Letter from Cynthia ~ Summer 2017

All existence is spirit

Just as ice is water, all matter is also spirit.

Mineral, vegetable, animal or human –

All are a condensed form of spirit.

–Rudolf Steiner



Dear Friends,

What a beautiful summer newsletter theme [“Finding Fairyland: Introducing Earth, Wind, Fire and Water into Outdoor Play]. Thank you to our new editor, Michaeleen Hinca, for gathering this inspiring content.  Amy set the tone for an engaging, quality newsletter, and we are grateful that Michaeleen has stepped in seamlessly.  Rahima continues to be a wonderful support.

Summer is a perfect season to honor those who support all that happens in nature – not just the beauty but also the bounty! Rudolf Steiner wrote with intensity about nature spirits, hopefully compelling us toward interest in and understanding our partnership.  Reading Mary O’Connell’s article, offering a picture of how the four elements are related to nature as well as to our own physicality, we experience another layer of why we want to encourage children’s deep relationship to nature.  As she writes, “The elements of earth, water, air and fire were identified by the ancient Greeks as the forces that govern all of life. Direct experiences with these elements can help children be more aware of and present in their bodies.”

Please read my P.S. below describing the Fairyland Festival we had in June with the Arizona LifeWays training. Not long after being enriched by my week with the students, our family headed to Michigan for our annual summer vacation.  That’s our crew at the top of this letter!  The photo at left is our littlest one heading into the woods with a catch-me-if-you-can smile on his face.  We are blessed that both of our sons and their families love being immersed in nature, making me one very appreciative Gramma!

With our Continuation Program we are taking the next step for LifeWays graduates wanting to learn more about teaching in an early childhood program in a school. Rena Osmer and I are meeting regularly and having so much fun!  We are also gathering a gifted group of guest teachers.  At last we can offer you a sneak peek at the noble and joyous content.  Tell us what you think.  And ENROLL NOW, particularly if you would like to spread out your payments over a nice long stretch of time!  Even though we do not launch this program until next summer, people are starting to enroll.  If you want to learn more, don’t hesitate to call me at 405-245-8033.

Our Early Childhood Certificate training, which comprises the first half of the training upon which the Continuation Program is built, continues to introduce seekers across North America to the beauty of The Living Arts as a foundation of learning for the young child. Immersed in the anthroposophical view of human development and supported by movement, music, arts and crafts that strengthen our bodies, souls and spirits, it can be a wonderful stand-alone training for caregivers in centers and homes, parents, assistants, nannies and more.  It is extra exciting that now it also opens the door to enrolling in the Continuation Program.

We continue to attract amazing individuals and colleague groups in our online courses, such as “The Living Arts: Cornerstones of Care,” which starts again September 6th for four weeks. We provide a group discount, and it is warming to think of colleagues gathering to continue their dialogue in person.  Please spread the word.

Congratulations to Faith on her new book! We’re so looking forward to seeing it and making it available! I am also very happy for the families who are blessed to be in her Parent-Child Program.  Having watched her with children and families over the years, I can hear her lilting voice and see the twinkle in her eye as she playfully invites them to join the merriment we call life!  We also extend heartfelt thanks to Naturally You Can Sing for gifting our recent graduates with a copy of one of the I Still Have Joy CDs.  You can see how to order their newest book and CD, Pentatonic Delight, below!

Okay, Friends, get a cool summer drink and find your favorite chair to curl up and read the engaging articles written by our friends and colleagues. May they inspire you!

Blessings of the summer,

Cynthia [Cynthia Aldinger is founder and Director of LifeWays North America]

P.S. In our current Arizona LifeWays training, at the beautiful public Waldorf School Desert Marigold in Phoenix, we decided to dedicate our summer festival to the elemental spirits.  Wanting it to be a child-oriented festival without falling prey to cutesifying elemental beings, we wove a movement journey that took us to Fairyland.  We had to have the festival early in the morning to avoid the predicted 110 degrees for the day.  Dancing our way to a shaded area where we found lovely crystals and larger boulders, we imagined earth spirits marching along singing about hammering the hard, stony rocks.  The dance then took us on a journey with the whispering little winds and the thundering big winds in honor of the air spirits, soon arriving at a fire pit where the flames grew higher as we sang “Burn, fire, burn; flicker, flicker, flicker, flame.”  Our gas log, with the orchestrated help of another student, beautifully accommodated the imagination we were creating.  Finally, we were refreshingly spritzed by two students who then led us through a hanging sprinkler while we sang “rain is dropping.”  We sat for a few minutes while the adults heard a bit about Saint John’s message to us to change our hearts and minds toward the higher calling, “Love one another.”  After a lovely fruit and popcorn snack, we heard a delightful puppet play and ended by serenading our guests with the enchanting song, “The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water, Return” starting with one voice, building to a soft crescendo and returning to the single voice.  It still reverberates in my mind!