by Caty Petersilge
If hand work has one ultimate purpose, it is to build students up in the direction of that knowledge until they no longer second guess their ability to create what they imagine. This takes a great deal of time and many accumulated successes, and confidence in one’s creations is a lifelong human pursuit. Consistently creating useful, beautiful objects with one’s own hands is a tangible and powerful support to this work, and giving those creations to others is fulfilling in even more far-reaching ways.
Here is a breakdown of handwork done, by grade, at Spring Garden Waldorf School.
Class One spends their first few weeks of school making two very important implements for handwork: a finger-knitted drawstring (for their handwork bag) and a pair of knitting needles. This is done in preparation for two days at the end of September when Class Eight comes down to join us for handwork class and teach their first grade buddies how to knit! This is an efficient and magical means of passing on such a nimble handicraft.
Class Two, having honed their knitting skills last year, begins this year by creating a thinner pair of knitting needles. Using these new tools, they knit their flute case, which holds their flute in second grade, and their recorder in third through eighth grade.
In Class Three, students get familiar with a new tool: the crochet hook. The students learn the single crochet stitch and make a ten stitch by ten row bookmark. Once this is completed, they will use the same stitch to make their pencil case. Later in the year, they will learn to crochet in the round and the students will make a pattern to grow a hat for themselves or a loved one.
Class Four, in preparation for their studies of Norse mythology, students do Norse knot work — creating bookmarks or bracelets from wool yarn. Students are also at the beginning of embroidery, learning the four basic stitches required to make a needle case, which will serve as a home for their needles as they work on their elephants in sixth grade.
Class Five knits toe-up socks in the round, which are certainly the most complex and difficult handwork the children have yet encountered. When the children finish their first pair of socks, they can choose to make a second pair or to create a pair of mittens.
Class Six sews elephants making use of the needle cases the students made in fourth grade. The elephant will be given as a gift to a younger friend, so special attention to detail is necessary where seams and stitches are concerned. Toys are meant to be loved and played with after all, so we must remind ourselves to make them durable!
Class Seven plunges into felt making, which comes at the perfect time for seventh graders, whose last few years of handwork have featured steadily smaller work and more fine motor skills. Felt making comes in as a breath of fresh air and gross motor skills, with hard work in the arms and shoulders forming a strong, grainless fabric.
Class Eight’s great work is to create a pair of flannel pajama pants using treadle sewing machines (they are studying the industrial revolution, so they are in a unique position to appreciate the difference these machines made in lives of people back then). We also pick up a paper craft skill: making Froebel stars. These sixteen pointed cousins to origami can be seen hanging from the ceiling in the handwork room.
Routine is good for children. It makes them feel safe: kids who have solid routines know what’s coming most of the time and can better adapt to the occasional unexpected event. Routine also helps make parents’ lives easier and improves children’s behavior. But in modern life, hectic schedules often disrupt routine. While ditching a formal dinnertime or extending bedtime may seem to relieve stress in the moment, research implies otherwise.
A Syracuse University metastudy of 32 studies of routine and ritual in family life between 1950 and 2000, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that “although families may be challenged to meet the busy demands of juggling work and home, there is reason to believe that routines and rituals may ease the stress of daily living.”
One way in which routines help relieve family stress is by helping the long-term behavior of children. Take, for example, the results of a study reported in this article from The Guardian. The University College London did a study of bedtimes and routines in three-, five, and seven-year-olds and found that “children put to bed at the same time each day are significantly less likely to misbehave,” and that “children who had changeable bedtimes between the ages of three and five displayed better behavior by age seven if their bedtimes had become more regular.”
Another study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and reported here at Reuters, found that “children who took part in more family routines were more likely to be socially and emotionally advanced” and that routines “can help with what we call ‘executive function': skills like problem-solving, negotiation, planning and delayed gratification. Having good executive function skills is absolutely important for school success.”
So what routines should you establish? Any routines and rituals created by your family hold value. This 2007 study by Mary Spagnola, Ph.D., and Barbara H. Fiese, Ph.D., published in the journal Infants and Children,” said any regular family practice encouraging emotional connection showed beneficial results. However, the study identified three specific routines they noted as contributors to healthy child development:
- A nightly dinner routine was found to provide rich and complex language development experiences.
- Reading routines were shown to improve literacy.
- Daily living routines, like meal preparation, homework, and age-appropriate extracurricular activities, were found to foster social skills and independence.
No matter what routines you and your family decide to embrace, the research shows that it will help balance your child’s behavior, build academic and social skills, and relieve stress in the family.
Children and their families are invited to celebrate Halloween at Spring Garden on Thursday, October 30th, at 6:00 pm. Children dress up in non violent or gory, media free costumes and visit their very own dressed-up teachers who will festively pass out treats from their classrooms.
Parents and children will need to be done walking through the school by 7:30 when the stations close. Don’t forget to bring a bag for all the treats! Caty Petersilge is also hosting a family, pumpkin-carving-fun day after school on Wed. Oct 29th. Children and parents attending this event can bring as many pumpkins as they would like to carve and take to decorate their home.
Children will have no school on Friday, October 31, and Monday, November 1st. These days are reserved for teacher conferences, so please sign up for a time to speak with your teacher. Sign up sheets will be posted on the office windows.
Have a fun, safe and happy Halloween!
Children of all ages love the magical cookie fairy and boat wish rooms, along with unique crafts, music, and the outdoor medieval catapult. Younger children especially love the face painting, puppet shows, story-telling and the make and take crafts.
The artisan market offers handmade items for young and old. Enjoy a delicious café which offers homemade food and baked goods. Stay and have lunch while the kids play!
The festival takes place at 1791 South Jacoby Rd in Copley, OH. Admission to the event is $2 per person.
Lots of volunteers are needed the day before, day of and night of cleanup. Look to the office windows and also to the Volunteer Opportunity tab on our website for upcoming signs ups to help.
Students in grade 3-5 can bring a friend to school this Monday, October 13th, to experience Waldorf Education first hand. Join us and see the educational philosophy that has caught the attention of the New York Times and CNN.
Children attending bring-a-friend-to-school day, will spend the day with their sponsor friend as a typical Spring Garden Waldorf student. They will shadow their friend in the classroom and experience a regular day, including main lesson and all the day’s subjects.
Students must be registered to attend. Please call 330-666-0574 to register or email Amy Hecky at email@example.com.
by Hazel Emery M.Ed.
Tuesday will be hot lunch day at Spring Garden and students may fill out the form, sent home by teachers, by the Friday at 8:30am before hot lunch is served. The standard lunch, which includes one drink, will be $3.75 for fall 2014. Extra items may be ordered for an extra cost, as indicated on the hot lunch forms. Forms turned in late will be a assessed a $0.50 late fee, but absent students who have ordered lunch will not be charged.
Hot Lunch Volunteers Needed
The lunch program needs many hands to run smoothly. We especially need help with serving, from 11:30 to 1:00. Please come join us! The rhythm of the lunch program can be a bit hectic at times, so find a good comfort level for yourself and help as often as you can. No cooking experience is required!
Hot Lunch Forms are available HERE: http://sgws.org/sgws-parents/forms/
Wet felting is a common handwork activity in Waldorf schools. In wet felting, combed sheep’s wool (sometimes called “roving”) is soaked in warm, soapy water, then kneaded so the individual wool strands break down and combine into felt. Wet felting offers unlimited potential for creativity, as the felt can be manipulated and shaped in many different ways – for example, students in the middle and upper grades Handwork classes fashion it into book covers, hats, and three-dimensional sculptures.
Recently, our Early Childhood students helped their teacher with the preparation process of wet felting. Miss Kathy brought out a bowl of warm, soapy water scented with lavender oil and the children took turns stomping the wool in the bowl.
The purpose of wet felting with their feet is to give these young students a grounding sensory experience. On this particular day, the children had high energy levels and were having a hard time settling into creative play. But after this experience, which engaged the children’s senses of touch and smell while satisfying their need for movement, they were able to settle calmly into creative play.
The completed wet felting project will be a piece of scenery for a puppet show and story the children will be hearing during story time.