Job Openings!

Come be a pioneer with us! Sophia’s Hearth Family Center is seeking early childhood teacher(s) to join our dedicated childcare staff. Benefits include vacation and sick/personal time, eligibility for Sophia’s Hearth professional development trainings and working in our environmentally friendly building designed specifically to support children and families. Ours is a nature-based program where child are outdoors year round.  Guided creative play, cooking and gardening are part of our daily rhythm, along with song and story. Qualifications: Have a deep love for building supportive relationships with parents, for young children, and for working in a collaborative relationship with colleagues. Background in Waldorf early childhood education. Meet and maintain the requirements for New Hampshire Early Childhood Professional Development Early Childhood Teacher Credential. Meet and maintain all DHHS requirements for training (within the first 90 days of hire) Meet and maintain the requirements of Health and Safety, including Red Cross certification in First Aide and CPR (training provided). Professional development study at Sophia's Hearth Family Center desirable. Positions are year round, hourly,non-exempt position; wage $13.50/hr; may be full or part time. Please send a resume and letter of interest to: Paula Sousa at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center  700 Court Street, Keene, NH 03431 or paula@sophiashearth.org Start date flexible after August 11, 2014 Click here for complete job description

Seasons’ parent and Child Class – a reflection

Delicious Sunshine and Refreshing Rain: A Year of Outdoor Parenting “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”  John Ruskin Beginning last September, an excited group of parents/caregivers with children between the ages of 2 and 4 humbly began a journey with hopeful intentions and lots of good humor. They, the members of a new outdoor Parent & Child class at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, were welcomed by rain as it turned dirt into mud and everything dry to wet. Each person was thus shepherded into a new experience of being outside with young ones, through all kinds of weather. From the outside looking in, a passerby may have felt badly for our group. Yet a tangible feeling of adventure and resilience could be experienced by all as we tended a small fire in our shiny Kelly Kettle and used its warmth to steep our tea.  We sang and danced with the raindrops, and parents began to know each other as a growing community while the children began their exploration of the plants, textures, and opportunities in our play yard. During snack time, pink fingers and cheeks abounded while we readily sipped tea and munched on crunchy apples and creamy cheese. All the while the rain drummed around us and on top of our brave little snack tent, finding ways to drip into our tea mugs and trickle under our bottoms. By the end of the morning we had learned the importance of rain gear first hand! Yet we breathed full breaths of gratitude and exploration, each of us having discovered a bit of adaptability we may not have known we had. Each following week’s session began with a welcoming song followed by facilitated and impromptu conversations among the adults. Each parent or caregiver was offered the chance to check in with the group, to pose questions, to share what life had been like since our last time together, or to simply listen to others. Discussions were fertile soil for parents to ask questions about suitable outdoor gear, the sleeping and eating patterns of their children, or newly observed behaviors and changes in habits. At other times I posed reflective questions of the group, mostly focused on seasonal events or milestones in child development that tend to have an impact upon family life. Meanwhile children went back and forth from our “nest” to any number of wonderful places within the yard. Children climbed, slid, hid, ran, dug, balanced, and slowly began to find themselves as part of the environment. Gathering around our fire ring was always a delightful time, where children helped to break twigs for our fire, and learned how to be around fire safely. After a short circle time filled with seasonal songs and finger plays, we readily gathered around our stump circle for snack. In many cultures gathering for tea is central to building community, and our group was no exception. This seemingly simple event usually manifested in satiated sighs, jovial chatting, and further connection for both children and adults alike. With bellies full and thirsts quenched, we made our way to the forest and fields at Sophia's Hearth Family Center. Always sure to have our gathering basket into which we would add more twigs and bark for the following week’s fire, children then burst out of the gate and into the expansive, yet intimate, landscape. Parents sometimes shepherded little ones who showed a bit of hesitancy or those who took time to observe every aspect of the environment. Other times parents watched as their little ones met the logs, pine needles, leaves, snow, ice, mud, or trails with gusto. Reflections from parents involved in Seasons throughout the year speak directly to how time spent outside greatly nourished their children. It was common to hear a parent saying, at the end of group, “Well, we might be dirty, but I know they will have a great nap!” Offered in jest perhaps, but this sentiment points directly to what children need in their early lives to allow them the chance to rest restoratively-an experience so many families seek for their children. When children are allowed to be outside- to explore freely, to use natural materials with which to organize, stack, hide, assemble, and disassemble, to observe and soak in sounds, textures, and sights- what they gain is crucial to their healthy development. Refined gross and fine motor skills develop, and children are “worked” in a way that channels their innate energy so that they can build a foundation upon which their physical, social/emotional, and cognitive capacities can thrive. It’s reminiscent of what Einstein put forth years ago, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. From what I observed in the families who came to Seasons group, it’s true. The children figuratively and literally “looked deep” each week; they figured out how to move around on icy paths; they rolled down leaf strewn hills; they planted bulbs in fresh earth; they roamed freely among tall trees and flexible grasses. They chewed on life and it nourished them deeply. They came to know themselves more intimately, resulting in newfound confidence and abilities. From our time spent immersed in nature, parents gained a deeper sense for what moved and inspired their children. In the outdoors adults tend to breath more deeply. They tend to connect with what is really important in their lives, and develop a finer sense for how to answer their current questions of how best to support their children. There is something about being outside that allows our overly active minds to rest, and our instincts to inspire us and shed light onto our paths as parents. When we are outside we can “look deep” and we understand our children and ourselves better. Seasons will offer two groups in the fall, one on Tuesdays and one on Wednesdays, beginning on September 2 from 9-11 am. Tuition Assistance is available. There will also be an Open House on August 19 and 20 from 9-11 for any who are interested in learning more. For more information about Season’s fall groups, please contact Amy Fredland at amy@sophiashearth.org or 603 903 5006.                    

Sophia's Hearth Family Center
in Keene, New Hampshire brings Waldorf education to programs
for families with infants and young children and to professional educators.
     We offer a childcare program, parent-infant
and parent-toddler classes, and other parent
outreach support in the Monadnock region.

Our professional development programs bring Waldorf early childhood education to
educators across the U.S., Canada and internationally.