About the Book  

"This book reports a sensitive and profound look at the lives of children in South Africa.

One of the most incredible experiences a person can have is travel. When we travel, we leave behind the comfort we are used to and open ourselves to new landscapes, cultures and languages.

The life narrative that Sandra shares with us, based on passages from the diary she kept during her stay in the country, is a treat for us to enjoy, coming from the most authentic place one can look to when studying a new culture: the children living and growing up there. I’m not just referring to a physical place, but to the sacred place of children’s universes, the space of childhood. Sandra's narrative touches us because she is able to express her perceptions in a clear and sensitive way.

This sensitive biographic-anthropological account, written – as it was lived – like a fine filigree, is an inspiring invitation to any educator: the observations, the awareness of her own emotions, her acute perception of the children, her conversations with them based on so much curiosity, and an endless, permanent outpouring of questions. Not all of them answered, and thankfully so! Because this allows us to remain on this path. A path Sandra allowed for herself - and was allowed by the children. To walk with them, bury her feet together with them deep into the sands of their lives; playing and dancing together; discovering and being thrilled by the Toyi-Toyi, sharing in the girls’ pain as they do their famous hair braids, doing it the way they do! Trying to click her tongue to learn to communicate with the children.

This book is a breath of possibilities for the rescue of humanity in all of us".


Adriana Friedmann


About the Author

The Name of the Book


Although I have lived with Isixhosa speaking children for six months, I have not learned much. Isixhosa is also knows as Mandela’s language or the language of clicks. These clicks, the musicality, and the rhythm of this language are so different that my effort to study and repeat the words of my everyday life was lost every time I met the children and they were amused by my incomprehensible attempts to say a few little phrases.

Sandra Eckschmidt


Among so many stories, I chose to be an educator of small children. With them, I remember the joy of playing for playing, of imagining what I thought would not be possible, of persisting with lightness and humor, of trusting in life. My adventures with education and children were many. Here I share one of most recent most impactful in my journey.

A Taste of the Book


“But one day the school gardener sat down with me and explained patiently word for word: molo means “hi!”; unjani, “how are you?”; ndiphilile, “I am ok!”. very happy I repeated the word and meaning for him to correct me. So, listening to me, he explained: ndiphilile does not just mean “I am ok!”, for our people, it is more than that. It means I am alive, it is celebration that I am alive – I am ok in the sense of life! I thought this explanation was so beautiful, and at least these three words I will never forget.”



This is my special thank you for those who supported the crowdfunding campaign to allow this book to be published:

(the names are in alphabetical order)

Alessandra Vincenzi Licati, Alex Eckschmidt, Ana Carolina Borghi Bruder Farias, Ana Leite, Ana Maria Cairello Matchin, Ana Maria Mesquita, André Servaes, Andrea Desiderio da Silva, Astrid Eckschmidt, Beatriz Camorlinga, Carlos Nunes, Carmen Beatriz Heisecke de Almeida, Christian Schneider, Clara Arbex Geraidine, Constanza Eliana Prieto Rojas, Cristiane Nakakmoto, Cristiane Santana, Daniela Leindecker, David Reeks, Diva Freire Carnevalli, Edna Marchini, Elena Voulgarelis, Fabiane Kuhn, Fabio Brotto, Fernanda Heinz Figueiredo, Fernanda Lucena, Fernanda Mariana, Fernanda Sousa e Castro Noya Pinto, Fernando Carvaho, Franco Nero, Gabriela Cardoso, Gabriela Duarte, Gabriela V C C Buso, Gabriela Mesquita Eckschmidt, Gilka Girardello, Giovana Ribeiro Martins Buso, Gisela Sartori Franco, Giuliana Pazzanese, Iracema Munarim, Jessica Medeiros, João Batista Freire da Silva, João Josué Silva Filho, Joceani Viana, Josca Ailine Baroukh, Julian Di Paula Queiroz Odinino, Juliana Achcar, juliana Ebert Muller, Kamila de Lima Robinson, Katia Barata, Katia Bortoluzzi, Katia Keiko Matuanaga, Lia Mattos, Liandra Ribeiro, Lilia Franco, Liliane Monteiro, Lissa Paniquar von Ameln, Lucinda Dutra, Lucila Maria de Souza Campos, Lucy Crichton, Luiza Esteves, Marcelo Ometto Filippini, Marcelo Vianna, Marcia Castelo Branco, Marcio Jahns, Marco Aurélio Rennó, Marge Oppliger, Maria Christina Sodre, Maria Cristina Briani ,Maria de Cardoso, Maria Lúcia Medeiros, Maria Valeria Vieira de Moraes Moraes, Mariana Ribeiro, Mariana Soubhia, Mariana Tartarotti, Marina Bonilha, Marina Speranza, Marlene Freitas, Melissa Figueira Nagashima, Carolina Cavalcanti do Nascimento, Michelle Peixoto Ferreira, Moira Demange, Monica Eckschmidt, Nathali Baldacin Cokan, Otavio Perdigao, Patricia Campos de Souza, Patricia Franzini, Patrícia Gimael, Paula Campos, Paulo Karam, Priscila Bunning Ricardo Rodrigues, Regina Célia Fazolare Maurano, Renata Meirelles, Renato Santiago Bueno, Rosane Romanini, Roselete Fagundes de Aviz, Rosemeire Laviano, Sasha Pfister, Selma Gonçalves de Campos Monteiro, Solange Ezure, Sônia Maria Paciulli Raffa, Sônia Mendonca de Barros, Soraia Saura, Suely Budet Glebocki, Susan Krause Bierrenbach, Suzana Teixeira leite, Taiana Blauth de Oliveira, Tania Kulb, Teresa Campos, Thauana Junqueira da Cunha.






