Meadowsweet Naturals Waldorf Art, Handwork, Books and More for Home & School

What Is This Childhood? Finding the Spirit of Early Childhood in Language and Creative Living with Our Families by Carol Toole Illustrated by Eva Hoisington


136 pages

This book succinctly explores the consciousness of the young child through a weaving of journal entries (made as a teacher, a young mother, and later, a grandmother), observations and musings, as well as practical activities from my parenting workshops. It is a journey through the child’s world, trails marked by their own words. Their speech, as it naturally unfolds, leads the child to self-consciousness and critical thinking. But not too fast! Stay to savor soft grass brushing bare feet, the skid of sneakers on hot sidewalks, even the ‘gentleness of a mosquito’ as she bites. Find a partner to try out the practices and a quiet moment to journal. I hope this book will serve as invitation to look through a child’s eyes and to hear with heart—it’s no mistake that the word heart has ear inside.” (introduction)

What Is This Childhood? explores the consciousness of the young child through language development, often in their own words. The child’s early utterances reveal a unity of word and experience and of experience and meaning. Children live more fully in perception than conception. Yet, speech as it unfolds eventually leads the child to abstraction, self-consciousness, and critical thinking.

This journey into childhood will deepen the quality of our attention and presence in each moment, enlivening our speech and interactions and thereby preserving our children’s sense of wonder and spiritual connection.

C O N T E N T S:

Author’s Preface: My Brother Michael

1. What Is This Childhood?
2. The Dance of Reciprocity
3. Sound, Saying, Naming: A Mother’s Observations
4. Rhyme, Rhythm, Repetition: In Praise of Mother Goose
5. Language as Expressive, Creative Power
6. Oneness to Separation / Experience to Concepts
7. The Heart of Experience
8. Me, Myself, I
9. Memory
10. Living in Pictures: Story through the Ages
12. A Person Becomes a Person through Other People
13. Attention Is Love: What’s Outside Will Later Be Inside
14. Play Is Doing: Nothing Is Everything
15. Language Matters
16. What Is This Childhood? 94

1. Prayers / Meditations for Parents
2. Nature Story Favorites Retold: Life Affirmations
3. Two Teaching Stories
4. A Grimm’s Fairytale
5. Instructions for Felt Standing Puppets

Sources that Inspired This Work
About the Author and Artist