Q. When did you first become interested in Waldorf Education and why?
A. In 1996, I was introduced to Biodynamic Agriculture while studying Horticulture at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. I was pretty passionate about the Philosophy and spoke with everyone about it. I had just met my husband and he explained that he lived with his Aunt in CA for awhile who was and continues to be a Waldorf teacher. I fell in love with the approach to both Education and Agriculture. I discovered that a Waldorf School existed in NE Ohio and my mother (also a teacher) and I visited Spring Garden Waldorf School together in 1997. During my undergraduate work I studied in VT and CA interviewing Waldorf Garden Teachers. I compiled a garden curriculum and distributed it back to the teachers who shaped it. I worked and interned at the Sacramento Waldorf School and Rudolf Steiner College for 5 months before moving to Pacific Grove, CA for my student teaching semester and to finish my thesis.
Q. What is your teaching and education background?
A. I graduated with my BA in Education in 2001 and was offered a position to teach 4th grade at Monterey Bay Charter School (A Waldorf Inspired Charter). I met Cate Hunko at the 4th grade summer intensive training at Rudolf Steiner College. I taught 4th grade and then decided to begin my Waldorf Teacher Training at Antioch the following summer. I taught 4-6th grade at Monterey Bay Charter School. Then a few months before our Ohio wedding we decided we really wanted to be closer to our families again. We moved to Akron, knowing we would be close to a Waldorf School, were wed, I finished my summer sequence Waldorf training in NH, and then spent a semester writing my thesis and waiting tables. I completed my Master’s degree in Education in 2004.
I was then a substitute at SGWS and surrounding schools for 2 years before I took a first grade at SGWS in 2006. I taught a wonderful group of children from 1st – 3rd grade at SGWS until my eldest son was born.
Q. How do you feel about teaching the same group of students for 8 years?
A. I love teaching the same group of children over a span of years. It is a very special and unique task to hold a group and watch them change, grow, and succeed. Due to life circumstances I haven’t yet experienced the entire span, but I will consider it a special gift when I am able to complete a cycle.
Q. What do you most love or look forward to about teaching at a Waldorf School?
A. It is a beautiful curriculum! Every year I teach, I find joy in the stories and methods. I was so moved by the stories of 5th grade that I wrote my Master’s thesis about the Creation Myths from around the world and the influence of storytelling. As a Waldorf teacher we read stories all the time! Then we are blessed to experience the magic as we share them with the children and watch them work through the morals, concepts and themes.
Q. What is your favorite quote about teaching or education?
A. Rudolf Steiner has so many! Here are two from him:
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.”
“A healthy social life arises when the whole community finds its reflection in the mirror of a person’s soul, and when the virtue of each person lives in the whole community.”
Thanks for sharing Andrea!
Beforecare begins at 7:15. Beforecare is located in the Second Grade classroom with teacher Marie Paul. At 8:15, children will put on their outdoor clothes with the help of the Beforecare teacher, if needed. Early Childhood students will then be walked to their class teacher, and students in the grades will be sent outside for morning recess.
Children are dismissed at 3:20 every day. Any child not picked up by 3:30 will be taken to Aftercare, which is held in the gym or out on the playground. Please come in to sign your child out of Aftercare.
Children in our Aftercare program spend much of their time outdoors engaged in free play, supervised by caring adults with childhood education or care experience. During inclement weather, structured indoor play opportunities are also available such as basketball, board games, and puzzles. Playground and gym equipment is provided to the children, and quiet areas are also available for students wishing to do homework.
We are dedicated to keeping this offering affordable for our community. Our program costs only $5/hour for the first child; additional children in the family are $4/hour. Hours are 7:15-8:15 in the morning and 3:30-6:00 in the evening. Please note that Beforecare and Aftercare is available only to Spring Garden Waldorf School students.
We here at SGWS have developed, as required by law, a new allergy policy to manage students with allergies. The Board of Trustees approved an allergy policy on August 10, 2015. This policy affects all members of our school community. The policy focuses on education about food allergies as well as reducing risk of allergens at SGWS. The full policy, which is included in our parent handbook, can be accessed here.
The key details are as follows:
SGWS is now a nut-free environment. The Board, faculty, and administration reviewed and researched the legal and practical issues associated with food allergies and made the change to a nut-free environment for the following reasons:
– Tree nut and peanut allergies are on the rise and present in 7 of our 11 classes
– Nut allergies tend to elicit more serious reactions
– We don’t have a cafeteria: Our children eat in the classroom,which is the very environment we are expected to keep students safe from allergens; additionally, our students enjoy food as part of the curriculum across the grades
– Our students, from Early Childhood through Grade 8, share the same facility and are encouraged to interact across the grades
Parents of students with anaphylactic allergies must have a current allergy action plan and signed waiver in place prior to the start of the school year. SGWS will contact you regarding any missing paperwork.
The approved policy clearly delineates the roles and responsibilities for parents, teachers, administration, board members, and students.
We recognize that changes of this magnitude take time, diligence, and communication to implement. We need all our parents’ help to implement this policy that affects many of our children. Your class teacher will be providing some addition information about food allergies in your child’s classroom. Click here for nut-free suggestions for lunch and snack ideas.
The PC is a supportive body of the school that promotes community enrichment and communication. It also acts as a constructive link between the Board of Trustees, the Faculty, and the parent body at large. Each representative acts as the voice for the entire class he/she represents. The President and President Elect each serve on the Board of Trustees.
Each representative is responsible for communicating pertinent information gained at each monthly Parent Council meeting to his/her respective class.
Here are the Parent Council Representatives for each Class this year:
Ms. Kathy – Susie Yoder
Ms. Julie – Kara Hoffman
Ms. Olga – Debi Huselton
Class 1 – Susan Hudson
Class 2 – Lisa Friel
Class 3 – Still Needed
Class 4 – Kelly Urbano
Class 5 – Rocky Lewis
Class 6 – Robin Anselm
Class 7 – Ann Denney
Class 8 – Julie Norman
Parent Council spearheads volunteer efforts for each of the following events:
- Welcome Back Dinner
- Children’s Festival
- Annual Auction class projects
- Parent Appreciation event.
Parent Council also facilitates minor fundraisers such as the Renaissance Faire Lunch and Silver Graphics, creates forums for parent enrichment and community building, and coordinates the production of a yearbook.
These classes will introduce you to the ways watercolor painting is approached throughout the grades, including subject matter, materials, and techniques. Participants will produce two or three watercolors in each session. These classes are open to adults only, not students or siblings.
Cost is $30 per session. Attendees can Sign Up for any or all sessions and pay at the door by check or charge to your SGWS MCA. You may sign up for as many sessions as you wish, but because space is very limited, please Sign Up only for sessions you are sure you will attend.
Painting through the Grades with Cate Hunko. All Sessions 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- August 11: Grades 1 – 3
- August 12: Grades 4 & 5
- August 13: Grades 6 – 8
Ms. Hunko has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking, and has automotive design experience. Ms. Hunko completed her master’s degree in Waldorf education at Antioch University, and her master’s thesis was on Color Theory and Painting. Over the years, Ms. Hunko has participated in a number of Waldorf Teacher Intensives on painting and has conducted research on Steiner’s color indications. Ms. Hunko has taken two classes through the cycle of Grades 1 through 8 at Spring Garden Waldorf School.