Heaven on Earth
A Handbook for Parents of Young Children
“Our children are, in the words of Kahlil Gibran, the gift of Life’s longing for Itself. They run toward Life, arms open, and Life loves Itself through their small bodies. Pressing themselves into the sand, sifting dirt, watching an inchworm measure a branch, reaching toward the black cat, who evades, then looks at them through inscrutable green eyes...it is their biological imperative to reach toward Life, and we, their caregivers, must structure the way in which Life reaches back, the way they are touched in return.” — Sharifa Oppenheimer
As we see a shift of old forms that were once the foundations of our daily lives, parents—who must prepare the next generation to meet the changing world—have more questions today than ever before. Although our cultural values and family structures may change, it is the atmosphere in the home that continues to form the foundation of a child’s life. In Heaven on Earth, parent and educator Sharifa Oppenheimer reveals how parents can make the home environment warm, lively, loving, and consistent with their highest ideals.
Heaven on Earth balances a theoretical understanding of child development with practical ideas, resources, and tips that can transform family life. Readers will learn how to create the regular life rhythms needed to establish a foundation for learning; how to design indoor play environments that allow children the broadest development of skills; and how to create outdoor play spaces that encourage vigorous movement and a wide sensory palette. Through art, storytelling, and the festival celebrations, this book is an invaluable guide to building a “family culture” based on the guiding principle of love—a culture that supports children and encourages the free development of each unique soul.
Sharifa Oppenheimer offers a gift from the heart. Heaven on Earth is a practical, inspiring resource that brings the author's informed, intuitive understanding of young children into the heart of the home.
“Sharifa Oppenhiemer has given the world a great gift in the pages of this book. The important child-development information is exquisitely combined with the best ‘How-to’s’ I have seen in any book for parents. Her book, is a ready guide that insures joyful, enthusiastic children who learn easily and contribute to their families and society for a lifetime. I have delighted in every page and feel this is absolutely A must read for parents, grandparents, teachers, and perhaps everyone who will ever touch the life of a child.” —Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., biologist and international educational consultant to 32 countries and author of Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head and Awakening the Child Heart, Handbook for Global Parenting
"This delightful book will be a wonderful resource for parents. They will certainly appreciate its warm, friendly, personal, and reassuring tone. I would have loved such a book when I was a young mother! For those whose children already attend Waldorf programs, it provides a helpful resource for creating a bridge between home and kindergarten. For others, this lovely book offers wonderful glimpses into the wise and nurturing practices of Waldorf early childhood education. In a world where childhood is increasingly ‘media’ted and ‘adult’erated, this book offers much-needed support for the protection of childhood. " —Susan Howard, chairperson, Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and coordinator, International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education
“Being a parent is a challenging assignment, but with the help of Sharifa Oppenheimer's book, Heaven on Earth, our work immediately becomes easier. This book is both heartfelt and practical. It offers sound parenting principles with down-to-earth examples of how to raise children with both insight and grace.” —Jack Petrash, director, Nova Institute, and author, Navigating the Terrain of Childhood: A Guidebook for Meaningful Parenting and Heartfelt Discipline
C O N T E N T S:
How to Use This Book
1. How Our Young Children Learn
2. The World of Rhythm
3. Celebrating Festivals Together
4. Indoor Play
5. Outdoor Play
6. The Wonder of Stories
7. Artistic Experiences for Your Young Child
8. Other Topics Parents Wonder About
9. Creating Your Family Culture