Day 29 - Friday, January 8, 2009
Little Lucas took the day off today. If you remember, on his first day of school, he fell on the icy jungle gym and smashed his cheek. Well it's come up in a nasty bruise, so he must have given it a fair whack. A day with Mum and Dad's what he needed. So Ian and Lucas set off (in minus 12) to the subway because he really wanted to catch the train. At each stop he mimicked the guy's voice announcing each station. 'St Patrick,' 'Dundas,' 'Osgoode'. They went to Dundas Square and he looked around, then remembered he'd been there when it wasn't covered in snow and said, 'I'm cold Dad'. Ian then took him down into the underground city Toronto's quite famous for. Acres of shopping, subway access, gyms, restaurants, tunnels underneath the city so that you never have to be above ground. It's quite a remarkable system. Mango juice, McDonalds then back home to go ski helmet shopping with mum. It's all about the adventure.
On the way to school
Francesca was invited to Paige's house for a play tonight. She went home from school with her little friend's mum, Mrs Stewart. Then the rest of our family was invited for dinner. Wisely Ian declined the offer on behalf of whirlwind I and whirlwind II and just Connor and I went over and had a perfectly delightful evening with a delicious dinner of burgers and apple pie. Could you get any more North American than that? It was fantastic. Really, really lovely people. At dinner we heard more about the Waldorf system. It's quite out there. Fascinating. The main premise seems to be that Rudolph Steiner identified appropriate developmental stages of children and also an effective way of presenting knowledge for the children to absorb. So that might involve an environment conducive to the young child's nervous system ie neutral tones, gentle sounds, no harsh light, sharp edges, or hard foods - the key being every single sense needs to be catered for, nothing shall be skipped or missed out. I see now that Penbank delivers much of what the Waldorf system deems as being important to children.
They are real advocates for too much too soon. The Waldorf ideal is that children aren't pushed in reading and writing until they're ready. So our kids are obviously miles in front on that level. But when they are old enough in the Waldorf opinion, they apparently pick it up immediately.
I guess one could be forgiven for comparing hard core Waldorf to the Amish as they don't believe that children should watch tv, movies or listen to anything commerical on the radio. They make their toys, clothes, decor and entertainment themselves if possible. Then just as one might criticise them for being not with modern day, they'll go and show you that they're selling their husky hair sweaters on the internet and here's the website. I find it all really interesting.
As much as we would have enjoyed staying for a game of charades, it was time to go home to Ian as the boys would have gone to bed therefore it was safe to return to the nest. Besides, Ces and Connor had had a big week and needed to be in bed. But, all in all, week one at school in Canada was absolutely excellent and exceeded all fun expectations.
We don't know how Doug lived here. The cars are all filthy.
Examples of the architecture
These are just samples, but the houses are all this gorgeous, especially as they're snow covered. Every one is different but more magnificent than the last - it looks as if somebody asked Walt Disney to design a snow village.