CBRSS congratulates Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people on their land and sea native title determination

Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people celebrate long-awaited land and sea native title determination

A native title claim for areas of land and sea around Byron Bay in northern New South Wales has been approved almost two decades since it was first lodged with the Federal Court.

“There is no fear in native title,” Ms Rotumah said. “Native title is a recognition of people’s rights and interests in lands and waters. It means [the Bundjalung] can continue to be sustained by the ocean, to go out and fish, and beach worm, get pippies — all those things we’ve been able to do, and now we’re having a rubber stamp put on it giving us the thumbs up.”

Read the full article by ABC news here.

How the iPhone rewrote the teenage brain

Lawyer and social researcher David Gillespie has been delving into the complex business of the teenage brain. He says the usual teenage compulsions like smoking, drinking and drug taking are in steep decline, as teenagers are now more likely to seek a pleasure hit from their screens.

But the games and social media apps they use are deliberately engineered to be addictive.

Unlike drugs and cigarettes, their devices are supported by parents, with few restrictions on their use.

Listen to an excellent interview with David Gillespie by Richard Fidler on the ABC’s Conversations here

David’s Book on this subject is called Teen Brain and is published by MacMillan

New Waldorf 100 Movie

“Becoming…” – a new film explores early childhood around the world in the 21st century.

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Waldorf Education, Waldorf 100 in cooperation with the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf early childhood education (IASWECE) presents a film about early childhood today in the mirror of different cultures worldwide.

No age has a deeper impact on the whole of life than the first years of childhood. “During those first seven years, children develop their bodily foundation for life. They explore and experience the world with their senses and through meeting the other. These early encounters in life have a deep influence and long lasting effect on the making of their own being,” says Clara Aerts, coordinating member of IASWECE and co-producer of the film, which was shot in the USA, Israel, Japan, India, South Africa, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany. “The experiences that we make possible – or withhold – for our children at this age form the most elementary basis for their further lives and thus ultimately for the future of humanity.”

“Becoming…” is the third film in a series of short films produced on the occasion of the centenary of Waldorf Education under the direction of the award-winning Californian documentary filmmaker Paul Zehrer, and which provide an insight into the inclusive diversity of Waldorf Education under the most diverse cultural, social, religious and economic conditions around the globe. “Becoming…” was premiered at the international IASWECE congress “Inner Freedom – Social Responsibility”, which took place in April at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. The film is now available on the websites of Waldorf 100 and IASWECE.

Today there are almost 2,000 early childhood centres and around 1,200 schools worldwide that work on the basis of Steiner/Waldorf education. In 2019, the anniversary year, a large number of events, congresses and activities take place all over the world, dedicated to the challenges of the present and the future and involving pupils, parents and teachers alike.

Waldorf 100 coordinates these activities. On 19 September 2019, the central worldwide celebration will take place in Berlin’s Tempodrom.

For further information please contact Henning Kullak-Ublick, hku@waldorf-100.org.

Watch the video by clicking this link

I Don’t Want Parents to Feel Guilty, I Do Want Them to Trust Their Child More

Limiting screen time or even going full bore screen free has been equated with some kind of super-involved, activity-curating parenting. If you walked into my home, you would know this is quite a myth.

We may have more “messes” and odd “junk” lying around than the average family, but perhaps less parent involvement. I do love to play with my kids and do it quite often. But, my husband and I both work, I run every day, we always cook at home and like to talk to each other once in a while. That means I cannot possibly be playing with my children all the time.

Being Screen Free Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Take Time for Myself

“I need a moment’s peace,” or “I refuse to feel guilty about screen time when it’s the only way to make dinner,” imply that those parents who don’t utilize screens in this way take no time for themselves. I think it’s quite the opposite.

It’s actually rather narcissistic to believe that we are the center of our child’s universe. We are critically important, but make no mistake, your child is the center of their world.

Let me also say that I bear no grudge or judgment against parents who do use screen time in a limited fashion for specific purposes. However, I do disagree with the idea that it is typically necessary.

Being Screen Free Does Mean I Trust my Child

When I go for a run, do yoga, make dinner, read, talk to my husband, filter through permission slips and bills, or any other activity that requires my full attention, I trust my child to find something to do. This is called “self-directed play” and it means that I recognize the need to get out of my child’s way, at times. I think this sends a very different message than handing over a screen when I cannot pay attention. To me, handing over the screen seems kind of apologetic, “I’m so sorry I can’t pay attention to you. Because I feel guilty about that, here’s some curated, highly engaging content so you don’t have to be aware of my lack of attention”

I want my child to know I cannot pay attention to them sometimes. I want them to sometimes struggle with that. I want them to know that I believe they can do it. They can handle the struggle. They can find something interesting and creative to do that is far better than anything I could curate for them. I want them to have continuous small exposures to negative emotions (jealousy, boredom, loneliness), so they do not feel the need to distract themselves from these emotions later in life.

