Living Arts Weekly: Gathering

August 5, 2018

This is the power of gathering.  It inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful; in a word, more alive.                            -Alice Waters

LifeWays California Coast Early Childhood Training students gather for a meal together

This is a time of year for gathering. In my region of the country, farmers and gardeners are gathering the harvest.  Our students are gathering for LifeWays Early Childhood trainings this week in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.  The dwindling summer days beckon us to gather with friends and family for festivals and potlucks before school and other fall pursuits begin. Hospitality is required of us when we gather people together.  Oftentimes we think of hospitality as quaint, old-fashioned hostessing, but it is so much more than that! True hospitality begins with an open mind, generosity and receptivity to the other. It is an essential spiritual practice.  I have heard that some Tibetan Buddhist monks greet strangers in their temple with the question, “Welcome friend, from what noble spiritual tradition do you come?” What if all of our gatherings were as gracious and non-judgmental as this?

Do you have any gatherings planned this week?  Take a photo and share with us in the comments below!   We would love to hear about your gatherings.

Practical Activity

Gathering the Harvest

What do children learn when life is the curriculum? So much….

Inch by inch from LifeWays North America on Vimeo.

Nurturing Care

A delicious treat for all your gatherings from Mothering Arts

Food allergies and sensitivities got you down? Here’s a grain free, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free recipe for Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Chia Jam that are just as nutritious as they are delicious….and really easy to make. You can find the recipe here, on the Mothering Arts website.

Social Awareness

French novelist Albert Camus said, “Nothing is true that forces me to exclude.” Awhile back, when our biggest concern was a travel ban against people from select countries (remember that?), Jaimmie Stugard, Director of LifeWays Early Childhood Center in Milwaukee, WI wrote a great article about how our own openness, compassion and empathy toward others helps to build up the next generation of welcomers. Young children learn primarily through imitation; cynicism, hostility and criticism are not what we want our children to imitate, are they? I invite you to read Jaimmie’s article “All are Welcome”, and think of the ways in which you will practice gracious gathering with your children this week.

Creative Exploration

Gathering the Children

“I did this with a large group of preschoolers at a library story time …now, granted, they had been coming since the last September, plus I had done some stories in their classroom…so I ‘knew’ the group fairly well. I also have done this many, many times in a home program, as a circle time activity…with lots of movement and laughter. My circle was inspired by a circle time I witnessed on Kauai, and by Nancy Blanning’s infectious love of play and movement.”   – Pamela Perkins

Ocean Circle

Let’s go down to the ocean!

Let’s go down to the shore!

We’ll take BIG steps, BIG steps

As over the rocks we go,

BIG steps, BIG steps

As over the rocks we go.

Tiny steps, tiptoe steps

As over the sand we go.

Tiny steps, teeny steps

As over the sand we go.

I see big waves

And little waves, that dance o’er the ocean blue

Waves that you can jump over!

Waves that you can splash through!

Waves that rise up and form a great water wall,

And waves that swell so gently, they scarcely move at all !

Waves that ROAR !!!

And tiny little waves that tiptoe to the shore.


Pamela Perkins has worked with and for children in various capacities since 1970. A former Waldorf teacher, LifeWays graduate and home provider, she now delights in being with her five granddaughters, plus creating magical needle-felted puppet stories and writing gentle tales to nurture young and old. She lives in the Upper Valley of Vermont, and is working on her new writing project Silver Seedlings – Nurturing Tales for the Young and Young at Heart.

An invitation to gather with LifeWays

To learn more about our New England Training in Connecticut, click here!

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