the birth to three years. "Come experience the Joy"!

Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery--Silver Spring, MD starts Dec. 3

Parent Infant: 11:30-12:45 8 weeks $195

--Thursdays non-mobile babies 6 weeks to creeping (Parent Infant I)

--Fridays mobile babies crawling to 15 months  (Parent Infant II)

registration and information:
acorn hill

 Parent Toddler:  Thursday or Friday morning


10 weeks $530 15 months-2 years with parent

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Announcing Fall Classes starting in September

Fall 2015 Parent Infant guidance and Parent Toddler classes 

Starting in September--enroll now these classes have been filling quickly

Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery--Silver Spring, MD starts Sept. 9

For registration: acorn hill 

 Parent Toddler: 9-11 Thursday or Friday morning  10 weeks $530 15months-2years with parent
Parent Infant: 11:30-12:45 8 weeks $195
--Thursdays non-mobile babies 6 weeks to creeping (Parent Infant I)
--Fridays mobile babies crawling to 15 months  (Parent Infant II)
registration and information:
acorn hill

Washington Waldorf School--Bethesda, MD Starts Sept. 23

For registration: Washington Waldorf

Star Garden Parent Toddler 10 weeks $450
 10 months to 2 years with parent
Tuesday 9:45-11:30
Wednesday 8:45-10:30

Moon Garden Parent Infant 6 weeks $200 (you can sign up and pay for 2 6 week sections)
6 weeks to 9 months with parent

registration and information:
washinton waldorf

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The world is good

“The World is Good” and how Nature can help us.

What I know as a Waldorf early childhood educator is that in the first 7 years, a child needs to have a foundational 'knowing' that the world is good. When something bad happens, we focus on the helpers—like fire fighters in a fire, for example. Since we know young children learn through imitation—a deep imitation, it is on us to somehow get to that inner sense ourselves that “the world is good” .
It is not always easy! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by what is going on in the news.” The world? Not so good,” I think.
When I feel that overwhelm, I have to remember that I work with young babies and toddlers who are just coming into this world. They are just discovering things like stones, trees, bark, mud, flowers, worms, honey bees, butterflies. What a wondrous, magical place this world is!
I tell the parents I work with that if their child is out of sorts and really fussy, try going outside. I say “Mother Nature is a good mother”. 
When I step outside and smell the air, feel the breeze, regard the clouds, Its like I slip into a new gear--the rhythm of Nature, of the seasons. Chronological time suspends and a sense of well being arrives. I experience the mothering of Nature.  This is the foundational feeling that the world is good. This is what we can give our children.

Try working a regular 'walk' into your schedule with your toddler. I put quotes on walk because this kind of nature walk is  about what they discover on the way so you may only make it a half a block and back!

Be childlike discover nature with your child. Cultivate a sense of wonder with her. Rediscover that the world is good.

Rachel Carson
"If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

screen free week

Screen Free Week May 4-10--
 Spring Fair at Acorn Hill May 9th!
HI parents,
May 4-10 is Screen Free week, and I invite you to go screen free for the week with me! What that means is limiting screen time to necessary work activities, but no entertainment/social media screens. I have also had parents in my classes devise plans like only checking phone for texts once every (?) hours, having a (paper)pad and pen handy to jot down what they want to 'Google' and setting aside an hour in the evening for that. The goal is to bring awareness to our use of screens--what is healthy for us and our relationships.  
Screen Free Week

As Kim John Payne says:To be clear, I am not anti-screen, but I am passionately pro human relationships and family connections.
pro human, not anti screen

It just so happens that May 9th is Spring Fair at Acorn Hill. A lovely screen free event!
Come join us!
Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten & Nursery

enlightening facts:
There is no research to support the idea that children need to be exposed to technology early in order to be successful in at high tech world. (Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood)

Most adults check there phone 140 times per day!

