Posts by thewaywardshepherd

Monster Dash Benefiting SGWS

»Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in School News | 0 comments

MDashLogoRun with the monsters, or from them, in this spirited 5K run!  Sunday, October 26 2014 Beginning at 9:15 am Lock 3 Park Downtown Akron.

Register Today and Save

  • Now through September 9 – Only $20
  • September 10 – October 23 – $25
  • October 25/26 – $30
  • The first 175 participants to register for Monster Dash will receive a event shirt!
  • Kids Fun Run is Free  – pre-registration is appreciated
  • Trick or Trot is Free — pre-registration is appreciated

 

About the Race
Participants are encouraged to dress in costume for this timed event. Monsters may be lurking in the bushes and behind bridges – so beware! The event also includes two kids events: the Kids’ Fun Run and Trick-Or-Trot, at trick-or-treating event. Both of these events take place in Lock 3 Park.

 

Schedule of Events

Saturday, October 25p260903354-2

  • Packet Pick-Ups and day-of registration: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    Location: Lock 3 Park

Sunday, October 26

  • Packet Pick-Ups and day-of registration: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
    Location: Lock 3 Park
  • Trick-Or-Trot: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    Location: Lock 3 Park
  • 5K Race: 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
    Location: Towpath Trail
  • Kids’ Fun Run: 10 a.m.
    Location: Lock 3 Park
  • Awards ceremony: 10 a.m.
    Location: Lock 3 Park
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Parent Conversations at SGWS

»Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in School News | 0 comments

coffeeComing up in the 2014/15 school year, Spring Garden is excited to offer Parent Education and Conversation mornings.

We are offering a school wide book club, where we choose, read and discuss Waldorf-inspired parenting and education books. Book Study will take place in the mornings on the first and third Thursdays of every month. Copies of the book will be available for borrowing.

We will also continue our ongoing Coffee and Conversation series on the last Wednesday morning of each month.This event typically features a guest speaker and is followed by questions and discussion. A few of the coffee and conversations will be offered in the evening and topic suggestions are welcome to be sent to admissions@sgws.org.

Mark Your Calendars:

Book Study -

  • Date: September 4th & 18th
  • Time: 8:45
  • Place: School Store
  • Book:  Henning Koehler – Raising Anxious, nervous and Depressed Children
    A Spiritual Perspective to Guide Parents

Mr. Koehler courageously presents parents and teachers with a practical path of schooling the thinking, heart, and will in selfless devotion to the individual destiny of each child.

Coffee & Conversation -

  • Date: September 28
  • Time: 8:45
  • Place: School Store
  • Topic: TBD

Hope to see you there!

 

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Get to Know Your Parent Council

»Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in School News | 0 comments

Spring Garden Waldorf School LogoMany schools have a PTA or PTO, and here at Spring Garden we have Parent Council. The Parent Council serves as the voice of parents at our school and promotes community enrichment and communication between the faculty, Board, and the parent body at large.

Every two years, each class selects a parent to serve a two-year term as their representative on Parent Council. This parent attends the monthly Parent Council meetings and their three yearly class meetings, where they share information with their class about school wide events such as:

  • Welcome Back Dinner
  • Halloween Festival
  • Children’s Festival
  • Annual Auction class projects
  • Parent Appreciation Party
  • Coordinating the production of a yearbook
  • Class gifts and outreach
  • Minor fundraisers (Silver Graphics, etc.)

If you are interesting in serving on Parent Council, speak up at your first class meeting or contact the current President, Marina Rana, for more information.

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Combating the Summer Slide… Waldorf Style

»Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Just For Fun, Research | 0 comments

Tina Phillips

Tina Phillips

You’ve joined your library’s reading challenge and bought a workbook for math facts, but here are some Waldorf-inspired ways to help your children get the most out of summer and stay sharp.

  • Take a Hike

Not only is hiking fun for the whole family, but according to this University of Michigan study, it boosts cognitive performance.

  • Work in a Garden

Did you know?  Sage College Scientists found that “ingesting or breathing in a common soil bacterium found in nature reduces anxiety and improves learning.”  Don’t have a garden? Work in ours! Find Work Dates HERE.

  • Send Them Outside

The National Wildlife Federation has filled a PDF with all the latest research about the benefits of unstructured outdoor play, proving that “nature may indeed be the best kind of nurture…” 

  • Let Them Get Bored

As this BBC news article states right in the title: Children should be allowed to get bored.  Dr. Teresa Belton said, “Cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.”That means they don’t have to be entertained while you need to work.  This article from Parenting Science explores over a decade of studies about the benefits of unstructured play time. The author is careful to note that free play does not mean physical education classes or sports or summer camps. Free play is unstructured play time, which has been proven to help math skills, language development, and creative problem solving.

