“We can’t blame children for occupying themselves with Facebook rather than playing in the mud. Our society doesn’t put a priority on connecting with nature. In fact, too often we tell them it’s dirty and dangerous.” – David Suzuki
The National Wildlife Federation has essentially created a whitepaper on dirt to explain and encourage mud play among children. There’s an International Mud Day in June. And Immunologist, Mary Ruebush, has written a whole book about it: Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends.
We know playing outdoors, in general, has a myriad of proven health and learning benefits. And sensory play is also essential for developing skills, especially in younger children.
But why is mud, specifically, so good for children?
First, there is the issue of children’s immune systems. As Ruebush says, “Let your child be a child. Dirt is good. If your child isn’t coming in dirty every day, they’re not doing their job. They’re not building their immunological army. So it’s terribly important.”
In fact, there are many ways in which dirt’s microscopic bacteria benefit children’s bodies and minds. One in particular, Mycobacterium vaccae, had been found to increase the levels of serotonin in our brains, which boosts mood and relieves anxiety.
Researchers at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York also wondered whether, in addition to its antidepressant effect, M. vaccae may also have an effect on schoolwork.
“Since serotonin plays a role in learning, we wondered if live M. vaccae could improve learning in mice,” says Dr. Dorothy Matthews, who co-authored the study. “We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice.”
Turns out there are great body benefits, too. In addition to being good for the immune system, experts at the University of California at San Diego have found that mud play combats inflammation while improving wound healing. The researchers studied both mice and human cells in their lab and found that common bacteria, called staphylococci, can reduce inflammation after injury when they are present on the skin’s surface.
But most importantly, the kids love it because it’s fun to get dirty, fun to play outside, and fun to be with friends and have unrestricted playtime in nature. So let the kids be kids.
As American botanist Luther Burbank once said, “Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade…bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes and hornets; any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of…education.”
Win a free ticket to the auction! This upcoming Friday Morning, January 29th, enter for a chance to win a free ticket to this year’s Benefit Auction, valued at $75.
Raffle tickets are $1 each and will be on sale Friday morning from 8:20 – until the start of the Assembly. After that time, tickets can be purchased in the office until the end of the school day on Monday January 31st. The drawing will take place Tuesday, Feb. 1st.
Enter a Waldorf school for a tour and you may be immediately struck by the beauty within the classroom. Within that beauty, your eye will no doubt settle at the chalkboard, where the children look daily, to behold a colorful and beautiful piece of hand crafted artwork — the chalk drawing. All Waldorf teachers do these amazing chalkboard drawings, but why? Rudolf Steiner made no specific mention of teachers drawing elaborate and gorgeous art with chalk.
Yet the trend, as it were, is rooted in Steiner’s belief that learning must invoke, “The True, the Beautiful, and the Good.” He believed these three great ideals tapped into, “the sublime nature and lofty goal of all human endeavor.”
As Artist Kate Walter, says in her website, Living Traditional Arts, “One of the rewards found teaching in a Waldorf school is the required opportunity to work with colored chalk on the blackboard. In the Waldorf classroom, we put drawings on the board to create mood and atmosphere in the classroom and to be an artful aid to the students, encouraging them to enter their lessons imaginatively.”
We like this further elaboration from Chapter 6 of the book, A Passionate Schooling, by Alduino Mazzone, PhD: “In a world where so many children are cut off from the beauty of nature, from forests and bird song and even blue skies, where contemporary youth culture can be even deliberately ugly, it is important that, in the school, children are surrounded by beauty, in the physical and human environment, and have all around them models which demonstrate and encourage the value of creativity and imagination.”
For more about Waldorf Chalk Drawings, visit ChalkboardDrawings.org, a definitive resource from this lovely paper from Catie Johnson at Antioch University.
Here are some of the recent Chalk Drawings seen at Spring Garden Waldorf School:
Join us at a new date To Be Determined, for Coffee and Conversation regarding parent-teacher relationships. Parents will view a webinar together, “”The Human Encounter: Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School,” followed by a question/answer/discussion period with Royse Crall and other experienced Waldorf teachers.
The relationships between our teachers and our parents represent the health and warmth of our school community. And, like all relationships, consideration, respect, and commitment to enhance the connection is essential in growing the well being of the personal kinship within the community, the success of our children, and the health of our school.
In this webinar, Dr. Torin Finser, Chair of the Education Department at Antioch University New England, explores parent and teacher relations using architectural images to represent the social architecture of communities and how they operate.
Among other things, he encourages us to remember that the relationship between teachers and parents is, “not a matter of technique. It’s a matter of learning to work together in the human encounter.”
Please join us as we view and discuss this thoughtful lecture by Dr. Finser.
Have questions about the upcoming Spring Garden Waldorf School Auction? We hope you find the answers below in our Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: What is The Auction?
A: The Benefit Auction at Spring Garden Waldorf School is one of two major fundraisers that take place each year. We come together to support our school and our dedicated faculty by auctioning off items that have been donated to the school by the greater community.
Q: Why does the school hold an auction for fundraising?
