invitation to circle and harvest

invitation to circle and harvest
14:00 19 Nov. 2022 

part of “Connective practices in community-integrated arts, nature- and tradition-based learning and care, across the divisions of Cyprus” developed for the Artistic Connective Practices Symposium, Fontys University Tilburg,
facilitated by Chrystalleni Loizidou and Hülya Dede

In the beginning there is flow. There is the “being in the rhythms of nature”, the “being in social connection”, with uninterrupted experimentation and creativity, the feeling of the elements and the seasons, the observing and the doing, the running and climbing and picking fruit and making shelter, and getting sand between your toes. There is the joy and gratitude of harvest. But then the care-work that reproduces the “being in the rhythms of nature” is imprisoned by top-down notions of education and productivity. These impositions dominate the doing and life, so they separate us from the flow and our rhythms. Being and doing are turned into work and people into things. Thus the world is crazy, and revolts are practices of rediscovering connection and rhythm.

Continue reading “invitation to circle and harvest”

Community idealism and the tragedy of the commons: On the politics of energy exchange and mutual assistance (Lefkara, Cyprus 25th March, 2022)

the Eimaste Parents Cooperative
the Giraffe Sanctuary for mothers in transition,
and the Lefkara Dwelling project

joyously invite you to
***Community idealism and the tragedy of the commons: On the politics of energy exchange and mutual assistance (Lefkara, Cyprus 25th March, 2022)***

Join us on Friday, March 25th for a family day of
– exploration through the connected domestic ruins of Lefkara,
– working together and cleaning a beautiful Lefkara house so that it can be returned to the service of community,
– sharing food and drink,
– free play and organised activities for children of all ages (9am – 7pm),
– and a talking circle on the state of the commons, fair exchange, and mutual assistance in Cyprus-based intentional community initiatives (8pm).

Please contact Chrystalleni 99586369 for the location or if you would like to sleep over.

In memory of Evangelos Loizides (b. 25 March 1949 – 15 November 2021).



Eimaste Programme for the Nicosia Pop-up Festival (10-31 Dec, 2021)


**On Demand**
– Survival 112: making a rope from natural fibers. Workshop with Lital and Vinas: Learn how to make a useful thread from vegetation you find anywhere. Lital and Vinas are experienced travelers and skilled survivors, and they share love for nature and simplicity. Reservations 99778425.
– Dreamcatcher-making workshop with Lital.
Learn how to weave a magical dream catcher!
Lital is a traveling artist specializing in traditional crafts using natural materials ( Participation and materials fee 5€. Reservations 99778425.

18 Dec, Saturday
10:00: Mushroom Tea Circle with Harrys
We invite Harrys Protopapas, a dear and experienced guardian of the Cyprus intentional community movement, to share with us his research on medicinal mushrooms. There will be available Lion’s Mane to try in the form of tea, and to buy. For details call 99586369.

20 Dec, Monday
8:30pm: It takes a Village Parents Circle [online, every Monday]
We connect and support each other under the guidance of Erika Wieser, our community elder and expert in nature-focused early years education.
Telegram invitation link:
For details call 99586369.

22 Dec, Wednesday [every Wednesday]
16:00-18:00: Eimaste Family Hang-out @Academia’s park
Parents and children meet and play at Academia’s Park. For details call 99586369.

29 Dec, Wednesday [every Wednesday]
16:00-18:00: Eimaste Family Hang-out @Academia’s park
Parents and children meet and play at Academia’s Park. For details call 99586369.


