Mandalas in the High School

At the outset of the year the sophomore and junior classes undertook a three week block of study of the mandala form. Mr. Baker, our new School Administrator, led this course; initially working through a series of technical exercises with colored pencils that touched upon color theory, freehand drawing, patterns and different types of symmetry. For those students who had been a part of our elementary grades and middle school, the skills explored in the artistic geometry blocks from years ago were rekindled, with classmates turning to each other to offer support in the development of different geometric constructions.

In working with the mandala form, students were encouraged to consider depictions of the microcosm vs macrocosm, and how to express dualism using everything from complementary colors to seemingly contradictory symbolic imagery. The mandala's visual connection to the architectural plan of Buddhist stupas was shared, as well as other evidence of the circular form being used for spiritual purposes in cultures across the world.

How can a visual depiction promote healing? How can it depict something universal, or even something formless, through the use of recognizable objects? These prompts guided each student's efforts, and in grappling with them, very individualized designs emerged.

The results were nothing short of spectacular, and have been on display in the High School Great Room for the past few weeks. They will remain exhibited through the end of this week so if you find yourself on campus please take a few moments to stop in and see these beautiful images-- perhaps they will inspire you towards your own moment of quiet contemplation. . .

For more information about the ideas and intentions that shape the mandala study in Waldorf schools we invite you to read Mandala: The Encircling Round Holds Sway by Van James on Waldorf Today.

A sampling of Mandalas created by 11th and 12th grade students. 

Friendly Volleying

Fall is in the air at SFWS, and so are volleyballs. Throughout these crisp days our 8th grade students have been enjoying friendly volleys during recess times, undoubtedly inspired by the impressive achievements of our Waldorf Wolves this season.

Be sure to catch our volleyball game tonight at 5:30pm vs. Walatowa for the varsity district game. This game will be in Walatowa. Go Wolves!

Waldorf One World Supported by SFWS

Through-out the week students in grades 4 and 10 have created God’s Eyes (crosses bound together with yarn), for distribution during our annual Michaelmas Festival on Friday, September 27th. This is our second year participating in the Waldorf One World (WOW) project. We are honored to be involved in this life-changing global effort again this year, which is led by teachers Ms. Baudhuin and Mr. Otero.

Students from Waldorf schools in more than 80 countries come together on Michaelmas day to participate in the traditional festival and many choose to 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 in countries such as Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam, Nepal, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and Peru. Since its inception in 1994, the WOW-Day campaign has raised nearly $3.7 million.

Please lend your support by bringing 50 cents towards the purchase of a God’s Eye on Friday during our festival. This project is one of 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. Festival goers are welcome to join us, on campus, this Friday, September 27th from 10:30am-1:30pm. This is a free event.

Michaelmas Preparations Underway

The first festival of the SFWS school year is the last festival of summer. Michaelmas (pronounced “micklemas”) is a celebration of the abundant harvest season and a time to gather the strength of the sun before it begins to fade. As we move into the darkness of winter, the bright light of summer must shine from within us.

The archangel Michael was the protector of the ancient Hebrew people. As a guardian against evil, Michael inspires us to bravely stand against the darkness within and around us. The scales he carries remind us to carefully weigh the quality of our thoughts and deeds, and the image of the slayed dragon gives us courage to turn inwards to fight the dragons in need of conquering.

At school this week and next, children celebrate with stories, songs, dance, activities and a pageant. Their strong, lovely voices can be heard rising to the sun, reflecting its light.

We invite you to join us at our Michaelmas festival on Friday, September 27th beginning at 10:30am, near the SFWS Grades building, for the pageant and festivities. This school-wide event is open to the public and we encourage you to come as village-folk dressed in medieval costume.

 

Grade 4 Shares a Tewa Prayer

The SFWS Fourth Grade class is currently studying the geography and history of New Mexico during their Main Lesson. The block began by asking students to map their environment such as their bedroom, route to school, classroom, and the SFWS campus. Students hiked to Sun Mountain, where they were able to locate the school from a flag which was mounted on the rooftop before they left. These lessons provided them with a sense of relationship to their environment, SFWS and City of Santa Fe.

Daily lessons took students through the history of our state. They focused on the first inhabitants in our area and how the Rio Grande marked an important juncture of where, and the reason for, settlement to Native Americans. In studying the culture of our first inhabitants, students learned a ‘Tewa Prayer’ which speaks so deeply to the profound relationship and of the respect our Native culture and to the world around us.

Song of the Sky Loom | Song of the Tewa

Oh our Mother the Earth, oh our Father the Sky,
Your children are we, and with tired backs
We bring you the gifts you love.
Then weave for us a garment of brightness
May the warp be the white Light of morning
May the weft be the red Light of evening
May the fringes be the falling rain,
May the border be the standing rainbow
Thus weave for us a garment of brightness
That we may walk fittingly where birds sing,
That we may walk fittingly where grass is green
Oh our Mother the Earth, oh our Father the Sky!

The Tewa are a linguistic group of Pueblo American Indians, who speak the Tewa language and share the same culture. There are six pueblos around the Rio Grande and Santa Fe which are the Nambé Pueblo, Pojoaque Pueblo, San Ildefonso Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara Pueblo, and Tesuque Pueblo.

The SFWS is proud to include the Tewa language for our students from Pojoaque Pueblo and to have a graduate from the High School in 2012. The fourth grade class will continue their studies in the next several weeks of New Mexico, the importance of the Santa Fe Trail, and the City and County of Santa Fe. The class will also enjoy an exploratory field trip to Pecos National Monument led by their teacher Ms. Baudhuin.

Waldorf Takes Hands-on Approach to Learning

“Parents all over, they wring their hands about the state of schools—and there’s this big debate about high stakes testing. Does it hurt creativity, or does it actually offer accountability? So, imagine a school then with no tests, no technology, not even traditional textbooks. It’s the Waldorf Way." View the CNN interview with Dr. Gupta on No-test, No-tech School: Waldorf takes hands-on approach to learning.