This is an article given to me by Luke’s playgroup leader (a Steiner group in Greenwich), I love it and want to share it on here.
“What is human warmth? Is it the 40 Celsius body temperature in our child that frightens us, or is it the interest shown for us by a friend that consoles us, or is it the steady burn of enthusiasm which energises us to carry out an important project? …all three are human warmth.
Like water for fish, warmth for humans is the indispensable medium that nourishes our humanity at every level of its existence. Through warmth we connect. We connect to our family, our friends, our teachers, our co-workers, to all humanity, to animals, to plants and to the universe!
A growing child must find its inner ground, its centre of warmth and from this solid ground it seeks to connect to other sources of warmth, in an ever widening circle around itself.
A well maintained deep body warmth helps the ego perfect the organs so they remain in good health throughout the whole of life. It is the warmth organisation wherein the ego works. Warmth is expansive, cold contracts. When we are cold we literally clasp ourselves tightly pulling ourselves in. When we are warm, our arms are free to embrace the work of each other.
In the early years of life there is a necessity for woollen singlets, pants, tights, blankets and bonnets or hats. In hot weather, for a baby under one year old, a cotton singlet is still essential. Breastfeeding also provides the young baby with valuable warmth.
A child needs more protection from loss of warmth than an adult. The adult with their fully incarnated ego is able to control their body temperature, whereas a child’s ego is still in the process of incarnation and has not the same control. Often a young child is not even aware that they are cold.
They can happily get up in the morning and run around with bare feet on a cold floor, an experience we would find distinctly uncomfortable. Therefore, we as the adults need to provide this warmth awareness for young children.
The most suitable way of dressing young children is in layers. For example, in winter, a singlet, t-shirt, skivvy and woollen jumper, together with tights and pants and a jacket and hat for venturing outside. The advantage of dressing in layers is that not only is the child securely warm, a layer is easily removed as is needed while still maintaining good body warmth.
The importance of hats for young children is seen when we realise that more than 30% of heat is lost through the head. Also in children up to the age of two years the fontanels (the small openings in the skull plates) are still open. This knowledge makes the sight of a young child’s bare head on a cold, windy day, a worrying sight.
A good way of checking your child’s body warmth is to feel their hands and feet. If these are cold, your child needs extra warmth.
Synthetic materials, while much easier to wash, do not supply the same degree of warmth as wool. If you picture sheep contentedly chewing in their paddocks on a cold frosty morning, you will remember that wool was designed by Mother Nature to keep in the warmth, even in very chilly temperatures.
Woollen singlets with soft cotton linings can be easily purchased and while relatively expensive, buying a larger size than is immediately needed will ensure they last for up to two years.
By firmly insisting that your child wears a hat for outdoor play (even in Summer), they will soon don a hat without a word from you, such is their readiness to learn from what we do.
Warmth is the natural medium for the body on a soul level and physical level. A deep, penetrating body warmth ensures the healthy development of the child’s physical, emotional and spiritual sense of life and is one of the most important gifts we as parents, can give to our children.”
Compiled by Jenny Lane.