Warm Winter Greetings from Cynthia
Cynthia and Grandchildren

Dear Friend,

I am so grateful for our theme of Living and Embracing Joy! Be inspired by the wonderful articles. Some are like joy tutorials and others are heart-lifting stories of finding joy after significant and challenging life changes. Thank you Marguerite, Kerry, Pamela and Michaeleen. Your stories always move me.

We also are privileged to share an article by John Bloom who is the current General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society. Being acquaintances with John over many years, my experience is that he is brilliant in his leadership and research skills and also one who warmly brings levity and humor to his work – an inspiring example of how joy keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.

Claiming joy, digging for it if we must, and finding it sometimes in the most surprising places, is life affirming, truly holy fire. If you are like me, you realize that joy often arises out of quiet, simple moments. When you recognize them, place them deep into your heart’s consciousness. Truly you can draw them out and feel the joy again. Another somewhat unexpected way that Michael and I have found as a pathway to joy is...

E rica Flanigan, a graduate of the LifeWays Training in Portland,
shares a joyful moment with children.
In the videos below you'll meet Estelle Bryer, a long-time kindergarten teacher, who now brings JOY to elders .   
I Know What JOY Feels Like!
by Marguerite Aichele-Smith
Joy is the essence of early childhood, and I have the great fortune of swimming in it three full days a week with nine three- to five-year olds and 70+ grandmas and grandpas in an assisted living facility.
As I was thinking about this topic, I realized that I know what joy feels like but defining it with words is not so easy for me. I looked up the definition online…”a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” That is an adequate definition, but joy can be so much more than that. Here are some synonyms: delight, treat, thrill, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture, and joie de vivre. They say the native peoples of the North have many words for snow (which is simplistic and not fully accurate), but maybe we caregivers need many many words for joy. Joy/happiness is different from joy/thrill or joy/rapture! And, what about joy experienced alone versus ...?

Sharing Your Joy with Your Children
by Kerry Ingram
Years ago in my LifeWays training, Cynthia Aldinger asked our class, “What brings you joy, and are you making time for those things?” The question feels simple enough at first glance, but as so many parents and caregivers have experienced, sometimes  those joy-filled activities are at the bottom of the to-do list. I’ll be honest, there have been times in our family that have felt like a joy drought. That feeling of depletion always sets off my alarm that it’s time to tap into what brings me joy and to share that with ...

The Joy of Home Nurturing, and the Nurturing Joy in One’s “Inner Home” by Pamela Perkins
Whenever I think about my five granddaughters, all born between Michaelmas and Easter, I smile with deep contentment and fulfillment. Who would have thought that I would have the priceless opportunity to relive the wonders of birth and babyhood, to share in those daily, seemingly moment-to-moment miraculous transformations as four of them have evolved into healthy young girls, now emerging into adolescence? To my delight, on a frosty February morning last year, I attended the birth of a fifth baby girl. The quiet wonder and awe unfold once again; it is both an outer and an inner journey into ...

Joy in a Life Foreclosed
by Michaeleen Hinca
Our family, our farm, our lifestyle seemed to be right out of a Little House novel. Our lovely wood home, on the edge of the creek, gave us so much more than shelter. The sprawling landscape provided endless days of tree-climbing, frog-finding fun for the children in the summer and rolling hills to sled down in the long Wisconsin winters. 

Inside on any given day there would be bread baking in the oven and school lessons being worked out on the kitchen table. The collie-mix dog dutifully protected the flocks of ducks and chickens as well as ...

Thoughts on Joy
by John Bloom, Vice President, Organizational Culture at RSF Social Finance
A short walk from where I work there is a bridge from which I can witness a miracle of nature—the tidal flow between fresh spring water and salty ocean water. The direction of the movement is quite clear at rising tide. But there is a transitional moment at the turn of tide in which the laminar flow turns chaotic, an indication of directional change. As an observer, it is an opportune, powerful, and absorbing process that is both specific to place and time, and yet has all the feel of something deeper and archetypal. I can see and participate in...

