Notes towards an afternoon program

I’m working to write down the types of exchange and resources the Eimaste network is currently able to share in the Aglantzia area. For example, I’d love to make my foraging trips up the hill here a little more regular and set on the same day each week, so that more families/kids can join. Sometimes it’s edible things (collecting and cleaning prickly pears is such an amazing adventure at the moment), and sometimes it’s materials that we can craft with, use to make baskets, practice knots, and so on.
At the same time I’m finding beautifully supportive material around exchange beyond money ❤ Here’s my notes from Marshal Rosenberg’s work on nonviolent communication and money:
“Three things:
  1. Never pay money for anything
  2. Never charge money for anything
  3. Transform the concept of worth
Let’s get it out of our head that “anything is worth a certain amount of money.” Let’s get rid of the word “pay”. Instead “give” money, give it so you can serve life in the way you want to serve it. Never “charge” money for anything you do. “Request” money from people to help you do the work you want to do. Don’t ever say “I’ll only give you what I do if you give me money”. I’ll be glad to give you what I offer and I’d like you to give me some money so that I can keep giving it to others. […] Never do anything for money. Do what meets your needs for meaning, and request the money you need to do that. “
I call on you amazing people, who found yourself in this group, to find ways to share in this way and recover community.
Image of a salad made with Sylvia, who shares like noone else I know, of Othonas’ castle made of gifts and foraged materials, with a nod to Lital and Vinas for their inspiration, and to Christina who keeps reminding me that this really is possible.

From Justyna: on cooperative inquiry (notes for the Summer Camp)

Re: Free-Play Summer Camp for the Unschooling/Alternative Education Community 

I have been reading about co-operative inquiry recently and just thought that it could be an interesting tool for us to use thought the week to form questions, build safety in the suspension of our preconceptions, apply critical and creative awareness to our activities. I see it more as a general framework that can be loosely adopted than a research methodology. What do you think about it? It is just a possibility, an inspiration – a floating leaf that I picked from the river of ideas:) I think that it is a great idea to gather everyone’s intentions, questions, curiosities, issues which they would like to collectively dwell on but which can also inform practice in a tangible way. Knowing that information it may be easier for everyone to consider what they would like to offer in terms of activities. It would also be quite nice to be able to experiment and try things which may not work- but which can inspire us in a safe and engaging environment…

Justyna Ataman  ( j dot ataman at outlook dot com)

I am an artist, facilitator and video maker undertaking creative and educational projects. My motivation steams from the trust in an educational, intercultural and community-building value of creativity, working across disciplines of video, performance and non-formal education. I have graduated with first class Ba(hons) Sculpture and Environmental Art in 2013 at Glasgow School of Art, UK. Following on I have been a founding member of Art Shed Collective, Edinburgh; managing committee member of Market Gallery, Glasgow and a community artist at Glasgow East Arts Company. Working in Cyprus since 20017,  I have supported coordination of projects and produced videos with Dance Gate Lefkosia and co-founded of We Circle Collective hosted in Agora Project where I have been coordinating intercultural events, facilitating workshops and performances. Currently I am studying International Masters in Adult Education for Social Change.

Open Call: Free-Play Summer Camp for Educators and the Unschooling/Alternative Education Community


This is an open invitation to spend time together, find flow, and connect with like-minded/mindful children of all ages, recovering educators and alternative education researchers, unschooling or world-schooling adventurers, and practice-oriented dreamers of beautiful change, along with our families and friends. We wish to make time and open up possibilities for freedom and togetherness, for free-play, roaming, exploring, making green food, and taking care of ourselves, of each other, and of our environment.
Through this, we aim to create new relationships and strengthen our foundations in learning through art, share our experiences and approaches to cooperative, informal, outdoors, and mixed-age learning practices; and to learn from each other about being together in nature and beautiful rhythm.

Where: Our get-together will take place at the Chirokitia Intentional Community Eco-village, a place that can holistically accommodate our varying interests and needs. We wish to explore and celebrate the potential of the Chirokitia Eco-village as a site for cooperative learning and unschooling initiatives, and as an inspiring place for setting our intentions.

For more information on the Chirokitia initiative take a look at its website & facebook group.
For more information on the eimaste parents cooperative see, and facebook group.

