In this book readers will find not only a heart-filled rendering of the gentle ways young children have been traditionally raised and educated, but also cutting edge research that supports these practices. With love as the foundation, and through the neural tapestry created by joyful movement, music, art, stories, and play, we feed and bathe the brain of the young child. These deep connections with life are woven together during childhood to become the wholeness we call “I.”
Each chapter offers ideas for bringing this new science and these time-honored ways into the home and classroom. Parents, educators, and everyone who has ever loved and cared for a child will find research, humor, wisdom, and a new paradigm that marries ageless wisdom with the new science of the human brain and heart.
How to Use This Book
Introduction: The Science of Connection
1. Gentle Ways and Hard Science for the Early Years
2. The Love Connection
3. The Nature Connection
4. The Spiritual Connection
Introduction: The Science of Childhood
5. Exploring Self and the World through the Senses
6. Making Sense of Self and the World through Movement
7. Art and Stories: Tools to Imagine the Self
8. Creative Play: The Art and Practice of Becoming Oneself
“Friends, parents, educators, read this inspiring book. Sharifa’s research offers a rare and compelling marriage of the science of facts and figures and the science of the heart.”—Cynthia Aldinger, author, Life Is the Curriculum, and founder of LifeWays North America
“Sharifa’s book is an uncommon meld of the science behind child development and the esoteric. She brings forward valuable current research and applies it directly to ways of being with children in an honoring and deeply loving way that empowers their growth as resilient, coherent and empathetic human beings.”—Carla Hannaford, PhD, biologist, international educational consultant, author of Smart Moves and Playing in the Unified Field
Sharifa Oppenheimer was the founding teacher of the Charlottesville Waldorf School where she taught kindergarten for twenty-one years, and is the founder and director of The Rose Garden, a home based early childhood program in Virginia. She has helped develop new teachers through mentoring and offering practicum and internship opportunities to the teacher-training students at Sunbridge College in New York, as well as students in the LifeWays trainings. Sharifa travels nationally and internationally, offering lectures and workshops to teachers, school and parent groups, encouraging each one to discover their own healthy, heartfelt Family Culture. Sharifa is the mother of three grown sons, who were educated in the Waldorf tradition. She lives with her husband in an enchanted forest in Virginia. Sharifa Oppenheimer is the author of the bestselling book Heaven on Earth A Handbook for Parents of Young Children (SteinerBooks, 2006), which has been translated into Taiwanese and Chinese and is also a bestseller in those countries. She also worked collaboratively to create the book What is a Waldorf Kindergarten (SteinerBooks, 2007).