Life Flows On at Spindlewood
After 30 years as a Waldorf Kindergarten in Lincolnville, Maine, I listed my Kinder Cottage with Airbnb last year! Jack and I are continually surprised by JOY as families and couples find us and are delighted to step into the enchanted world of early childhood. We have hosted families from all over the world, and have been so enriched by meeting them. Parents and children settle into imaginative play, simple living, and visits to the sheep and chickens in the barnyard.

My LifeWays training brought me an increased awareness of the vitality created by cleaning and caring for a space. It’s a joy to keep the cottage ready as a sanctuary for world-weary travelers.
We would love to meet you and host you for a LifeWays Retreat!

Susan Silverio has been a LifeWays training director and lead teacher since 2006.
Honeycomb Kids, Richmond, VT

by Ellen Kraft

When I live with the attitude of gratitude, joy is more easily accessed. Honeycomb Kids is moving into its 10 th year, and just became a LifeWays representative program! The fun thing about Honeycomb Kids is that every year it has a slightly different flavor and vibe, but the foundational underpinnings are always the same- give children and their families a safe place to grow and explore, and be surrounded by adults who are joyful! Children thrive in this home-like setting when they feel comfortable, not rushed to grow up, and feel inspired by the smiling adults and peers around them.

Meet Ellen Kraft and Honeycomb Kids
above in the interview and below in pictures!
LifeWays North America warmly welcomes Ellen Kraft and Honeycomb Kids as a new Representative Site!
Open new opportunities - both professionally and personally - in the fields of early childhood, parent education and after-school care. Or enrich your life as a parent!

Our one-year , part-time curriculum includes over 200 onsite hours , with independent study and personal mentoring between sessions. It can prepare you to open or transform your own in-home program , classroom or early childhood center.  Many parents also enroll to deepen family life.    

Join us in WI in April, or OK in August
There is STILL TIME to save with early registration.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

April 20-27, 2018 (April 20th is evening only)
August 4-10, 2018
September 29 – October 5, 2018
February 2-9, 2019

Contact: Dorothy Kulke, Student Services Director, 414-334-1407
Norman, Oklahoma

August 3 -11, 2018 (August 3 is evening only)
October 11 -14, 2018
March 16 – 23, 2019
June 1 – 8, 2019

Contact: Shanah Ahmadi, Student Services Director, 405-412-3583
Discipline with Loving Awareness
Our first online course on discipline with Cynthia Aldinger!

May 2 – June 2, 2018

Registration includes the audio download of Cynthia’s lecture, “The L.O.V.E Approach to Discipline.”

15 CEUs

The Living Arts

Cornerstones of Care for the Young Child (birth – six) and for Yourself
with Cynthia Aldinger and Mary O’Connell

May 30- June 30, 2018

includes The Living Arts Journal for your exploration of the concepts

15 CEUs

Creating Your Family Culture
An Elemental Approach

New LifeWays Online Course by Mary O’Connell for parents of children from birth to 21.

The course uses the four elements of earth, water, air and fire as a starting point from which to create your own positive family culture based on your values.
Ongoing -  ENROLL any time !


Creating Home Away from Home : A Course for Home Childcare Providers

This on-demand, at-your-own-pace, online course will help you open your own early childhood program at home providing relationship-based care steeped in LifeWays Principles.

25 CEUs

Ongoing - ENROLL anytime !

$99 for the online course, OR
$199 for the online course AND three (3) hours of private consulting (phone or video conference) with Mary O’Connell to assist you with your unique childcare business needs.
Developing Therapeutic Deepening in our Work with Young Children-Cultivating Heart Wisdom in the Teacher
Coming to Kimberton, PA:

An amazing four-day course for early childhood teachers with Laurie Clark!

June 26-29, 2018
8:30 – 4:30

Kimberton Waldorf School, Kimberton, PA

To Enkindle the Soul of Another- A format for Child Observation and Contemplation
To enkindle warm interest for a child creates enthusiasm for their very existence. We will explore a format designed for Early Childhood teachers that deepens and enhances our capacities to understand the contemporary children in our care. We will gain a widened perspective of the child through reflecting on their movements, behaviors and their revealing drawings as well as other aspects that guide us to a healing response.

Adventures in Circle time as Therapeutic Modality
Circle time with young children provides the teacher with a great opportunity for intervention using therapeutic measures. We will practice circle adventures and discuss the various aspects of hygienic possibilities as well as explore the observations of movements we see the children do in our care.