When: Between Monday 21st – Sunday 27th of June

Preliminary Plan
Monday the 21st – Friday the 25th: Join us anytime for a loose daily rhythm, camping, on- and off-site visits, experiencing the place, and exploratory circles and spontaneous co-learning activities. We will be share spontaneously or on-demand:
parents circles
nearby excursions and hiking trails for all ages,
touch and massage for all ages (Justina),

Bring along:
Camping equipment if you wish to stay for one or more nights
Food and water (cooking facilities are provided)
Call Melissa at 99418073 for more information.

Donations will go towards building the eco-village’s water-system.

26th Saturday and Sunday 27th: During the weekend, our time together will culminate into a celebration during the weekend, and our rhythm will expand to include more people and families.

To participate or make enquiries
Contact Chrystalleni Loizidou on 99586369, or Justyna Ataman on 96229369, and consider contributing a few words about your intentions in writing.

“It takes a village”: Weekly Parents Circle and Waldorf Pedagogy for the Early Years with Erika Wieser

Online, Tuesdays 9pm – contact 99586369 for details

This is an ongoing series of consultations focusing on the Applied aspects of Waldorf-Steiner Early Years Education and unlearning-related wisdom, addressed to educators as well as interested parents. 

Current assignments

  • Collect individual articulations and put together a shared vision in keywords: Capture collective intention: what we wish for the child: which wishes do we have for the body: for the soul: for the spirit 
  • Parents Circle on Nonviolent Communication  and Ethos for parental cooperation

Themes covered

March 30, 9pm -The Twelve Senses: We have twelve senses and these senses are our doors to this world. How do we nourish these senses so that the child can have good roots in this reality?

  • Rhythm and transitions
  • Role models
  • Pedagogic material and activities
  • Family-specific questions and solutions
  • How to connect and meet age-specific challenges
  • Questions about each child’s developmental journey

Erika Wieser biography

I am a Kindergarten Teacher since 1978. Two years working in the Linz Tobacco Factory Kindergarten in Upper Austria showed me that I didn’t know anything about “difficult children” and that I had to continue my education. I went to Vienna for the next two years to complete the school for children with disabilities and then worked for the next 3 years in Christoph Lesigang’s outpatient department for children with multiple disabilities. Professor Lesigang was an excellent anthroposophic doctor for children and I was lucky to learn a lot from his behavior with children and parents. I worked with the children and gave advice to the parents. After the wonderful years in Vienna I came by accident to Greece where I fell in love with my husband Dimitris Papaioannou, a painter of Byzantine icons. When we came back to Austria, I worked for the next 10 years with children with severe disabilities in a dedicated kindergarten. In 1994 my daughter Myriam came to this world and changed my life. In 1996 I started studying Waldorf Education in Vienna which lasted 3 years, completing my final thesis on the subject of the tactile sense. For 5 years I was special assistant in the two Waldorf Kindergartens in Linz for children with additional needs, and finally, 13 years before my retirement, I started and led a natural Kindergarten on a farm focusing on Waldorf Education. Beside my work I taught for 10 years Basal Stimulation for Kindergarten teachers for children with additional needs. For three years I was working with adolescents with very difficult childhoods and trauma from the war in Bosnia. I am a trainer of health gymnastics since 1985. I am a beekeeper since 2005. Now I am in pension and I am lucky to do what I like most: to share my experiences.

Spring 2021

A lot has happened in the past year, including going from a co-operative to a teacher-led Waldorf initiative and now returning to a free-er nature-based co-operative network across the entire island. The core of our programme is a Waldorf-style rhythm in the park twice a week in Nicosia, some of us meet once a week in Limassol, another day in Paphos, another in Flasou, and we looking to intergrate Choirokoitia. In short we follow community. Here’s some information for the next two weeks:

Eimaste Parents Cooperative: ζωοχώρος (room for life) Spring 2021

We get together in small groups and our program is cooperatively developed to meet the needs of families interested in natural, alternative, democratic, and community education or unschooling. We hold a weekly Parents Circle and come together with the guidance and the experience of Erika Weiser.
Contact Chrystalleni to find out more: 99586369

