CHILD'S SEASONAL TREASURY
interview with the author Betty Jones just before the release of the revised edition ,
have had the pleasure of getting to know Betty Jones, author of
“A Child's Seasonal Treasury”. She gave me the inside
scoop that she will be releasing a revised edition of this most
sought after book, and graciously agreed to an interview with me.
Your first edition of “A Child's Seasonal Treasury”
was printed in 1996. It has been out of print for some time but
commands 2 to 6 times the original purchase price on Amazon today.
Why do you think it is in such demand?
B; I can only say that it must have
met the needs of the growing numbers of parents and teachers. It
is a book that respects this tender time of childhood and wants
to create home and school environments that allow Nature to "speak"
as the ground for learning
K; Why haven’t you re-published sooner?
B; The "Treasury" went out
of print in 2009, (unbeknownst to me!) I was blessed to have a legacy
left to me by my original graphic designer, Bruce King, to self-publish
this 2nd edition with his son, Galen King, owner of LUCID DESIGN
in Nelson, New Zealand.
In the original book you used a seasonal format to provide a garden
that would allow a child’s imagination to unfold and tendril
out into a fertile environment for imagination to root and grow.
What changes can we look forward to seeing in the new book?
B; Like his father, (a perfectionist!),
Galen has brought my book back to life in a beautiful format with
all of my own illustrations and much more of my original writing
than the 1st edition. Of course, it is still based on the Seasons,
and I've tried to emphasize the need to be TRUE to the Nature and
Seasonal/Cultural Festivals that speak to child's experiences through
their senses and imagination. I added a "Table of Equivalents"
for the cooking and baking section so that the "Treasury"
recipes could be "translated" into the measurements and
temperatures used internationally.
How has your life journey’s affected what you have chosen
to share and how you presented the information?
B. I was very blessed to be a student
at Emerson College in England in the mid-'70's, where my life's
journey took a major turn in bringing Rudolf Steiner's body of work
"alive", not just in thought but also in practice. Having
Margret Meyerkort for my teaching practicum at Wynestones School
was a gift beyond imagination. Irene Ellis shepherded the pioneer
teachers of Summerfield Waldorf School in Sebastopol, California,
and set the seeds for healthy development within the Teachers, the
school and the larger community. Travels took me to Maui to help
as a student-teacher at Haleakala School, and in the mid-80's I
was asked to begin the Waldorf School of the Monterey Peninsula,
which 7 years later became one of the first California Waldorf Schools
to become a charter school. In 1994, I took a flying leap of faith
to New Zealand to begin the Steiner kindergarten at Fossil Bay Farm;
unfortunately, due to prior health conditions, I was unable to secure
residency, but the good news was that A CHILD'S SEASONAL TREASURY
was accepted for publication by Tricycle Press.
Do you see this new revised edition as being an extension to that
foundation similar to one’s enriching the soil before planting
to reap the most bountiful harvest?
B; This is "soul fertilization",
and as in sowing seeds, there is the right time to plant, water
and wait (patiently) for the roots to take hold and for the young
plant to go through the stages it needs to become healthy and fruitful.
Every human "seedling" deserves respect of their natural
abilities to grow in harmony with themselves and others if allowed
time and tender loving care in a safe environment.
Is that what motivated you to share this Treasury in a bound volume
to children and families so that their lives might be enriched?
B; My greatest wish for the "Treasury" was and still is
the intention for Parents and Teachers to have a wonderful collection
of Seasonal and Nature based songs, games, verses, finger plays,
creative drama and movement, arts, crafts and recipes that speak
to the innate joy of learning in the growing child.
Twenty years ago, the TV was the plug-in-drug, and my suggestions
on how learning environments can be created to pull children out
of the "box" and into interactive play and imagination
was the primary goal. Now with the advent of the computer taking
precedence over education and teaching-to-the-test, it is ever more
imperative to offer this hands and heart "alternative"
for early childhood up to 2nd or 3rd grade.
What life skills have you instilled upon the pages and is there
one thing in the Treasury that “touches” you? If so,
B; In all respects, I tried to make
my choices for early childhood curriculum clear and concise so that
it would be easy to follow and would inspire Parents and Teachers
to be actively involved with the children in their care.
From the rhythm of the day connecting to the rhythm of the Seasonal
changes, I wanted to instill joy and wonder in Nature and a celebration
of learning through the senses.
My hope was/is to help Parents and Teachers find the principles
of Waldorf Education important enough to explore Rudolf Steiner's
philosophy and realize that there are reasons why it is the strongest
international school movement in the world. I am awe-inspired as
I have been re-visiting the schools I pioneered so long ago, and
that these schools have continued to thrive is deeply touching.
My favorite thing about this new edition is that I was re-vitalized
in my own writing and illustrations, a re-kindling of my soul that
makes me happy in spite of my "disabilities".
What is the most important thing you would want a parent to take
into their heart after reading your book?
B; The most important thing that I
want Parents to take to heart after reading my book is: Please Take
Time”, whenever possible, to enjoy these seasonal offerings
with your children, knowing that You are your child’s first
We (adults) are often too caught up in the hustle and bustle of
life to remember to "smell the roses", or to be the "example"
for our children to “take time” for the "simple
things" that life offers.
The TIME IS NOW!
My greatest wish is that this new edition of A CHILD'S SEASONAL
TREASURY will find its' way to Parents and Teachers in countries
where English is a 2nd language, and this curriculum will provide
a meaningful and delightful way to learn through light-hearted "play",
adapted to the cultural and seasonal festivals of all nations with
the intention of Peace on Earth, Good Will to All.
K; After reading your thoughtful and insightful introduction
in the first edition I am moved by the love and the joy you feel
What obstacles have you had to overcome to produce the revision?
B; The biggest obstacle for me in writing this revision has been
my lack of skills and understanding of the "marvels" of
the computer-age which I am ignorant (Thank God for Galen and his
team at Lucid Design!).
I also realized that PERMISSIONS were necessary to obtain anew and
I needed to focus on the MUSIC particularly, as the songs are the
works of gifted Teachers within the Waldorf Schools who deserve
Now my most pressing issue is how to market this new self-published
edition through LULU, and reach not only Waldorf Schools that have
flourished throughout the world, but finding the path to Home-schools,
Charter Schools, Pre-schools and Daycare Centers that want a multi-faceted
curriculum for this age group.
I want it to be an affordable resource for Parents and Teachers,
and there will be both black and white, and full color editions
available through LULU soon!
An e-book version will also be available, but I want to emphasize
this is for “Adult use as a teaching tool only”, not
for children to "read and do"!
How many years in the making would you say it took to write the
B; The original book was actually in
"seed form" when I pioneered the pre-school for Summerfield
Waldorf School in 1977. Barbara Kane, who later created HEARTHSONG,
saw my teaching notes and illustrations and thought a book would
be wonderful then, but I had no time to devote to writing/compiling
a book while "pioneer teaching"!
So it took 20 years to finally get A CHILD'S SEASONAL TREASURY into
print, and HEARTHSONG had exclusive rights for its' 1st year of
publication (1996) before Tricycle Press gained world rights.
In November 1997, the "Treasury" was awarded a SMITHSONIAN
NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK recommendation and I am still stunned at
that honor bestowed as I did not apply for any recognition!
Thank you Betty, I look forward to, as do many parents, I am sure,
to the release of your revised edition of to “A CHILD'S SEASONAL
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