The Power of Verses for Children


“Fire spirit, fire sprite Share with us your golden light. Come for
us, our candlelight. Earth, who gave to us this food. Sun, who made it ripe and
good. Dearest Earth and dearest Sun, we’ll not forget what you have done. Blessings on our meal time and on each
other.” Hi, I’m Sarah Baldwin, the owner of Bella
Luna Toys and a former Waldorf kindergarten teacher, and that blessing
is a verse that we would say in our kindergarten class every day before
mealtime. Today I’m back with you with another “Sunday with Sarah” and
wanted to talk to about verses and the importance of adding verses to cultivate
reverence in children. Verses are used in Waldorf education throughout the day and
throughout the grades. There’s a morning verse when class comes together to greet one another. We say a verse again at mealtime. We have verses to introduce painting,
rest time, another verse at the end of the day when we all say goodbye and it
adds a little reverence and ritual to a child’s life. Especially a mealtime
verse is very useful for creating a sense of gratitude in children, the most
important prayer there is. Sorry for my noisy bird in the
background, I’m recording this at home today and I got a lovely pet cockatiel
who you’re hearing in the background So a lot of parents who are new to Waldorf education ask me about how to bring Waldorf into their home life and one of
the simplest and easy ways to begin, I think, is to just start practicing
lighting a candle at mealtime and saying a verse or grace. I have a
little book here called One Hundred Graces. This is a book I’ve had for a long time,
I was happy to discover that it’s still in print, and in the introduction — the authors are Marcia and Jack Kelly —
and in the introduction they say “Saying grace is an ancient and vital tradition
the world over. To begin with, it provides a space, a moment of stillness, in which
to relinquish the activities of the day and allow the mind to settle. Then as we
acknowledge the source of our nourishment we are filled with astonishment at the generosity of the Creator, with gratitude and with praise.” Now whatever your spiritual
faith, there are meal time verses that express gratitude to either the
Creator or simply to the Sun and the Earth for producing our food, the farmers who grew our food, the hands of the cook who prepared the food. Cultivating that mood of reverence
and thankfulness is so important for the well-being of a child. And so one thing I
love about this little volume, One Hundred Graces, this little book includes a hundred
blessings, not just from the Christian tradition, but also Jewish
blessings and verses from Buddhism and the Taoist
traditions and Native American blessings, so it’s very multicultural but also
all the verses have the universal theme of gratitude and
reverence which I believe is so important to cultivate early in children.
So once you’ve made a meal time grace part of your family
tradition, and if you haven’t done this already you might want to do the same
sort of thing at bedtime. Lighting a candle before a bedtime story
and ending the story by snuffing the candle and saying a bedtime verse can really
help a child transition into sleep, to feel safe, to relax and let go of the day. Here’s a little verse I said in my
classroom at rest time, it could easily be adapted at bed time. It goes
like this: “Now the Sun has gone to bed. The stars are shining overhead. In their
nests the birds all sleep. Into their homes the
snails will creep. Children now no more will roam. It’s bedtime now and we’re safe in our home.” Also just to let you know, we just added another little volume
book of verses and prayers for children at Bella Luna Toys. It’s called A Star to Guide Me. It includes very sweet illustrations by a German illustrator
from the early 20th century, very sweet pictures of angels and
children and moon and stars. This one’s a little
bit more religious in flavor and most of the verses mention God so you have to decide if that’s a good
fit for your family. But let me find an example of a bedtime
verse from A Star to Guide Me. Here’s one, it goes: “Angels bless and angels
keep, angels guard me while I sleep. Bless my heart and bless my home, bless my spirit as I roam. Guide and guard me through the night and wake me with the
morning light.” So I hope that’s just given you some
ideas for how to incorporate these little rituals and transition
times during the day. I will post the words to some of these verses I’ve
shared with you on my blog. If you’re viewing this video on Facebook or
YouTube you can go to the blog at sarahbaldwin.com and you’ll
find them there. and again this is “Sunday with Sarah.” It’s so great to be back with you, we’ve had a long break through the winter but looking forward to to seeing you more
regularly again. So thank you so much, have a wonderful
week. See you soon, bye-bye!

8 thoughts on “The Power of Verses for Children

  1. Beautiful verses! My baby typically asks to be breastfed to fall asleep. What would be the best way to start introducing the bedtime verse you shared in this video? Thanks in advance.

  2. SO valuable. Thank you so much!! I will be translating them and singing them in Waldorf inspired AND mainstream schools in Verona, Italy this year!

  3. Beautiful expressions you offer!! Really appreciate it. I have boy/girl 5 year old twins and we are embarking on an Earthschooling Curriculum. I know we all need more ritual and rhythm. Do you have any information about the success of homeschooling children off the Earthschooling curriculum. As much as I want to do it, I also find it chaotic right now. I know keeping the joy alive is most important.

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