Read the full article at Screen Free Parenting here

Why Kids Need Wilderness And Adventure More Than Ever

Let your kids be wild.

These days, our kids’ lives are overscheduled, filled with pressure, and can be pretty intense. School, homework, sports and/or other extracurricular activities fill the week and often consumes many weekends as well. We all can feel like there is no time left to fit anything else in. There has to be. Our younger kids and teenagers need wilderness and adventure in their lives and who better to model it to them than us, their parents. I would actually argue that it is more important than a lot of the scheduled activities we have them in now. Wilderness and adventure will help develop them into well-rounded young adults.

Read the full article here

Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy:

Six Ways electronic screen time makes kids angry, depressed and unmotivated

By Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D.

Children or teens who are “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who are depressed and apathetic have become disturbingly commonplace. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.” That is, they’re agitated but exhausted. Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to struggle academically and socially.

At some point, a child with these symptoms may be given a mental-health diagnosis such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, and offered corresponding treatments, including therapy and medication. But often these treatments don’t work very well, and the downward spiral continues.

What’s happening?

Both parents and clinicians may be “barking up the wrong tree.” That is, they’re trying to treat what looks like a textbook case of mental disorder, but failing to rule out and address the most common environmental cause of such symptoms—everyday use of electronics. Time and again, I’ve realized that regardless of whether there exists any “true” underlying diagnoses, successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast”—to allow the nervous system to “reset.”

If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity. The ability to tolerate stress improves, so meltdowns diminish in both frequency and severity. The child begins to enjoy the things they used to, is more drawn to nature, and imaginary or creative play returns. In teens and young adults, an increase in self-directed behavior is observed—the exact opposite of apathy and hopelessness.

It’s a beautiful thing.

At the same time, the electronic fast reduces or eliminates the need for medication while rendering other treatments more effective. Improved sleep, more exercise, and more face-to-face contact with others compound the benefits—an upward spiral! After the fast, once the brain is reset, the parent can carefully determine how much if any electronics use the child can tolerate without symptoms returning.

Read the full article here

The positive benefits that Eurythmy gives to children.

The life force or life energy which makes a plant grow is the medium through which Eurythmy functions. Look at a healthy child – rosy cheeks, radiant energy, clear eyes and good muscle tone. Eurythmy fosters and maintains this healthiness. Specific movement sequences are introduced with imagery, which is in itself life-giving – e.g. Rather than being instructed to move in a straight line and then a curve, the teacher might say “let’s walk across a narrow bridge to a sandy island in the middle of a lily pond and then run around the shore on a white pebble path”. Eurythmy strengthens and renews this life force that is so often depleted through our hectic lifestyle.

We have been created and born with the help of spiritual forces that stand behind what we call the 12 zodiac signs and the 7 planets. The sound of each consonant and each vowel rings from one of these cosmic forces. Each has created a part of our body or maintains the functioning of an organ. The ‘music of the spheres or the LIVING WORD is reflected in the healthy functioning of the child’s body. The spiritual energy, life force, etheric force or chi behind the physical movement of the arms for each consonant and each vowel maintains and strengthens this connection between the macro cosmos and the micro cosmos (the child). A beautifully spoken poem or verse where these consonants and vowels sound together in harmony, moved with the arms or the whole body, alone or in a group with others in the room on different forms, strengthens and balances the whole being of the child – body, soul and spirit.

The spiritual essence that, which the child calls “I”, gives and maintains its uprightness. It takes hold of the baby when it stands upright for the first time.

A strong calling of the name of a child who is dreaming away calls on this “I” or self. You often see it become more upright in its posture when called consciously. Rhythmic activities with copper rods strengthen this uprightness or presence of self and improve the posture. The metal copper has a stimulating effect on the blood circulation, which is the physiological carrier of this I AM, force. Rhythm carries life! The name Eurythmy means beautiful rhythm or pleasant flow.

All movements in Eurythmy are rhythmic or life-filled. This strengthens the life forces that maintain the health of the body and brings harmony into chaotic forces redness and a deepening concentration (finding the centre or SELF). We can all experience how effective it is doing the same thing at the same time each day.

