05 Aug

Jane Winslow Eliot

September 27, 1926 – July 31, 2011

Jane Winslow Eliot died peacefully at home on Sunday, July 31. Those who knew Jane, loved her. Her generosity, her energy, her interest, her wisdom, and her enormous heart touched everyone who met her.

“Wrapping ourselves in experience, blankets around our souls, we move on.” From Around the World by Mistake.

Here are some things people have written:

“She will be for ever a treasured part of my childhood and I tell stories to my children which often involve the Eliots. Your mother was one of the first adults with whom I felt individually validated as a child. She was a great human being and lived a fascinating and rich life.” Dominic Raeside

“Thoughts of your mother filled my soul today. She is such a magnificent person who has blessed my life.”

“This morning I was by myself in my pool floating and looking at the sky and thinking of all of Jane’s comments to me…There was no one who told me more things which I didn’t know than Jane. Things about life and people. Things that I had never thought to be the way she said they really were. I always found out the she was right. I am so grateful to have known her.”

“Jane was one true and everlasting light in our lives, and the lives of our children. She was never forgotten in life, nor will be in death. Our [Waldorf] school would not stand its ground without the spirited energy Jane brought toward it. She shall be honored this month in a private way with our board and faculty, and in public when we publish our school newsletter.”

“We were traveling with you in Scotland…and we ran down to the boat house and there, sitting on a stone wall, was Aunt Jane in an elegant, deep blue gown with glittering, silvery threads, with her hair long and loose. You were so delighted to see her wearing this and called it her Robe of Starry Brightness! She looked like a goddess, smiling at us and laughing with joy to take a break from traveling, to be in a calm, lovely, easy place where she could refresh herself and array herself as the Wisdom Tree Woman that she truly is.”

From Alexander Eliot: “About twenty years into our family adventure, I wrote a full-out emotional poem to Jane. Here’s part of it.”


You, who are born anew
In the desert,
In the desert of my thought

You, who reveal
those daemons riding upon the air,
which inhale, exhale,
such natural, divine power.

Guard the lips,
and guide the heart
of this person who
loves you!

16 Aug

Around The World By Mistake

Around The World By Mistake

Click on book image to purchase.

In 1963 Jane Winslow Eliot and her husband, Alexander Eliot, took their seven- and eight-year-old children on a freighter voyage from Yugoslavia to Japan. Their purpose was to inspire their children to regard the world as their home, and people from every country their friends.

What happened on that journey was not what they expected, not at first.

Writer, traveler, educator, Jane Winslow Eliot’s articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Horticulture, Travel & Leisure, Newsday, The Los Angeles Reader, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul.

Her books range from seminal essays for parents and teachers such as Let’s Talk, Let’s Play (AWSNA Publications 1997) and The Soul of Color (Spiral Press 1984) to The History of the Western Railroads (Bison Books 1985), and Fisher’s Annotated Guide to Greece 1984 -1988. She is also a contributor to the Almanac of American History. A film she made with her husband, Alexander Eliot, called The Secret of Michelangelo – Every Man’s Dream appeared on ABC primetime television in 1967-68.

13 Dec

Santa Claus’s Secret Name

Santa Claus really does exist!

In this guessing-game book to be read aloud and played together, parents and children will find out who Santa Claus really is. And the answer is NOT who you might think!

When Jane Winslow Eliot’s children were little she had to face the moment of truth when they came to her with the accusing words: “We just found out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist!”

Her heart sank as she faced this critical moment. Would cynicism set in at such a young age? Would parental betrayal be the overarching memory they would have of Christmas for the rest of their lives?

She knew she could back peddle, or she could apologize, or try to turn the lesson into a metaphor for holiday spirit.

Instead she replied, “You’re wrong. Santa does exist. And I’ll prove it to you.”

And she told them the simple but mysterious guessing-game story of Santa Claus’s Secret Name. Her hope was that her children would remember Santa Claus’s secret name for the rest of their lives, and that the insight they gained from this moment of truth would carry them through years of cynicism, inevitable betrayals, disappointments, and struggles.

In this exquisite read-aloud tale, parents can respond to their children’s initial disillusionment with a gift of extraordinary wisdom.

Most amazing of all, even grown-ups can try to guess the secret name, and if they discover it on their own, will discover a truth they can never forget. The answer is practical, healing, and,above all, true.

Read this book aloud with your children,and play the guessing game, and you are guaranteed to understand Santa Claus and the mystery of the holiday season in a whole new way. You’ll be redeemed as a parent, and your child will enter into the deeply meaningful aspect of the holiday season with a clearer way of seeing – no matter how old they get!

Purchase this book.

07 Sep


Let’s Talk, Let’s Play
By Jane Winslow Eliot
AWSNA Publications

The author moves with ease and confidence on how to teach young children in poetry, song, and play. She explains both why and how archetypal games grow out of the nature of children and language.

History of Western Railroads
By Jane Winslow Eliot
Bison Books 1985

A spectacular pictorial history of the railroad and how it contributed to the development of the Wild West. This beautifully written hardcover illustrated book includes the Santa Fe Super chief, the Great Northern’s Empire Builder, and more, with vintage art and photos, maps of rail routes and their development. Over 50 b&w photographs and 100 in color.

The Soul of Color
By Jane Winslow Eliot
Spiral Press 1983

Perhaps in your physics classes you probably learned about the mechanics of color: wave lengths, the spectrum, and so forth. But to have fun with your children while learning about color, you’ll want to know something more direct, immediate, and closer to personal experience. Something more real about color.

If you already know how to paint, this book by Waldorf educator, homeschooling mother, and writer will introduce you to some new experiences in color which you can happily share with your children. If you do not already know how to use watercolors, you are about to be overjoyed.