"A Year and a Day" is the perfect children's magazine - inspired by Steiner-Waldorf learning, it is beautiful, inspires creativity and promotes a love of nature in children.
Co-author Lydia Gill shares the magazine's journey to inception with us, as we begin to stock these beautiful magazines at Small Eco Steps.
‘Once upon a time’...
… The four magical words that have the power to make a child’s ears prick up, that create a wonderful feeling of anticipation, that are the starting pistol for many an adventure and the words that mark the beginning of all the best stories.
But, in fact, there are just two words that are the foundation of almost every story ever told, a phrase even more simple and yet one that holds a universe of possibilities. Those magic words are, ‘what if?’
What if the bean is a magic bean?
What if she can go to the ball?
What if the frog is really a prince?
What if she strays from the path in the woods?
What if they open the forbidden door?
And it was the words ‘what if’ that began our own venture, as we sat one day just after Christmas 2019, discussing what we had bought as presents for our children.
Seonaidh and I grew up in very different parts of the world. She spent her childhood playing in the wilds of the North York Moors, while I explored the maze of streets in urban Leicester. Seonaidh is my sister ‘out-law’, but in her I also found a kindred spirit: a strong, thoughtful mum who wanted to give her children the kind of childhood she had, which feels increasingly difficult in a world dominated by screens, cheap throwaway toys and an education system that often values getting results over the wellbeing and development of children.
So, back to the presents: I explained that I had bought my primary school aged daughters magazine subscriptions for Christmas, and that it was difficult to find something that was really sympathetic to our shared parenting and educational ethos; one that is grounded in the principles of Steiner-Waldorf education and that aims to develop the whole child, ‘head’ (thinking), ‘heart’ (feeling) and ‘hands’ (doing/ willing). Suddenly we found ourselves musing on the question, ‘what if we could create a magazine of our own?’
For a while, we tentatively planned what such a magazine would look like. But then coronavirus came, like the unwelcome fairy in a story, bringing bad luck and forcing change. As we looked around at the new world, especially seeing parents grappling with the idea of having to home educate their children, we felt the imperative to put together a first issue of our magazine. And so, amid the turmoil, ‘A Year and a Day’ was born, albeit in e-copy for our first issue.
As we began to put together our magazine, we also refined our concept: we wanted to create a magazine that would encourage slow but deep and meaningful learning, and one that would lead children into the natural world through traditional stories. Being enthusiasts for the three-day approach to learning commonly used in Steiner-Waldorf schools, we also translated this into a method that underlies our magazine:
Day 1: Read or listen to the story and respond to the story.
Day 2: Recall the story and engage in artistic activity related to the story.
Day 3: Return to the story, through creative consolidation work and activities grounded in literacy, numeracy and nature-based knowledge and understanding.
It was also important to us that children could be co-creators of the magazine, so we included open-ended activities that encouraged children to write, draw or paint on the magazine.
Every story comes with a range of activities designed to bring children into contact with nature or help them to become conversant with the language of the natural world. So, we include the ‘Wild Wisdom’ of plants, focus on native species of flora and fauna as building blocks to activities (or actual craft materials) and provide recipes based on forageable ingredients.
Being eco-friendly is important to us. My partner is helping to plant native broadleaf trees on managed land in the North York Moors as part of the National Park carbon-offsetting project. And via our local printer (Jetprint in Whitby) we were able to participate in this scheme to offset the carbon created in the production of the magazine. If we are aiming to foster a love of nature amongst our child readers, we need to show that we practise what we preach!
What if we could give our children the right environment to develop to their full potential? To grow strong and healthy, moving towards light like plants?
What if they could fall in love with nature and sow the seeds of forging a new relationship to the earth?
What if it all began by returning to traditional stories, to ‘once upon a time’?
Issue 3 of A Year and a Day, ‘Squirrels and Nuts’ will be released on 1st September.
I have just purchased this from Small Eco Steps. I bought 2 copies. One for a friend’s daughter and one for my daughter. My daughter is only 1 but wanted to put them away for her. They are just lovely. Cant wait to see the next issue.
Hi!! I was wondering if you ships your magazines to Los Angeles, CA???