Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom

From The New York Times, June 9, 2015, an article on how many kindergartens are bringing play back into their curriculum.

PASADENA, Md. — Mucking around with sand and water. Playing Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Cooking pretend meals in a child-size kitchen. Dancing on the rug, building with blocks and painting on easels.

Call it Kindergarten 2.0.

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play.

“I feel like we have been driving the car in the wrong direction for a long time,” said Carolyn Pillow, who has taught kindergarten for 15 years and attended a training session here on the new curriculum last month. “We can’t forget about the basics of what these kids need, which is movement and opportunities to play and explore.”

Click here for the full article.

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain

From NPR Ed, August 6, 2014, a great article on the importance of free play for children:

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

"The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain," says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. "And without play experience, those neurons aren't changed," he says.

Click here for full article and audio.

11th Grade Pastels Artwork with Mr. Otero

"In January, the 11th Grade Pastels class replicated Nicaraguan Murals as a compliment to their Latin American Studies. In addition to these murals, the Junior class was also given the freedom to render a pastel painting of their own choosing. The students enthusiastically and skillfully embraced both projects in the course."

-Mr. Otero, High School Humanities and Art Teacher, and 11th Grade Class Sponsor

2nd Grade's Winter Gnomes with Ms. McFeely

"In December, the students in second grade made felt gnomes. Careful sewing and needle felting was done for these characters to come to life. The class's sense of self-accomplishment, accompanied by love for their work brought these little creatures to life. A mood of contentment and great joy filled our classroom as we worked together. "

-Ms. McFeely, Grade 2 Teacher

Waldorf One World 2014

The students in Grade 5 and Mrs. Baudhuin have created Peace Prayer Flags, for distribution during the annual Michaelmas Festival on Monday, September 29th. This is the third year the class has participated in the Waldorf One World (WOW) project. The class is honored to be involved in this life-changing global effort again this year.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the WOW-Day campaign. In 2013   students from 230 Waldorf schools in more than 35 countries came together on Michaelmas day to participate in the traditional festival and raise awareness for the WOW project. WOW was created, as a program, to support Waldorf social initiatives and build schools for children who otherwise would not have access to education. The collective amount raised in 2013 was €390,850.86.

Please lend your support by sending with your child one dollar towards the purchase of a Peace Prayer Flag made by the Fifth Grade on Monday, September 29. This project is one of the many ways our students become aware of and involved in communities outside our region with local, regional, and global projects through community service and awareness.

To learn more about WOW please visit the Waldorf One World site.

High Tech Parents, Low Tech Household

This New York Times article, dated September 10, 2014 by Nick Bilton may surprise you: 

When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he was known to call journalists to either pat them on the back for a recent article or, more often than not, explain how they got it wrong. I was on the receiving end of a few of those calls. But nothing shocked me more than something Mr. Jobs said to me in late 2010 after he had finished chewing me out for something I had written about an iPad shortcoming.

“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

Please follow this link to read the full article. 

What's Lost as Handwriting Fades

Does handwriting matter..? Many educators think not, but this New York Times article by Maria Konnikova, dated June 2, 2014, describes new research being done by psychologists and neuroscientists. They are busy addressing the concerns around children losing instruction in handwriting skills as the keyboard becomes more popular at home and in the classroom. The new evidence "suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep" and "it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past."

The Waldorf curriculum has always honored the instruction of handwriting skills, and scientists are clearly supporting a positive return, on many levels, with that instruction. We hope you enjoy this fascinating read.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html?smid=tw-share&_r=3&referrer=

 

Celebrating 30 Years of Inspired Education

The Santa Fe Waldorf School is preparing to celebrate thirty years of inspired education on Saturday, August 30th! Please join us for a day of fun, games, food and thanks as we take the time to honor those who've made the past three decades possible. 

Rock climbing, face painting, challenge games, a bubble garden and much more! We will have activities for the whole family available from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Bring a blanket and some sun screen and enjoy a nice picnic lunch with your beautiful school community. We hope to see you there! 

Go to our school calendar for a full schedule of events! 

 

Seeding Little Dreams

Last Wednesday morning for our preschoolers and kindergarteners was busy indeed. The playground was filled with enthusiastic children joyfully laboring to set up two raised bed greenhouses for their garden. 

