Early Childhood

Waldorf Summer Care

»Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Early Childhood, School News | 2 comments

Need a summer day care solution for your little ones? Keep them here at school in a nurturing, familiar environment. Children aged 4 to 8 will enjoy enriching days together with Miss Kathy.

They’ll be in good hands with Kathy Miller, SGWS parent and our Early Childhood Extended Care Lead teacher.  Kathy has worked with children for over 20 years,  has a BA in Early Childhood Education, and has graduated from Lifeways Waldorf training. Learn even more about Kathy Miller here.

Children will experience a typical Waldorf rhythm each day, including purposeful work in and out of doors, snack, circle, free play, lunch & rest. A morning snack is provided. Lunch and an afternoon snack must be brought from home.

Summer Care is available every week this summer starting on Monday June 25th and ending on August 24th. Children start their day at 9:00 and go home at 3:00. Three and five day options are available. Three days will be W, Th, Fr. Cost is $200/wk or $140/3 day option.

Space is limited and registration is required.  Sign up online HERE or visit the office for a registration form.


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Learning to Read in Waldorf Schools

»Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in Curriculum, Early Childhood, Research | 2 comments

According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 37% of fourth graders and 26% of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level; and on the 2002 NAEP 26% of twelfth graders cannot read at the basic level. That is, when reading grade appropriate text these students cannot extract the general meaning or make obvious connections between the text and their own experiences or make simple inferences from the text. In other words, they cannot understand what they have read.”

When learning to read, comprehension is key, not the ability to decode letters and form words. In many U.S. schools, children are taught to first memorize the alphabet, then sounds, and then piece together phonics into words and finally sentences. Vocabulary and spelling lists are then memorized and readers are often timed for speed. Teachers then guide students toward sentence and paragraph comprehension.

 

Teach Comprehension First 

As outlined at WhyWaldorfWorks.org, Waldorf schools take an opposite approach, believing that for comprehensive reading to occur, a child should first obtain the skill of forming an inner picture of content, inside their mind, as they decode.  So, in consideration of child development, Waldorf educators work to develop these comprehension capabilities at a time when imagination thrives in the child – before age seven, which is also before eye tracking and other developmental milestones for reading are strong.

Fairy tales, songs, poems and rhyming become the basis for the Waldorf language arts curriculum through which a child comes to learn expansive vocabulary and eventually printed word. The idea being that younger children are first given the gift of a strong foundation in comprehension, vocabulary and the sounds and meanings of language. Then, and only then, are students introduced to the external expression of those well-formed concepts and taught to write and spell the letters and words that are part of these richly imagined texts.

 

Introduce Decoding Through Writing

Wade B. Holland in his book, The Waldorf School: 32 Questions and Answers, talks about those first steps toward reading, which begin in first grade by hearing story and then writing what the teacher prints on the board.

“Reading in a Waldorf school follows acquisition of a firm grounding in writing — just as humankind had to develop systems of notation in order to have something to read. By exploring throughout the first grade year how our alphabet came about, and letting the children discover each letter in the same way that its form evolved to the ancients out of a pictograph, writing comes out of the children’s art, and their capability to read evolves as a natural, and indeed comparatively effortless, stage of their mastery of linguistic communications.”

 

Does This Approach Work?

Barbara Sokolov, author and Waldorf parent, gives a highly echoed testimonial to the results in her popular article There’s More To Reading than Meets the Eye.

“The first book that my daughter, Anna, read when she was “finally taught to read” was not a dull primer, but beautiful prose by E. B. White,Charlotte’s Web. True, she learned to decode later than many of her public school counterparts, but she learned to read fluently, with understanding and enjoyment, much sooner than most. Take a look at the sophisticated novels and poetry that upper grade Waldorf students are reading. Take in an eighth grade production of Shakespeare, and you will see the wisdom of the Waldorf approach to reading.  Working with a true knowledge of the human being, a true understanding of the stages of child development, the Waldorf teacher is able to educate children in ways that enable them to blossom forth with joy. As Rudolf Steiner says, “It is indeed so that a true knowledge of man loosens and releases the inner life of soul and brings a smile to the face.”

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Meet the Faculty – Q&A with Kathy Miller

»Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in Curriculum, Early Childhood | 0 comments

We are proud to have Kathy as our Early Childhood extended care teacher.

What is your favorite quote about teaching or education?

“My hunch is that if we allow ourselves to give who we really are to the children in our care, we will in some way inspire cartwheels in their hearts.” — Fred Rogers

How did you first hear about Waldorf education?

When Gaby was 3 years old and Jordan Judy was 3 months, we attended the play group class at Prairie Hill Waldorf School in Wisconsin. I’ve become hooked on Waldorf Education since that time.

How long have you been teaching? How long have you been teaching at SGWS?

I’ve been involved with little people over 20 years. I worked as a primary caregiver at a family daycare center in Australia. During my 7 years there, I worked toward an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. When I moved to the U.S., I attended college and received a BA in Early Childhood Education. During this time I worked at the Children’s Center on campus and after my 6th year there, became the Lead Teacher of the infant toddler program. After my girls were born, I found Waldorf Education. In 2008, I graduated from the “Lifeways” training in Wisconsin and became a caregiver and later Director of the Early Childhood Lifeways Center in Hartland, Wisconsin. We moved to Ohio about 1-1/2 years ago and I’ve been blessed to become part of our Early Childhood faculty. The little people continue to teach me and it is through them I continue to learn through my work and play.

What is the most interesting thing about you that most people don’t know?

I am an Aussie and I have a twin brother. I enjoy learning about Reiki and practice Hands of Healing. I enjoy learning about the properties of crystals and essential oils.

What has changed about Spring Garden since you started working here?

The communication lines have been opened! It is wonderful to receive updates about SGWS from John [Bailey]. Ross and I also find the classroom teacher updates informative. It’s wonderful to receive a glimpse of the main lesson content and also what the kindergarten class is doing in their daily Rhythm.

What is your dream for the future of Spring Garden?

To have a Kinder House!! An Early Childhood building that has a Lifeways Center: birth through nursery preschool age. To educate parents about the importance of the early years (birth through 7 years). Parents have become lost in our society, gobbled up and pressured into producing little adults out of our young children. The simplicity of childhood is disappearing.

What is your favorite subject to teach?

Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. These little people have been my teachers for many, many years.

What is your favorite food or favorite meal?

Anything. I love food! Sweets are my favorite.

Who is the person that has had a profound effect on your life and choice of path? Why?

I knew I wanted to work with children from a very young age. Susan, a very close friend of mine who has since passed, also told me to love and enjoy my work, follow my passions in life and remember “not to take myself too seriously” along the way. Laugh and have fun!

 

 

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The Importance of Fairy Tales

»Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Curriculum, Early Childhood | 0 comments

“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 Einstein

So, why do we at Waldorf not only read but teach fairy tales to our early grade schoolers? This fabulous article on ImaginationSoup.net perfectly encapsulates the importance of reading fairy tales to children.

Here are summarized article highlights after the click.

1. Fairy Tales Show Kids How to Handle Problems

Characters in stories help us because we connect them to our own lives, dreams, anxieties, and consider what we would do in their shoes. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

 

2. Fairy Tales Build Emotional Resiliency

Children need to discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone.

 

3. Fairy Tales Give Us a Common Language

Neil Gaiman writes, “We encounter fairy tales as kids, in retellings or panto. We breathe them. We know how they go.”

 

4. Fairy Tales Cross Cultural Boundaries

Many cultures share common fairy tales like Cinderella, with their own cultural flavor. We read the versions and know we all share something important, the need to make sense of life with story, and the hope for good to triumph over evil.

 

5. Fairy Tales Teach Story

Such as setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution) as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

 

6. Fairy Tales Develop a Child’s Imagination

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”  ― Albert Einstein

 

7. Fairy Tales Give Parents Opportunities to Teach Critical Thinking Skills

Even though some fairy tales show bad examples (Disney’s The Little Mermaid [the original version shows a weak woman who dies for the man]), kids can benefit from exposure and guided conversation to encourage critical thinking.

 

8. Fairy Tales Teach Lessons

Many fairy tales to teach morals and lessons. Will Goldilocks break into a house again?  Probably not.

 

Do you read your children fairy tales?

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Waldorf Education Overview

»Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Curriculum, Early Childhood, Research | 0 comments

Yet another beautiful video about Waldorf Education. This time from the Marin Waldorf School in San Rafael, CA.

httpv://youtu.be/tZmAX5adCl0

 

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Upcoming Spring Garden Activities

»Posted by on Jan 26, 2012 in Early Childhood, School News | 0 comments

Tina Phillips

January 28 — Parent Child Classes:

New sessions begin at the end of this month.  See the full schedule HERE.  It’s a wonderful way to introduce new families with young children to the Waldorf education system.  If you know of a family that might be interested, please send them our way!

February 2 — Parent Meeting:

“The Color Choices for Waldorf Classrooms” on February 2 from 4-5p.m. Please join Parent Council when we host Fifth Grade teacher, Cate Hunko who will present her recent graduate research and thesis, discussing the historical overview as well as the therapeutic and developmental reasons for the specific progression of color in Waldorf schools, including our own.

February 5 — Sock Knitting Workshop:

Join us! It runs four consecutive weeks, beginning Wednesday, February 15, 2012 from 9-10:30 a.m.  The workshop will be held in our School Store Community Area. Cost for the four-week workshop is $10 plus any supplies you’ll need from the school store. Participants must have beginning knitting skills.

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