The Waldorf approach to parenting and education is very different to the Montessori approach. However, while recently looking through board book suggestions for Waldorf families I found a few books that I loved and that I instantly knew would appeal to some Montessori families too. There are a few characteristics that make these books Waldorf or more suitable for Waldorf families including:
- Beautiful, kind, full of joy.
- Calm, with dreamy illustrations.
- Soothing, warm.
- Gentle, often with soft and muted illustrations.
- Designed to encourage the imagination and to nourish the child's sense of delight in the natural world.
- Many are wordless which helps to develop storytelling in young children.
Many Waldorf books contain elements of fantasy such as gnomes, elves and, fairies, although these stories specifically do not, these are reality-based. These books would also appeal to Montessori families as they are:
- Beautifully illustrated.
- Feature familiar elements for the child such as common animals that the child may have seen in person and daily activities relevant to the young child such as household activities and observing the seasons.
- Factual and accurate.
Here are just a few of the Waldorf style of board books that we are loving in our Montessori home:
A New Day - This is a wordless book that takes you on a journey through the day of a child in a Waldorf home, but what could just as easily be a Montessori home. It contains illustrations of the young child waking up, going for a walk and feeding the ducks, making meals, and enjoying a bedtime story before going to sleep.
Rain or Shine - This is also a wordless book that takes the child through the seasons. This can be through observing the trees, the weather, the clothing and the activities the children are involved in.
Through The Seasons - This is a unique book as it is a compilation of artwork by Sarah Laidlaw, an Australian artist. If you enjoy Sarah Laidlaw's artwork including cards, you will enjoy this book. It is wordless and takes you through the seasons. Includes a few hints that these scenes are from Australia including Australian birds. These images are very soft and dreamy, they will not appeal to all families. There are a few families scenes which is nice, rather than focusing on the child only, some of the illustrations are of families, gardening or going for a walk/hike as examples.
Hello Farm, How Do You Do? - I love this whole series. As we are now living in a rural area my children see many of these animals on a daily basis. The text is rhyming and fun to read. This is a good book for discussing the sounds that many farm animals make. The illustrations are lovely.
Hello Birds, What Do You Say? - This is similar to Hello Farm in that it goes through the sounds that different kinds of birds make. It is excellent for introducing the child to the names of common birds, the illustrations are clear that it would also help the child learn to identify the birds.
If you are in Australia most of these board books can be found at Honeybee Toys. Montessori schools and families generally do not present fantasy based books and stories to children in the first plane of development (birth to 6 years) so it's important to read new books before presenting them to the child.