School News

Welcome to First Grade

»Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Curriculum, School News | 0 comments

Rose2012-22Your little ones are off to first grade. It’s an exciting and important time for you and your child. They are now one of the “big kids” in “real” school.

At Spring Garden, this means transitioning from the Meadow and familiar Early Childhood teachers to a new classroom, new teacher, and new playground. There will also be a new rhythm to their day.

You will receive a supply list from your teacher, and all the outdoor gear requirements will look familiar if you’ve been at Spring Garden for early childhood. School age children play outside at least three times a day in all but stormy weather. The other supplies will include extra clothes and some other items for class.


The First Day of School:
We suggest you park and walk into school with your first grader. The first grade teacher will give more specific information about first day drop-off specifics, but most parents stay that morning to see the Rose Ceremony, which takes place on the first day for all studentsRose12. This ceremony accentuates the special significance of transitioning to first grade. The young children are entering a new phase in life — where schooling and community, away from parents, will support their budding sense of self, learning, and individuality.

During this ceremony, Spring Garden pairs incoming first grade students with their responsible eighth grade buddies — a milestone for both young people in the pairing. Eighth grade students will guide their first grade buddies throughout the year in various ways, including helping the first grade during assembly, having a care-giving presence at other festivals and celebrations, and chaperoning and teaching the young children to ice skate during our spring field trip.

After the Rose Ceremony, a regular school day will commence and children can be picked up at 3:20pm.


The First Week of School:

suppliesChildren can be dropped off or walked into school by their parents between 8:15 and 8:30. Grade 1 and Grade 2 students will always have their teacher present during morning recess.  For the first few days, please walk your first grader out to greet their teacher. Once your child is comfortable coming into the school, hanging lunches outside their classroom, and putting on their outdoor clothing to go outside then they may do it on their own. If you arrive after 8:30, you must walk your child into the office to sign in and get a late pass.

Children will wear their outdoor gear every morning, including rain pants and boots, even on sunny and dry days. This is because they are welcome to sit in the wet morning dew and stomp in morning mud puddles! Being dressed in gear first thing means they are ready for play.

After the morning bell rings, children will come inside in a classroom line, take off their gear, and begin their day. For the first grader, Main Lesson begins with circle time, movement, and song. Then, when children are ready, they sit for the day’s lesson on a main subject. The main subjects (language arts, math, history, etc.) are taught in blocks that last for a set amount of weeks.  Main lesson is two hours per day and includes many activities to encourage multidisciplinary learning, including music, storytelling, writing, drawing, and conversation.

Once done with Main lesson, students enjoy a snack around 10:30 and then have their second recess time of the day. When they return from the outdoors, they begin their subject lessons with subject teachers; the schedule varies by day but is consistent each week. Your teacher can provide a subject lesson schedule, which will include Spanish, handwork, movement, music, gym, painting, lunch, recess, and in older grades, woodwork and orchestra.


Other FAQs:

Is there Before Care?

Before Care begins at 7:15. Before Care is located in the Second Grade classroom. At 8:15, children will put on their outdoor clothes with the help of the before care teacher, if needed. Early Childhood students will be walked to their class teacher, while students in the grades will be sent outside for morning recess.

Where do I park?

SlowChildrenIf you’d like to walk in with your student, come to the School Store, or speak with faculty or staff, please park in the lot on the right (near the Meadow & fence) or park to the far left against the grass near the Sports Club pavilion property. Please do not leave unattended cars in the circle drop-off area.


Where do students and/or parents walk in?

Please have students walk into the front door only, located under the overhang adjacent to the circle drop off area. The door in the Early Childhood wing is locked and is not for general entry. It is used only to take young children to and from the Meadow, and Early Childhood teachers kindly ask that students use the front door only for entry.

What if we’re late?

Children coming in after 8:30 must get signed in at the office with their caregiver and receive a late pass. Children who are tardy should proceed to their classroom once they are signed in and have a pass. They should knock on the classroom door and wait patiently to be let in.  The teacher will not disrupt the morning opening but will let the child in once opening is finished. They may need to wait a few minutes.

