Monday, 27 October 2014

How to make a wool twistie

Making wool twisties is the first handwork project for children at our Waldorf school. A wool twistie is a simple and pretty wool rope. It is a great open ended material which can be used as horse reins, fishing line, jewellery or whatever the little ones come up with!


How to make a wool twistie

Select three or four colours of wool to cut into long pieces (around two meters). Hold the strands together and tie one end to a nail like in the photo, to a door, or even in a knot to simply hold under your foot.

Pull the wool taut and start twisting in one direction until the twist is tight. Children and adults can easily let go as they are twisting ~ so hold on!

Once the twist is tight, fold the twisted wool in half to bring the two ends together ~ again don't let go or you will need to start again. Smooth the kinks out of the wool twistie and tie the ends together. Trim off any excess. And voila ~ a wool twistie!

Why is handwork important?

Handwork is taught in Waldorf schools to develop fine motor skills {especially for pre-writing}, gain an appreciation for the handmade, as well as appreciation for beauty and creativity. Children {and adults} can learn much from handwork, including perseverance and self reliance. Using beautiful materials, some patience and creativity it is amazing what we can come up with!

I find handwork centering, an almost meditative activity. And I enjoy seeing the pride my son has in making things for himself, accomplishing these tasks and building his abilities.

Here is more information from the Waldorf Library about the important of handwork in Waldorf schools.

Happy crafting,

Monday, 20 October 2014

I am a stay at home mum

The week I finished work to prepare for my baby's arrival the government budget was handed down. I found out my workplace was being abolished and I was going to lose my job.

I was part of the leadership team at work (think middle management) and so was part of many meetings about how we would deal with this. I can't tell you how many of these meetings there were, but I can tell you that I cried through every single one of them (really professional *cough*).

I just kept thinking - what's going to happen to my maternity leave. We just bought a new house. We have another baby arriving soon. I love my job. What am I going to do!

It took quite awhile to see, let alone accept the silver lining.

That I would be able to stay home with my children for longer by accepting a redundancy. This is a blessing. It just means giving up job security which makes me nervous. We had reached a point where I had found a good balance between work and home life (sure it could tip in either direction from time to time, but overall it was working for us). I was lucky that I was passionate and engaged in my work. I manged two teams and worked part time. And I loved it (I think I was kinda ok at it too).

In accepting this reality though, I am finding myself feeling more and more excited that I will be home with my kids for longer. Although, this is interspersed with anxiety about not having a job. It's funny the ups and downs you can go through. And it made me think back to my very mixed feelings on returning to work after my daughter turned one. It has also made me realise how far I've come professionally, but also on my parenting journey.

So here is to my next adventure - as a stay at home mum!

Warmly, Kelly

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tales & Songs {and a giveaway}

As the children and I work around our home at the moment I hear little voices singing to themselves. And I can't help but join in...

Come gather, come gather, 
there's work to be done
make a bundle, take an armful
together it's fun 

Singing and music can really transform the work of the home. And we are very lucky to have been gifted a copy of Come Gather by Tales & Songs! This lovely album includes a number of sweet joyous songs as well as some wonderful stories.

My favourite is the title song Come Gather, and I think it is my daughter's too *smile*
But I do love how my children respond to the stories! My son in particular loves to hear about Jack Frost and listens closely to Jakob & the Fire. 

You can have a little listen to Come Gather here...

How are songs and stories used in Waldorf?

Music is used in Waldorf education and Waldorf inspired homes to transition through the rhythm of the day. Songs can also bring an element of ritual or focus to an activity. In our home, we like to sing a blessing before meals, seasonal songs after lunch and to bring fun to an activity like tidying up.
Storytelling is also an art form embraced by Waldorf, as it captures and inspires the imagination. Children in Waldorf schools are also encouraged to develop their oral storytelling ability by setting up puppet shows. You can read more about storytelling in Waldorf schools here.

And now I'm excited to give you a chance to win a copy of Come Gather created by Annie Bryant.

Annie is a passionate storyteller, musician & mother. She loves the power of words & melodies to inspire and nourish all hearts - young and old. Annie’s seasonal recordings of handcrafted stories & songs for children combine the power of therapeutic storytelling with joyous melodies to inspire strength, confidence and gratitude for the beauty of our natural world. Annie's second collection of tales & songs ~ Wake Up ~ inspired by Spring will be released soon.

Annie also co-presents a weekly storytelling radio program for adults, works as a copywriter & spends lots of time on the beach and in the rainforests of Northern NSW where she lives with her husband and 2 boys.

You can connect with Annie on the Tales & Songs website and Facebook page.

For your chance to win....
...tell me how you use songs and storytelling in your home

Comments close at 8pm AEST on 20 October 2014
I will choose my favourite answer and announce the winner in this post next week.

Remember to leave a way for me to get in touch! 

And the winner is Anonymous who said...

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'd prefer to have entire conversations in song, with some interpretive dance thrown in for good measure. When we do up my son's seat belt, I always sing "Ah arm in" in the same way that the choir sing "AhAmen" at church! I ask him questions in song and he replies in song! Singing is joy. It's expression and it's freeing. Like they say in Sesame Street, "Don't worry if it's not good enough, for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song,. lalalalala la lalalalala lalalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


Good luck,