No screens for at least one hour before bed improves sleep in adults (we already knew this was so for children).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I was recently with a group of toddlers and their parents when a couple toddlers had an exchange that was quite ‘cute’  we all chuckled, and the volume of our combined voices really shocked one toddler, who started crying, and the other toddler switched into ‘performance mode’; she started smiling up at all the adult faces with what looked like her ‘picture’ smile.  None of us meant to be so jarring, but there you are, we were.  It made me remember what one of my teachers from the Pikler Institute said last time I saw her: ‘Never laugh at a child.  It is disrespectful’
So I have been pondering this-along with what I know from Waldorf Early childhood education—that joy actually helps young children grow...
So this is where I am with it at this point—I would love to hear your comments!

Yes, we need to take toddlers seriously as they explore and learn about the world, but we don’t need to surround them with somber seriousness…. I have been thinking recently about the idea in Waldorf early childhood education that young children need to be in an atmosphere of joy.  A buoyant environment where adults are not dragged down by the weight of the world, or the seriousness of life.  Warmth and joy (along with a predictable regular rhythm of the day) are life giving and protective, and make children feel safe and free enough to grow and thrive.  So while it is true that we don’t want our little ones to feel like objects, or to need our approval, (extrinsic motivation) we do want to accompany them in the joy of discovery and the joy of life–we can laugh with them.

I keep trying to convey the pleasure every parent and teacher could feel while observing, appreciating and enjoying what the infant is doing. This attitude would change our educational climate from worry to joy. Can anybody argue about the benefits for a child who is appreciated and enjoyed for what she can do and does naturally? …I believe this issue is so basic, so important, that it cannot be overstated.” – Magda Gerber

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Day!!!! 

above all, plan for your regular, healthy rhythm of snacks, naps, meals, indoor outdoor and bedtime.

Activities within that rhythm:

Bake something (or cook something)
covers two bases—activity and snack!
Simple whole wheat rolls(recipe at the end) that can me kneaded, rolled into balls, snails, snow-people, etc... if you have a young toddler, you may need to do the bulk of this with them helping or playing with spoons and containers near-by. Also, you can cut veggies for a soup-- give your toddler a cutting board and butter knife to help cut soft things.

Make something
craft craft craft. Here are two ideas from Carol Petrash's book Earthways:
  • Try an orange and clove 'pompador' – putting cloves into an orange then hanging it with ribbon—it will dry and smell wonderfully! --you need to make starter wholes for the cloves with a nail, a bamboo kabob stick or something you might discover works well.
  • Make bird feeders-- slather pine cones with peanut or soy nut butter, then roll in birdseed, sunflower seeds … hang on a tree outside.

Clean something
Seriously—you and I may know cleaning is a chore, but they dont yet—lets not spoil it for them! Washing dishes is warm, bubbly, watery, and feeds the senses! Either turn a chair so the back is to the sink so they can stand up with you and help wash, or put a few towels on the kitchen floor with dish tubs and sihes for the to wash while you are at the sink.
Try putting socks on their hands to dust the base molding—or table legs
polish wooden bowls and cutting boards with a beeswax polish, or oil them with mineral oil.

Leave them alone
As long as you're toddler proofed and not too far away, give the some space/time for free play. This usually only works if we adults decide to do some 'real work' (not talking on the phone or working on the computer) like cooking folding laundry, sewing, making something, repairing a broken piece of get the idea.

Go Outside!
Suit them up – and yourself too and go out into the winter wonderland! Hang your bird feeder, take a snow walk (you may not get far as there may be so much to see and do). Make snow angels, if there is enough snow, roll some balls and create something. Shovel /sweep snow off of a sidewalk or your car—give your toddler a tool with which to help. Catch snow flakes on your tongue...... get rosy cheeked and tired, then come back in for warm soup.....

Turn off screens, Slow down, be present, breathe.....

Recipe for whole wheat rolls:

1-2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups warm water
2 cups whole spelt flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. olive oil
4-6 cups combined white and whole spelt (or wheat)
1 teaspoon salt added with this flour.
Mix together the first 3 ingredients and let stand until bubbly. Mix in the 2 cups flour and let that get spongy.

