‘If something takes place in the child’s environment…, the whole child will have an internalized picture of [it]… The results of [such an] implanted tendency in the early years will then remain throughout the rest of the child’s life…”Rudolf Steiner in a lecture given in Torquay in 1924, shortly before his death.
The child’s environment and experiences in his early years have a major impact on the well-being of the child – be it spiritual, emotional or physical development. In this fast-paced world, it becomes our primary responsibility to protect our child and provide him with a nurturing and a nourishing environment.
Free Play forms an important part of this nurturing environment, where a child is allowed to explore their imagination and creation through the medium of open-ended toys. It is through play that the child connects with himself and the world around him.
“Play with dolls is of special importance because it is one of the ways through which the child can externalize his own inner being.”Rahima Baldwin Dancy, author of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher
It is through the doll that the child finds his own self, as the doll becomes a part of the child’s own emerging self. Handcrafted Waldorf Dolls made from earth-friendly materials hold a special place in a child’s life. It is a gateway to imagination, creativity, warmth, joy and nourishment.
Nourishes the Senses
What the young child touches and sees has a direct impact on their inner world. To ensure that a child truly has a sensory rich experience, great care is taken while choosing the material, texture and colours. Colours that exude warmth and feel more real are chosen.
The dolls come alive as a lot of thought has gone into keeping it really simple and yet aesthetically appealing.
When the dolls are brought into existence with love, warmth, interest and pure intention, there is a higher possibility that a child may feel reverence and gratitude and may care for it accordingly.
Children are able to make truthful connections with these handmade dolls and toys as they connect with the uniqueness that exists in them. Each doll has its own distinct features even though the patterns may be the same, every doll is different.
Builds a healthy self-image for the child
The dolls come with minimal features, neutral expressions, or at times no features. Children see themselves in the doll and when a doll has neutral features, there is ample scope for inner imagination and emotions to come forth through play which in turn works excellent for building up a healthy self-image for the child.
Opens up possibilities for meaningful play
For a young child, the doll is the most intimate playmate. If the features of the doll are kept open and not fixed or exaggerated, then the possibilities of real meaningful play open up in many ways for the child. Depending on the child’s mood, the doll can be happy, sleepy, sad, or even angry and crying.
When the doll is too perfect, in a sense of having a perfectly carved body, beautiful features, perfect hairstyles and has an ever smiling face, then there is a disconnect with the inner world that lies within the child. The play and what it has to offer a child then becomes superficial.
Dolls encourage role-play and develop motor skills
Dolls give a child an opportunity to imitate their parents, teachers, grandparents, allowing him to practice being a loving, gentle dad and to develop love and care for other people. For children, aged 4 to 6 years, dressing and feeding dolls further develop motor skills and coordination.
This is also the age when a child starts to play imaginatively, imitating the world around him. Age appropriate dolls satiate the inner need of the child, as the doll becomes a friend, a true companion with whom a child shares his feelings, dreams, and adventures.