Morning Rhythm 9am-12:30

March 8-12
Monday: –
Tuesday: Akademia’s park, Nicosia with Sylvia 99802833
Wednesday 10-1pm: Nikokleia with Marta, Rachael, and Chrystalleni 99586369
Thursday: –
Friday: Athalassa’s park, Nicosia with Sylvia 99802833

March 15-19
Monday: Green Monday @Choirokoitia
Tuesday: Akademia’s park, Nicosia with Sylvia 99802833
Wednesday: Excursion to be confirmed
Thursday: –
Friday: Athalassa’s park, Nicosia with Sylvia 99802833

Stavrodromi Autumn 2020 Program

Dear families,

We had a beautiful and meaningful time during our Summer Program and our first two months in our new place and we are delighted to share with you our Fall Program starting September 2020. If you are interested in signing up or would like to know more, please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly. Along with the following we wish to organise for additional offerings according to the needs of our community, and are open to your ideas and contributions.

* Parent and Child Program for ages 0-3 (Weekdays 8:00-13:00)
* Daily Morning Program for ages 3-6 (Weekdays 8:00-13:00)
* Co-operative Wednesday Afternoons – A weekly community program for various age groups (1:30-18:00)
* Special Education Afternoons according to demand
* Languages of instruction are Greek, English, and Russian
* Healthy meals are prepared and shared in community
* Where? At our Indoor and Outdoor premises in Geri, Nicosia

Our program is cooperatively developed to meet the needs of families interested in Waldorf-Steiner education, alternative, democratic, and community education, and to address gaps in conventional schooling.

Our program is motivated by trust in each child’s wonder in the world and their innate desire to learn through imitation and self-directed free play. It builds on our understanding of their remarkable ability to learn from each other, and the desire to offer them a wide range of emotionally connected activities, in a natural environment, led by mindful and attentive instructors. We work to hold a space of safety and belonging, to create the right conditions for both free and supported learning, full of rich opportunities for stimulation and development.

We believe in the educational advantages of multilingual and multicultural learning environments, and we encourage each of our instructors and parent participants to also introduce material in their mother tongues. Our present team richly communicates in Greek, English, and Russian. For our afternoon program especially, we implement a daily rhythm that allows for mixed age groups as much as possible, prioritising education of the head, hands and heart, emotional literacy, closeness with nature, and seasonal traditions and customs.

Our Morning Program (Weekdays 8:00-13:00) begins Monday September 14th.
Our Afternoon Program (Weekly 1:30-18:00) begins Wednesday October 7th.
Please fill out a separate form for each child.

For more information on who we are, check out:

*Contact details
Chrystalleni Loizidou, 99586369
Olga Zoubareva-Zamba, 99521672


Our Programs

**Morning Rhythm – Parent and Child Club for ages 0-3 (Weekdays 8:00-13:00)
Parents who wish to stay with their child until it is accustomed and integrated in our school are very welcome to do so. Where possible we encourage parents to stay with their children until they are ready, usually around age 3, and that they provide beautiful examples of participation, productivity, and learning. – 250€ monthly

**Morning Rhythm for ages 3-6 (Weekdays 8:00-13:00)
Free Play, Circle-time and Weekly Rhythm in line with Cyprus seasons, nature, and culture. Parent attendance is optional depending on the readiness of the child. The group is developed under the mentorship of Austrian Waldorf Kindergarden expert Erika Weiser, with Marina Zhebina as lead teacher, and Chrystalleni Loizidou and Olga Zoumbareva-Zamba as assistant teachers. Mindful parents are welcome to stay with us and contribute to our beautiful atmospheres. – 320€ monthly

**Afternoon Co-op (Wednesdays to begin with, 1:30-18:00)
Our children have an abundance of energy and thirst for activity. We have a variety of useful and meaningful tasks for them to contribute to and enjoy, and give ample opportunities for them to pursue their linguistic, literacy, arithmetic, nature-observing and construction-related developmental interests.
We invite parents and other experts from our community to develop, together, a rhythm that includes rest, free play, individual or group instruction in various subjects according to demand, organised games, and access to creative materials. We aim to address our childrens’ needs all in one place, in a warm setting that enables a sense of stability, security, and belonging. We plan for this to include healthy snacks and meals prepared in community, gardening, arithmetic games, singing, circus arts and acrobatics, building with natural materials, drumming, dance and joy, woodworking, fine arts and crafts, animal care, and of course cleaning and tidying together. Special guests will be joining us regularly and more specialised activities (such as individual instruction in musical instruments such as violin, piano, and guitar) may be organised according to demand and at additional cost. – Suggested contribution for our basic program: 70€ monthly


