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Deepening Dimensions: Therapeutic Practices for the Early Childhood Classroom


July 8 - 10, 2024




Janene Ping, Jane Swain, Kathleen Bowen and Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton

Therapeutic Story and Puppetry with Janene Ping

What is the meditative path that inspires the creation of pedagogical stories for specific children?  How do we find the words and gestures to help children to center within themselves in a healthy manner? What did Steiner mean when he indicated that puppetry arts had potential to heal the ills of civilization?

The creation of pedagogical stories and use of interactive puppetry as a support for processing difficult experiences and emotions will be demonstrated and practiced in this course. Practical applications include: helping to settle conflict and hurt feelings that arise between children, the social integration of a child who may be having challenges to join the group, and helping prepare an anxious child for an upcoming event or adjust to something upsetting that has already happened. Our work in storytelling and puppetry strives to build social-emotional intelligence for the young child and bring joy to the balance of our classroom culture.

Therapeutic Movement and Gestural Interventions with Jane Swain

Many times, early childhood teachers know therapeutic intervention techniques, but they aren’t sure how to identify who would benefit from them, or how to alter and progress their interventions according to the response of the child.  Jane will help participants refine their abilities in this regard.  Each child is a mystery, and their behaviors and gestures give us clues as to how best to serve them. There are patterns of spatial gestures that the teacher can come to recognize and work with. For example, after trauma a child may experience a hyper-vigilant state—spatially they have difficulty coming back into their bodies —they are largely outside themselves. Understanding the spatial phenomenon of the situation can help the teacher offer the appropriate healing gesture in response. There will be presentation, practice with gestures, and time for questions and discussion.

Looking at our Lives with Kathleen Bowen

‘You can only become good teachers and educators if you pay attention not merely to what you do, but also to what you are.’  Rudolf Steiner, The Study of Man Lecture I

We each need inner clarity before we can perceive the children truly. Through biography work we will bring to light our own development toward becoming one who is meeting the young child. Our work is to become aware and integrate all our parts, both the light and the dark on the path to wholeness. Life is movement. We have the opportunity to practice genuine interest and reverence toward the mysteries of another’s life story as well as our own.

Creating a Hand Puppetry with Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton

In a Waldorf Kindergarten, the hand puppet is a friend who is always available to weave a little magic into the learning of the day! Working with natural fibers and cloth, participants will work with Leslie to create a hand puppet, the use of which will be demonstrated in the class with Janene. Step-by-step instruction and patterns will be given, as well as support throughout the process of construction.

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