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Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children Paperback – October 30, 2006


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Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children + Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven + Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Rudolph Steiner Pr (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880105666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880105668
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sharifa Oppenheimer was the founding teacher of the Charlottesville Waldorf School, Virginia, where she taught kindergarten for twenty-one years and served as day care director of the early-childhood program. She has helped develop new teachers through teacher-training programs at Sunbridge College in New York State, and at Rudolf Steiner College near Sacramento as a master teacher offering practicum and internship opportunities. She has written many articles on Waldorf education, helping the parents of her students create supportive home environments. Recently she initiated a home-based kindergarten program, The Rose Garden. Sharifa is the mother of three grown sons, who received Waldorf educations. She lives in an enchanted forest in Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Highly recommended, this is one of the best parenting/lifestyle books I have ever read.
L. Loyd
This book has the theory, talks about how children learn, is easy to read, and has all the how to information I was looking for.
Amazon Customer
The book also gives ideas for the day to day rhythms of family life, seasonal celebrations and birthdays.
HeartofAvalon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a new mom (my son is now 1 year old), I was searching for information on how to raise a child in todays overly technological society. The first book about raising children that I read was "You Are Your Child's First Teacher," by Baldwin Dancy. I found this book to be very difficult to read, and I wanted more how to apply the information instead of so much theory.

The next book was "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge, Nurturing our Children from Birth to Seven," by Patterson, Bradley & Riordan. This was a great intro to Waldorf style parenting. It was a quick, easy read with a lot of good information, but again it left me wanting to know more about how to implement the ideas of fesivals & rhythms.

I finally purchased "Heaven on Earth" (recommended by a Waldorf kindergarten teacher at a parenting meeting I went to), and I finally found what I'm looking for. This book has the theory, talks about how children learn, is easy to read, and has all the how to information I was looking for. She gives the elements of festivals, then goes step by step through a few sample festivals, including a fall apple festival and an Easter festival (which I plan to do this year).

She talks about toys, gives sample stories to tell children at different ages, talks about discipline, rhythms, how to set up an indoor play space and how to set up an outdoor play space, how to incorporate children into your daily chores and much more.

It would be very difficult to incorporate everything she talks about in this book, but it's easy to pick and choose a few things you want to improve or change. I knew I wanted to do some annual festivals, but had no idea where to start. I love her ideas for children's birthdays, Christmas and Easter.
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Anna Blue on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a Christian mother with an academic career who has chosen to spend the first years of my children's lives with them. I am not into Waldorf, but this is a brilliant book. The peculiarly devout but religious-averse overlay of the book can easily be overlooked if you like; you can adapt what Oppenheimer says to your own worldview (and she certainly leaves room for this). I found the suggestions on how to create home rhythms and traditions invaluable. Suggestions here led me to give my three-year-old girl a real little hammer for her birthday, along with simple short nails with big heads and a few tree stumps -- to her great delight. I don't need a step-by-step manual for anything, just good ideas, so I love reading books for parents of young children from a wide range of perspectives -- but this has to be my favorite of all such books I've read so far in terms of quality and number of ideas. Lots of resource links in the back of the book are an extra plus! By the way, this is my first review on Amazon, because as a mother of little kids only a brilliant book could motivate me to dedicate time to writing a review. Thanks, Sharifa Oppenheimer!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By HeartofAvalon VINE VOICE on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful resource to own if you are a parent of young children, a nanny or preschool teacher, or a grandparent. I wish that I had had this book when my own children were small. Not only does it share developmental understanding about children, it gives actual activities with enough examples for the caregiver to implement. I was a preschool teacher and nanny for many years, and I am even familiar with many of the Waldorf ideas, but this book really makes the whole experience accessible! I learned so much!

I love the notes in the margins to help find information quickly, or as a reminder once you have read the book. It is a book that I could see going back to over and over. One of the ideas that I loved was the one about helping children through problems. Instead of telling them what to do, or talking about it with them, tell them a story using their toy animals and such, letting the protagonist animal have their same issue. That way they can see their own issue dramatized and they can take it in so much easier and with less stress. No lecturing...just a story. How's that for a great idea? (I know the Native Americans often problem solve with stories, but I could never figure out how to do it "naturally." Now I know!) And that's just ONE of the ideas.

The book also gives ideas for the day to day rhythms of family life, seasonal celebrations and birthdays. It reignited my respect for the magical essence of young children, and my passion to help them flourish!

This book is a keeper.
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102 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth VINE VOICE on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably not ideal if you take a mainstream approach to education and child rearing. You might still find some good ideas, but it is quite a different way of thinking.

We ordered this book because were interested in an introduction to the Waldorf method of schooling/learning. There are lots of great ideas in here about activities for you and your children, how to create an environment that fosters creativity, the way that play shapes children's life and learning, etc. I really found some of the guidance helpful. However, we found as many challenges in the book as we did strengths.

First, the Waldorf method of learning and teaching is pretty specific. The author writes as if there is a specific way that you SHOULD structure your child's world in order for him/her to learn and grow and, essentially, for him or her to turn out well. It isn't so much presented as ONE way of raising children, but the best way and one of the only ways in order for your children to turn out well. And it is very specific about things that just don't seem like that big of a deal: she goes on for pages about the sort of clothes that are best for children to wear. I mean, okay, of course you want your kids to have comfortable clothes, but the time spent on really specific things like this seems to be a bit much.

Second, this book assumes that everyone must live in the country and have enough time and money to design very specific sorts of play environments for their children. There is a whole industry of buying specifically Waldorf toys and learning materials, which is the last thing we need: more specific, expensive things to buy.
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