[POSTPONED] 20:30: Online Talking Circle – How to raise children at the end of the world
We invite cooperative initiatives to connect and coordinate.
Eimaste feat. Georgios M. (Spain) vol. 2. & the Vovousa Festival
For more information call 99586369.
Join the online meeting:

12 Sunday, 12:00 Paper presentation [online conference participation]
Presentation Title: “the First Device:” a utopian re-enchantment towards technological recovery [Chrystalleni Loizidou] Participation in the 21st Conference of the Utopian Studies Society Europe (10 – 12 Dec)
Description: Leading medical organisations advise against screen-time during the first years of life, yet children are exposed to parents’ mobile-devices and screen-media consumption-patterns from birth. Growing digital distrust ranges from criticisms of exploitative and profit-driven industrial standards, to warnings about the dominance of cranky social media, and to investigations into the behaviour of machine-learning algorithms that present little eyes with a vast, absurdist, memetic informational singularity with unpredictable and alienating psychological and developmental effects. In the middle of this, tech-professionals are increasingly choosing low-tech or tech-free, outdoor schools for their children. This project catalyses a trope of a utopian “First Device” to imagine a different path for our future. It begins by drawing a connection between Silvia Federici’s feminist politics of technology production, Luiz Guilherme Vergara’s Freirean proposal of a para-laboratory for forest-school thinking, and Richard Stallman’s Four Freedoms for software development. It asks questions like: How can tech-free education practices inform the field of information ethics and child-computer interaction research? How do our primary encounters with high technology shape and direct the mind? What should be the character and purpose of the first information device we give to our young? How would it apply our best findings regarding learning, development, and creativity? How would it be meaningfully open-ended? How would it empower free, self-directed learning? How might such a tool redefine humanity’s approach to technology and to our world, away from exploitation, towards what Charles Eisenstein calls a new story of interdependence and connection? This project picks up from the results of the international “Free/Libre Technologies, Arts and the Commons” Unconference (Cyprus, 2019).

13 Dec, Monday
17:30 Rope-making workshop from natural fibers with Lital and Vinas.
Survival 112: making a rope from natural fibers. Workshop with Lital and Vinas. Learn how to make a useful thread from vegetation you find anywhere. Lital and Vinas are experienced travelers and skilled survivors, and they share love for nature and simplicity. Reservations 99778425.
20:30: It takes a Village Parents Circle [online]:
We connect and support each other under the guidance of Erika Wieser, our community elder and expert in nature-focused early years education. Suggested starting place: “My heart needs sun and friends”
Telegram invitation link:
For details call 99586369.

Nicosia, December 10-31st: It takes a village to raise a child + How to dress for the end of the world, by Astrid Johnson and the Eimaste Parents Cooperative

“It takes a village to raise a child + How to dress for the end of the world by Astrid Johnson and the Eimaste Parents Cooperative” is a unifying ode and a last stand. We forage, make things out of natural materials, upcycle, skillshare, sell, exchange and invite cooperation towards a different way of taking care of our common needs, our environment and our children: frugally, naturally, and freely.

To “Χρειάζεται χωριό για να μεγαλώσει ένα παιδί + Πως να ντυθείτε για το τέλος του κόσμου από την Astrid Johnson και τον Συνεργατισμό Γονέων Είμαστε” είναι μια ωδή για ένωση και τελική αντίσταση. Αναζητούμε τροφή, φτιάχνουμε πράγματα από φυσικά υλικά, επαναχρησιμοποιούμε, πωλούμε, ανταλλάσσουμε και προσκαλούμε συνεργασία προς έναν διαφορετικό τρόπο φροντίδας των κοινών μας αναγκών, του περιβάλλοντος και των παιδιών μας: λιτά, φυσικά, και ελεύθερα.  

You can see our events programme here.

We practice and invite a simple and heart-centered way of life through nature- and community-focused cooperation and sharing. We wish to be part of a transformation of the concept of “worth” and we come together to create a harmonious space and invite the co-creation of opportunities for
– supporting artists working with cooperative, minimal, and nature-respecting approaches,
– donation, exchange, and barter of goods and services,
– cooperative and mindful childcare,
– co-working space development,
– alternative education and arts-based peer-to-peer learning,
– skill sharing and DIY support,
– minimal and low waste living,
– connecting with other cooperative initiatives around the island

Pop-up Festival Offerings (preliminary)
– Sale of handmade goods
– Astrid’s dresses and puppets,
– Baskets and artifacts made by hand picked natural materials by Lital + Vinas
– Take-what-you-need box (items for donation: books, toys, clothes)
– Goods for Exchange
– Skill-sharing Notice Board,
– Workshops and events
– Basket-weaving workshop
– Face-painting
– Family workshops
– Wednesday afternoon open playdate
– Weekly Parents Circle led by Erika Wieser (online)
– Flute-making by Vinas
– Open Scores gathering