Celebrating its 18th year of activity, the extension course "Who Wants to Play?", offered by the School of Education of the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University, has invited Sandra Eckschmidt for the talk "A chat with people who like to play! A path of observation of play in Waldorf schools in South Africa and Florianópolis" on October 4th, 2016.

Pedagogical Convention, July 19th, 2016

Lecture with Sandra Eckschmidt on free play at Escola Casa Amarela/Florianópolis and Zenzeleni School/South Africa

The city of Brusque holds its Pedagogical Convention every trimester, organized by the management team of each of its Childhood Education Centers, according to each center's needs. Considering play as an act intrinsic to learning, the Childhood Education Centers Vó Rosa Dallago, Laura Cattani Leite and Paquetá got together on the night of July 19, 2016 to listen, reflect and contribute to free play in a talk given by the teacher Sandra Eckschmidt. 52 teachers and monitors were in attendance.

Ndiphilile Release in Florianopolis

Watch the video of the book release event

The release of the book Ndiphilile took place in Florianopolis on June 18th, 2016. The event paid honour to African culture, in partnership with Studio África and the group Lá Clínica. The guests had the opportunity to experience the richness of this culture through dance, music, food, stories and a photo exhibit.

Imagination and Play in Writing - June 2016

What fascinates me about Sandra Eckshmidt's book is how she weaves together the elements we are emphasizing in our contemplation exercises: seeing, reading and writing. Sandra's book offers a selection of her diary entries from her time as a teacher at the Zenzeleni Waldorf School, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. In her book she describes her long, personal path of observation: "After exercising this more silent approach, as I'm calling it here, for so many months, I could observe gestures that were repeated; others that would change; and even others that were completely alien to me..."

Accesse the full article in Portuguese here.

Read the full article in Portuguese by The Territory of Play here.

1st Training Course - UDESC

On April 18, 2016 the first Training Course on play, with game activities and its implications to human development, took place. The basis of the course was the work and research conducted in a Waldorf School in South Africa, which resulted in the publication of the book Ndiphilile in 2015.

Check out the event photos here.

May/2016 issue of Avisa lá Magazine

The May 2016 issue of Avisa lá Magazine, dedicated to early childhood teachers and the first years of basic education, published an article on Sandra Eckshmidt's work at the Zenzeleni Waldorf School in South Africa. The article, titled "Symbolic games in South Africa," presents a slice of the author's experience during her six months of work in the country and her interaction with the local children's games. The full experience can be found in her book.

Acess the full article in Portuguese here.



"WONDERFUL, Sandra! It's always a pleasure to learn about your post-travel trips! Remember when you returned from that trip to England/Germany and gave a mini workshop at Cepe? I still remember you magically unwrapping a notebook/box to present your adventures to us… Darling, I hope you keep spreading your beautiful, lively stories around." - Fabio Brotto

"My darling, congratulations and thank you for existing! More power to NDIPHILILE" - Gilka Girardello

"Congratulations on your work, Sandra! We are anxious to see the final product of your research! We at the Jacareí Municipal School System thank you for your visit in 2015, and hope we have more opportunities to talk about childhood, play and the wealth we have in our hands: our children!" - Selma Gonçalves de Campos Monteiro

"Much success with your book. I hope your experience can be shared with lots of people, offering a new way of looking at the world" - Cristiane Nakamoto

"I hope this wonderful book creates a whole world, just like its beautiful author! An endless source of inspiration" - Renata Meireles

"I have known Sandra and her work for a long time. I know her work is worth helping. I really want to hold this book in my hands and be able to give it to others who are also after beautiful ideals." - Beatriz Camorlinga

"I saw Sandra's talk… And I feel that it was a wonderful experience!!!" - Joceani Viana

"This book is a gem! Congratulations to the author and her partners in the project and travels!" - Gilka Girardello

"I love the idea of everyone being able to contribute a little and, bit by bit, become big. Not because one person is better than another, but because TOGETHER we are stronger! I wish success to all the projects that help us see beyond our field of vision." - Marcia Castelo Branco

"A rich experience that deserves to be shared with everyone, and a great pedagogical contribution!" - Edna Marchini



Buy a printed copy of the book through the direct link to Amazon.com

In case you have interest in a talk, a class, or a workshop about the content of this book of know more about the experience in a kindergarten school in South Africa, please contact me through the form below:

© 2018 by Sandra Eckschmidt. All Rights Reserved.

© 2018 por Sandra Eckschmidt. Todos Direitos Reservados.

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