The LIFE BODY, the organism that maintains our physical body, is also the carrier of thought (intelligence). The brain itself is more a reflector than a computer. Through moving in a eurythmic way where every movement is filled with meaning and where the feeling life of the child is also engaged, we foster intelligence through will activity.

Better concentration, co-ordination, better posture, better spatial awareness and social relations are the result. Dyslexia has been successfully treated with special eurythmic movements.

There is a whole field called Curative Eurythmy that works through life movement directly into the physical body. The Anthroposophical doctor who has knowledge of Eurythmy and its effects on the child prescribes the specific exercises.

Listening and speaking: The heard, understood and spoken word is what makes us truly human. In Eurythmy the child’s etheric or life body listens or speaks – makes the word visible. You can sense corresponding movement in and around the larynx when someone speaks beautifully. This region also cringes or contracts when it vibrates to the horrible screaming of a furniture seller on TV. We love to listen to a well-modulated voice and we dislike stridency. The life body of the child engages the physical body to make the corresponding movements to what it “hears”. The child’s arms move and it becomes as it were a gigantic larynx through which the spiritual world “resounds”.

It is important that the content of the poem or the piece of music is beautiful and has a deeper meaning behind it. That engages the child’s feelings as well as its thinking and when children move beautifully – eurythmically – to a well spoken poem they make the flesh become WORD just as so many years ago the WORD became FLESH.

Find out about the benefits of Eurythmy yourself. CBRSS now offers Eurythmy for Adults on Wednesday mornings,  see the post earlier in this Bulletin for details.

How the Tech Industry Uses Psychology to Hook Children

Why do kids struggle to look up from devices? The answer is persuasive design.

“Something’s wrong with my son. He won’t spend time with us, won’t do his homework… all he wants to do is be in his room and play his game.”

Parents, educators, and health professionals around the world are expressing frustration and alarm that children are being lost to video games, social media, and phones. What’s vital to understand is that children’s fixation with gadgets and entertainment applications is by design. Actually, a relatively new concept called persuasive design.

Persuasive design has been in the news a lot recently. Put simply, persuasive design is the practice of combining psychology and technology to change people’s behavior. Gadgets and applications are developed by psychologists and other user experience (UX) researchers who apply behavioral change techniques to manipulate users. The concept can sound scary, however, these techniques can be used to encourage positive behaviors, such as exercise, healthy eating, and smoking cessation.

Nonetheless, persuasive design is increasingly employed by video game and social media companies to pull users onto their sites and keep them there for as long as possible—as this drives revenue. While persuasive design is applied through technology, the power to alter behavior is primarily derived from psychology. Video game developer and psychologist John Hopson describes how Skinner-box principles are used to increase video game use, comparing players to lab animals: “This is not to say that players are the same as rats, but that there are general rules of learning which apply equally to both.” In his paper “Behavioral Game Design,” Hopson explains how psychology is used to keep players staring at screens, answering questions such as: “How do we make players maintain a high, consistent rate of activity?” and “How to make players play forever.”

Persuasive design works by creating digital environments that users believe fulfill their basic human drives — to be social or obtain goals — better than real-world alternatives. Specific techniques used by psychologists and other UX designers to hook users include the use of variable rewards, as video games and social networks are designed to act like slot machines. “Likes,” friend requests, game rewards, and loot boxes are doled out at just the right time to increase what’s referred to in the industry as “time on device.”

Persuasive Design’s Power Over Children and Teens

Many adults, influenced by persuasive design, are challenged to look away from their phones. However, children and teenagers are far more vulnerable, as their brains are still developing and executive functions—including impulse control—are not well developed. As Ramsay Brown, neuroscientist and co-founder of the artificial intelligence/machine learning company Boundless Mind, says in a recent Time article, “Your kid is not weak-willed because he can’t get off his phone… Your kid’s brain is being engineered to get him to stay on his phone.”

Techniques used by video game and social media companies often exploit children’s developmental vulnerabilities. For example, teens’ highly elevated desire for social acceptance and fear of social rejection is a well-known aspect of their psychological development. Rather than handling this limitation with caution, proponents of behavioral design see it as a gold mine. As psychologist B.J. Fogg, the father of persuasive design and creator of the Stanford University Behavioral Design Lab, says, “Today, with social technologies a reality, the methods for motivating people through social acceptance or social rejection have blossomed.”

