We all breath. Every living being on this planet has a form of breathing. However, do we really let our children breath?
In this day of hectic schedules, homework, athletics, extra curricular activities, and family life our children have little time to breath and sleep. Why is that so important? Don't they just need 8 hours of sleep?
The Waldorf education model is the ONLY educational method that uses a combination of both rhythm of teaching in conjunction with sleep in order to aid learning! Yes, sleep is actually encouraged.
Why is sleep and breathing so important?
1. It is a known fact that the ability of the child to perform intellectual works in the grades is dependent upon the development of the well developed lower senses. The only time the body has physical growth is during SLEEP! Sleep deprivation affects everything a child or a person does in their daily life. There is a connection between sleep deprivation in disorders like ADHD, and lowered immune functions. This is well documented and researched concept.
2. A young child is unified in body, soul and spirit and all sense impressions go right into the child without any ability on the part of the child to censor these impressions. These impressions form the physical body and sleep is the way these impressions build up the physical body.
3. Rhythm is what supports the foundation of sleep and the lack of sleep puts a lot of stress on the body, especially on the liver. The lack of rhythm also places stress on the heart and the adrenal glands. There is more information coming out about Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Insufficient Adrenal Gland Syndrome that is connected to the lack of rhythm in our life. As a person fights to stay awake due to sleep deprivation the adrenal glands kick in and produce high levels of cortisone and adrenaline hormones. These hormones at a high level put stress on the liver. These high levels of hormones also effect blood pressure, breath and heart rate. This is why schools and doctors see a rise in childhood illnesses at the school age.
4. The need for naps! In the Waldorf Schools it is believed that children 3-6 years old still need 30 minutes naps. It is encouraged that if the child doesn't nap then bedtime should be 7 pm!
“The Importance of Sleep” by Susan Johnson, a MD with an anthroposophic perspective
There is a beautiful website called Why Waldorf Works that I have often used as a quick reference to parents who are interested in Waldorf Education.