In the Fall of 2013 and Spring of 2014, University of Akron Student Athletes participated in the freshman leadership program and chose to work with Spring Garden Waldorf School students. Athletes came to our school in two groups. In fall, the freshman spread 50 yards of new mulch on our playground. This was a big, difficult job, and mulching our play area is essential for the safety of our children. We are so grateful the students were willing to come do such hard work.
In the spring, the freshman athletes talked to our Grade Five class about what it means to be a college athlete. The college students spoke about the importance of sleep, nutrition, and good study habits, and the necessity for hours and hours of practice that might seem mundane, but is essential for competition. They also spoke to the importance of resilience — experiencing failure and getting up to try again. This message resonated with our fifth graders who, at the time of the discussion, were training for a multi-school Pentathlon competition.
At the end of their involvement, the UA students decided to donate $200 to SGWS. We were so moved and honored by this kind gesture after all they had already bestowed on our school. A heartfelt thanks to The University of Akron and their generous student athletes.
If you have a child between the ages of 3 and 4, and are interested in learning more about Waldorf preschool, please join us for a sample preschool morning on June 20th from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. On this day, you can join your child and walk through the rhythmic, warm, sensory filled experience of a Waldorf early childhood classroom The morning will include circle time, bread baking and story time lead by our Nursery Preschool teacher, Miss Kathy. This experience is offered to you at no cost, but you must register as space is limited. Please click below for more information or to register.
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Spring Garden Waldorf School is not required to give standardized tests and does not evaluate teachers based on scores; however, SGWS does administer the IOWA Test of Basic Skills once a year to students in Grades Four through Eight. We do not test children before Grade Four.
Administrative Team Leader, Tracy Edwards, explains:
“As a school, we use this test to compare individual and class progress from year to year as we move through our Waldorf Curriculum. Parents also appreciate having a quantitative measure of their child’s progress as compared with public education.”
And how does Waldorf, and Spring Garden, student performance compare to national averages?
The Nov/Dec 2011 Harvard Education Letter reports that “Waldorf students tend to score considerably below district peers in the early years of elementary education and equal to, or… considerably above, district peers by eighth grade.”
An independent five-year study of SGWS students’ IOWA test scores seems to confirm the results of Harvard’s national study. The 2014 study, 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 students’ national percentile ranks also increased as they moved through the grades. This means that 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.
There was no significant difference in the performance of male vs. female students at Spring Garden Waldorf School.
In Grades Four, Five, and Six, the unique unfolding of the Waldorf curriculum creates some discrepancies between the areas being measured on the tests and our learning goals; therefore, we give the younger students only the Language Arts and Mathematics sections of the test. However, our Grade Seven and Eight students take all sections of the test and follow the test’s required time limits, so there were no outstanding variables in the study’s Eighth Grade comparison.
By Nancy Stewart, Coach and Athletic Director
Photos courtesy of Dana Welton
It has been a successful and rewarding track and field season for Spring Garden Waldorf School, with one more meet to go.
On Saturday, Grade Eight athletes participated in the Cleveland preliminary meet against Akron and Cleveland schools. Congratulations to Simon Welton, who qualified in the mile for the championship meet thisThursday, May 22, at Brecksville/Broadview Heights High School at 6:00 p.m. Please come cheer Simon on as he represents SGWS!
Congratulations also to Luke Kapitan and Jerome Hume for their outstanding performances at the meet. We saw the significance of 9/100ths of a second making the difference at the end of a race.
Grade Six and Seven athletes participated in their championship meet on Sunday, with another outstanding representation for SGWS. Congratulations to Kira Cseak, Sarah Caley, Eli Hansen, Jules Christensen-Diehl, Grace Hecky, Hayden Matias, Maya Miller, Jena McIntyre, Megan May, Rominy Moss, Willa Moss, Bethany Hecky, Grace Rossi, and Andrew Scott for finishing in the top ten in their events, and to Sarah Caley for finishing first in the 400.
It has been a very successful season for the athletes! Their hard work has truly paid off. Thank you, parents, for your support and dedication. Thank you also to our coaches, Greg Beck, Tom Humes, and Bryan May, for helping lead the athletes to success.
This Wednesday, May 7, at 9:00 a.m., please join us in the School Store for a tea and reception to meet next year’s Grade One teacher, Marie Paul. Ms. Paul is one of Spring Garden Waldorf School’s founding teachers, and she has extensive knowledge of both our school and Waldorf education in general.
Ms. Paul has a B.S. in Education from the University of Akron, has received her Waldorf Certification and has been with SGWS for 31 years. While at Spring Garden, she has taken two classes from Grade One through Grade Eight; in addition, she has taught a combined Grades One/Two class through Grades Five/Six; one class from Grade One through Grade Three; one class from Grade Six through Grade Eight; and the current Class of 2014 in Grades Seven and Eight.
Ms. Paul has taken numerous courses in Anthroposophy and Waldorf education over the years, and her knowledge and experience are truly one of our school’s greatest treasures. Recently, Ms. Paul was honored in the My Favorite Teacher Contest, sponsored by Barnes and Noble. Her former student, Sarah Welton wrote an essay about Ms. Paul that won the 9-12 grade essayist category.
We encourage you to stop by and say hello, especially if your child will be in Grade One next fall!
There is a debate of which came first — music or language. But one thing is for sure, the role of music in human history is as essential and prevalent as language itself. It is used to this day for ritual, expression and community. This is what Mr. Edward Grimes gathered to share with parents at Spring Garden on the morning of March 25th, as he discussed music education at each of the grade levels.
He described the music curriculum as a layering process that corresponds to the methodology of teaching throughout Waldorf Education. What is taught in the beginning, or early grades, is never lost or “moved beyond” so much as layered upon.
In the early years, this applies to music as an expression and embodiment of imagination. In first and second grade, children learn music from the pentatonic scale both in song and on their flutes or recorders. The songs are rich in story, movement and expression, so that the children can learn what it is to imagine through music.
In third grade, the nine year change means children are ready to begin learning the language of music. A diatonic scale is introduced, notes are named by letter, and children learn basic music notation such as the scale and cleff. Third graders also begin Solfege – a music education method used to teach pitch and sight singing.
Fourth grade brings fraction studies and fractions bring quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes, which then lends to teaching rhythms, and rounds and some simple harmony. Now that the language of music has been introduced, children begin to play musical instruments, starting with the violin.
Grade five is ready for three parts in choral music and will sing Glorious Apollo as part of their study of the Greeks. Accidentals are also introduced in this grade and new keys are taught beyond the key of C.
In class six, there begins an amazing opportunity. Written music from the time period of study — Medieval Times — is now available! The children can be given Gregorian Chants and other time period pieces to learn. Acoustics are also studied this year. And class six students, who are more attuned to their outside world, can begin to also attune themselves to what lies within.
They can be taught to think about, and influence, the sound of their own voice — an instrument which can only be seen through the mind’s eye and can only be changed with subtle manipulation of their physical selves. Class Six students can also choose different instruments to play beyond the strings.
Middle School then layers skills and practice upon all that has been learned before. Ensemble choirs read music and sing in harmony and rhythm. Site singing also begins and Solfege study continues. And Orchestra is now part of every student’s curriculum.
Through it all, Mr. Grimes takes great care in choosing the most appropriate music for the students in each grade. He says, “I don’t teach pieces of music. I teach the music in the pieces.” As a final thought he encouraged the parents to expose their children to live music and help them experience the human connection: “Seeing one human make music, which they then experience first hand, is crucial for learning and human connection.”