Community Moving Day

»Posted by on May 21, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

SGWSThankYou2Please join us in thanking our wonderful teachers by helping them clean and move into their new classrooms. This will take the whole community to be successful! Parents and children will work together to do something good for the school by readying the classrooms for the coming year. Many Waldorf schools take this approach on the final day of school, which seems to be quite effective. Please contact your Parent Council rep if you have any questions.

 

This will be a wonderful day when the children and parents together give back to their teachers for another amazing year. Please click here to sign up to volunteer! You can sign up for as many slots as you like.

 
We are also in need of extra buckets and rags, as well as boxes to pack up teachers’ classroom materials. You can drop them off in the office anytime during the last week of school.
 
SCHEDULE FOR COMMUNITY MOVING DAY

9:00
Assembly – All are welcome!
10:15 – 10:45
Grades’ Snack – Volunteers with students in Grades 1 through 8 are invited to join their child’s class for snack time.
10:45 – 12:20
Parent volunteers, teachers, and students separate and box items to be moved from the classroom, move items into the hallway, and begin cleaning.
12:20 – 12:40
Lunch – The Parent Council will provide lunch for parent volunteers who sign up in advance. Students should bring their lunch, as usual.
12:40 – 1:40
Children and teachers go outside for games. Grades teachers are working together to plan games for the following groupings: Grades 1-3, Grades 4-5, and Grades 6-8. Parents work together to complete cleaning in the classrooms and moving class belongings to the next grade.
1:45 – 2:00
Closing ceremony for the entire community, led by Edward Grimes
2:00 – 8:00

 End-of-the-year Potluck at The Lake (formerly Loyal Oak Lake), hosted by Lerryn Campbell (details to follow — the entire community is invited, but this is not an SGWS-sponsored event)

Have an amazing summer — and THANK YOU for all you do!

– The SGWS Parent Council

Head, Heart & Hands in Waldorf Education

»Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Curriculum, Research | 0 comments

ProudPotatoWhat does it mean when we say, in Waldorf, that children learn through their “head, heart and hands?” It references multidisciplinary teaching and the balance built into Waldorf education curriculum.  Why do we focus on a balanced education?

Our world thrives on balance — ecosystems, economies, and governments all perform most optimally when things are allowed to ebb and flow yet stay ultimately centered, not through force but through compromise. This balance is key to stable growth and transformation.

Eighth Grade BuddiesEducation is transformation of a generation and an individual. The task at hand is to guide young people as they grow and change, so that they may contribute meaningfully to a growing and changing world. This is no small task. When you consider the vital role that education plays within society and within the individual, then you can understand why balance in education is so essential. In order for the world to thrive, it needs to be filled with balanced individuals.

Waldorf education’s founder, Rudolph Steiner, a philosopher in the early 20th century, understood balanced education to mean the integration of the arts across the curriculum, the inclusion of movement and nature in everyday learning, and a focus on more subjects than just “the three Rs.”

EducationinActionCropHere in the 21st century, the comprehensive approach of Waldorf education has been supported by modern science. One might notice how Waldorf schools focus on fostering each of the multiple intelligences Howard Gardner identifies in his book Frames of Mind. Gardner, a developmental psychologist and professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, addresses the need to teach children thoroughly in each of these intelligences: verbal / linguistic, logical / mathematical, body / kinesthetic, visual / spatial, musical / rhythmic, interpersonal / intrapersonal. and naturalistic.

He, like Ken Robinson in this popular TED talk on education, argues against judging children’s intelligence on only one or two of these areas — a philosophy embodied in this Einstein quote:  “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Children who enter adulthood understanding their strengths, having been shown them through a balanced education, can contribute to the world in a fulfilling and meaningful way.

How do we realize balance within Waldorf education?  Here are some examples:

Grade3-2Verbal / Linguistic – Teachers tell story, myth, and history by reciting poems, singing songs, and playing games. The complex vocabulary and imagery found in these oral activities bring verbal language to life and give depth to a child’s understanding of and desire to engage with written material. Children also make their own textbooks as an alternative to Chalk and talk note taking. And students begin to learn foreign languages beginning in first grade, when their brains are most primed to absorb this information.

Logical / Mathematical – Waldorf students learn math in many ways — intervals through music, geometry and measurement through woodworking and drawing, and math facts through holding and counting items. Logic is ever-present in the immediate apprehension of cause and effect inherent in science, music, and nature.

Camp2Body / Kinesthetic – Developing this intelligence goes beyond gym class for Waldorf students, who constantly learn through movement. Examples include time outside for recess, nature walks, gardening, the study of movement in eurhythmy and dance, and in-class movement through acting out stories, tapping sticks to math, or throwing balls while reciting multiplication tables.

