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Waldorf Early Childhood Development and the 7 Year Cycles

  • Broadcast in Education
Sharon Ann Wikoff

Sharon Ann Wikoff


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The Voice of Change welcomes Gesine Abraham back.  The title of the show today is Waldorf Early Childhood Development and the 7 Year Cycles.Parenting the preschool and kindergarten aged child can be quite challenging.  The overabundance of expert advice available for parents today can be more confusing than helpful without an underlying developmental framework.  The 7 year cycles, basic to Waldorf education, provides an invaluable key to understanding the core, fundamental nature of the child in each of the three major cycles.  Exploring the sub-cycles of the first of the major 7 year cycles—the will or doing cycle—highlights the distinguishing characteristics of the child from birth to 3 years, from 3 to 5 years, and from 5 to 7 years.  Knowledge of these stages of development provide a solid and simple guideline on which we can draw for practical application in many different life situations.  It sheds light, for example, on why "explaining things" often falls on deaf ears in attempting to motivate young children or why your 6 year old may suddenly be acting like a mini-adolescent. Knowledge of the child's changing consciousness through these cycles leads to more effective and rewarding parenting.

Since the 1960's, Gesine has been applying Waldorf early childhood principles in a variety of settings, including Head Start, play groups, day care, and private Waldorf schools. She taught kindergarten at a private K-8 private Waldorf school.  Throughout these years, Gesine has also been actively involved in parenting education. Gesine earned her BA degree from the World Program of Long Island University. She studied the Waldorf Teachings  at Emerson Waldorf Teacher Training Institute in England and at the Waldorf Teacher Training Institute in Detroit, Michigan.