Posts by thewaywardshepherd

Why I Give – Annual Giving 2015

»Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

Each year, parents, teachers, trustees, staff, friends, grandparents, and neighbors are able to impact the lives of the students at Spring Garden Waldorf School by contributing to the annual fund. Tax-deductible gifts to the annual fund go directly toward expenses such as teachers’ salaries, facility needs, classroom supplies, and tuition aid. Our Annual Giving theme this year is “Why I Give.”







Here is a letter from our Administrative Team Leader and former SGWS parent, Tracy Edwards:My husband Rich and I, along with our daughters Caroline and Ellie have been members of the SGWS community since 2002. Our entire family has experienced a tremendous educational experience and a warm and giving community where we forged deep, life-long connections.

Today I am writing to you to ask you to support the Annual Giving Campaign.  Each year we ask our community to support the day-to-day operations of our school by making a gift or pledge to the Annual Giving Campaign.  Last year SGWS parents responded enthusiastically by helping us surpass our goal ahead of schedule.  Thank you!

I have spent much time thinking about why someone would give to support the school, and I would like to share with you what the money supports and why I give.  The money raised through this campaign is vital to our daily work; it is a line item in the budget needed for our day–to-day operations.  Truly, we count on your support to balance our budget.  I also give to SGWS for more important reasons that come from my heart:

I give to SGWS because:

  • I believe fundamentally that we are all connected.  
  • Our children are learning that the way they interact in our world matters.
  • I believe this is the education that should be available to all children.
  • I believe these children will make a positive difference in the world.  
  • I see my donation being transformed by the experience these children are having, and in turn they will transform the world.

I encourage you to consider what motivates you to give.  We appreciate your continued commitment to our mission.  Above all, we are asking you to continue that support.  We are also asking you to consider prioritizing a gift over and beyond your annual giving for the next two years to accomplish our goal for the Raise the Roof Capital Campaign.

Click Here to Donate to The Annual Fund:







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Children’s Festival – Connect Through Community

»Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Just For Fun, School News | 0 comments




The Annual Spring Garden Waldorf Children’s Festival — Connect Through Community — is November 21st from 10am-4pm. The festival takes place at 1791 South Jacoby Rd in Copley, OH. Admission to the cash-only event is $3 per person.

Children of all ages love the free or low-cost ticketed activities including magical cookie fairy and boat wish rooms, along with unique crafts and the outdoor medieval catapult. Younger children especially love the face painting, puppet shows, storytelling and the make-and-take crafts.

The artisan market offers handmade items for young and old.  Enjoy a delicious café which offers wholesome, homemade food and baked goods. Stay and have lunch while the kids play!

This year we also will have live music by various artists, including local favorite, ZACH.

This event brings over 600 attendees to SGWS for a magical blend of creative activities, enchanted attractions, great food, amazing entertainment, and fabulous shopping.

We hope you can join us!




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Parent Teacher Relationships

»Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Research | 0 comments


“Can we see the inner radiance, the light that shines within each human being, despite all the shadows dancing around the edges?” – Dr. Torin Finser

The beginning of last week at Spring Garden saw our first set of parent teacher conferences for the school year. The relationships between our teachers and our parents represent the health and warmth of our school community. And, like all relationships, consideration, respect, and commitment to enhance the connection is essential in growing the wellbeing of the personal kinship within the community, the success of our children, and the health of our school.

Hammershus_Castle_2We recently participated in the Parent Enrichment Series webinar on “The Human Encounter: Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School Community: A Conversation with Torin M. Finser” presented by AWSNA and the Anthrposophical Society in America. Finser is General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society and Chair of the Education Department at Antioch University New England. His discussion focused on school community relationships and specifically parent and teacher relations, using architectural images to represent the social architecture of communities and how they operate.

Finser used the first image of the Hammershus Castle as a representation of traditional “in vs. out” social architecture. Finser noted that we are often “haunted” by old ways of working and must be ever mindful of who, in a given social interaction, might be (or feel) they are “out” vs. “in.” While this does not directly represent the ideal social architecture of a modern Waldorf school, it can apply to relations beyond the teacher and parent and include board and council members, administration, and even cliques of parents.

First_GoetheanumThe second image Finser presented was the first Goetheanum, built 1913-15 by Steiner and others. The wooden structure represents both a newer architectural form and a newer way of understanding social architecture within a community. The building is constructed with two intersecting circles, a smaller inner and larger outer circle that come together to make a third space. The value of the architecture lies within this third intersecting space where those presenting a unique expertise, and those receiving it, come together in a spirit of openness. As an example, Finser discussed a talented musician giving a performance. The musician brings his talents into this third space to have an experience with the audience, and the audience also enters this third space to experience the musician’s expertise. But what matters is that both are sharing a unique moment of openness and engagement. This third space represents a healthy metaphor for parent and teacher communication.

Finser also explored another important aspect of the teacher and parent relationship. Just as the structure and social architecture of a school must be considered, so must the inner dynamics of each person be considered in social interactions. Finser discussed personal gestures, or styles, that influence our communication and asked us to contemplate our own gestures, which are all different and yet all essential. Some of us approach life with a heart gesture, focusing on connection, warmth, and enthusiasm, while others approach life from a kidney gesture, focusing on filtering, organizing, and differentiating the useful. We communicate best when we understand what gesture we bring to relationships and how those around us work as individuals.  