Visual / Spatial – Whether it is creating a diorama of an animal, knitting and other handwork, sculpting with beeswax or clay, or taking a year to turn a log into a chair, Waldorf students learn much in the visual and spatial realm in their woodwork, handwork, gardening, and main lesson classrooms.

ChorusMusical / Rhythmic – Music is part of each day and each subject in Waldorf school. Song and rhythm are integral parts of the young child’s classroom. Layered onto this ever-present choral influence are musical instruments: flutes and recorders are introduced in younger grades, violins and other strings for students in the middle grades, and finally instruments of a child’s choice in the upper grades.

Interpersonal / Intrapersonal – Social skills are not left to chance in Waldorf education. Teachers spend much of their time in the early years helping children develop their interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. One of the most important contributors to cultivating these two intelligences is the structure of the main lesson classroom, where students remain with the same teacher throughout all eight grades. Learning to work together as a whole is not optional, but essential and teachers focus on developing a harmonious and balanced classroom through providing time and structure for social interactions as well as time for reflection.

FirstDayMeadowNaturalistic – Unlike many of their public school peers, Waldorf students still get recess, so they are out in nature, many times a day and in all seasons. They are also taught many academic lessons outdoors, such as botany and geology through nature walks and gardening. Older children often have main lesson class time outdoors, and gym class is held outside when weather permits.

Though developed by Steiner nearly a century ago, current research demonstrates Waldorf education’s ability to educate children intellectually, creativity and socially, prepares them to make meaningful contributions to our ever-changing world throughout the course of their lives.

 

A New Flower in Our Garden

»Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Just For Fun, School News | 0 comments

by Hazel Emery M.Ed.

Flower1Spring Garden Waldorf School was fortunate to be gifted an original P.R. Miller sculpture for our grounds. Miller — a.k.a. “The Grizzled Wizard of Waste Not, Want Not” — is renowned for creating unique works of art using recycled and reclaimed materials. Miller is the artist-in-residence for Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, and his installations can be seen throughout Akron.

Artist, PR Miller

Artist, PR Miller

P. R. Miller has had a long relationship with Spring Garden. His children Sarah and Alex, as well as his grandson Graye, are SGWS alumni, and he has continued to support our school in many ways since they graduated. Most notably, he visited the school in 2008 and enlisted the help of students and their parents to create bugs and butterflies from recycled plastic materials for his installation at Stan Hywet. We are grateful for his continuing involvement with Spring Garden Waldorf School and for this amazing, unique sculpture that will grace our grounds for years to come.

Nature’s Children Parent and Child Class

»Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Early Childhood, School News | 0 comments

cptSpring Garden Waldorf School and Crown Point Ecology Center are partnering to offer Nature’s Children Parent and Child Class.  Nature’s Children is a one of a kind offering for parents and/or caregivers of children ages 18 months to 4 years.  This summer session will be offered almost entirely outdoors and will allow children and their parents to experience a Waldorf approach to early childhood education together.

Miss Roberta, an experienced Waldorf early childhood teacher, will lead the class through seasonal songs and games, artistic activities, nature walks, free play as well as story time with puppetry.  Young children learn through imitation.  As the children “work” and play together, the parents engage in and model purposeful work for the children such as working in the garden, feeding the chickens, preparing snacks, & creating seasonal crafts to take home.

Crown Point Ecology Center offers a unique site to  host this outdoor focused experience with beautiful organic herb and vegetable gardens, wooded trails, barns, wetlands, a pond and more.  Experiencing the out of doors offers a wonderful opportunity for discovery, conversation, and play.  The Nature’s Children Parent and Child class is a perfect stepping stone into the Waldorf Preschool Program.  We hope you will join us.

This class is a once weekly program offered once weekly for six weeks on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday from 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.  Classes begin the week of July 12th.   Cost per session is $180/parent and child and $100 for each additional sibling.

To register for the Thursday Session – Click Here

To register for the Friday Session – Click Here

To register for the Saturday Session: – Click Here

The Waldorf Arts Curriculum

»Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Curriculum | 0 comments

photo 1 (8)Prospective parents sometimes ask, “Is Waldorf an art school?” Waldorf schools do not consider themselves arts schools, but they do integrate art and music into the daily curriculum. There are many reasons for this, but here are a few:

  • Music and art engage children naturally and make learning more fun, interactive, and multidisciplinary.
  • Music and art are scientifically proven to enrich and strengthen complementary neural pathways for math, language, and creativity.
  • Music and art are essential to humanity. Each culture’s history and philosophy revolve around the arts, and these things become an essential part of educating the whole child.

