One of the nice things about unschooling is that we get to pick and choose from a variety of educational philosophies, incorporating the pieces we like most of each. One such philosophy is Waldorf education, and many of its guiding principles find their way into our family's daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms.
Some of the Waldorf practices for early childhood that resonate most with us include spending lots of outside, exploratory, unstructured time in nature; using natural items (like sticks and rocks and shells and pinecones) as the foundation for open-ended, imaginative play; noticing and celebrating seasonal changes and festivals; involving children in home production, including baking and cooking together (we couldn't do without our Learning Tower), and encouraging handiwork like knitting and sewing; valuing the creative arts and music-making; and fostering imaginative play with fantasy stories often involving fairies and gnomes and other magical creatures.
My favorite store for high-quality, Waldorf-inspired toys and materials is Maine-based Bella Luna Toys, founded by a former Waldorf educator and veteran homeschooling mom. As a nice way to celebrate this not-back-to-school time and help you stock up on some fabulous supplies, I am giving away TWO, 50-DOLLAR Gift Certificates to Bella Luna Toys!! Enter below! Winners will be announced on Saturday!