Jul 032012


“The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner’ is an inspiring film by BBC documentary filmmaker, Jonathan Stedall.  Rudolf Steiner’s contribution to modern day life ranges from a wholistic ecological approach to education to agriculture, medicine, science and art. A comprehensive film for anyone wanting to explore the work of one of the 20th century’s visionary thinkers. Stedall presents Steiner’s life through the eyes of people who lives and work have been inspired by Steiner.

The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner – Trailer from Jonathan Stedall on Vimeo.

The complete film is downloadable for 5 pounds (UK – approx $7-8 US/AUS) by following the links

Part One http://steinerfilm.fetchapp.com/sell/uzeshara

Part Two http://steinerfilm.fetchapp.com/sell/oquoceip

Mar 162012

Healthy food does not have to be more expensive. The Harvard School of Public Health’s Health Prevention Research Center came up with simple tips for after school programs to keep the cost of healthier snacks down:

  • Do not serve sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Serve water every day.
  • Serve a fruit and/or low-priced vegetable (such as carrots or celery) every day.
  • Allocate price savings from replacing 100% juice with tap water towards purchasing and serving whole fruit because of its higher fiber content and effects on satiety.
  • Offer fresh fruits or vegetables over more expensive canned or frozen versions.
  • When serving grains (such as bread, crackers, and cereals), serve whole grains.
  • Avoid foods with trans fat.

These tips are useful for parents wanting to save money and provide healthy food for their children.  The ‘eco parenting – growing greener children’ book is an excellent evidence based research book that provide multitudinous reasons why parents should choose healthy food for their children.


Feb 282012


The rose is said to represent purity and perfection and now it has been documented that it can reduce stress.  The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology reported that researchers found that the simple inhalation of patchouli and rose oil reduced sympathetic nervous activity by 40%, with rose oil reducing adrenaline concentrations by 30%. (1)

When my son was in kindergarten, he would receive a lavender face wash before leaving for the day.  In the last five years we have introduced using flower essences along with other eco parenting initiatives, into parent education programs in Australia.  Children and parents receive massages with a fine sphagni rose or lavender oil.  A lavender face wash is used to help settle the children at rest time.  The parents have reported that the children are calmer and more relaxed.  They are now using the oils to help their children get a good nights sleep.

(1) Green Med Info, http://bit.ly/w0QO0r




Jan 302012


It confirms many parents instinct regarding television.   A study of sixty 4 year olds were randomly assigned to watch a fast paced television cartoon or an educational cartoon.  The study found that children who watched the fast pace television cartoon performed significantly worse in executive function tasks.

The conclusion the researchers drew –‘just 9 minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon had immediate negative effects on 4-year-olds’ executive function. Parents should be aware that fast-paced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children’s executive function.’

from Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, http://bit.ly/y8YXxV

Jan 202012

There is a need for the growing body of scientific evidence, linking obesity and other chronic diseases to toxins in our environment, to become acknowledged in public policy.

This was highlighted in the letter, Metabolic Lottery, (1) in the Sydney Morning Herald – ‘obesity is due to metabolic damage wrought by a food supply high in toxins and low in nutrients’.  In the past year $36 billion has been spent cost on treating obesity-related ailments. 25% of children in Australia are overweight or obese. ‘In 1985, the proportion of overweight or obese Australian children (7-to-15-year-olds) was 11.1 per cent. If the trend continues, 65 per cent of Australian children will be overweight or obese by 2020.’ (2)

In ‘Eco Parenting – Growing Greener Children.’ Jane Hanckel provides easy access to information about everyday toxins in our environment and presents an eco parenting model to help parents make healthy choices for their children and their families.

(1) Metabolic lottery‘The fortunate choose foods low in toxins and high in nutrients. The determined starve themselves and exercise frantically. The majority play the metabolic lottery which has many losers. It will be a dark day when our governments begin penalising those losers while still subsidising the toxic food supply.’  Dr Dave Liddy Belrose

(2) http://bit.ly/xTyP4l

Dec 142011

Physicians Speak Out on the Importance of Play for Children’s Health

Dr. Ken Ginsburg, pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings, and Dr. Marilyn Benoit, Chief Clinical Officer at Devereux Behavioral Health and former president of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, address critical issues facing children and families today — rising levels of stress and anxiety, obesity-related health problems, dramatically reduced time for free play and play outdoors, hectic and overscheduled family life — and offer solutions to addressing these problems.