**Participation costs
-Morning Rhythm – Parent and Child Club for ages 0-3 – €250 monthly
-Morning Rhythm for ages 3-6 – €320 monthly
-Afternoon Co-op, on Wednesdays to begin with, 1:30-18:00 – 70€ monthly contribution

*We strive to include families who may not be able to afford our fees. Do contact us for a bursary application.*

** For our Special Education Afternoons please contact us for more information.
**Adult workshops or private instruction in Eurythmy, Waldorf Teacher Training (Kindergarten and Grade School), Drumming, Streetdance, Singing Choir, Healing Belly-dance, Biodynamic Gardening, Advanced Doll-making, and Hand in Hand – Parenting by connection. Please contact us for more information.

Eimaste Parent Handbook (outdated 2019)


It takes a village
The Eimaste Parent Collective and Co-working Space is made up by a group of parents working together and with educators towards mindful, multilingual, play-driven, and natural education for our kids. We are supported by the Stavrodromi Waldorf Education non-profit organisation and its international network of mentors in creating a rhythmic and peaceful environment for our children to feel safe, explore, socialise and learn. While in walking distance to Athalassa park, the layout of our space allows us to be present for our children and for each other, as well as find opportunities to work on laptops or phones nearby, as they play-learn in a technology-free setting, and participate in a daily rhythm where they choose their own developmental tasks, participate in circle-time and the preparation of food, crafts, and meaningful activities.

On weekdays from 8:30-1:30 we are hosting the Free Range Kids Club, ages 0-5 developed with the expert guidance of Austria-based Kindergarten Teacher-Trainer Ericka Weiser. We are blessed to have Eurythmist Marina Zhebina as our lead teacher.

For more information, or to participate in the next Open Day or Parents Evening, contact Chrystalleni: 99586369


Who we are
We are a group of parents cooperating to create an optimal, supportive, and non-commercial learning environment and community for our children and for ourselves. We come together mindfully, under the Waldorf-Steiner ideal that considers education as an art and looks to educate the whole person: head, hands, and heart.
In order to understand and provide what our children need, we are also educating ourselves. Our core team of parents has been awarded funding and support for a Waldorf Teacher and Kindergarten Training Course with international mentors flying in, and our space and programme are developing gradually, with the participation of our children every step of the way.

Co-working Space
The layout of the space allows for a discreet area where parents can work, bring their laptops, or make phone calls. A windowed door allows visual contact with the rest of the house so that parents and children can easily find, but also forget about each other.

Mealtimes and Nutrition Plan
We follow a traditional Waldorf kindergarten basis of whole grains for our weekly meal plan, updated with the best seasonal advantages of a plant-based Mediterranean diet.

Clark (2017) The Pedagogic Importance of Nutrition.
Carrie (2008) Steiner’s grain of the day.

Weekly meal plan (draft)
Monday: Rice+Lentils,
Tuesday: Barley (κριθάρι) pilaf with vegetables and sweet potatoes,
Wednesday: Erika’s classic millet with apple,
Thursday: Vegetable soup with rye,
Friday: Oat Muesli.
(At home you can consider including some corn for your Saturdays and wheat on Sundays).

We try for seasonal fruit and vegetables for Snacktime. If you wish to contribute to this do add to the PlayGroup Snack Basket at the beginning of the day. Your contributions will be duly honoured!

It is especially important that the atmosphere around snack and meal time is peaceful and calm. Here are the rules: we and the children help prepare the table, we sing a song of gratitude before we eat. A teacher serves and offers additional servings. Each person focuses on their food and we demonstrate good table manners. We don’t insist that the children eat. We allow those who lose interest to leave the table without running after them. The children may help clean the table and wash the dishes.

Being in the space
Together we seek to create a warm, secure and joyful place for young children to play, discover and be able to focus on building their new skills. We come together in a home environment that echoes the rhythms and atmosphere of a Waldorf Early Childhood programme. We encourage young children to explore and engage in the wonders of the first years of life in group play. We work to create for our children and ourselves a supportive group, to discuss and share child development and parenting issues, and to learn about Waldorf education.

