Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You Are Your Child's First Teacher

I have just finished reading a wonderful book ‘You are your child’s first teacher’ by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. I thought some of you might be interested in hearing a bit about it. It seems to be one of the most commonly recommended ‘introductions’ to Steiner education (or Waldorf education for you in the US!) and I certainly found that it gave me a good insight into the Steiner philosophy, without getting bogged down in theory or dogma.

The book covers so much ground that any review I write of it will simply not do it justice. Instead I thought I would write a few posts that focus on the parts of the book that I personally enjoyed the most.

So to start with - what does she say about babies?

While attachment parenting and Steiner education are not the same thing, there is a strong attachment parenting ’feel’ to this book. The author stresses the importance of a responsive mother, who is in tune with her child and provides nurturing, comfort and security. Baby carrying, co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand are certainly supported by this book, as is a slow, gentle path to establishing daily rhythms for little ones.

In line with the Steiner belief that babies arrive from a spirit-realm, she suggests very gentle birth practices, preserving quiet and calm especially in the first six weeks, keeping your newborn warm and wearing only natural fibres, and placing blue and pink silks over the bassinet to bath baby in soft light.

Rahima Baldwin-Dancy is far from prescriptive though, and encourages mothers to develop their own instincts and the confidence to follow them.

”The key, as I see it, is not to follow any “system” or “expert” to the sacrifice of your child. Try to inform yourself and ask “what does the child need in this situation for his or her best development?” Use your head, listen to your heart and make your best decisions based on what you perceive your child needs and what you are able to provide in each situation”.

I can’t personally think of any better advice for a new mum that that.

First published at http://domesticallyblissed.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/you-are-your-childs-first-teacher/

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