Making Soft Dolls
Simple Waldorf designs to sew and love

Making Soft Dolls | Steffi Stern | 9781912480050 | Hawthorn PressWhy do Waldorf dolls have few facial features? What is it about dolls that captures the imagination of children and adults around the world?

This book answers these questions and highlights the power of dolls used for therapeutic purposes, recognising that soft dolls aren’t just for children.

From the simplest rag doll to more complex characters, this book gives straight-forward instructions, a guide to buying your materials and upcycling materials you already own.

A lovingly hand-made doll makes the perfect present and these dolls are easy to make and will be much loved for generations. - Hawthorn Press

Reviews by David Kennedy, Waldorf Today:

The 10 word review:
Everything you need to know about Waldorf doll making. Everything.

The longer review:
If you've ever wanted to learn about making soft dolls, then this is the book for you. Steffi Stern has created extensive patterns and instructions for a variety of dolls, from the simplest first doll all the way up to the big "baby" doll.

The foreward by Philipp Reubke and the first chapters explore "What is a Waldorf doll?", "Why Waldorf Dolls?" and "Doll Stories". Beginning the book with those topics is a great orientation for Waldorf doll making.

There is an extensive section on the materials you'll need for all the dolls, as well as a section on the skills you'll use for creating the dolls.  Steffi Stern is a master doll maker and her instructions are clear and precise. 

Making Soft Dolls has been gorgeously produced by Hawthorn Press. The illustrations that accompany the instructions are hand-drawn and colored by Lucy Guenot. 

It's a great introduction for first-time doll makers. It's also full of gems for experienced doll makers of all levels. 

Want to know more? Just click here.


Whither Waldorf

By Eugene Schwartz, 

Covid-19, the challenge of online teaching, the specter of white supremacy in our schools – the issues that have bedeviled the Waldorf movement over the past year have many teachers wondering, “Where do we go next?” Another question, less often asked, would be, “And how did we get here?”

How can a pedagogical approach that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of American education have been so blindsided by so many events?  And why are we invariably reactive, not proactive, in our responses?

For a good part of this century, I have deeply concerned myself with Waldorf education’s past and future. My lectures on these themes have been heard, live and online, by thousands of Waldorf teachers and parents.

Now I am making three lecture cycles about the destiny of Waldorf education available in one place, at one time, during the Winter Break period of February 13 through February 21. The lectures will be available for online streaming for those nine days, or they may be purchased for downloading onto your computer. Here are the three groups of lectures:

The Rudolf Steiner Course 

Considered the most concise and objective study of the life and times of Rudolf Steiner available in English, these 22 hours of lectures mark the first time that Rudolf Steiner is viewed in the context of the times in which he lived. Steiner’s teachings about the path of cognition, reincarnation and karma, the evolution of the earth and humankind, and the meaning of the Christ are made meaningful to a modern audience.

For any Waldorf teacher who wonders if Rudolf Steiner is still relevant today, these lectures will provide a stimulating and thought-provoking answer. 

Click here for more information.

1919: Discord and Destiny 

A worldwide pandemic. Economic devastation. The collapse of stable governments and the rise of autocratic states. Racial violence and labor union suppression in the United States … . Sound familiar? This was what the world was like in 1919, when Rudolf Steiner and Emil Molt dared to found the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany. In fact, according to Rudolf Steiner himself, the conflagration of these horrendous circumstances provided the only possible foundation for the school’s unfolding.

In these six hours of lectures, I present a vivid and global overview of the year 1919 and Rudolf Steiner’s response to the demands of world karma. Although the talks were given in the spring and autumn of 2019, I realize now that they accurately presaged the chaos of 2020 and the inexorable contraction of the independent Waldorf school movement. 

Click here for more information.

Waldorf 2020 

In 2016, as the tumultuous Presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump exposed the divisiveness and anger seething in the United States, plans were nonetheless underway for a joyous celebration of Waldorf’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

In these lectures I chose to say very little about what I guessed would be an anticlimactic anniversary. I chose instead to focus on the challenges that the post-celebratory Waldorf movement would face. I strove to clearly and objectively delineate the failings of the leadership of North American Waldorf schools. A host of examples illustrate their fecklessness in the face of the ever-growing ahrimanic threats to pedagogical freedom and the life of spirit in the classroom -- and administrative offices.