We work together to create safe play spaces that offer children rich opportunities for age-appropriate, self-initiated exploration. Open-ended toys made from natural materials nourish the children’s developing senses, encourage them to employ their creative and imaginative capacities, and further develop their emerging fine-motor skills. Structures that they can move, explore with their whole bodies, crawl over and into—combined with environments that invite movement—help develop their gross-motor coordination.

Through quiet observation we are able to gain greater awareness and trust in our children’s growing interests, motor abilities, social interactions, and problem-solving skills. Our trust strengthens the children’s emerging self-confidence and feeds their growing interest in exploring their world.

Adult tasks and handwork
The best way our children to enjoy learning, is by being with others who are enjoying learning and are working on something they find meaningful. This must be work that is easily interrupted and that they can also participate in, even in some small way, if they like.

We carry our children, in our aura as we go on with our own activities. We maintain our connection with them so that they feel safe. We give the example of focused, meaningful handwork. We avoid adult conversations. We allow silence so that they can begin to express themselves. We avoid hovering, or helicoptering, or following them around. We get down to their level. We participate fully and equally in important work.
We each have our tasks, something we find satisfying or meaningful: knitting, felting, a craft, practicing a gentle instrument, practicing a song, planting, cleaning, helping in the preparation of food, carving, making something useful for the centre or the community. Our tasks are things others can observe, learn how to do themselves, or help with.

Conflict management / Non Violent Communication
“They are children, not Buddhist monks”
(Erika Weiser commenting on the question of how many emotional emergencies we are likely to encounter during a normal day. The answer is ‘many’.)

We accept that the emergence of conflict is a necessary part of life and we value giving our children the opportunity to work things out for themselves and between each other, in a supportive environment. As psychoanalyst and pediatrician D.W. Winnicott said, “If society is in danger, it is not because of man’s aggressiveness, but because of the repression of personal aggressiveness in individuals” (Ehrensaft, 187).

*Crying Policy: Avoid distracting the children, but it’s OK to do so occasionally (everything is flexible). When a conflict involving aggression arises stay calm, move in gently, “I can’t let you do that”, “I don’t want either of you to get hurt”. No blame or shame. No lectures.
*Sharing policy: “Whoever has it, has it until they’re done, but I’ll stay with you while you wait (and it’s OK, I understand if you need to cry for a while, I don’t mind, I still think you’re wonderful).”

Starter reading list
Cole, A (201?) No More Hitting: Help with a Child’s Aggressive Behavior
Parent Participation in the Life of a Waldorf School
Da Ros, D. A., & Kovach, B. A. (1998). Assisting Toddlers & Caregivers during Conflict Resolutions: Interactions that Promote Socialisation. Childhood Education, 75(1), 25–30. doi:10.1080/00094056.1998.10521971

Οδηγός επιβίωσης για δουλειά που σπίτι με κοπελλούθκια: Άσε τη ρουτίνα, πιάσε Ρυθμό (Waldorf-style)

Η αγγλική εκδοχή του άρθρου εν πιο ανεπτυγμένη, δαμέ: How to survive working from home in isolation with kids: not with routine but with Rhythm, Waldorf-style

Εν ΟΚ που αγχωθήκαμεν. Εν ΟΚ που ενώσαν το στρες μας τα κοπελλουθκια και επελλάναν παραπάνω που το κανονικόν. Τα πράματα επιδιορθώνουνται (αλήθκεια) με την ανάπτυξη ενός διαισθητικού είδους ροής που οι παιδαγωγοί της Waldorf ονομάζουν “εισπνοή και εκπνοή”. Τούτο σημαίνει την εναλλαγή σύντομων περιόδων “εισπνοής” (δηλαδή συγγεντρωμένες δραστηριότητες όπου είμαστεν πλήρως εκεί για τα κοπελλούθκια, σε αποκλειστική σύνδεση) με πιο παρατεταμένες περιόδους “εκπνοής” (όπου κάμνουν τα δικά τους).