Mix in the oil, honey and remaining flour (with the salt) one cup at a time until the dough is stiff enough to turn onto your work surface. (flour on work surface) Knead in some more flour until it’s not sticky then cut small pieces to shape into balls. put on baking sheet. Cover with a dish towel and let rise. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350. When they have doubled, bake for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Move Baby Move

I recently attended a workshop given by Sharifa Oppenheimer at Acorn Hill . The topic was brain development, and she said over and over how important free movement is for brain development. One particular comment really struck me: “Movement is how we know ourselves”.
Free, self initiated movement is how babies integrate sensory information, it's how they get to know themselves in space, and how they find their own balance. Movement is how they learn. “In the course of her motor development, a baby does not only learn how to turn over onto her belly, to roll over, crawl, sit , stand and walk, she also learns how to learn. She learns to tackle something on her own, to take interest in something, to try something out, to experiment. She learns to overcome difficulties. She experiences the joy and the satisfaction that comes with success, the result of her patience and perseverence.--Emmi Pikler 

Can we “trust the wise infant” enough to allow her to struggle to roll to her side, to her tummy, reverse it, come to her knees, crawl, come to sitting on her own, come to the vertical on her own—as Magda Gerber said-“in her own time, in her own way”?
Rudolf Steiner, founder of waldorf education also advocated free movement:“We should leave every thing to the child. Of the child's own accord she will raise herself in to an upright position when the time comes. “ --Rudolf Steiner
If we can give our baby this gift of free movement (within a secure relationship), she not only builds neural pathways, integrates sensory information and primitive reflexes, she gets to know herself. She gets to have an experience of herself inside her body. She feels a sense of core self, and a sense of self agency.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Warm and Gentle Welcome: A workshop for expecting parents.   March 7th 1-4 at Acorn Hill  link to flyer

Come join me and Kate Miller for a Workshop on March 7th 1-4pm at Acorn Hill
Mamas $45, couples $70.
  1. Learn ways to promote a more peaceful, stress free pregnancy.
  2. Discover how to create a warm and gentle birth experience with your birth team.
  3. Prepare yourself for the tender time of the fourth trimester and honoring the threshold of motherhood.
  4. Receive tools that facilitate bonding and attachment through the activities of routine caregiving.
  5. Understand the natural movement development of infants.
  6. Find out what infant carriers, carseats and strollers are most beneficial for your infant’s intellectual and kinesthetic development.
  7. Discover ways of trusting in yourself and wise infant.
  8. This workshop will include imaginative and practical exercises, videos, lecture and discussion.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Announcing my Spring Classes Waldorf/RIE parent infant and toddler classes in the DC Metro Area:

Learn practical and profound approaches to parenting infants and toddlers. Trust yourself and your child's natural development. Attuning to your baby or toddler through mindful observation and sensitive caregiving will foster a healthy sense of well being and confidence in your child. (and yourself!)Come join us to learn how…

Silver Spring MD
Acorn Hill 

Parent Infant I--infants 6 weeks to creeping and a parent
Thursdays 11:30-12:45

Parent Infant II --infants from crawling to confident walking (approx. 9 mo. to 16 mo.) and parent
Fridays 11:30-1:00

Parent Toddler--Confident walkers (approx 14 months  to 2 years 3 months)and a parent
Either Thursdays or Fridays 9:00 -- 11:00
MARCH 5/6 TO MAY 14/15

Bethesda MD
Washington Waldorf School

Parent Infant (Moon Garden) Infants 6 weeks to crawling 
Tuesdays 11:00-12:15
FEB. 24 TO MARCH 30 (6 WEEKS)session one
April 14-19 session two

Parent Toddler (Star Garden) 10 months to 2 years and parent
Tuesdays or Wednesdays
FEB. 24/25 TO MAY 19/20

Arlington VA
Potomac Crescent Waldorf School 

Parent Infant 6 weeks to creeping
 Wednesdays APRIL 15-MAY 20