Every home has a hearth, that place where sparks are lit and warmth is kindled. Traditionally the hearth was a phyiscal site, always tended, made of stone and brick to provide the heat to cook food and warm people. The hearth provided a comfortable gathering place. Today we carry the hearth within and find new ways of kindling warmth in the home. Each month we’ll bring you a snapshot of hearth tending.


Face and Fingers


Face and finger cloths, sprinkled with lavender oil provide moist warmth as well as soul warmth and carry away the stress, germs and grit of the day. I keep a stack of cotton cloths beside the sink. When it is time for a lavender cloth, I sing as I prepare the cloth with warm water and a few drops of lavender oil:

“Face and fingers,

Face and Fingers,


umhumhumhum…………”   (hum)

The children know what’s coming and gather round to receive their cloths. I gently and with focus wipe each face and leave the cloth to rest for a smidge if the child likes it. Then I carefully wipe each finger and inbetween, rewarming the cloth if necessary. I do it for myself too. It is so soothing and refeshing at the same time. The lavender provides a nice layer against the cold and wind as well.

Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie is the mother  of two boys, an early childhood educator, and the editor and publisher of The Wonder of Childhood. She practiced homebirth midwifery and taught childbirth education classes for many families, for many years before coming to Waldorf Early Childhood Education where she has served as playgroup leader, parent child group teacher, aftercare teacher, kindergarten teacher and most recently as child care provider in her home based program. Her work in the home and with young children is aligned with the principles of LifeWays North America, She is very fond of lavender and hearth tending. Lisa blogs at Celebrate the Rhythm of Life and Caring for Children in March.



2 Responses to Tending the Hearth

  1. Miranda says:

    What a great middle-of-the-day rejuvenation!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Lovely, thanks for sharing.

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