My name is Lydia Jansen van Vuuren. I am a qualified Waldorf teacher living in a beautiful picturesque coastal town called Still Bay in the Western Cape in South Africa. I have taught for ten years at a Waldorf school in Pretoria, South Africa. I was a class teacher and accompanied the children that were entrusted to me through their primary school cycle from class one to class seven. This was an epic journey – not just for the children but for me as well. It left me richer and wiser in many ways. In this time I developed a great respect and reverence for the creative methods of Waldorf education. I especially enjoyed and marveled at the way Waldorf brings math and numbers to children. As a kid I know how the education system failed me in teaching me mathematics. Even though I took it to varsity level I didn’t understand how mathematics connected to real life. The mathematical concepts were dead and lifeless. When I encountered Waldorf education and I started to do research to prepare for my math classes I realized that this was different. At last here was a system who explained the why behind the math. The flame was lit in my heart and mind and the math concepts started living. Something was revealed to me – so beautiful – that it cannot be expressed in words. The process healed me from blocks towards math I still carried with me from childhood. I witnessed how well children responded to these methods. There was a love and an interest in numbers being cultivated that far exceeded traditional methods of teaching.
I have also been involved with music for most of my life and as a musician and composer, when I came across the beautiful verses and stories on the quality of numbers in the teacher manual, Putting the Heart Back Into Teaching by Stan Maher and Yvonne Bleach, I just knew that they were meant to be sung. I got to work and composed tunes in pentatonic scales. Young children respond best to simple pentatonic melodies since they are too young to comprehend the complex harmonies of adult music. The children just loved the songs and learned them enthusiastically. Having some knowledge of the recording industry the next natural step was to produce a CD so other parents, teachers and children could also experience the joy we did. I put the production together and me, the parents and the children made a CD. It was a huge success and the album The Quality of Numbers – Stories and Songs came into being. It is organic and authentic and speaks to the hearts of children immediately. Today I feel very blessed that I am now in a position to make this album available to all parents, teachers and children. I sincerely hope that children everywhere will benefit and learn that math is not something to be scared of but a beautiful language to be enjoyed and marveled at.