COST : $495 includes snacks, lunches and all supplies.

REGISTER HERE and pay online, or contact Michael Aldinger to arrange a payment plan.
Coming to Westport, Connecticut:

The Living Arts Workshop

with LifeWays President and
Training Director,
Mary O'Connell

A hands-on, spirit-lifting workshop on The Living Arts: social, creative, domestic & nurturing

Friday, April 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. “Gathering the Good with the
Living Arts”
Saturday, April 14,
9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. “Living Arts Workshop”

Contact: Vicky Sloat, 203-232-5450

Cost: Friday evening only: $10
Friday and Saturday: $75 includes lunch and snacks(bring a friend and SAVE!)

lifeways students tellling tales with puppets
Coming to Boulder, Colorado:

Puppetry, Storytelling and Language Development

with director of the LifeWays Early Childhood Training in Boulder, CO; Suzanne Down

Enchant your child-or the children in your care-by learning to make needle-felted puppets and ways to bring simple lap or table puppetry to the young child.

May 5, 9 am - 6 pm
May 6, 9 - 12:30 pm

Contact: Kerry Francis,
Cost: $ 225 includes supplies, snacks and lunches;
($ 60 for LifeWays graduates)

***included in tuition for students in the Boulder LifeWays training***
One-Day Conference
with Mary O'Connell in WI
Books on JOY from the LifeWays bookstore:
Create a life that you - and the children in your life - both love!

  • Imagine a life where your toddler(s) or preschooler(s) is happy to do what you ask, and is able to move on, easily, when disappointed.

  • Imagine getting all of your housework done while your child plays, or happily helps alongside you.

  • Imagine truly enjoying your time with your child, and creating a life that feels fulfilling for both of you.

Discovering Joy in Parenting: The First Seven Years
This valuable book for parents can increase your joy and ease with your children. The authors are able to bring an understanding of child development based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner to questions of how to set boundaries and adapt communication skills to meet the unique consciousness of the young child...

The Book of Joy & Journal
(click the picture to go to the Amazon listing)
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten
Observing Young Children
A Tool for Meaningful Assessment
For use with children 0-5 Years
by Mary O'Connell
Observing Young Children is a stunning, full-color book with lots of photos as examples of the archetypal development of the young child.

At last, a research-based tool for meaningful developmental assessment based on the whole child. This tool is specifically tailored for use by early childhood teachers and care providers who embrace and honor the spirit of the developing child, as found in Waldorf education and other child-centered models of care and education.
Observing Young Children is an open-ended assessment tool that you can tailor to your own needs.
Observing Young Children offers a system of meaningful observation, a tool for recording observations, and research-based timelines for 33 areas of child development across five domains (Social/Emotional, Physical, Cognitive, Language and Approach to Learning).
Teachers and caregivers, use this tool to record observations of children in your care, help to determine where children may need extra support, prepare for parent-teacher conferences, or simply to use as a reference. 
Parents, use this tool to follow the timeline of your child's development and provide just the right support for your child's emerging skills.

This assessment tool has been state approved and used by our LifeWays Milwaukee colleagues since 2015!

Watch for the announcement when Observing Young Children becomes available in the LifeWays store .
LifeWays is re-purposing the blog, and we think you are going to LOVE it!
Practical, Nurturing, Creative and Social Arts for Daily Life
is a weekly blog post that will be delivered right to your email inbox, providing you with inspiration, ideas, reflections and thought-provoking information that you can use right away to bring more joy and purpose to your daily life.
Our community members have asked for this and we listened!
The first Living Arts Weekly post will come out Sunday, March 11th. Make sure you are on the list by subscribing today! 

Did we mention it's FREE??
If you sign up to receive Living Arts Weekly by Sunday, March 11th, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Observing Young Children, LifeWays' newest book, as soon as it is hot off the presses! 

(Don't worry if you are already a LifeWays blog subscriber -- your name will be entered into the drawing, too!)
Share some sweet some JOY!

Almond Thumbprints with Chia Jam
submitted by Kerry Ingram of

When I asked my good friend Linda if she could make a grain free, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free goodie for our Mothering Arts circle ...

Transform your life with young children!