My daughter the knitting machine!

I’m sure it’s a waldorf thing, but I’m just so thrilled to see my 9yo daughter A- be so enthusiastic – and skilled – in her knitting and crocheting efforts. She’s made herself a beret, lots of doll clothes, and is now learning how to do granny squares. It’s part of her lessons at school but it’s clearly not just homework: she just loves doing it.
And then there’s her cello. She’s been playing for just a few months now and has again found something that resonates with her interests and loves. I sat in on her lesson this afternoon and it was such a pleasure to hear her play various songs, her mouth pursed in concentration, and see her determination to do better when she missed a note or had her bow drag lazily on more than the needed string (what she calls “sneakers”, extra notes that sneak into the song).

I enjoy movies and much more cerebral things, so it’s nice to see her experiencing the world so much through her hands, her sense of kinethetics, her physical self.
The average child her age in the United States watches over four hours of TV every day and I know of nine year old and ten year old kids who are blogging, photoblogging or otherwise sticking solidly in their heads. If we were to factor in Nintendo DS units, Sony Playstations and the rest of the video and computer game world, it’s a tough time for children to to have a childhood at all, let alone one that involves their physical being rather than just their heads.
Indeed, the very basis of waldorf education is that it’s simultaneously engaging the child through their heart, hands and head, and through my daughter I can very clearly see that playing out: she’s compassionate, gentle, extraordinarily kind to animals, quite an accomplished young artist and craftsperson, and, yes, she also loves reading.
I really think that children need to have crafts or other manual hobbies, projects that take days, or even weeks to complete. It’s good preparation for adult life too, when we can’t always accomplish all we want in a few hours or with a few judicious swipes of our credit cards.
Be that as it may, it’s days like today that really reaffirm that for our family, waldorf education is exactly where we belong.

7 comments on “My daughter the knitting machine!

  1. The kids and I made volcanos out of vinegar and bakingsoda the other day. Talk about a hands on activity. They were so excited as the reaction heated up. It was much better than vegging infront of Dragon Tales or some other mindnumbing activity.
    My eldest went to the Waldorf for 2 years. She is 6 now and we transitioned to public school, but the philosophy is fantastic.
    We are having fun watching the Olympics as a family. It is fun to interact during a broadcast instead of letting the drool pool up on the couch:)

  2. Waldorf was wonderful for our two older sons. They are 15 and 17 now and attending public high school, as the Waldorf school here only goes through grade 8.
    While we do have television back in the house, they watch very little, and are both very active in music and other “real world” activities.
    We hope that Waldorf will be a good fit for our newly adopted 3 year old son when he’s ready for school.

  3. I agree crafts and music are essential in an education. But watching movies??? I don’t think that can be called cerebral. I’d bet your daughter’s mind is much more engaged while she is practicing her cello than yours is passively watching movies. Not only that, but she will gain such a sense of accomplishment from her music. Bravo to you for encouraging her in such endeavors.

  4. I’ve heard wonderful things about Waldorf – my cousin’s kids go there in Berkeley and they love it. Knitting is a really cool new thing that’s being introduced at many private schools here in Denver. Very cool!

  5. I think giving a child the opportunity to develop his or her own liking to any sports, hobbies or crafts is a true gift. None should excell in everything – rather we should focus on each child’s strength. For those so inclined, knitting is a terrific exercise… it’s therapeutic and calming. It’s also gratifying as you can quickly see the results of your labor. And it’s easily transformed into a charitable thing (knitting for the poor, etc).

  6. I’m a former Waldorf educated child. It is the best education there is because it comes from the heart and from inside of a human being. Rudolf Steiner was way ahead with his philosophy on child rearing.

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