We look forward to seeing you on August 27th!

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A Summer of Facility Upgrades

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

RoofIt’s the summer of big improvements for the Spring Garden Waldorf School building.  Phase one of the roof is complete and the next phase now begins. Last week the trusses for our new gabled asphalt roof arrived and Delbert Stewart Roofing and Construction’s diligent crew has been preparing the surface of the old roof so it is ready to be covered with the new roof.

Roof construction will continue throughout the summer. Because of this, our summer office hours will be limited and will vary based on the construction schedule, so please call before coming to school.

Meanwhile, our new Building Security System has been installed. The system includes two-way intercoms in each classroom, bullhorn speakers inside and outside the building for fire and tornado alarms, and a remote entry system that will allow us to keep the front doors locked during school hours. As the new school year approaches, we will provide you with more information about how this new system works.

You’ll see a new roof, and we’ll see you, at the end of August!


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August Work Days

»Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

In order to channel our communities talents for group projects, we have our enrollment contract specify that 20% of service hours (for most families, this is six hours) be fulfilled during scheduled work days.

Spring Garden will have three Work Days this summer in August.

Monday 8/3

Thursday 8/6 

Tuesday 8/11

These Summer Work Days will take place in the evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM.

Many hands make light work! You are always welcome to bring additional helping hands to assist in this important work, and their work does count toward your service hours. However, we ask that you not bring children under the age of 10, as we do not provide child care for work days, and most of our tasks are more strenuous than would be appropriate for younger children.

Register Here:

Have questions about work days? Check out our Work Day FAQ page HERE.


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Thank You, Class of 2015 Parents

»Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

by Tracy Edwards, Administrative Team Leader


Our parents are the heart and the hands of the SGWS community. They provide volunteer support in countless ways to our school. We are grateful and awed by the commitment of our parents.Tomorrow is graduation day for the class of 2015. As we send off these amazing young people to the next step of their journey, we would also like to recognize the group of parents that will also be ‘graduating’ from SGWS and won’t be a daily part of our parent community next year.

Cordell and Joanna Caley: Thanks for always being willing to help and for the significant contributions in IT, development, yearbook, and class plays!

Holly Christensen and Max Thomas: Holly has been a part of the school for many years, four of her kids have attended SGWS. Thanks especially for your support in the office and help with field trips! Max, thanks for your help with the camping trip!

Firouz and Kristen Daneshgari: Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand when asked. We so appreciate your help in the school store, SGWS Board, Personnel committee, and Capital Campaign Committee!

Greg and Meredith Hansen: Meredith, words cannot express our gratitude for your leadership and commitment to the school store. Greg, thanks for your help with the class auction projects for 8 years.

Dina Harley: Thanks for being one of our best referral parents and for your help with field trips, massage donations, and dying t-shirts!

Frank and Patti Wagner: The Wagners have sent three kids to SGWS and been a part of our community for 18  years. Thanks especially with your support with fundraising by coordinating Acme receipts and Entertainment books!


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Winning Track Season in 2015

»Posted by on May 27, 2015 in School News | 0 comments


by Hazel Emery, M.Ed

Photo courtesy of Debi Palermo

Photo courtesy of Debi Palermo

Last week, athletes in Grades Six and Seven competed in their Championship Meet on Sunday, May 17, at Hudson High School. Nearly all of our athletes set new personal bests in their events, and nearly all returned with a ribbon or medal for their performances. The coaches were extremely proud of the work and effort put forth by all the athletes.

Grade Eight athletes had a preliminary meet on May 16 in Independence, where most of them set personal bests. It was a very rewarding day. At this preliminary meet, the top four finishers in each event went on to the Championship Meet on Thursday, May 21, at Brecksville/Broadview Heights High School. As noted last week, Sarah Caley qualified in the 400m run, and Hayden Matias qualified in shot-put and discus. Both Sarah and Hayden set new personal bests, with Sarah placing sixth and Hayden placing fourth in both his events.