A: The Annual Auction, while a major undertaking for our staff and volunteers, is an effective way to raise a large amount of money and have a great community experience all in one night. The funds brought in by our auction provide much needed support to the teachers who are crucial to our success, and also allow us to increase the current scholarship fund which helps a wide range of families bring their children to the school. It also helps provide a variety of curriculum enhancements, such as our recent additions include a greenhouse & gardening program, and a science classroom).
Q: Where is it held?
A: This year’s auction will be at the majestic Greystone Hall in Downtown Akron at:
103 S. High St. Akron, OH 44308
For more information on Greystone Hall, visit http://greystonehall.org/facilityov.htm
Q: When is it held?
A: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 5:00 pm.
Q: What does it cost?
A: Tickets are $75 per person.
Early Bird Tickets are available for $65.
Q: Where do I buy tickets?
Q: Who should go to the auction?
A: ALL are welcome. It is our great wish for the community at large to come to this special event — not just our school’s parents, but their relatives, friends, neighbors and business associates.
Q: What kind of items can be donated?
A: Any new item or experience, of any value, can be donated to our silent or live auction. Examples include:
- Baskets with themes for tea, wine, toys, or homeopathy.
- Services like babysitting, business consulting, photography or art portraits.
- Experiences like ski or piano lessons, trips, flight school, summer camps, or water park tickets.
- Gift Cards to local and national businesses.
- Weekend getaways, home improvement items, etc..
Q. Finances are tight. How can I contribute to the auction and stay on a budget?
A. There are lots of inexpensive ways you can help! Here are just a few ideas:
- First off we need volunteers, from now until the event! Please contact Tyra Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how you can help.
- Ask a business owner you know if they’d be willing to donate a gift card, an item, or buy an ad.
- Ask a business that you patronize (or simply one that you like) if they’d be willing to donate a gift card, an item, or buy an ad.
- Donate your time as a silent auction item — Offer leaf raking, house cleaning, or babysitting. Or co-host a dinner or other child friendly event with a friend.
Q: I have an item or service I’d like to donate. What do I do?
A: Donate an item or service for the auction at that link. We will send you a receipt and instructions about where and when to drop off the item.
Q: I think I know someone who might donate or buy an ad. What should I do?
A: Here are three options:
- For a Donation: Send them here to Donate an item or service.
- For an Ad or Sponsor Purchase: Send them these links for: Sponsorship or Advertisement
Q. What happens at the event?
A. The auction night consists of two main parts. First, patrons peruse tables of items in the silent auction as they eat tapas and drink cocktails. Items are bid on “silently” by writing your offer on a bid sheet. The beginning bid is usually a certain percentage below the retail value. The end of bidding on each table is announced, and the highest bid wins!
After the silent auction, dessert will be put out as our auctioneer leads the live auction for items listed in the program. Even for those not bidding on the items in the live auction, the auctioneer and emcee provide entertaining banter, and the bidding wars are great fun to watch!
After the live auction, items you have purchased and bids you have won will be summarized on an invoice, payable by check or credit card.
There will also be a couple of fun raffle games, entertainment and a special alumni presentation taking place throughout the evening. All in all, the evening will be full of great food and great fun.
Q. I don’t have much money to spend at an auction. Why would I go?
A. For the comradery! Many people simply come to socialize and have a good time with the Spring Garden community. Of course, we hope everyone will bid on the items, but it is definitely not a requirement. We’d also LOVE to have you volunteer at the event; this is a great way to get involved, enjoy the event and not be concerned about spending too much money. Naturally the hours “worked” would count toward the time required per your contract. For more information email Sandy Conley at email@example.com.
Please mark your calendar for this year’s Spring Garden Waldorf Benefit Auction on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 5:00 pm. This 27th annual benefit, Come Together Together – Heads, Hearts, and Hands, will take place in Greystone Hall in downtown Akron.
Here are some helpful links for more information:
- Donate an item or service for the auction
- Highlight your business through a Sponsorship or Advertisement
- Read our Auction FAQs
Thanks so much for your support, and we hope to see you at the auction!
Thanks to all who have donated to our fundraising campaigns in 2015. Here are updates on the generous support we received from our greater school community. Click Here if you’d still like to make an online donation.
Annual Giving Update
We have raised $21,615 toward our “Why I Give” Capital Campaign, which means we are only $885 away from our goal! Many thanks to those who generously supported the Campaign prior to our December 18 deadline.
We will continue with the Campaign until we reach our goal of $22,500. We have received pledges from 84% of our current families, in addition to pledges from numerous alumni families. With the support of the remaining 16% of current families who have not yet pledged, we can easily reach our goal. In the coming weeks, members of our Board of Trustees will contact families who have not yet donated to encourage their support.
Capital Campaign Update
We are pleased to share that for the 2015-16 school year we have raised $30,511 towards our Raise the Roof Campaign, bringing our total amount raised to $77,221! This leaves $147,000 to raise to finish our Capital Campaign and complete our final phase of construction over the South wing of the building.
Would you like to give? Click here to make an online donation.