by Hazel Emery M.Ed.
Spring Garden Waldorf School was fortunate to be gifted an original P.R. Miller sculpture for our grounds. Miller — a.k.a. “The Grizzled Wizard of Waste Not, Want Not” — is renowned for creating unique works of art using recycled and reclaimed materials. Miller is the artist-in-residence for Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, and his installations can be seen throughout Akron.
P. R. Miller has had a long relationship with Spring Garden. His children Sarah and Alex, as well as his grandson Graye, are SGWS alumni, and he has continued to support our school in many ways since they graduated. Most notably, he visited the school in 2008 and enlisted the help of students and their parents to create bugs and butterflies from recycled plastic materials for his installation at Stan Hywet. We are grateful for his continuing involvement with Spring Garden Waldorf School and for this amazing, unique sculpture that will grace our grounds for years to come.
Spring Garden Waldorf School and Crown Point Ecology Center are partnering to offer Nature’s Children Parent and Child Class. Nature’s Children is a one of a kind offering for parents and/or caregivers of children ages 18 months to 4 years. This summer session will be offered almost entirely outdoors and will allow children and their parents to experience a Waldorf approach to early childhood education together.
An experienced early childhood teacher will lead the class through seasonal songs and games, artistic activities, nature walks, free play as well as story time with puppetry. Young children learn through imitation. As the children “work” and play together, the parents engage in and model purposeful work for the children such as working in the garden, feeding the chickens, preparing snacks, & creating seasonal crafts to take home.
Crown Point Ecology Center offers a unique site to host this outdoor focused experience with beautiful organic herb and vegetable gardens, wooded trails, barns, wetlands, a pond and more. Experiencing the out of doors offers a wonderful opportunity for discovery, conversation, and play. The Nature’s Children Parent and Child class is a perfect stepping stone into the Waldorf Preschool Program. We hope you will join us.
This class is a once weekly program offered once weekly for six weeks on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday from 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. Classes begin the week of July 12th. Cost per session is $180/parent and child and $100 for each additional sibling.
To register for the Thursday Session – Click Here
To register for the Friday Session – Click Here
To register for the Saturday Session: – Click Here
Prospective parents sometimes ask, “Is Waldorf an art school?” Waldorf schools do not consider themselves arts schools, but they do integrate art and music into the daily curriculum. There are many reasons for this, but here are a few:
- Music and art engage children naturally and make learning more fun, interactive, and multidisciplinary.
- Music and art are scientifically proven to enrich and strengthen complementary neural pathways for math, language, and creativity.
- Music and art are essential to humanity. Each culture’s history and philosophy revolve around the arts, and these things become an essential part of educating the whole child.
While prospective parents wonder about the role of the arts in education, our current parents have some firm ideas about its benefits. We asked parents of our eighth grade students why our school’s rich arts curriculum is so important, and here are a few of their answers:
“Children need to have beauty all around as they learn, so that they can create beauty in the world.”
“We’re educating humans, not computers. The arts are part of the human experience and worthwhile endeavors in their own right.”
“The arts help children develop their unique capabilities and provide balance.”
“Music and art serve as a common thread through all other subjects and help students appreciate beauty and ground theories in reality.”
“Art provides insight into humanity.”
“Artistic impression is very important to children and, I believe, can help them learn many things and pique their interest. Hands become extensions for expressing the feelings, thoughts, and ideas that form in the mind, and this can then connect the head, heart, soul, and body.”
“The arts help the brain grow holistically and thus help a child grow more deeply as a person and life-long learner. Arts balance intellectual learning and provide an outbreath.”
“What they work on with their hands both informs and activates the head and heart. I think it allows for greater retention in both spheres – intellectual and emotional.”
Thank you to our parents for their artful insight!
The safety of our students is a very high priority. Over the last several years, we have been evaluating a number of safety improvements at SGWS. As part of this effort, Mr. Vargo and I have participated in a variety of safety seminars, met with local law enforcement, reviewed safety concerns from parents from our annual survey, and received input from the AWSNA accreditation team and fellow Waldorf schools. As a result, we are in the process of implementing the following safety related improvements:
- Front Door Security: Our school has been awarded grant money for improvements to our main entrance door. Starting this summer, there will be remote access to the building. This means that during school hours, all the exterior doors will be locked. Parents, guests, and visitors will be buzzed in through the main entrance, which will be equipped with a video camera and intercom.
- Intercoms: Also this summer, we will be installing intercoms in all classrooms and the gym. In addition, we will be installing loudspeakers on the exterior of the entrances to each wing. These improvements will provide the ability for two-way communication with the office in the event of an emergency.
- Medication: During our AWSNA accreditation visit, it was recommended that we end the practice of providing over-the-counter medications. We are reviewing our medication policies and will be implementing changes effective with the 2015-2016 school year.
- Background Checks for overnight chaperones: In March, SGWS implemented a policy requiring background checks for all overnight chaperones. For this school year, the policy affects the chaperones for the Renaissance Faire and the 8th grade trip. The Parent Handbook will be updated to include this policy, which requires all chaperones providing overnight supervision on school-sponsored trips to pass a Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) check. Examples of overnight school-sponsored trips include camping trips, the Renaissance Faire, and the 8th grade trip. More information will be communicated in preparation for the 4-6th grade fall camping trip.
- New safety drills: The state of Ohio has made some changes to safety drills for Ohio schools. We have been meeting with members of Copley police and fire department to improve our drills and implement changes.
- Safety Tip Line (844-SaferOH): SGWS has joined 844-SaferOH – Ohio’s new school safety tip line. This line gives parents and students a way to anonymously report safety threats to school officials and law enforcement officers. This tip should be used if there are safety concerns that affect the whole school or the safety of individual students. Trained professionals at Ohio Homeland Security’s Threat Assessment and Prevention (TAP) unit answer all calls and texts to 844-SaferOH. When action is needed, TAP staff immediately forward information to our school. Local law enforcement agencies or others may also be notified, if the situation warrants. Tip line staff will follow up quickly with our school and law enforcement agencies to make sure the incident was investigated and the outcome was tracked. The tip line serves our community 24 hours a day, whenever a student or concerned adult senses a threat to student safety. The call center guarantees the anonymity of the person who calls or texts. Tip line workers may ask for additional information, but the one who calls or texts may remain anonymous or leave contact information for follow-up. The tip line was established as a result of research that shows that in 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker knew something but didn’t report it for fear of being identified. The tip line number is 844-723-3764.
Thank you for your support as we implement these important and helpful changes. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Tracy Edwards, Administrative Team Leader
Join us at school on Saturday, May 30th, from 10am – 2pm for Roof Art Community Day. This fun and festive community painting party will let families create an art piece to be included inside our new roof. Plywood can be purchased at $100/sheet and the art will be used to line the inside walls and ceilings of our new roof. Healthy snacks will be provided for all!
We will also be placing a time capsule inside the new roof and each plywood purchase entitles you to place a small, meaningful item inside. So come, have fun and support the new roof project with your donation and your art!
Fill out the purchase form in your mailbox. Or, you can purchase the sheet online, here, at PayPal:
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.