Στην εισπνοή συγχρονιζομαστε με το/α παιδί/α και με το άμεσο περιβάλλον, αφήνουμε το κινητό να κτυπά ή στο αθόρυβο, και δεν μπαίνουμε σε συνομιλίες με άλλους ενήλικες, γενικά αποφύγουμε την ομιλία (έννεν ώρα τώρα να τους εξηγήσουμε ή να τους μάθουμε τίποτε). Ο τρόπος είναι να αποφύγουμε παιχνίδια ή τη δημιουργία στοχευμένων “δραστηριοτήτων για τα παιδιά”, και απλά να αφήσουμε ανοίγματα για τη συμμετοχή τους στις αναγκαίες δουλειές του σπιτιού, χωρίς όμως να το επιβάλουμε, και προσφέροντας πρόσβαση σε αληθινά εργαλεία όπως κόψιμο λαχανικών με πραγματικό μαχαίρι, αιχμηρό ανάλογα με το επίπεδο δεξιότητας, να πλάσουμε το ζυμάρι, να καθαρίσουμε ή να τρίψουμε κάτι, να σκουπίσουμε, να προσθέσουμε τα μπαχαρικά, να βάλουμε νερό, να πλύνουμε μαζί τα πιάτα. Για κάποια που τούτα πρέπει να είμαστε διατεθειμένοι να κάμουμε αλλαγές στο σύστημα και στον χώρο μας. Αξίζει τον κόπο.

Κανένα που τα πιο πάνω έννεν ανάγκη να πάρει παραπάνω που 15 λεπτά, μόνοι τους θα χάσουν ενδιαφέρον και θα προχωρήσουν σε “εκπνοή”.

Στην εκπνοή έχουν την ευτζήν μας να επεκταθούν, να μπουν σε δικό τους ελεύθερο παιχνίδι, να συνεχίσουν που τζιαμέ που εμείναν το καθένα στη δική του φάση μάθησης/ανάπτυξης μέσω παιχνιδιού. Αφήνουμεν τους να μπουν στα δικά τους μυστηριώδη πρότζεκτς και δουλειές. Ξέρουν τζίνοι. Ο ρόλος μας σε τούτο εν να μην τους διακόπτουμε και να αφαιρέσουμε ο,τι ερεθίσματα μπορούν να αποσπάσουν την προσοχή τους: το σημαντικο εν να έχουν ένα τόπο όπου μπορούν να κάμουν ότι καταστροφή ή πειραματισμό θέλουν. Χώμα, κουτάλια, λίγο νερό και ησυχία, είναι ιδανικά. Αποφεύγουμε τις παρεμβολές και βλέπουμε τις δικές μας δουλειές για τα επόμενα 45 λεπτά, μια ώρα+ ανάλογα με την ηλικία τους.

Ανά φάσεις, ή στην αρχή, ή στη παρουσία άγχους, πολύ πιθανό να νιώθουμε πως εν μας αφήννουν ποτέ ήσυχους ή πως συνέχεια θέλουν κάτι. Σε τούτη την περίπτωση ο μόνος τρόπος εν να δημιουργήσουμε τον χρόνο και την υπομονή για να τους καθησυχάσουμε εις βάθος. Να σιγουρευτούν πως είμαστε μαζί τους για όσο και ότι χρειάζονται, είτε τούτο που χρειάζουνται εν γέλιο, είτε κλάμα.

Μερικές φορές αμα κλαίν για κάτι εν πρέπει να γυρεψουμεν να το διορθώσουμε ή να το αφαιρέσουμε. Που πρέπει να κάμουμε το δύσκολο πράμα και να μείνουμε μαζί τους υπομονετικά, εκπέμποντας ειρηνική κατανόηση ώσπου να τους περάσει το παράπονο. Να κάτσουμε μαζί τους χωρίς άποψη προς το ζήτημα που φαινομενικά τους απασχολεί, για όσο χρόνο χρειάζεται (μόλις αφεθουμε και εκπέμψουμε πρόθεση για άπλετο χρόνο γίνεται επίσπευση της διαδικασίας) μέχρι να πιάσουν το μύνημα, μέσα που τη σταθερή μας διάθεση για κατανόηση πως ό,τι και να ταν ηταν περαστικό, και καταφέρουν να προχωρήσουν συναισθηματικά, να επιστρέψουν στα άλλα πολλά και θαυμαστά πράματα που έχουν να εξερευνήσουν και να επεξεργαστούν.



