September 11, 2022
At the foundation of LifeWays care stands the four Living Arts: Domestic Activity, Creative Exploration, Social Ability and- my favorite- Nurturing Care. Integrated within a solid rhythm, Nurturing Care feels like the flow of the heart, bringing warmth of soul to the whole day. One has to leave plenty of space and time for it; it can’t thrive within a rushed or busy schedule. Embracing the practice of Nurturing Care requires that we take our time, and in turn, gives us the gift of being present. That’s right, I said gives us the gift.
When I do the work of slowing down I don’t have to consciously say, “Okay, now, let’s be present….. stay present… Stay present and focus on this moment, right here, with this child washing their face….” Nope. If I’ve done the work of slowing down my pace of work, my body, my mind, presence simply steps in. It’s a nourishing experience because I’ve put aside my thoughts and work towards anything else and left open that space to connect with the (little) person before me.
In the Three-Fold nature of humans, Rudolf Steiner taught that along with a body, each of us has a Soul and a Spirit. The Spirit was also referred to as the “I” or the Ego. It is pure and eternal. Some might say it is our divine self or divine light. In this space of connection given through nurturing care, it’s just my Ego-presence seeing their ego-presence. So much nourishment comes pouring out and washing over both of us when I put my tenderness and attention into the little ones in class and at home. I have come to cherish those opportunities to say, “I see you! I see you with such Love” in my actions of care that I don’t struggle with making a spacious rhythm as I did in my earlier years of caring for and teaching children.
There are many nourishing rituals that can be woven into a day’s or week’s rhythms, and with practice it becomes easier to see how they can be folded in. Nurturing Care with Transitions is an article from our archives that creates a picture of such a rhythm. Below, you will find few songs and games that can be used in practice, too.
Singing songs to accompany daily tasks, like handwashing, is a simple way imbue them with love.
After washing up grubby faces and feet of children in my care, I like to give a little compression massage and sing this song:
And this is a classic game for quiet moments, or when a child in arms needs help calming down. Games like this and the compression massages are wonderful support for a child’s developing sense of Touch. Also considered the sense of boundary, a strong “Sense of Touch” strengthens the “Sense of the I of the Other” that allows us to make deep connections during moments like these.
When learning new songs or games is too much, making up your own is equally- even more!- nourishing. What’s important in creating moments of nurturing care is the space we hold, not the songs we sing or the games we play. After one long and tiring morning, as the children in my care began to amp up their energy instead of wind down for nap, a single line of a song suddenly arose from me. I needed an image of calm so that I could be the calm in that moment, to anchor the children and usher them into their much needed sleep. The image that came to me was the single-line song, and I sang it, repeating the line, and then repeating the song over and over again.
There’ s a bridge over the river and I stand upon it to watch the water flow by me….
As I slowed down, and tucked the children into my calm movements, they were lulled into a quiet resignation. Funny thing is that it became a nap time favorite.
Warm wishes for your efforts to find more moments to connect with nurturing care,