  • Read a Fairy Tale

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”  ― Albert EinsteinThis fabulous article on ImaginationSoup.net perfectly encapsulates the importance of reading fairy tales to children.

So, put away the flashcards and go enjoy a smart summer!

 

 

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Why Waldorf Schools Teach Handwriting

»Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Research | 0 comments

by Rocky Lewis

cursiveCursive writing: Outdated mode of communication, or the latest victim of standardized testing? Advocates of cutting cursive from the curriculum say it’s time-consuming to teach and no longer useful in a keyboard world. Advocates of keeping cursive in the classroom, like Waldorf Educators, say it is more than a means to a writing ends — it’s a brain builder, a historical research tool, and a note-taking skill set.

In defense of the idea that handwriting is outdated, a 2012 survey of handwriting teachers, conducted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks, found that only 37% of the handwriting teachers themselves wrote in cursive, although 55% had created a hybrid method of writing. (1)

Steve Graham, Education Professor at Arizona State University says arguments for teaching handwriting are “based in nostalgia and not research.” But a handful of states disagree and have decided to make it mandatory again, including California, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. (2)(3)

Their reason? A growing body of research in the neurosciences showing that writing in by hand activates brain areas involved in language and working memory.

 

Indiana University -

Children were asked to interact with an fMRI. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction including print (manuscript) and cursive. Writing by hand, in either print or cursive, resulted in “recruitment of letter specific neural processing regions seen in the literate adult.” And surprisingly, these results happened after a very short period of writing instruction. (4)

Researcher and Indiana University neuroscientist, Karin Harman James, says,

“These kinds of findings point to there being something really important about printing and potentially also about cursive.” (5)

 

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience -

A French study from 2008, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, evaluated “the ability of adults to discriminate new characters from their mirror images after being taught how to produce the characters either by traditional pen-and-paper writing or with a computer keyboard.” The researchers found that those who wrote by hand could recognize the mirrored characters for several weeks, unlike the adults who used a keyboard. (6) Handwriting advocates say this suggests a connection between writing, memory, and visual learning.

 

University of Washington -

Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, has spent her 30-year career studying cognitive neuroscience, specifically related to learning reading, writing, and math in children with and without disabilities. (7)

She was part of a study published in The Journal of Educational Psychology that found elementary students could not only write more quickly using cursive vs. the keyboard, but also wrote more complete sentences. (8)

Another study Berninger was involved with shows handwriting or “sequential finger movements” activate brain regions involved in thinking, language, and working memory, which are not comparable to brain activity recorded when typing. (9)

And in her article Strengthening the Mind’s Eye, A Case for Continued Handwriting Instruction in the 21st Century, published by The National Association of Elementary School Principals, she cites several additional studies that connect learning how to write by hand as a “necessary motor exercise … [to] develop eye-hand coordination motor skills (Saperstein Associates 2012; James and Gauthier 2006; James 2012; Berninger 2012).” (10)

 

Teachers College -

Stephen Peverly, Professor of Psychology and Education and Chair of the Department of Health and Behavior Studies at Teachers College, has studied transcription speed (how fast students can write or type) and its effect on comprehension.

He says, “For kids in the first few years of school, how fast they write is one of the best predictors of the quality of essays they write in school.”

As earlier studies have noted, handwriting is faster for young children. But what if they could learn to type fast? Peverly plans to address this question in his next study — measuring results of speed and comprehension in note taking via handwriting vs. computer.

He says. “Good note-taking isn’t simply about trying to take down all the information. It’s also a filtering process, a way of zeroing in on what’s most important.” (11)

It would seem the handwriting is on the wall, so to speak. More and more research is drawing a connection between writing by hand and better learning.  One can conclude that jumping too quickly to keyboarding can hinder deeper connections formed in the brain. However, the differentiation between the benefits of teaching manuscript (print) versus cursive, has not yet been solidly established by the current research.

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/30/should-schools-require-children-to-learn-cursive/handwriting-matters-cursive-doesnt

(2)http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/schools-still-insist-lessons-elegant-cursive/

(3) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/long-held-tradition-cursive-handwriting-slowly-dying-america/

(4)http://www.iub.edu/~canlab/Publications_files/Kersey%20%26%20James%20%282013%29.pdf

(5) http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news-archive/20977.html

(6)http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/jocn.2008.20504#.U6V3vpRX-uY

(7)https://education.uw.edu/people/faculty/vwb

(8)http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/edu/89/1/170/

(9) http://nms.org/Blog/TabId/58/PostId/179/pencils-and-brainwaves-an-analysis-on-handwriting-and-memory.aspx

(10)http://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/MJ12%20Berninger.pdf

(11)http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleId=8300

 

Additional Sources:

Wall Street Journal

Edutopia

LA Times

Handwriting Summit

 

 

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