Just about everyone who is interested in ways of working with Waldorf with young children knows about Rahima Baldwin's You Are Your Child's First Teacher. But then.... then what? What is another good book to read?
I have a number of favorites - and over time I will share them on this blog (if you have my kindergarten book, I list a number of books in there. You can also look on the Resources page on the Christopherus website). I thought I'd get the ball rolling with Barbara Patterson's Beyond the Rainbow Bridge, published by Michaelmas Press and available through all the usual Waldorf book outlets (again - see our Resources page for help!).
It's actually kind of funny that I am starting with this book because there's a lot about which rubs me wrong - I am just too much of a New Yorker to sit easily with the rather twee (to borrow a wonderful British word) tone of much of this book. Fairy dreamyland is fine for little children - but presumably the book is written for adults to read and much of the "kindergarten tone" carries into the author's work. Nevertheless, once I get past that, I see an awful lot in this book which is of value to those with little ones at home, from babies through about age 7.
There are useful sections on child development and what to expect from children as they pass through early childhood; discipline; the importance of rhythm; and the essential role of play in childhood. There are especially valuable chapters on the twelve senses and how to work with these. This is something that all parents should know about (see elsewhere on this blog where I discuss this).
A feature of the book which many parents have told me they especially like is the question and answer, discussion format in most of the chapters. Barbara ran early childhood classes as well as a nursery for many years and she has included the kind of dialog that she must have repeatedly had with parents over the years.
The last part of the book includes songs, rhymes, sewing projects, verses and circle activities which Barbara used in her group. This is very useful to any parent whether they keep their children at home or send them to kindergarten.