What’s alive?

What’s alive? Waldorf Education is sometimes called a “living education.” What does that mean? It might be subtle. Can you tell the difference between a speech read from notes and a true conversation? Or planning what you are going to tell someone ahead of time compared with not knowing until you open your mouth? Which is more alive? Is there a difference between listening to live music and listening to recorded music? Is there a difference between a photo of the outdoors and the actual outdoors? What is the difference? For me, one seems stuck in time while the other is present, responsive and surprising! What else? As teachers, we ask these questions everyday because children are most nourished by what is alive. I see this as a continuum. Letting children grate cork (very fun by-the-way) to make play food, is not as alive as letting them grate a cinnamon stick. And grating a cinnamon stick for morning oatmeal is a degree more alive than doing it for an “activity” and then throwing it all away. Molding pie dough to decorate a pie is more “alive” than molding play doh.

An oral story you tell your child is more alive than a picture book. A song you just made up is more alive than one you already know.

Applesauce from the farmer’s market is more alive than from the grocery store, and even more alive when you make it yourself. A game the children make up is more alive than a board game or a game with adult rules. Does this make sense? The activities I mentioned above aren’t good or bad, they are just more or less alive. Think about the activities and items that surround your children. Is there a shift that could make one of them a degree more alive? 

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

Post navigation
Scroll to Top