(originally posted on old BLOG 10/10/08)
As winter approaches the kids (mine and the ones who come for Waldorf Enrichment) have been both more meditative in many ways but also more physically energetic! So we have been outdoors a lot but when we come in their favorite activities seem to be painting and bread-making. There is a meditative comfort in these two activities that seems to go so well with the colder months.
And as the kids become older they are not always guided by the stories and verses but sometimes simply guided by their inspirations and their heart. As the kids grow from the early childhood years into the age of awareness of themselves and others I take some time each week for them to express themselves in watercolor AND in writing without being guided by story, verse or lesson. Children in the middle grades enter a world of intellectual depth and insight. At this stage, when they aspire to problem-solving and knowledge, students are challenged with great philosophical ideas, the precision of mathematics, and the beauty of ensemble music. Some time of individual meditative expression is helpful during this period. Part of the reason I do this is to help them to learn how to take time to meditate through the activities they are doing.
At this stage in life children have often been shuttled into a way of life that can involve too many activities and a lot of intense schooling – a lot of head work. Having them sit down and meditate while they watercolor – either to nature or music – is a way for me to help them balance that “Heart” nature with their head and hands and to help keep that element strong in their lives. This is the age when a lot of schooling starts to take the heart out of things and keep the kids occupied in their head and their hands only.
So this week we decided to take inspiration from nature instead of from stories or verses for our watercolors. The kids collected their favorite leaves and I asked them to reproduce them onto their watercolor papers. I was very clear to them that “re-produce” only meant the mood, the colors, what the leaves evoked in them and that they did not have to draw the leaf itself unless they wanted to.I am always amazed at how insightful and spiritual and artistic the kids can be. The pictures above and to the side are some of what they came up with when working with the leaves…