At the end of the webinar, Finser took questions from parents, which included:

How does the biography of a school affect the parent teacher relationship?

He answered: “Just as we know, in child development, how remarkable a 3, 7, 9 or 12 year old is … so also it matters, ever so much, at what stage a school finds itself.

In the early or pioneering stage [of a school], the boundary lines are very indistinct and there are few separations between people. Multiple roles are characteristic of early schools. The parent-teacher relationship in these schools can be amorphous. And one is perhaps mostly a friend with others and that can be warm and lively.

Jumping forward as a school grows, more people are involved and there are procedures and processes. How do we navigate that necessary form and evolution? Even in a mature stage, the parent-teacher relationship can still exude the warmth and joy because you can share attention in smaller cultural events and opportunities to rekindle a pioneering spirit.”


How can parents get the answers they need from those responsible for the school?

“That’s an important question as parents can feel confused or express frustration about not getting answers right away. Schools must attend to orientation. There must be a real opportunity to outline how a school functions.  And there must be questions answered at the beginning.  We must also identify clear pathways for concerns and questions.  

On a more subtle level, one of the reasons questions are not answered can be due to the way questions are asked.  We can all remember examples where an emotional or value assumption is posed as a question.  “Why did you not…” questions.

It would be helpful if our schools attended more to inquiry and advocacy in asking questions and listening to what is at the root of a question…. Very often the person answering has a frame of reference that is different from the questioner. We must learn to discern what’s at the core of the question.”

This insightful webinar was a call for us all to consider inner work and insight as we approach one another in communication and relationships. Parents often seek renewal and strength from their association with a Waldorf school, and all the adults in the school must model the social future that we want for our children.

As Finser said, “We must discover each other with a beginner’s mind, a new openness at our parent teacher conference.” And he encouraged us to remember that the relationship between teachers and parents is “not a matter of technique. It’s a matter of learning to work together in the human encounter.”


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Alumni Thespians in the News

»Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Alumni, Just For Fun | 0 comments

thoreau_castThree accomplished SGWS graduates — Sarah Caley, Jerome Hume, and Alec Soudry — are performing this week in the Archbishop Hoban High School Theater Series performance of ‘The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.’

WaldoJerome is playing the part of Waldo, Sarah is Ball, and Alec is the voice of the Minister. The play is based on a true event when Henry David Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay taxes.  This incident later provided the basis for Thoreau’s popular essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

The play opened November 4th to a packed house of over 250 people.

You can still see the show, tonight, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. or Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. Both performances will be in the Barry Gym.  Tickets can be bought online  at or at the door.
A heartfelt congratulations to Alec, Jerome and Sarah. Break a leg!

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SGWS Subjects: Orchestra

»Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Curriculum | 0 comments

by Emily Rode

Violins1Here at Spring Garden Waldorf School, orchestral musical training is seen as a layering of abilities. What is taught in the early grades is built upon each year, as more and more is expected musically from the students. Children are given regular opportunities to perform their music, at monthly Assemblies and also at Concerts and Festivals.

Grade 3: In Grade 3, we are just beginning our violin adventure. The students will have an instrument to use during our weekly meeting. It will be a few weeks after the school year begins before they actually begin to work with one, but they are always so excited and enthusiastic to begin!

Grade 4: Grade Four brings fraction studies, and fractions bring quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes. Student’s are measured and assigned a violin to use at school. Students work with a combination of imitation exercises to learn notes and rhythm, worksheets, and short pieces. They also work within The Etling String Method Book. Having their own instrument is not required at this time, but if they do, they can practice at home to reinforce the skills learned in class. If students have an instrument at home or want to acquire one, I can help with sizing or questions about supplies, care, and maintenance.  

CellosGrade 5: Grade 5 meets on Tuesday and Friday. Students are ready for short homework assignments, which are given on Tuesday and checked the next Tuesday. They should be practicing at home at least 4 of the 7 days for 10-15 minutes each practice. Those comfortable with the lesson measures or scales assigned, can review past assignments or long bows on open strings to produce a clear tone and be comfortable with the bow.

Grade 6: In Grade Six, children can choose to expand their instrumental repertoire by selecting a different stringed instrument to master beyond the violin. Grade 6 meets on Monday and Tuesday and their practice assignments will be given Monday and checked the following Monday. At this age, five additional minutes should be added to the student’s practicing, which should take place at least 4 of the 7 days each week.

Grades 7 and 8: Our Middle School students are now immersed in the language of music as skills are layered upon all that has been learned before. Students can now begin training on woodwind instruments in the upper grades, if they so choose, or they can continue to master their stringed instrument choices. Orchestra class meets on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Assignments are given each Monday and checked the next Monday. Students should now be practicing 20-30 minutes 4 to 5 days each week.

The benefits of music training, and string instrument training in particular, are vast.  Even if student’s choose not to pursue music long term, we know they will experience the proven neurological benefits, such as accelerated brain cell growth in areas related to executive functioning, including working memory, attention control and organisation.

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