They were helped along by the visiting fathers from Miss Jill’s class, (and a few mamas), and in no time at all the job was done. 

This long time dream-come-true was made possible by the support of our early childhood community, and the generosity of Ken Kuhn from Grow Y’Own

The garden will be mulched and rested until a late summer planting of winter crops for the children to tend and harvest through the year.

Have a wonderful summer, friends, and be well!

 

Happy Spring to All From the Magic Pocket Store!

The Magic Pocket has some wonderful Sarah's Silks for outdoor spring play. The Star, Heart, and Rainbow streamers are loads of fun as they fly about in our spring winds. Newly arrived are Dragonfly and Rainbow fairy wings, as well as some lively colored fairy skirts. For those that wish to build, the Magic Pocket now has wonderful sturdy wooden clips (as found in the Kindergarten) perfect to assist with construction. As always the Magic Pocket stocks a selection of stick and block crayons, main lesson books, and fountain pens. Additionally, you will find honeycomb candle making supplies and decorative and modeling wax. For those who would like to try their hand at felting the Magic Pocket has some Spring Bunnies, Chickens, Sheep, Mice and many more felting kits and supplies. Happy Crafting!


Magic Pocket School Store

Location: Grades Building Hallway

Hours: 8am-4pm, Monday - Friday

Purchases: Sales are made with Ms. Riley in the Grades Office.

Class of 2014 Senior Project Presentations

Alex diligently preparing for her Senior Project Presentation titled Happiness: A State of Mind.

Alex diligently preparing for her Senior Project Presentation titled Happiness: A State of Mind.

The Senior Project at the Santa Fe Waldorf School is one of the culminating experiences of our students; allowing for a long-term exploration of a topic with profound personal significance as well as the opportunity to engage with mentors and experts in a particular area of expertise. Part of any Senior Project is a final presentation to the school community, and this is an excellent opportunity for parents, friends, faculty and staff to see first-hand the confidence, creativity and compassion of our (soon-to-be) graduates.

The first half of this year’s presentations take place tomorrow (Wednesday, April 2) at 7pm in the Great Room of the High School. Elijah will be giving a presentation titled THE OUROBOROS OF ART and Solomon will be speaking to his experience this year with a talk titled LIQUID FIRE.

The second round of presentations will occur exactly one week later (Wednesday, April 9) at the same time and location. Alexandra will be speaking to HAPPINESS: A STATE OF MIND and Myriah will be presenting on ART THERAPY/ART AND THE PSYCHE.

Please mark your calendars and plan on joining the Senior class for both nights. Each evening promises to be both festive and informative and allow us all to celebrate the hard work and great successes of our graduating class!

CALENDAR OF 2014 SENIOR PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

Wednesday April 2

  • 7:00pm - Elijah - The Ouroboros of Art
  • 8:00pm - Solomon - Liquid Fire

Wednesday April 9

  • 7:00pm - Alexandra - Happiness: A State of Mind
  • 8:00pm - Myriah - Art Therapy/Art and the Psyche

 

Healing Movement for Healthy Children

Thanks to a grant from ATHENA, Dr. Susan Johnson will be joining our Eurythmist, Melody Van Hoose, for a workshop on Developmental Movement and Learning. Please join us for this special opportunity. You can register here on the Santa Fe Waldorf School website. 

"Eurythmy is now a part of my life. There are special movements for the soul that I love to do and can be taught to anyone who is interested." -Dr. Susan Johnson

Biography 

Articles

Class Consciousness - China’s New Bourgeoisie Discovers Alternative Education

Wonderful recent article from the New Yorker about Waldorf education beginning to blossom as an alternative choice in China. Writer Ian Johnson takes a closer look at that shift in a historically rigid classroom culture. 

The article can be read in part below, and in full by linking to the New Yorker online at the bottom of this blog. 

"Less than a decade ago, there were no Waldorf institutions in China; now there are two hundred Waldorf kindergartens and thirty elementary schools."

"Less than a decade ago, there were no Waldorf institutions in China; now there are two hundred Waldorf kindergartens and thirty elementary schools."