Congratulations to all our athletes for continuing to improve throughout the season and for performing so well at the meets. Many of our athletes finished in the Top 10 for the Akron area and the Cleveland area in the CYO league. Spring Garden had two athletes in the State of Ohio Top 10: Hayden Matias in the shot put and Catherine Greer in the 200 hurdles.
As always, Coach Stewart and her assistants are grateful to parents’ continued support of the SGWS Track and Field team.

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Waldorf Education Featured on The Simpsons Season Finale

»Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Curriculum, School News | 0 comments


The Simpsons on WaldorfThe Simpsons gave a well-crafted, comic shout out to Waldorf Education during their Season 26 finale for 2015 — “Mathlete’s Feat”, which aired May 17, 2015.

Waldorf-centric Plot Summary:

After a scathing math competition defeat, tech bigwigs take pity on Springfield Elementary and outfit the school with all the latest technology. But Principal Skinner’s ineptitude leads to a server farm crash and the school loses all tech, which the students only used to watch Game of Thrones. This is when Lisa comes up with an idea that will save the school — “Learning while Doing.”  Springfield Elementary becomes a Waldorf School!

From there the students learn by doing in tongue-in-cheek fashion — calculating the cubic feet of styrofoam to add to the sloppy joe mix, pouring pints of beer in fractions, wearing required sun hats, and singing songs of acceptance, love and diversity. In the end, their new Waldorf Education helps them win the mathlete rematch by transforming an M into nine non-overlapping triangles.

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America was pleased with the level of in-depth knowledge The Simpsons writers clearly possessed about pedagogy and stereotypes associated with Waldorf Education, which made this fun caricature both lighthearted and flattering.


Watch The Video: 


The Simpsons Writer Insight:

Math – Mathematics education is very advanced in Waldorf schools. Math is revealed to students as a useful and real part of everyday life. Numbers, processes and then mathematical concepts are introduced through doing — counting and holding, paper folding, musical interval training, and calculations to create rope and pulley systems are just a few examples of how math is taught in Waldorf schools. We are not surprised that the Springfield Waldorf School could answer such a difficult final math equation to win the math competition. The challenge of drawing the nine non-overlapping triangles mimics the lessons in form drawings taught in our curriculum — another intersection of math, art, and doing experienced in Waldorf Education.


Sun Hats – Why of course! Waldorf students are prepared for all weather, at all times. Why?  Because, unlike many of their non-Waldorf peers, they still play outdoors for recess 3-4 times a day and also have classes outdooring such as science, physical education and gardening. Of course, hats for our adults are optional and they’re not required indoors. Nor is tie dye a requirement.


Technology – In the episode, Marge reads a pamphlet which says, “Waldorf Education: When you have Given up on the Modern World.” Considering the popularity of Waldorf Education among the children of Silicon Valley tech executives, this is clearly not quite the case, but it had been a stereotype of the past. Waldorf Educators simply feel there are better ways, more hands on and complex ways to teach young children how to learn. Technology is introduced to secondary education children, which as Skinner notes in the episode is “Not our Problem.”


Textbooks – There are no textbooks in Waldorf Education, it’s true. But there are many, many books. They are just not the ones provided to the state by textbook companies. Instead our students are presented material by teachers from classics and mainstream books on relevant topics, where they then take notes and reflect on lessons while creating their own “Main Lesson” books. These books become both catalogs and resources for learning.



We are honored to have been featured in such a positive light on The Simpsons Season Finale and are anxiously awaiting further information about which writers, perhaps Waldorf parents or alumni themselves, were involved in the episode’s creation.  As a thank you, and a responding shout out of sorts, our schools have been paying tribute to The Simpsons.  A collective of handmade hats is being created to send to The Simpsons writers.  The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is having students create beeswax figures of The Simpsons characters to share online and with The Simpsons execs. And the São Paulo, Brazil Waldorf school has done an amazing rendition of The Simpsons Theme Song as a tribute to this mainstream recognition.


Do you have questions about this latest press coverage of Waldorf Education or about Waldorf Education in general? Contact Amy Hecky at or call  330-666-0574.  Learn more about our school at

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