|Moravian Stars Image via Wikipedia|
O Star of wonder, Star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Upon hearing of my progress with my vision, my Occupational Therapist, Wilma, decided to check me out. So, she had me make a Moravian Star.
Moravian Stars were first made at the Moravian School at Niesky, Germany, about 1850, to teach young boys about geometry. There are many types of Moravian Stars but the most common is the 26-point form, composed of eighteen square and eight triangular cone shaped points.
Image via Wikipedia
Geometrically, this type of star is a "Great Stellated Rhombicuboctahedron". Bet you didn't know that!
According to Wikipedia: In Moravian Stars, "Each face of the geometric solid in the middle, the Rhombicuboctahedron, serves as the base for the "stellations" or starburst points. No matter how many points a star has, a Moravian star has a regular shape, based on polyhedrons such as the Great Stellated Rhombicuboctahedron. Each face of the geometric solid in the middle, the
Image via Wikipedia
Rhombicuboctahedron, serves as the base for the "stellations" or starburst points. No matter how many points a star has, a Moravian star has a regular shape, based on polyhedrons."
garden for children, a location where they can observe and interact with nature, and also a garden of children, where they themselves can grow and develop in freedom from arbitrary political and social imperatives.
Froebel, himself, did not have a happy childhood. His mother died when he was one years and his pastor father was often absent. His severe and over-religious stepmother never bonded with him and never used the familiar intimate forms of German with him and instead used language reserved for strangers or outsiders. A “dreamer” with learning problems, Froebel was placed in the local school for girls until age 10. Froebel was very much left alone with only an occasional servant looking in on him. He spent a lot of his childhood in a garden tending plants or looking outside a window at workmen and trying unsuccessfully to emulate them with his building blocks.
Froebel believed that a child's spirit comes from something invisible and implicit within the child. A child was part of Nature, whose growth was to be tended and nurtured. A Child acts in harmony with the cosmos. The link between the nature and life of the child with the nature and life of the cosmos is made through playthings. Froebel saw that the mathematics provided a key to the unity of Creation and Life. The cosmos is designed in geometrical forms and through handling, observing and imitating actions arising from them, symbolical and meaningful play results. Play is the link between what's inside a child and what's outside in the universe.
Froebel used mathematical forms, or various combinations of blocks, upright and supine, for mathematical exercises. He connected these physical forms to the forms of knowledge in Logic (Also called by Froebel forms of truth, forms of instruction, forms of learning.) Spheres were connected to the heart, the emotional side of knowledge. "The sphere and the cube together represented Knowledge, Beauty and Life, the sphere predominantly corresponding with the feelings or heart, (affective) and the cube to the thought and intellect (cognitive). The conceptual understanding of geometrical cubic forms occurred through a metaphorical dance in which the child became acquainted with surfaces, sides, edges and lines which Froebel called dance forms."
Froebel encouraged children to explore basic forms of blocks and by playing with the dance forms of surfaces, sides, edges and lines to create more complex and sophisticated forms. He led children to explore symmetrical forms, or flat designs formed by opposites and their intermediates. These are figures in which four of the blocks generally revolve in order around the other four as a centre. These new forms often evolved into picture forms, flower forms, star forms, dance forms. In other words, beautiful forms that often reflected natural patterns.
So, I really missed out on a portion of childhood on many levels. Not just the joy of creating and fooling around with a toy. But a way of participating in and not just watching the world and interacting with the people around me. A way of linking what is inside me with what's outside. However, God works in mysterious ways. What he takes with one hand, he gives with another. What was taken in terms of the ability to interact directly with the world has also allowed an opportunity and the space for reflection.
While children were playing with blocks, Froebel also encouraged the telling of stories. So, maybe there is a story in all of this.
The Moravians are a Protestant sect which began in 1457 in Kunvald, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia that emphasizes simplicity, happiness, unintrusiveness, fellowship, and the ideal of service. You may have heard about them through their music as many of their hymns or musical arrangements have made it into other denomination's services. But, they are also known for their stars. As I drive out to Pennsylvania Dutch country to do vision therapy, I see Moravian Stars hung out especially during Advent. The
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