Revealing another dark side of persuasive design, Bill Fulton, who trained in cognitive and quantitative psychology, says of video game makers, “If game designers are going to pull a person away from every other voluntary social activity or hobby or pastime, they’re going to have to engage that person at a very deep level in every possible way they can.” And that is a key reason why persuasive design is having such a negative impact on childhood, as digital products are built to be so seductive that they replace real-world activities—many of which kids need to grow up to be happy and successful.

Read the Full article from Psychology Today here

A true story about magic

“For those of you who are introverted/shy or have children who are. A delightful story…that might just have a strategy within it…

Oh…and if you love David Bowie make sure you have a read…”

You will find it here

School can be the best days of a parent’s life

Looking back at my children’s time at school, I wish I knew everything would work out all right so I didn’t waste time worrying.

I have three children, all very different academically, but they’ve each found their own path. There is so much opportunity post-school today, there really is a path for everyone.

As a parent, there is always something to worry about; when they don’t do well at school, if they’re not chosen for something, when their peers are unkind to them. The trials of adolescence.

Being a teacher has helped me see everything is a phase, and we will get through it. At the time problems seem enormous, but they pass. Sometimes it is just a case of riding out a difficulty and not catastrophising it. When my children had difficulties I used to tell them to get up, keep going, and one day the sun would shine again. And it always did.

Read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald here

By Dr Julie Townsend.

‘Our house is on fire’: Greta Thunberg, 16, urges leaders to act on climate

Some of our students recently were involved in a Strike against Climate Change, this Global movement was started by 16 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden. This article is from a speech given by Greta.

Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.

According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris agreement work on a global scale. Nor does it include tipping points or feedback loops like the extremely powerful methane gas released from the thawing Arctic permafrost.

At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change, we have to acknowledge we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to create broad public awareness.

But Homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands. But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

Read the full article or watch the video at The Guardian here

Greta Thunberg (left) takes part in a ‘school strike for climate’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Waldorf 100 Part 2

The first Waldorf (Steiner) school was founded in Stuttgart in 1919. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and almost 2,000 Waldorf kindergartens in some 80 countries around the globe. Paul Zehrer produced and directed this new film and it’s fantastic. You’ll see and hear students and teachers from Waldorf schools around the world talking about today’s children, the challenges and rewards of education, and how we encounter each other, engage, and include each other in relationships and in community.

It’s very moving. You’ll love watching it.

Featuring students and teachers from;
The Community School for Creative Education, Oakland, CA and principal Monique Brinson and founder Dr. Ida Oberman
Bustan Yafa Kindergarten, The Orchard of Abraham’s Children, in Jaffa, Israel, an Arab/Muslim/Israeli/Jewish kindergarten – Ora & Ihab Balha, co-founders
Parzival-Zentrum School in Karlsruhe, Germany and founding teacher Bernd Ruf. In 2016 the school enrolled 160 refugees that came to Germany as unaccompanied children from China, Iraq, Syria, North African countries and the Balkans.
Florian Osswald from Dornach, Tamrat El Zeitoun Kindergarten in Israel, Jon Mc Alice, Sue Simpson, New Zealand, Christof Wiechert, Pedagogical Section, Goetheanum,  Orland Bishop, Founder, ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation,  Amir Shlomian, founder of Ein Bustan, Israel, Daniel Anderson, San Francisco Waldorf School, Bodo von Plato, Philosopher, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, founder & chairman SEKEM, Helmy Abouleish, CEO SEKEM, Kyotanabe Steiner School, Japan, teachers and parents, Waldorf teacher Trainees, Henning Kullak-Ublick, Executive Board, German Waldorf Association and hundreds and hundreds of children from Waldorf schools all over the world. You can find it by following this link

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting

Smartphones have by now been implicated in so many crummy outcomes—car fatalities, sleep disturbances, empathy loss, relationship problems, failure to notice a clown on a unicycle—that it almost seems easier to list the things they don’t mess up than the things they do. Our society may be reaching peak criticism of digital devices.

Even so, emerging research suggests that a key problem remains underappreciated. It involves kids’ development, but it’s probably not what you think. More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.

Read the full article here

Celebrating Advent

Advent starts this year on Sunday 2nd December and is celebrated for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas until Sunday 23rd December. Advent is frequently celebrated by people of every religious background, every faith, every spiritual path as part of the festivals of the cycle of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, Christmas falls near the Summer Solstice when the light is at its strongest and we celebrate the triumph of light at its greatest point in the yearly cycle. As the year draws to an end we increasingly spend time outside enjoying “the sun in the heavens”. With the long warm days, intense light and balmy nights we are drawn out into the elements rather than into “the sun in our hearts”.

