Bring Family Camp to Your School or Parent Group!
Create Your Family Culture
or How to Live your Values amidst
the Rising Tide of Commercialism
A Summer Camp for Families with Young Children
Parents of young children will begin to explore the regeneration of 21st century family life. You will envision the “Star” of your family’s culture, studying deeply your own family’s rhythm, the way your family works together and plays together. You will inquire into your child’s life, looking carefully at art, stories and the nature of play itself. The complex and often confusing questions of discipline will be discussed, beginning with your own sense of discipline. You will learn the fine balance of both protecting your children from the effects of this 21st century media-saturated culture, while also preparing them as young adults, to step into their world with courage, hope and commitment.
Children will be held in the loving embrace of nature, and carried in the gentle rhythms of The Rose Garden . They will play at the foot of the back yard’s great old trees, splash in the shallow stream, sing and bake bread, skipping barefoot and free through their day.
The threads of the parents’ program and the children’s program will weave together throughout the days, sharing family style meals and early morning family yoga as well as times spent separately attending to their different work. Living in the simple, steady rhythms of The Rose Garden, sharing insights and questions, you can begin to fashion a richly nuanced tapestry of family life. This strong fabric can become a “magic carpet” , one that will carry you and your children through the complex landscape of a commercial culture.
The parents’ program
Parents will explore the image of the five-pointed star as a model upon which to structure family life:
The first point, Family Rhythm, encompasses our various daily and weekly rituals and routines, as well as the celebration of yearly festivals. The second point, Family Work and Play, incorporates the way we attend to the workload of caring for a family, balanced by the way our family relaxes and plays. Third, Child’s Play includes the creation of imaginative indoor spaces, a variety of creative outdoor spaces, and a deepening understanding of the necessity of Play. Fourth, the Child’s Artistic Expression includes various artistic mediums, as well as music and literature. The fifth point, Discipline, is a culmination of the inter-weaving of the previous four.
The first two points, Family Rhythm and Work and Play, act as the “legs” of the star. They are the foundation; with their strong thighs they give support and take our family on this journey together. The next two points, Child’s Play and Child’s Artistic Expression, are the “arms” of the star. They are sensitive, fine and nimble. They are the limbs whereby the child reaches toward the world. Each of these four major areas, in concert together, creates an embodied space for the “head”, the self-reflecting aspect, which we call Discipline. When these first four areas are balanced and functioning well, discipline is established in the subtle atmosphere of the home. This develops, eventually, into self-discipline for the child.
Parents will explore each of these areas, looking carefully at their own family and choosing how to re-create and refine their life together, in order to bring stability, strength, and inner peace to each family member.
The chlidren’s program
Children, as well, will experience the fruit of the above “Points of the Star”, which function harmoniously in The Rose Garden summer camp.
They will participate fully in the ongoing rhythm of The Rose Garden’s summer program. The same “Star of Family Culture” creates the foundation of a fun-filled balanced week of rich experience: They will have a deep visceral experience of rhythm in the daily schedule, the influx and outflow of the daily energies. The children’s daily rhythm will be discussed at length, below. Rhythm will permeate their day, through song, creative play, physical games and activities, and art work. The principle of rhythmic breath is also included, as their teacher will balance the in-breathing aspects (story time, snack time, nap time) with the great swings of out-breath (outdoor play, swimming, walking, games) The children will discover creative expression in watercolor painting, crayoning, bubble-blowing, and other artistic activities. They will participate in the on-going daily work of The Rose Garden, as well. The summer program, particularly, leaves open a wide, generous amount of time for meandering slowly through the kingdom of Play. It is so rarely, in the 21st century that a child is allowed enough time to play outdoors, yet this will be their joy! They will experience the creative power of language and literature through stories, verses, blessings, and songs that create the framework of their day.
Children’s teacher: Rebecca Garson, graduate of Sunbridge College’s Waldorf Teacher Training and Sharifa’s colleague of 20 years.
Exploring the world of Nature
Both parents and children will have the opportunity to ground this knowledge and experience in the world of Nature. Children will spend days enfolded in the harmony of the forest, and parents’ days will be woven between class time and family time in the woods. Each day begins with a nature walk and outdoor family yoga. Lunch is served family style at the big picnic table, and afternoons offer time to play in the creek, or go to the pond close by. Sleeping in a small tent in the big woods, drifting off to the song of the cicadas, awakening to fresh dew, listening to the daily concert of bird-song….we all can discover a new sense of our larger “family” and the culture created by Mother Earth. Each one of us will come to know the protection and deep peace given to us in Nature.
The Daily Rhythm
7:15 Meditative walk for families. This will be a quiet meander together through the deep woods. Adults are quiet and open; their attention is given to their child’s interaction with Nature. This they support, not with “facts” about nature, but with wonder at the miracle of the web of life. They echo their child’s questions with a sense of awe. Back home, a short engaging yoga class will be offered. Yoga for children is the focus, as animal imitation, followed by a few moments of quiet listening.
8:00 Breakfast. A blessing is sung. There will be a different song for breakfast, for lunch and dinner Breakfast and dinner are served family-style, with large serving bowls to be passed, and shared. Attention is to gratitude, the lost arts of table manners, and group conversation. Children will learn to wait to be excused from the table, another lost art.
9:00 Parents deliver children to the children’s camp.
9:00 Outdoor play: honing the senses, exploring the kingdoms.
11:15 Walk to creek , catch minnows in a net, try to catch frogs in your hand, collect pebbles…
1:00 Lunch with parents
1:45 Nap at children’s camp, with stories to infuse their dreams
3:00 Family free time: swim at the pond, walk in the woods, swing in the hammock, take an afternoon bath…
6:00 Dinner together
9:00 Parents drop children at summer program
9:15 Parents join together to explore the “Star of Family Culture” Artwork, movement and play enhance this exploration.
Monday: Family Rhythm
Tuesday: Family Work and Play
Wed: Child’s Art and Stories
Thurs. Child’s Play
Friday: Family Discipline
1:00 Lunch with families
2:00 Children nap while parents have individual question time with Sharifa, or attend to individual daily chores/logisitics.
3:00 Free time for families: play, snack, take a walk,snooze…
6:00 Dinner, then bath time for children (they love to take a bath with a friend!)
7:15 Bed-time snack, together
7:45 Bed-time for children
8:30 Free evening time for parents in the big living room: drink tea, share, discuss, laugh…
To bring this Family Camp experience to your school or parent group: