The Spring Garden Waldorf School sixth, seventh and eighth grade basketball team, the Lady Jaguars, will be awarded The Diocese of Cleveland Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Sportsmanship Award. The Diocese of Cleveland CYO gives Sportsmanship Awards to those teams who exemplify extraordinary good sportsmanship during their competitions/games. The Sportsmanship Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, February 26th at the University of Akron in the JAR (basketball arena).
“Our girls work together very well, and demonstrate wonderful, caring attitudes toward each other, and their opponents,” says Athletic Director Nancy Stewart. “They truly understand it is not all about winning or losing, but how the game is played both competitively and socially.”
The team was nominated by competing-team coaches from this season for their show of good sportsmanship during competition. Many are nominated, but not all are selected. Following the awards presentation the girls will have the opportunity to watch the Zips Men’s team plan Bowling Green.
Congratulations Lady Jags!
While the majority of the assessments at Spring Garden Waldorf school are done through observation and without formal testing, we do administer the IOWA Test of Basic Skills once a year, to 4th through 8th graders, for specific academic feedback.
The unique unfolding of the Waldorf curriculum through the grades creates some discrepancies between the areas being measured on the tests and our learning goals, so we give the students only sections applicable by grade level.
- We do not test children before Grade Four.
- 4th Grade students will take the Language Arts and Mathematics sections of the test. The students in 4th grade are not timed while taking the tests.
- 5th & 6th Grade students will take the Language Arts, and Mathematics sections of the test with timing parameters to increase the validity of the data received as well as to provide the students with exposure to this kind of experience.
- 7th & 8th Grade students will take all sections of the test and follow the required time limits.
We do not use the testing scores for evaluations of teachers or students, but do use them to compare individual and class progress from year to year as we move through our Waldorf curriculum. We also have, in years past, used IOWA test scores for our own research and study purposes.
Last year we completed an independent five-year study of SGWS students’ IOWA test scores. The analysis, conducted by the University of Akron Business Analytics department, found that test scores at Spring Garden rose as students rose in grade level, and that student’s national percentile ranks also increased as they moved through the grades.
Impressively, by Grade Eight, SGWS students well outperformed their same-age and same-grade peers nationally who took the IOWA tests.
- 50% of SGWS Grade Eight students tested at a 13th grade equivalency, the grade level at which the IOWA test is capped.
- 75% of SGWS Grade Eight students performed significantly above 10th grade equivalency.
- Also notable… there were no significant differences in the performance of male vs. female students at Spring Garden Waldorf School.
This year, students will be given the IOWA test during between February 29th and March 4th. Parents are encouraged to let their children know that this is just another experience for them and that they need not be concerned about outcome.
Many 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.
While parents are always welcome to attend any Parent Council meeting, we wanted to extend a special invitation for the meeting next Thursday, February 18, at 6:00 p.m.
As the school prepares for our next round of strategic planning later this year, the Board and administration are seeking as much feedback as possible from parents to inform and guide our work. This Parent Council meeting will give you the opportunity to provide us with valuable input.
Please click here to sign up so that we have a sense of how many people to expect to plan for space. Hope to see you there!
“We can’t blame children for occupying themselves with Facebook rather than playing in the mud. Our society doesn’t put a priority on connecting with nature. In fact, too often we tell them it’s dirty and dangerous.” – David Suzuki
The National Wildlife Federation has essentially created a whitepaper on dirt to explain and encourage mud play among children. There’s an International Mud Day in June. And Immunologist, Mary Ruebush, has written a whole book about it: Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends.
We know playing outdoors, in general, has a myriad of proven health and learning benefits. And sensory play is also essential for developing skills, especially in younger children.
But why is mud, specifically, so good for children?
First, there is the issue of children’s immune systems. As Ruebush says, “Let your child be a child. Dirt is good. If your child isn’t coming in dirty every day, they’re not doing their job. They’re not building their immunological army. So it’s terribly important.”
In fact, there are many ways in which dirt’s microscopic bacteria benefit children’s bodies and minds. One in particular, Mycobacterium vaccae, had been found to increase the levels of serotonin in our brains, which boosts mood and relieves anxiety.
Researchers at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York also wondered whether, in addition to its antidepressant effect, M. vaccae may also have an effect on schoolwork.
“Since serotonin plays a role in learning, we wondered if live M. vaccae could improve learning in mice,” says Dr. Dorothy Matthews, who co-authored the study. “We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice.”
Turns out there are great body benefits, too. In addition to being good for the immune system, experts at the University of California at San Diego have found that mud play combats inflammation while improving wound healing. The researchers studied both mice and human cells in their lab and found that common bacteria, called staphylococci, can reduce inflammation after injury when they are present on the skin’s surface.
But most importantly, the kids love it because it’s fun to get dirty, fun to play outside, and fun to be with friends and have unrestricted playtime in nature. So let the kids be kids.
As American botanist Luther Burbank once said, “Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade…bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes and hornets; any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of…education.”
Win a free ticket to the auction! This upcoming Friday Morning, January 29th, enter for a chance to win a free ticket to this year’s Benefit Auction, valued at $75.
Raffle tickets are $1 each and will be on sale Friday morning from 8:20 – until the start of the Assembly. After that time, tickets can be purchased in the office until the end of the school day on Monday January 31st. The drawing will take place Tuesday, Feb. 1st.