Like many parents, I first became a Waldorf convert when my children were little. The Waldorf approach to early childhood, with its emphasis on play, the natural world and gentle, conscious transitions, just seemed completely right on to me. I was happy to find, then, that there were lots of inspiring options for reading. Here are a few of my favorites.
Like so many parents, You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy was my introduction to Waldorf education. I loved this book so much I think I devoured it in an evening. I was so hungry for reading material that resonated with my approach with my children that I was so grateful when I read YAYCFT (as it’s referred to by people in the know.) As the book contains virtually nothing on formal academic instruction, the title refers to the many ways parents are already educating their children through their actions, their speech, and their care for the child’s environment. If you are the parent of an infant and can only get one book, this is the one to get.
Though I’ve never read Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer myself, I can’t help but recommend it. Published more recently, it came out after my own children (ages 15, 12 and 8 now) had left the cozy realm of early childhood. What I’ve heard about this book, though, is that it is all that YAYCFT is and more as it comes across in a very readable, friendly, practical way. If you’re the parent of a young child and you’re looking to put newly-gained Waldorf ideas into action, this is the book to read as it will give you ideas for celebrating festivals, honoring rhythm, and bringing reverence to each day.
My last recommendation is Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley. The best way to describe this book is to say that it is beautifully sweet. It takes all of the loveliness that one finds in a Waldorf early childhood environment and wraps it up in a beautiful little book. The book gently describes a healthy early childhood rhythm, rituals for birthdays and other festivals, and the importance of play in a child’s life. It does all this with sweet illustrations behind a beautiful cover. This is why if I’m looking for a book to give new parents Beyond the Rainbow Bridge is the book I usually turn to.
What are your favorite early childhood books? Share them in the comments!