Autumn 2019

November 8

Transitions to independence

Discussion Theme: As babies grow to toddlers, their need to explore the world on their own grows and therefore what they need from their parents changes. We will discuss some common ways this transition can manifest—from new caregivers to weaning to independence play—and what you can do to offer them a sense of security in themselves and in your relationship throughout these changes.

Observation: Observe how it feels when you set a boundary, or take a step back, or even just wait to finish your cup of coffee before you help them get the paint out. What comes up for you? Guilt? Anxiety? Peace? How does your child respond?

Further Inspiration: Read On Separation (which is technically about leaving your toddler with a new caregiver, but really the advice is applicable to all sorts of similar transitions) by Willow and/or The Self-Care Parents Need in Every Moment by Janet Lansbury

November 1

Honoring Seasonal Transitions

Discussion Theme: We can honor seasonal transitions through a rich festival life that helps orient children in the rhythms of the year, communicate our values, and build community. In our modern society, often so divorced from the natural world, how can we find inspiration and support for these festivals, both in our homes and our larger communities? What can we/do we want to bring for our children from our own childhoods and cultural heritages?

Observation: This is more a remembering… but think back to the last festival or holiday you celebrated as a family. What traditions or ceremonies felt meaningful to you? What did you see your child respond to? What do you remember feeling important when you celebrated things in your childhood?

Further Inspiration: Read Getting Started with Family Festivals by Willow and/or Why Festivals by Ann Druitt and Christine Fynes-Clinton

October 25

Independent Dressing

Discussion theme: As babies transition to toddlers, their ability to be independent in their self-care increases—meaning the way we support them in these moments must change! We will focus this week on dressing, and discuss the different stages of independent dressing, consider how our habits and spaces can support their independence, and get some hands-on demo time in the cubby room.

Observation: Observe, non judgmentally, what your family’s dressing and undressing transitions look like. What is the mood? What is your space like? What are your child’s habits?

Further Inspiration: Read Getting Dressed, Independently by Willow and/or listen to 3 Steps to Help Children Dress Independently by Janet Lansbury

October 18

Meaningful Work

Discussion theme: Our household work, and the intention we bring to it, impacts our children’s understanding of the rhythms of the day, their ability to settle into play, and the ease of our daily transitions. How can find moments to engage in slow, intentional, meaningful work, without eschewing the practicality of modern technologies? Likewise, how can we make practical work accessible to children in a way that respects their developmental capacities and presents them with opportunities to feel like useful members of the household community?

Observation: While your child plays, try finding something small and practical to do yourself in the same room. Try folding a few napkins with care, or winding a ball of yarn, or sweeping the floor. Notice if there is a difference in how they play while you do this, as opposed to if you were to just sit on the floor with them.

Further Inspiration: Read Practical Work with Children by Willow and/or Helping Children Move through Time (it’s a short one!) by Nancy Blanning

October 4


Discussion theme: Building off of last week’s consideration of transitional moments, we will discuss toddlers’ (and all humans’, really) innate love of ritual, and how we can build rituals into our family days with intention. We will touch on our own childhood rituals, what of them we maybe loved and what we maybe didn’t, and what values we want to communicate through our rituals now.

Observation: Notice what little rituals exist in your day-to-day family life now. From saying a blessing before you eat to a special goodnight kiss to a beloved doll, what do these look like? How has your child created or inspired them?

Further Inspiration: Check out our Classroom Songbook for a few song-based ritual ideas!

September 27

Transition toolbox

Discussion theme: When are the trickiest transitions in our days and what can we do to ease them? I’ll share some practical tools like songs, games, and “helpers” that you can keep in your proverbial back pocket to help the children (and you!) navigate these moments.

Observation: Observe your transitions throughout the day and consider how you prepare your child and guide them through these moments. Which work smoothly, which do you receive more pushback on?

Further Inspiration: Read Working with the Will of the Young Child, by Nancy Blanning

September 20

Settleing in

Just getting to know each other!