The Star Child's Needs
Thinking of enrolling in a Waldorf school, but not quite sure what this is all about?
Waldorf education is rooted in Anthroposophy, both founded by Austin scientist Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophy is the study of what it means to be human; something we never stop studying and learning. The belief in Waldorf is that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. The children we serve in a Waldorf-inspired program are "star children" whose soul has come from the spirit world and joined a physical body. Our job, as parents and educators, is to help this spiritual being find grounding in their earth body during the first seven to nine years of life. At Epoch, we serve children ages five to nine years old, the younger ones still very connected to the spirit world, and the older ones are often more firmly in their earth bodies and moving towards a deeper understanding of more abstract concepts.
Whether you identify as religious, spiritual, atheist or agnostic, there's no denying that humans are comprised of physical, emotional and mental (head, heart and hands/body). Children can rarely communicate their needs. Ask the mother you passed at Target why her three year old is laying on the ground screaming uncontrollably what he needs. She's likely to respond, "I don't know. This tantrum came out of nowhere!" We've all been there, right? Children's needs are fairly simple. They need food, water, sleep, and warmth. I can hear you say, "And love", right? Yes, they need love, but love is what prompts us to feed them, shelter them, clothe them, and put them to sleep. Love IS caring for them, but love on it's own is not enough for them to survive.
Maslow broke this down in his hierarchy of needs. The basic needs must be met in order for us to move from our reptilian brain (survive) into the more advanced areas of the brain (thrive). When a child is spending energy trying to survive, they have less energy to learn (or thrive). As Waldorf-inspired educators, we recommend children in this age group get 11-12 hours of sleep a night, children under the age of six should have a quiet/rest time every afternoon, and we alternate periods of inhale/exhale for our older kids through the rhythm we set for the day and the way we organize learning activities.
We also recommend a diet high in nutrition, calories and healthy fats for growing brains. Foods like fish, avocado, nuts, legumes, oats, eggs, olives and oils assist the developing brain in the firing and rewiring of neurons! We prefer children not have sugars, dyes, and processed foods in their snacks and lunches as this almost always causes mass disturbances in their ability to concentrate and learn. A diet of whole foods is best for the growing child.
We also ask our families to dress the students warmly. We're outside often and rarely will a child communicate that they're cold, but they may sit down during a hike, sit still on a stump or report being tired when in reality they're cold and lack the energy to play because they've used so much energy trying to stay warm. Students of Epoch are asked to wear base layers (wool or fleece) under their regular winter clothes, thick warm socks, waterproof boots and gloves, neck covers, thick hats, and always snow proof outer wear. Steiner alluded to there being no such thing as bad weather, only bad weather gear.
When we've taken care of our star children's physical needs, they're able to learn, grow, think, and feel on a deeper level and the natural processes of child development are uninterrupted! This is a teacher's dream...happy, healthy kids with energy to play and learn!
We have several spots available for the 2023-2024 school year and would love to meet you and your child. Email Executive Director, Chelsea Vail at email@example.com to inquire.