While prospective parents wonder about the role of the arts in education, our current parents have some firm ideas about its benefits. We asked parents of our eighth grade students why our school’s rich arts curriculum is so important, and here are a few of their answers:

“Children need to have beauty all around as they learn, so that they can create beauty in the world.”  

“We’re educating humans, not computers. The arts are part of the human experience and worthwhile endeavors in their own right.”

“The arts help children develop their unique capabilities and provide balance.”

“Music and art serve as a common thread through all other subjects and help students appreciate beauty and ground theories in reality.”

“Art provides insight into humanity.”

“Artistic impression is very important to children and, I believe, can help them learn many things and pique their interest. Hands become extensions for expressing the feelings, thoughts, and ideas that form in the mind, and this can then connect the head, heart, soul, and body.”

“The arts help the brain grow holistically and thus help a child grow more deeply as a person and life-long learner.  Arts balance intellectual learning and provide an outbreath.”

“What they work on with their hands both informs and activates the head and heart. I think it allows for greater retention in both spheres – intellectual and emotional.”

 

Thank you to our parents for their artful insight!

School Safety Updates 2015

»Posted by on May 4, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

SpringGardenlogo

 

The safety of our students is a very high priority. Over the last several years, we have been evaluating a number of safety improvements at SGWS. As part of this effort, Mr. Vargo and I have participated in a variety of safety seminars, met with local law enforcement, reviewed safety concerns from parents from our annual survey, and received input from the AWSNA accreditation team and fellow Waldorf schools. As a result, we are in the process of implementing the following safety related improvements:

  • Front Door Security: Our school has been awarded grant money for improvements to our main entrance door. Starting this summer, there will be remote access to the building. This means that during school hours, all the exterior doors will be locked. Parents, guests, and visitors will be buzzed in through the main entrance, which will be equipped with a video camera and intercom.
  • Intercoms: Also this summer, we will be installing intercoms in all classrooms and the gym. In addition, we will be installing loudspeakers on the exterior of the entrances to each wing. These improvements will provide the ability for two-way communication with the office in the event of an emergency.
  • Medication: During our AWSNA accreditation visit, it was recommended that we end the practice of providing over-the-counter medications. We are reviewing our medication policies and will be implementing changes effective with the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Background Checks for overnight chaperones: In March, SGWS implemented a policy requiring background checks for all overnight chaperones. For this school year, the policy affects the chaperones for the Renaissance Faire and the 8th grade trip. The Parent Handbook will be updated to include this policy, which requires all chaperones providing overnight supervision on school-sponsored trips to pass a Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) check. Examples of overnight school-sponsored trips include camping trips, the Renaissance Faire, and the 8th grade trip. More information will be communicated in preparation for the 4-6th grade fall camping trip.
  • New safety drills: The state of Ohio has made some changes to safety drills for Ohio schools. We have been meeting with members of Copley police and fire department to improve our drills and implement changes.
  • Safety Tip Line (844-SaferOH): SGWS has joined 844-SaferOH – Ohio’s new school safety tip line. This line gives parents and students a way to anonymously report safety threats to school officials and law enforcement officers. This tip should be used if there are safety concerns that affect the whole school or the safety of individual students. Trained professionals at Ohio Homeland Security’s Threat Assessment and Prevention (TAP) unit answer all calls and texts to 844-SaferOH. When action is needed, TAP staff immediately forward information to our school. Local law enforcement agencies or others may also be notified, if the situation warrants. Tip line staff will follow up quickly with our school and law enforcement agencies to make sure the incident was investigated and the outcome was tracked. The tip line serves our community 24 hours a day, whenever a student or concerned adult senses a threat to student safety. The call center guarantees the anonymity of the person who calls or texts. Tip line workers may ask for additional information, but the one who calls or texts may remain anonymous or leave contact information for follow-up. The tip line was established as a result of research that shows that in 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker knew something but didn’t report it for fear of being identified. The tip line number is 844-723-3764.

Thank you for your support as we implement these important and helpful changes. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Warmly,

Tracy Edwards, Administrative Team Leader

Roof Art Community Day

»Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Just For Fun | 0 comments

SGWS-RTRcapital_logoRGBJoin us at school on Saturday, May 30th, from 10am – 2pm for Roof Art Community Day. This fun and festive community painting party will let families create an art piece to be included inside our new roof. Plywood can be purchased at $100/sheet and the art will be used to line the inside walls and ceilings of our new roof. Healthy snacks will be provided for all!

We will also be placing a time capsule inside the new roof and each plywood purchase entitles you to place a small, meaningful item inside. So come, have fun and support the new roof project with your donation and your art!

Fill out the purchase form in your mailbox. Or, you can purchase the sheet online, here, at PayPal:

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