This video was produced in collaboration with the Alliance for Childhood and KaBOOM!. http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/ and http://kaboom.org

The promotion of creative, free imaginative play, along with healthy food and natural environments are key principles of the Inspir=Ed Spirit of Childhood early childhood programs which have had great success in introducing imaginative play and healthy food in communities across Australia. www.spiritofchildhood.org  

Nov 272011

Christmas 2011 – Birth of a New Tradition

from Suzanne Staples www.heartandspirit.com.au

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Australians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Australian labour.??This year will be different. This year Australians will give the gift of genuine concern for other Australians. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by Australian hands.  Yes there is!??It’s time to think outside the box, people.  Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper???

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut.  How about gift certificates from your local Australian hair salon or barber???Gym membership?  It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.??Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed?  Small, Australian-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.??Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the dollars on a Chinese made flat-screen?  Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or games at the local golf course.??

There are a lots of Australian owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates.  And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.  Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Australians with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.??

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the Australian working guy???Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom?  Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.?? My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

??OK, you were looking for something more personal.  Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves.  They make jewellery, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.??Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and. How about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.?? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.??

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house?  When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community.  If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the postie, garbo or babysitter a nice BIG tip.??

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining Australian pockets so that China can build another glittering city.  Christmas is now about caring about us, encouraging Australian small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Australians, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.?

THIS is the new Australian Christmas tradition.?? Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?




Nov 212011

Forest kindergartens

There is growing evidence about how access to green outdoor spaces helps to develop children’s cognitive ability, foster creative play and relieve symptoms of attention deficit disorder.

In Germany, there are 700 groups of children aged between 3 to 6 years old who spend their days in the woods singing songs, building fires and playing in the mud.  These are called ‘Forest Kindergartens’ or ‘Waldkindergärten’  in which children spend their days outdoors year-round. (1)

The number of German children attending forest kindergartens is increasing.  Local parent groups began setting up ‘forest kindergarten’ programs in the mid-1990s, following similar programs in Denmark and other countries.

In Australia, the Inspir=Ed Spirit of Childhood programs use the principles of connecting children with nature as an integral part of the play and learning environments. Many parents select Steiner Waldorf kindergartens which have natural settings in which the children can play and learn.

In the U.S. a private Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., opened a forest kindergarten requiring students to spend three hours outdoors each day. A teacher at the school observed the benefits of outdoor learning….”students’ improved motor skill development, they worked out their social issues in a better way and they had more imaginative play”. (2) Another U.S. program. The Mother Earth kindergarten, opened in Portland, Oregon last year to combat “early academic fatigue syndrome”.  Marsha Johnson who launched the kindergarten said “We have 5-year-olds who are tired of going to school.”  The children spend four hours a day at the privately run school playing in a state park forest.

Research reported in May 2008 showed that U.S. many children in day care programs were not playing outdoors.  Richard Louv, in ‘Last Child Left in the Woods’  reflects how children have been shepherded indoors at the expense of their wellbeing.

‘eco parenting – growing greener children’  is an excellent book that provides evidence based research on why going back to nature is good for children.

1. Mike Esterl, ‘German Tots Learn to Answer Call of Nature’  Wall Street Journal,  http://on.wsj.com/v6VI8y

2. Sarah Amandolare, ‘US Schools Realizing Benefits of Forest Kindergartens’  http://bit.ly/u9fOPs



Nov 012011


ADHD, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder in childhood.  It has significant repercussions for the child and their family as well as affecting the child’s school performance, well-being and social interactions.

In 2001 the  American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines for treatment for the evaluation and diagnosis of ADHD.  Now they have extended the guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in children from 6 to 12 years to 4 to 18 years. The guidelines, “ADHD: Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” were released at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference on October 16th and published in Academy’s Pediatrics.

The work of Inspir=Ed and the Spirit of Childhood Foundation, outlined in the research based book ‘eco parenting – growing greener children’  by Jane Hanckel provides strong arguments about the need to look at the environment, diet and lifestyle together with practical advice on how to avoid environmental triggers related to children’s behavioural disorders.


Natural environments, both indoors and outdoors, provide children with a calm and nurturing place to play and learn