– σημειώσεις που αφορούν τη στήριξη που οι γονείς χρειαζούμαστε, για να καταφέρουμε τα πιο πάνω,

– προσέγγιση στην παιδική επιθετικότητα,

– μη-βιαιη επικοινωνία + επίλυση διαμαχών μεταξύ παιδιών…

How to survive working from home in isolation with kids: not with routine but with Rhythm, Waldorf-style

*Greek version, in progress: Οδηγός επιβίωσης για δουλειά που σπίτι με κοπελλούθκια: Άσε τη ρουτίνα, πιάσε Ρυθμό

It’s OK that we’re stressed, it’s OK that our stress is rubbing off on them and they’re being impossible. The way to reset (yes, this is entirely possible) is by finding Rhythm, an intuitive kind of flow that is wonderfully communicated by what Waldorf educators call “breathing in and breathing out”. This means alternating between brief sessions of “breathing in” which means focused activities where we remain completely present and connected with our child(ren), and “breathing out” which means longer periods of expansive play, where they go off to do their own thing.

While “breathing in” we absolutely prioritise our connection with the children (ideally everyone in the room participates), we give in to no distractions, and we avoid adult conversations. The way for this to be meaningful isn’t with games or targeted activities, but by creating openings for the kids to contribute in necessary activities for the home: help chop vegetables with a blunt knife relative to their skill level, they can shape bread or pasta or patties with us, stir things, hang or fold things, sweep with a second broom, add herbs, be responsible for pouring water, and they can help wash things. For some of these we must be prepared to make changes to our set-up. It’s absolutely worth it. “Breathing in”, can always include singing or dancing or playing music, drawing together, sharing a meal or a snack, and doesn’t usually take longer than 15 minutes at a time. They usually drift off by themselves at which point we really just let them go their own way and observe how they naturally start “breathing out”.

“Breathing out’ is their time for expansive play where they just pick up where they left off in their own play-learning: their own mysterious developmental projects and tasks. We must watch out not to inhibit or interrupt them in this. We must set up an area where it’s OK for them to make a mess, avoid interfering and go about our own business for the next 45mins to an hour+ depending on their (st)age.


“They are children, not Buddhist monks”
(Erika Weiser commenting on the question of how many emotional emergencies we are likely to encounter during a normal day. The answer is ‘many’.)

There are times, not always, when they’re crying about something and we mustn’t try to fix it. Where we need to do the incredibly hard thing of committing to just stay with them patiently and sweetly, in peaceful understanding for as long as it takes for their complaint to fade away and for them to emotionally move on. To just stay without having an opinion about whatever seems to be upsetting them. There’s nothing that will make a child more cooperative than have a major upset fully listened to, and have an adult positively present for the entire length of time it takes for them to receive the message that whatever it is, it’s all fine because their feelings are important enough for us to respectfully put everything on hold in order to listen to them, until they’ve poured out all those difficult emotions and are able to return to their very important work.

Other notes from the Eimaste Parents Handbook:

*Crying Policy: Avoid distracting the children from what they’re crying about
(although it’s OK to do so occasionally, sometimes we just have to, the rule is that we give the good example of flexibility, that we aren’t afraid to make exceptions, and that we ourselves know when to take a deep breath and give in in good humour). When a conflict involving aggression arises we stay calm and move in gently with words like “I can’t let you do that”, “I don’t want either of you to get hurt”. No blame or shame. No lectures.

*Sharing policy: “Whoever has it, has it until they’re done, but I’ll stay with you while you wait (and it’s OK, I understand if you need to cry for a while, I don’t mind, I still think you’re wonderful).” Patty Wipfler


More here:

– Daily Rhythm at Home and its Lifelong Relevance by Helle Heckmann

– Allsup, K. (2017). What if you didn’t always answer your child’s questions

– Cole, A (201?) No More Hitting: Help with a Child’s Aggressive Behavior

– Parent Participation in the Life of a Waldorf School Retrieved from

– Da Ros, D. A., & Kovach, B. A. (1998). Assisting Toddlers & Caregivers during Conflict Resolutions: Interactions that Promote Socialisation. Childhood Education, 75(1), 25–30. doi:10.1080/00094056.1998.10521971 Retrieved from