Four years ahead of their time, these eleven hours of lectures may help provide a “true compass” and a path forward for an educational movement that is rapidly losing its way. 

Click here for more information.


Announcement from Waldorf Learning Support (WLS)

February 18-21 our second cohort of the 3-year intensive training begins all online. This training prepares Waldorf teachers and related professionals in learning support theory and practice. Kris Boshell and Ingun Schneider co-direct WLS (previously the Remedial Educational Support Program at Rudolf Steiner College 1991 to 2017) and are joined by core instructors Joep Eikenboom and Jo-Ann Climenhage. 
Completion of this on-line program, all its assignments and mentoring earns the participant a certificate from WLS and the Waldorf Teacher Institute of Chicago.

This training focuses on:

  • Using the developmental situation of each student as the guide in choosing pedagogically appropriate activities to address learning differences.
  • Foundational theoretical studies that include indications from Rudolf Steiner, Audrey McAllen and others regarding human development and pedagogical insights, as well as current scientific research.
  • Activities in movement, form drawing and painting—from Extra Lesson and more— that form the basis of our practical work.
  • WLS aims to deepen the participant’s understanding of child development as foundational for learning, while offering training in practical pedagogical approaches supportive of everyday working with students of all ages in both classroom, small group and 1:1 settings.
  • Initial courses in the WLS curriculum explore causes at the foundational level for individual learning challenges and how to address them. 

Theoretical classes include:

  • Rudolf Steiner’s indications for child and human development, for Waldorf and special education Audrey McAllen’s elaboration of anthroposophical research relevant to child development and its support, including children’s drawings as supportive indicators of development.
  • Sensory and motor integration according to mainstream research.
  • Medical, nutritional, neurological, therapeutic and anthroposophical perspectives on learning & behavior difficulties and addressing them.
  • Career development: exploration of working in learning support for school settings, programming and private practice, with practical applications such as work proposals, contracts, insurance information, and more. 

Practical classes include:

  • Assessment and exercises of the Extra Lesson.
  • Integrative movement, form drawing and painting exercises

Mentoring, independent practice and research:

  • Between each long session home assignments include reading, assessment and exercise practice including movement, drawing and painting.
  • Short sessions to give support for your practice.
  • Year 2 research project with written and oral report on a chosen topic with a child development, pedagogical and/or therapeutic theme.
  • Year 3 Capstone project—case study culminating in an oral and written presentation.
  • Year 2 mentoring—observations of educational support teachers in practice.
  • Year 3 mentoring—mentor observes you to prepare you for your work in the field ahead.

For more information about WLS and our programs, please go to Please feel free to contact either Kris or Ingun for more information:


The Soul of Discipline now available in paperback

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From Kim John Payne
Dear Simplifier,

We’re excited to announce today that, after six long years, our best-selling discipline and guidance book, The Soul of Discipline, is finally available in paperback! 

As parents ourselves, we know that every parent wants parenting to feel easier and more fulfilling. They want to feel connected with their kids and to feel confident about the choices they’re making for their children.

The problem is, no one teaches us how to do any of that. All we know about parenting is how we were raised, which doesn’t necessarily work with our own children. We don’t know about child development and how kids need different guidance at different ages. 

Most importantly, the pressures and influences and the pace of life today seem to work against everything we feel we want for our family. 

To celebrate, we’re giving away twenty-five signed copies, each with a personalized inscription from Kim John Payne!

To be eligible to win one of these rare signed copies, just take our “Discipline Type” Quiz between now and this coming Monday, 2/8. 

The winners will be chosen at random on Tuesday, February 9th.

(If you’ve taken the quiz already, that’s fine, you’re welcome to take it again. NOTE: Offer is limited to residents of the Continental U.S.)

Click here to take the quiz and claim your chance to win

We’ll have more to say in the coming days about all this. But for now, click the button, take the quiz, enter the drawing, and hopefully you’ll hear from us on the 9th that you’ve won your very own signed copy of The Soul of Discipline.

Thank you, and good luck!

The Simplicity Parenting Team

All entrants must:

  • Take the “Discipline Type” Quiz between now and Monday, 2/8 
  • Request your Full Report (enter your email address at the end of the quiz so we know how to reach you)
  • Live in the Continental U.S. 
  • Note that winners will be selected at random and notified on February 9th. Those who don’t win will not be notified. If you haven’t heard from us by the 10th, it means you weren’t one of the winners.




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