The Eimaste Parents Cooperative is a nature-focused community-building initiative, connecting people and families whose needs are not quite met by the local extended-family support system (e.g. single parent homes, homeschooling or unschooling families interested in skill-sharing, families in transition from abroad, families of children with additional needs), especially during lockdowns and isolation. The Eimaste Parents Cooperative has been providing support in the alternative education community island-wide while coordinating regular offerings that cultivate solidarity, mutual assistance, and an extended notion of kinship.

The Eimaste Parents Cooperative is part of Eimaste, a rogue artist residency project made up of various locations around Cyprus, with an emphasis on engaged and restorative artistic practices of freedom, community, and co-presence. Since 2018 eimaste has been growing into a network of places to gather in spontaneous symposia, to write / compose cures for political illusions, establish software freedom, eat green food, dance and tell stories in circles, go for walks, and be together to thank and celebrate life. Eimaste receives people to be in kitchens and gardens, to travel the island together, and to play and work with children and animals. An energetic place for creation and to exercise living together. Eimaste connects a broad network of [recovering] educators across fields and different kinds of institutions in a tender deconstruction of pedagogic and schooling practices, and free play.

Astrid Johnson is a dressmaker, puppet-maker, and contemporary artist drawing inspiration from nature. “How to dress for the end of the world:” Artist’s dress and woodwork collection. Corsets, dresses, jackets, blouses and small sculpture accessories, created in the artist’s personal vision of the steampunk aesthetic. A painter contemplating the organic fluidity of contemporary times as reflected in nature-inspired forms of steampunk.

Christina Tsene: I grew up in Athens and learned to appreciate anything not related to the big city systems. My educational and working background is around interior design. My love for nature sent me to another round of studies in Germany for “Environmental and Resources management”.  I am the mother of a 5 year old boy and consciously searching for ways to be a present, positive and open minded parent and companion. I am interested in helping people to build communication with their living spaces. In assisting them to curate essential, fulfilling and healing spaces using mostly what they already have, minimizing the use of natural resources.

Lital + Vinas fell in love while picking artichokes at a Peace in the Middle East festival and have been together since. They arrived in Cyprus as asylum seekers and spent their first year in homelessness, living outdoors and honing a natural and radically minimal way of life.

Chrystalleni Loizidou: My core skill-set has had to do with care and the study of creativity (curation, education through art, and a PhD in Cultural Studies focusing on public art and conflict resolution). This means that I am sensitive to the beauty and meaning around me, of the potential for community connection or discord, and of sound ways to support and help groups flourish. I have previously applied myself to developing and coordinating big and small internationally funded projects, teaching visual literacy, design history, and cultural studies courses at different universities, setting up cooperative community projects with a focus on libre technologies and participatory art, and organising hackathons and unconferences to connect technologists, makers, and artists. Since the birth of my son, I have been retraining in care work and early years pedagogy. I model and cultivate in myself what I’d like to have around me: versatile design and making-skills, emotional intelligence and non-violent communication, community through sharing, music, dance, and connection with nature through cultivation and respectful foraging. I am also always working on writing, which I see as a world-building, transformational craft.

Erika Wieser: 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.

Open Scores is an online and offline interactive platform, created as a response to increasingly hostile and often regressive social environments, modes of thinking and interacting. Open Scores organises and curates discussion groups which are called in assembly and in communion in order to engage with aspects of the self and of society which inadvertently progress and move forward. The constant evolution of the individual and collective psyche is an indisputable fact and undeniable cornerstone of human history and society. Open Scores facilitates this evolution by bringing into light seemingly “tough” personal and social issues and matters which often revolve around relationships, sexuality, spirituality, various catalysts of the human mind and body, the structural manifold of society and the inherent and evolved conditions through which human beings inter-operate with themselves and their environment.

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