A little over a year ago I virtually met Eileen Straiton from Little Acorn Learning. The moment I received her e-newsletter, I immediately felt nurtured by her daily creative caring. As the year has progressed I've had the honor and pleasure of collaborating with Eileen on her newsletter and working as a contributing author for the Little Acorn Enrichment Guides.
Her bright energy, kindness, good humor and creativity never cease to amaze me. I thought you might like to meet her too and so today she is visiting and at the end of this post a giveaway for your very own edition of the April Enrichment Guide.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
My husband and I have four daughters ages 17, 10, 6 and 4. We live in a small town in Connecticut and strive to create a home filled with warmth, love and creativity.I run Little Acorn Playgarden out of the lower level of our home. I also publish the Little Acorn Learning guides which support parents, homeschoolers and caregivers in their work with children. Our daughters attend our local school and enjoy coming home to our playgarden each day. I work hard to enrich their lives with nature, crafting, baking, song, artistic activities and domestic tasks. I like to call us ‘waldorf afterschoolers’ and the term inspired me to create a new monthly enrichment program for other parents and teachers working with school aged children. My husband, Brian, works full time and also enjoys woodworking and creates many fun project with our girls in his workshop.
2. What led you to starting a day-care center in your home and how long have you had your nature based daycare?
Before my work with young children, I was a direct mail advertising executive working crazy hours. I desperately wanted to find a way to be home with my daughters and was frustrated with the childcare offered at many of the centers I visited. After a brief time of freelancing from home, I decided to open up my playgarden and created the childcare program that I had dreamt about for my own children. Our little ‘school’ opened in 2005 and I have been so lucky to have such wonderful families that also support me in finding balance as I raise my daughters.
3. How did you first become introduced to Waldorf?
I rediscovered myself after becoming a mother and sought out anything I could find on how to provide my children with a healthy childhood. I was naturally drawn to the beauty and truth behind the philosophy of Waldorf Education. It not only supports the healthy development of a child’s physical being but also that of the child’s soul. I feel this is so very important, especially in the times we live in now; to develop the whole child – head, heart and hands.
4. What inspired you to start your own publishing company?
Little Acorn Learning began as a monthly childcare program that I used in my own childcare center. I decided to offer my monthly ‘guides’ to others who work with children each day and the response was amazing. The guides offer crafts, recipes, songs, games, book recommendations and caregiver inner-work for the well-being of the adult.
In addition to our original monthly guides we have added natural childcare menus, seasonal celebration ebooks, ecourses and our new monthly enrichment program which has taken a unique form of almost an ezine with contributions from amazing writers and bloggers based on weekly themes.
5. I know everyone is going to want an answer to this next question, Where do you find time to get it all done?”
Finding balance is a real challenge for me. I struggle just like all working parents to manage home, family, work and self-care. I often have to shift things around to make it work. I get overwhelmed sometimes – many times. I remind myself often that my main responsibility is to be a good parent and wife. That will always be my most important job in life… the rest is just a bonus.
I am very lucky to have a husband who cooks dinner many nights and helps with dishes, baths and bedtime stories when need be. He is a wonderful father and I’m so grateful to have him. I also have great kids who do their part around the house when asked and are very responsible.
One thing I am working on now is finding time to include more silence in my life. As you can imagine, working with children and having a large family makes that very difficult. I have begun by including walks alone, yoga classes and time outdoors into my schedule. Nature heals me and brings me back to center when life gets too crazy.
For a chance to win the April Edition please leave a comment below. The Giveaway ends on Friday at 8 pm EST.
This is a completely enchanting edition for the whole family to enjoy. Eileen says:"The Afterschool Enrichment books are different from our regular 3 day and 5 day lesson plan guides... the Enrichment books follow the
rhythm of a weekly theme with the flexibility that teachers, homeschoolers and afterschooling parents need to enrich their children's
Waldorf learning experience at home or school. Our new Monthly Enrichment Guides are filled to the rim with crafts, recipes,
activities, stories and inner-work suggestions and they follow a weekly theme to keep your home or school following a seasonal rhythm.
They are not structured like classroom lesson plans, as our Childcare Lesson Plan Guides are and keep older children in mind along with
the caregiver. They are created so you can use the ideas as time allows without having each day specifically planned out for you
For more information about April's Enrichment Guide have a look here.
Comments are now closed. I want to thank everyone who participated. We'll have a winner announcement soon.