Ian Johnson, The New Yorker

February 3, 2014

In 1994, Harry Huang and his wife, Zhang Li, were running Lily Burger, a tiny backpacker restaurant on the banks of the Jin River, in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. The city wasn’t yet the sprawling metropolis of seven million that it is today, and many people still lived in the picturesque wooden houses of the old town. A thousand miles southwest of Beijing, Chengdu was a refuge from China’s big coastal cities, and a gateway to Tibet.

One day, an Australian couple came to the restaurant. The man, thin and ascetic, with piercing eyes, started talking about an idealistic education system that had been introduced in Central Europe in the early twentieth century. Emphasizing the need to help children develop as individuals, it was based on ideas of reincarnation, free will, and individuality. After four days, the couple left, encouraging Harry and Li to stay in touch.

Harry kept thinking about what the Australians had said. For Chinese of his generation—he was born in 1968—it was an unsettled time. In the nineteen-eighties, there had been a sense of great political optimism. After the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the broad-based reforms of Deng Xiaoping had made the future of China seem open. The crushing of student protests in 1989 ended these hopes, and the energy of the Tiananmen generation was diverted into other avenues, such as entrepreneurship. Harry graduated from college in 1992, and roamed China, unsure of what to do with his life. He settled in Chengdu after he met Li, who was an elementary-school teacher there. The Australians’ visit held out the possibility of a goal less self-centered than making money. And their educational philosophy seemed enticing. Li’s job had left her frustrated by the rigid methods and rote learning of Chinese education. 

Read the full article here.

 

Song, Sports, & Scholarship Fill Holiday Break

School’s been out for more than two weeks, but the holiday break didn’t keep Santa Fe Waldorf students from a full schedule of high-spirited happenings from music, to sports, to award-winning writing. Our community’s official holiday season celebration began with the annual Winter Concert at the St. Francis Auditorium, December 17th, where grades 5 to 12 entertained family and friends with a celebratory year-end instrumental and choral music finale. Concert highlights included the 6th grade class’ rousing song selection complete with festive hand motions, and a new High School music club’s introductory piece, featuring a guitar duet, piano, and vocals.

Prior to early dismissal on December 20th, while many of the lower grades’ classes gathered to share informal snacks in their classrooms, the high school students, their teachers and staff sat down together over a luxurious holiday buffet prepared by appreciative parents to mark semester’s end. The school-wide merry-making continued into the evening of December 20th, when our State Championship qualifying girls Volleyball team gathered for a much-anticipated “All Star Game” to mark the end of their winning season. The JV and Varsity players handily defeated an ambitious team made up of their coaches and willing parents, then enjoyed pizza, posole and egg nog afterwards. Meanwhile, students and families in the younger grades enjoyed the reverence of the annual Shepherd’s Play performance in Hooper Hall.

Keeping fit for the holidays, both SFWS Middle and High School basketball teams continued play over the break, meeting tough opponents and collecting both wins and losses. The middle school boys team fell to the Monte del Sol Dragons, Saturday, January 4th, after a near-win over the Dragons the week prior to the holiday break. And both Wolves’ Varsity teams spent the weekend of January 2-4th on the road at the annual Wagon Mound Invitational tournament. Of their three games played apiece, the boys captured a win over Roy, and the girls, having added two new players to the bench, grabbed a second season win over local rival Academy for Technology and the Classics.  Play continues this week, with Varsity games vs. Desert Academy at home, Wednesday, January 8th, and our school’s home invitational tournament, the Wolf Round Robin, at Christian Life, January 10th and 11th.

While on the court in Wagon Mound sinking 3-point shots from the outside, 8th Grade Varsity basketball starter Martine Perez’s award-winning writing was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican.  Martine won 2nd Place in the Teen Category of the paper’s annual Holiday Writing Contest for her short work of prose entitled “The Rocky Shore,” a hauntingly chilly, beautifully atmospheric piece. The story was based on a painting Ms. Logue presented her 8th grade students during a pre-Thanksgiving creative writing Main Lesson, and Martine was surprised to learn that her parents had entered her class work in the contest—and to great acclaim! Like so many Waldorf students, Martine is a multi-faceted talent—a scholar, athlete, and musician. Congratulations Martine! We’re proud of you.