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The classic children's book by Eric Carle "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a staple in early childhood education. But what is it about this book that holds the key to some of our favourite Waldorf ideals?
Let me unpack the hidden Waldorf gems inside The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
The Waldorf Rainbow
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is full of those beautiful rainbow colours. Sometimes referred to as the Grimms or Montessori rainbow it actually has roots in Steiner education. Oakley & Maples 12 Piece Rainbow Stacker can be used in many different way to foster your child's imagination and improve their fine motor skills.
Some parents can't wait to get there hands on a rainbow stacker for their children. Unfortunately buying one for the 3 month old will not be much use. This toy is really designed for 3 years and up, so maybe wait a year or two before making the investment.
At the beginning of the book a little egg lies on a leaf by the light of the moon. Then one Sunday morning, out popped a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar.
The significance of the moon plays a big part in how Rudolf Steiner implemented "biodynamic agriculture". Steiner believed that agricultural activities such as sowing, weeding, and harvesting should be performed in conjunction with the moon and plants.
Waldorf education considers that during the first years of life children learn best by being immersed in an environment they can learn through un-self conscious imitation of practical activities.
As the caterpillar progresses through the bad food a practical learning arises when it gets a stomach ache. This was only learned from trial and error.
Whilst letting your children reach their limits can help ground them, maybe don't let them eat as much as the caterpillar did.
At least not in one day!
In 2019 the Very Hungry Caterpillar reached its 50th year since being published. Through story, Eric Carle with his little caterpillar, still manages to capture the imagination of children from around the world.
You can view Eric Carle‘s reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar below:
You can purchase The Very Hungry Caterpillar merchandise from Amazon: