Martinmas Food Drive

»Posted by on Oct 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

MartinmasGrade Eight are organizing a food drive, through the Akron Regional Food Bank, November 4-13th. It is part of our celebration of Martinmas — to remind ourselves to be the light of kindness during dark days. Grade Eight will set up collection containers in the lobby where you can place anything from cereal to personal care products, as long as the container is not glass.

Suggested donation items include:

  • Boxed cereal
  • Canned fish (tuna or salmon)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned soup
  • Canned fruitCondiments / dressings
  • Dried pasta, rice, and beans
  • Canned meals (stew, pasta, chili)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Personal care items (toothpaste, soap, shampoo)
  • Paper products

Thank you for helping to be the light for a family in need!

Eurythmy Workshop – October 23-24, 2015  

»Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in School News | 0 comments


On October 23rd and 24th, Gail Langstroth returns to Spring Garden Waldorf School for a presentation and workshop on Eurythmy — “Wordmoves.”

When we speak, we are shaping air. Each sound creates its own unique gesture. In this workshop, we will look at specific vowels and consonants; their relationship to cosmic forces; where these sounds are found in the body; and how to make visible our own words and the poetic works of well-known poets.

The workshop consists of an introduction on Friday, October 23, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and a movement workshop on Saturday, October 24, from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The cost is $80. For further information email Royse Crall or call her at (216) 536-9948.



SGWS Subjects: Orchestra

»Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Curriculum | 0 comments

by Emily Rode

Violins1Here at Spring Garden Waldorf School, orchestral musical training is seen as a layering of abilities. What is taught in the early grades is built upon each year, as more and more is expected musically from the students. Children are given regular opportunities to perform their music, at monthly Assemblies and also at Concerts and Festivals.

Grade 3: In Grade 3, we are just beginning our violin adventure. The students will have an instrument to use during our weekly meeting. It will be a few weeks after the school year begins before they actually begin to work with one, but they are always so excited and enthusiastic to begin!

Grade 4: Grade Four brings fraction studies, and fractions bring quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes. Student’s are measured and assigned a violin to use at school. Students work with a combination of imitation exercises to learn notes and rhythm, worksheets, and short pieces. They also work within The Etling String Method Book. Having their own instrument is not required at this time, but if they do, they can practice at home to reinforce the skills learned in class. If students have an instrument at home or want to acquire one, I can help with sizing or questions about supplies, care, and maintenance.  

CellosGrade 5: Grade 5 meets on Tuesday and Friday. Students are ready for short homework assignments, which are given on Tuesday and checked the next Tuesday. They should be practicing at home at least 4 of the 7 days for 10-15 minutes each practice. Those comfortable with the lesson measures or scales assigned, can review past assignments or long bows on open strings to produce a clear tone and be comfortable with the bow.

Grade 6: In Grade Six, children can choose to expand their instrumental repertoire by selecting a different stringed instrument to master beyond the violin. Grade 6 meets on Monday and Tuesday and their practice assignments will be given Monday and checked the following Monday. At this age, five additional minutes should be added to the student’s practicing, which should take place at least 4 of the 7 days each week.

Grades 7 and 8: Our Middle School students are now immersed in the language of music as skills are layered upon all that has been learned before. Students can now begin training on woodwind instruments in the upper grades, if they so choose, or they can continue to master their stringed instrument choices. Orchestra class meets on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Assignments are given each Monday and checked the next Monday. Students should now be practicing 20-30 minutes 4 to 5 days each week.

The benefits of music training, and string instrument training in particular, are vast.  Even if student’s choose not to pursue music long term, we know they will experience the proven neurological benefits, such as accelerated brain cell growth in areas related to executive functioning, including working memory, attention control and organisation.

Coffee & Conversation

»Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

BGardenThis month’s Coffee and Conversation is “Beauty, Reverence, and Truth: The Higher Purpose of Gardening through the Grades.” Teacher, Edward Grimes, will lead the conversation on Wednesday, October 28 – 9:00 a.m.

We are increasingly in a two-dimensional worldview. Gardening through the grades reveals the simple truth that everything on earth is in relationship and that separation is an illusion. The subject of gardening provides for the student an understanding beyond a “me vs. it/them” worldview. It seeks to cultivate a deeper understanding of the relationships and relatedness in the physical world, the feeling world, and the human heart. As Goethe tells us, “we must love nature. It is in our capacity to love (nature) that she will reveal her secrets.” All the earth and all within it is nature.     

Join us as SGWS teacher Edward Grimes discusses the role of gardening in the Waldorf curriculum.

This event is free and open to the public.  Click here to register.


Painting through the Grades Workshop

»Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in School News | 0 comments

unnamed (2)On October 22, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m., join Cate Hunko, M.Ed., as she shares why painting is an important support piece to the overall curriculum in Waldorf Education. This workshop will focus specifically on Grades One through Three. 

Cate Hunko, M.Ed., Ms. Hunko has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and print-making and a master’s degree in Waldorf Education. Cate has taken two classes through the cycle of Grades 1 through 8 at Spring Garden Waldorf School.

In this workshop, Ms. Hunko will discuss the evolution of painting in the lower grades, beginning with color study, intensity, quality and use of materials; then moving into depicting imagery in Grade 3. Each participant will have an opportunity to experience wet-on-wet water color painting with Ms. Hunko along with a discussion about child development and painting as it relates to Waldorf education.

The cost is $15 per person and space is limited, and the registration deadline is October 18. Click here to register. We hope you can join us!


Waldorf Subjects: Handwork

»Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Curriculum | 0 comments

by Caty Petersilge

KnittingConsistently creating useful, beautiful objects with one’s own hands is a tangible and powerful life lesson — teaching students that they are capable of great things with time, patience and practice leading to accumulated success. If handwork has one ultimate purpose, it is to build students up until they no longer second-guess their ability to create what they imagine.

Here is a summary of the handwork projects at Spring Garden Waldorf School, by grade:

Grade One is spending 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. The needles are made from wooden dowels which are sanded, waxed, and buffed by the children until they are smooth enough for yarn to glide over easily. Each child will then use two colors of sculpey clay to make a pair of “bobbles” (the little knobs that go on the ends of the needles to prevent the yarn from sliding off).

All of this is done in preparation for two days at the end of September: on a very special Monday and Tuesday, Grade Eight will come down to join us for handwork class and teach their first grade buddies how to knit! This is a wonderfully efficient and magical means of passing on such a nimble handicraft, and both classes always take great joy in the occasion. The first graders’ first knitted project will be a butterfly (a knitted square of white yarn which we will dye with plants found on the school grounds, then sew up the middle to create wings).

KnittingGrade Two, having honed their knitting skills last year, have now begun their largest handwork project to date: the knitted flute case! This will be the home for their flute in Grade Two, and eventually their recorder in Grades Three through Eight, so great care is taken to make sure the stitches are neat and consistent and the colors are beautiful. The flute case is 25 stitches wide and 13” long, so students in Grade Two have a good long first project ahead of them!

In Grade Three we are getting familiar with a new tool: the crochet hook. The students are learning the single crochet stitch and making a small bookmark to practice these new movements. Once this is completed, they will use the same stitch to make their pencil case – which will be 21 stitches wide by 18” long. Later in the year, when the weather is colder, 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.

Grade Four, in preparation for their studies of Norse mythology later this year, have begun doing some Norse knotwork – creating bookmarks or bracelets from wool yarn. Our next project will introduce embroidery; they will learn the four basic stitches required to make a needle case, and they will each create a personal design. The needle cases will serve as a home for their pins and needles as they work on their elephants in Grade Six.

Grade Five will be knitting toe-up socks in the round this year! Toe-up socks are certainly the most complex and difficult handwork the children have yet encountered, and every one of them are eager and undaunted. When the children finish their first pair of socks, they can choose to make a second pair or to create a pair of mittens which, conveniently, are just toe-up socks with a thumb instead of a heel.

elephantThe Grade Six handwork curriculum calls for the sewing of a toy that will be given as a gift to a younger friend (a sibling, a fellow student) 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.

Grade Seven will be plunging into feltmaking. Our first project will be wet felting (scrubbing at sheep fleece with hot water and soap to shrink it into felt) and we will be setting up tables every Thursday morning to work outdoors most of this season. Feltmaking comes at the perfect time for students in Grade Seven, whose last few years of handwork have featured steadily smaller work and more fine motor skills – then, feltmaking 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. The appeal of this change is clear in the students’ enthusiasm for the work!

Grade Eight’s great work this year is to create a pair of flannel pajama pants using 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). Before we approach the pants, however, we begin the year with a very familiar verse – in fact, the same verse many of them began with in Grade One! “Under the fence Catch the sheep Pull him through And off we leap!” Our first few classes are spent learning how to teach others to knit.

Their special task will be to pass on this skill to their first grade buddies in the final week of September, so we practice in pairs saying the verse and guiding each others’ hands until everybody feels comfortable.


Waldorf Subjects: Extra Lesson

»Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Curriculum, Early Childhood | 0 comments

by Jennell Woodard
JumpRopeBoyWaldorf Education is about the whole child – mind, body, and soul. The body and movement are intimately interconnected and interdependent in learning from this whole child perspective.

The goal in Waldorf Education is to support development in which education is more than gaining knowledge. Learning is not all in our heads. Waldorf Education recognizes that there are multiple ways of knowing, which take into account sensory experiences, temperament, emotion, how the child is “hard-wired,” and where neural networks are malleable to change.

We have more than just the five senses – Waldorf Education recognizes as many as 12 sensory systems – and learning comes also through these other senses like the kinesthetic, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems. Extra Lesson at Spring Garden Waldorf School incorporates movement, drawing, and painting exercises that help students with difficulties in writing, reading, and math, as well as behavior.

The premise is that the challenges a student experiences may be a result of inadequate spatial orientation and poor body geography, and research supports this link between learning difficulties and early child development.

Extra Lesson is an assessment and intervention program based on Rudolf Steiner’s holistic developmental perspective and the Waldorf philosophy of education.

BalanceBoyHere are some of the benefits from Extra Lesson:  

  • Improving mobility, motor skills, and flexibility  
  • Building and strengthening neurological networks  
  • Providing change without labels  
  • Providing opportunities to re-navigate possibly missed developmental stages that contribute to underlying problems emerging now  
  • Helping sensory input connections in the brain  
  • Building patterns for cross-referencing experiences  
  • Connecting movement with sensory input, gravity, spatial awareness, tactile sense, proprioceptive senses, and sensory integration issues

Here are some of the learning difficulties Extra Lesson is designed to address:  

  • Distractibility  
  • Low frustration tolerance  
  • Avoiding certain learning tasks  
  • Difficulty following directions  
  • Low academic performance  
  • Balance, coordination, and organizing  
  • Confusion with numbers, letters, and math signs

Extra Lesson at Spring Garden is taught by Jennell Woodard. She has been with SGWS for over 30 years and says, “My interest in “how we learn” began when I was a class teacher and looking for new avenues to unlock this mystery in some of my dear students. Then I discovered the work of Audrey McAllen, who worked diligently with the Foundation of Waldorf Principles designed by Rudolf Steiner.”

Ms. Woodard pursued a course of study with Extra Lesson from the Association for a Healing Education and currently works weekly with students in Kindergarten, Grade One, and Grade Two. She also works with individuals and small groups referred by class teachers.