by Hazel Emery M.Ed.
During the first week of May, the fullness of spring and the impending arrival of summer are celebrated by cultures around the world with flowers, music, dancing, and singing. The Chinese and Thai New Year, the colorful Indian festival of Holi, and Walpurgis Night in western Europe are but a few of the diverse observations of this delightful period of renewal and hope. In ancient Europe, May 1 was considered to be the first day of summer, called Floralia by the Romans and Beltane by the Celts. This timeless celebration has evolved into modern May Day celebrations, with the maypole as a representation of the tree of life and the flowers and ribbons adorning it symbolizing fertility and rebirth.
At SGWS, May Day is one of our most cherished festivals. Early Childhood students dance around a Maypole early in the morning, while students in the grades wait until after Main Lesson, when an all-grades procession is led to the Sportsman’s Club adjacent to our property. There, students gather together to enjoy lunch and share lemon cupcakes lovingly made by class parents. After lunch, all students participate in a scavenger hunt, with teams made up of students from each grade. Following the scavenger hunt, students in the lower grades weave ribbons around Maypoles while students in the upper grades play madrigals on their recorders. When the dancing is complete, the celebration ends with a communal Blessing of the Garden.
Though it occurs during the course of a school day, we welcome families to our May Day Festival each year — we hope you can join us on April 29! Here is our schedule of events:
We educate children to contribute to the future of the world with clear and creative thinking, compassion, moral strength, and courage. Learn first-hand why the Waldorf private school system has caught the attention of the New York Times and National Public Radio.
Spring Garden Waldorf School is pleased and excited to announce an expansion of the Nursery Preschool program due to high demand. This program serves children who are 3 or young 4 year olds and are potty trained.
We will be offering a 2 day preschool program on Mondays/Tuesdays. Half and full day options are available. Space is limited. The two day program will follow the same daily rhythm as the 3 and 5 day options. The artistic activities will be painting on Mondays and baking bread on Tuesdays.
If you are interested in applying for your child to attend this program or to be added to a waiting pool for the three or five day program, please contact Amy Hecky at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 330-666-0574. Public and private tours are available.
There will be an open house on April 26th from 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. The entire family is welcome to tour the facilities and meet faculty, Board members and parents. Register Here: http://sgws.org/admission/visit-us/
An early learning development director and her niece, a live-in nanny, are offering childcare on the night of the auction. Both women are relatives of Early Childhood parent and auction committee member, Debi Huselton. Please call Debi for registration and address details: 724-290-2887.
Where: Portage Lakes Area – Call Debi for address.
When: 4:30 pm -11:00 pm, April 18
What: $5 Donation — Outdoor Play, Snack and Crafts Included. Bring pillows & blankets or sleeping bags for little ones.
Thank you to Debi for offering and organizing this service!
The Lake (formerly Loyal Oak) in Norton, Ohio, has generously offered to donate 20% of your seasonal swim membership fee to the SGWS “Raise the Roof” Capital Campaign!
It’s all about family fun at The Lake: 6-acre swimming lake w/ lifeguards, water slides, diving boards and water inflatables. Plus enjoy playgrounds, pavilions, volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, concession stand, and fun weekend events, including Saturday night movies.
Our sincere thanks to Kris and Amy Schmid, owners of The Lake, for their generous support of our school!
Please click here to download a membership application. If you have any questions, please email Amy Hecky or call her at 330-666-0574.
Students in Waldorf schools will ideally have the same main lesson teacher for first through eighth grade. There are three primary reasons Waldorf schools choose this method. First, it helps the teacher truly know the child and his or her family. Second, having a consistent class of peers with one consistent central authority figure has great benefits to social growth and class cohesion. And finally, these first two stabilizing forces – in-depth relationships and social cohesion — come together to support a focus on learning.
Knowing the Child
Waldorf class teachers have time to learn a child’s gifts and challenges, which helps them better teach and advocate for each student. Main lesson teachers can share their deep knowledge of a child with subject teachers and parents. This sharing of knowledge allows teachers to collaborate in the use of learning styles and techniques that suit individual children as well as for the class as a whole.
Teachers who truly know a child and how he or she learns can take a long view on that student’s learning. If a child tends to observe and work carefully for three months before leaping ahead on the learning curve, this is something the teacher will observe and account for within the coming years and within his or her teaching methods for this student.
The teacher will also get to know each child’s individual temperament and how this works both within the classroom and with the teacher’s own temperament and teaching style. Each child’s unique personality becomes essential and understood for its value within class. This class can come to feel like a family.
And as with family, if a teacher and a child are struggling to work together, no one considers resignation or replacement. The teacher assumes the responsibility of the work to make the relationship positive. One never expects this of the child, and Waldorf teachers are specifically trained to balance their relationship with each student. This includes a study of how to work with different personality types and learning styles, home visits to understand the child’s world, and regular parent teacher conferences and class meetings to better understand the child and his or her family.
The Waldorf model takes the long-term view that, as with academic learning, healthy social interaction must be self-motivated. Our teachers seek to provide students with a stable environment and important social skills that will enable to them interact compassionately with others and establish a sense of community. Children who learn together for eight years also learn to take on social problems, to value differences, and to manage varied work styles as they continuously collaborate.
Waldorf students don’t experience any of the yearly anxiety brought forth by new teachers or students within the class. Having the same children year upon year, along with the same authority figure who knows these children well, helps the students feel safe and confident.
This social cohesion, established in the early grades, brings the focus back onto learning. Children have the time and space, with three recess periods and in-class lunch and snack, to enjoy and learn from the social company of familiar peers. The social cohesion and stable authority figure helps students focus on learning during structured activities and class time.
Parent and Student Experiences
For more information, we offer these two shared experiences about Waldorf’s One Teacher method — one from a parent and one from a student.
Parent Experience: Tyra Scott
Student Experience: Sarah Welton
“Whenever I am asked about the influential people in my life, my thoughts immediately turn to both my parents and to Marie Paul, the wonderful person who served as my teacher for first through eighth grade. She is a beautiful person and a great friend, always there to listen and always there to help. I have much reason to admire her. Among her many talents, her ability to teach not only from the text but through her own actions shines bright. As a teacher she taught me in such a captivating and enthralling way. She encouraged me to want to learn and to enjoy learning. In the way she taught, she let us make our own conclusions and formulate our own opinions on the subjects we studied, and would always hear us out as we expressed these opinions.”