It can be challenging to develop a sense of inwardness, patience and contemplation when the Spirit of the Earth is on its outward breath. To balance this we can consciously choose to “receive the light” and celebrate what is both universally human and universally spiritual. Celebrating Advent can provide an opportunity for some quiet ‘breathing in’ during this outwardly busy time of year and help your children to practice preparation, reverence and patience through the ritual of counting the weeks and days to the special celebratory event. The lighting of candles each week also reflects our own ‘Divine Light’ and helps to bring us a little inward contemplation.

Traditionally Steiner schools and families celebrate Advent by looking each week at the natural kingdoms on Earth: minerals the first week, plants the second week, animals the third week and humans the fourth week (see verses below).

Here are some ideas that you might like to include in your own advent celebrations:

  

An Advent verse
‘The gift of the light we thankfully take, But not shall it be alone for our sake, The more we give light, the one to the other, It shines and it spreads, growing still further; Until every spark by friends set aflame, Until every heart, the joy to proclaim; In the depths of our souls, A shining sun glows.’

Advent Wreath  – on a special table made with greenery and seasonal flowers, four advent candles to light each consecutive Sunday of Advent.

Advent Garden – assembled and added to each Sunday of Advent with the four kingdoms celebrated each week try adding tiny crushed shells (collected from the beach) in a spiral pattern for the spiral on which Mary and Joseph figures walk.

Advent Crib – a nativity scene of the four kingdoms, adding a different one each of the Sundays- Crystal Kingdom, plant kingdom, animal and human kingdoms.

Advent calendars are available from Rudolf Steiner Bookstore by following this link

Verses for the 4 weeks of Advent

Week 1: Crystal Kingdom
The crystal kingdom comes first and is honoured by decorating the wreath or garden with crystals, seashells, stones or little bones you may find.

Week 2: Plant Kingdom
In the second week the plant kingdom is honoured by adding little dried flowers, seeds and pine cones and greenery.

                     

Week 3: Animal Kingdom
The animal kingdom, in the third week, is honoured by adding little wooden animals or beeswax creatures the children make.

Week 4: Humankind
The fourth week sees us honouring humankind by adding a little felted or beeswax child and figures.

      

Additional Reading:
Our library also has some handouts on making an advent wreath, nature table etc.
Possible stories include The Star Money from the Brothers Grimm, (and if you have the book “Rose Windows”, there is a lovely idea for a window transparency in there); craft ideas in The Children’s Year and Families, Festivals and Food. Other stories include the ones from “The Light In the Lantern: Stories for Advent” from Wynstones Press; Advent Sunday Stories, Collette Leenman; Mary’s Little Donkey, Gunhild Sehlin; Advent and Christmas Stories, Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol.

How Waldorf School (Steiner School) Media Policy Fosters Children’s Healthy Development

By Richard Freed. Child Psychiatrist.

My clinical practice is increasingly a forum for children and teens who suffer because their lives are spent with digital machines, and little else. These kids are often in great emotional pain, fail school despite being capable students, or are caught up in destructive addictions to video games, social media, and phones. It’s heartbreaking to see these children and teens suffer from symptoms that could be prevented if our society better understood the effects of wired lives on kids’ health and well-being.

More recently, the world is recognizing the danger of raising children with lives focused around screens, as the often tragic consequences are now highlighted in the popular press. This contrasts with the prior decade in which our mainstream culture was caught up in the supposed promise of expanding kids’ use of digital devices. During this earlier period, outside of academic journals, there was virtually no discussion of the adverse effects of children’s overuse of screens. One clear exception: Waldorf Schools and their media and tech policies.

For decades, Waldorf Schools have been prescient in naming the risks of children growing up immersed in problematic screen and phone content. Moreover, Waldorf Schools have also highlighted a non-content issue that is often overlooked: how kids’ lives spent with screens displace vital childhood developmental experiences. Interestingly, while Waldorf School media/tech policy was considered conservative years ago, it is increasingly recognized as consistent with what science says are the lives kids need.

Nonetheless, powerful tech industry and marketing forces are more determined than ever to sell parents and schools on the benefits of putting kids before screens and phones. These messages are compelling and contribute to common myths about children’s screen and tech use. In this article, I will outline a number of these digital-age myths and illustrate how science proves their undoing. We will also see how Waldorf Schools and their media policies provide a powerful antidote to these myths and point the way towards the childhoods young people need.

Download the full article here