It’s the summer of big improvements for the Spring Garden Waldorf School building. Phase one of the roof is complete and the next phase now begins. Last week the trusses for our new gabled asphalt roof arrived and Delbert Stewart Roofing and Construction’s diligent crew has been preparing the surface of the old roof so it is ready to be covered with the new roof.
Roof construction will continue throughout the summer. Because of this, our summer office hours will be limited and will vary based on the construction schedule, so please call before coming to school.
Meanwhile, our new Building Security System has been installed. The system includes two-way intercoms in each classroom, bullhorn speakers inside and outside the building for fire and tornado alarms, and a remote entry system that will allow us to keep the front doors locked during school hours. As the new school year approaches, we will provide you with more information about how this new system works.
You’ll see a new roof, and we’ll see you, at the end of August!
In order to channel our communities talents for group projects, we have our enrollment contract specify that 20% of service hours (for most families, this is six hours) be fulfilled during scheduled work days.
Spring Garden will have three Work Days this summer in August.
These Summer Work Days will take place in the evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM.
Many hands make light work! You are always welcome to bring additional helping hands to assist in this important work, and their work does count toward your service hours. However, we ask that you not bring children under the age of 10, as we do not provide child care for work days, and most of our tasks are more strenuous than would be appropriate for younger children.
Register Here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b44aeac2dabfa7-august
Have questions about work days? Check out our Work Day FAQ page HERE.
If you Google, “Summer break with children,” you get two types of search results — a variety of activity lists or articles about the evils of summer’s off. Turns out they call it “summer fade,” which is a one month backslide in learning coupled with an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) for kids.
Many parents counter these issues with a rigorous schedule of summer camps, sport practice and tutoring. While watching television all day with a box of pop tarts is obviously not good, there are some other options beyond a highly structured and scheduled summer.
When planning, or not planning your child’s summer, consider the scientifically proven benefits of boredom, free play and time in nature. These research studies about children and learning support the idea of a summer slowdown.
In a recent BBC news article, Children should be allowed to get bored, Dr Teresa Belton said, “Cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.”
Now couple that reality with studies connecting time in nature with increased learning and emotional capabilities. The positive results of being outdoors for children are vast as seen in this PDF of a decade of Scientific Studies on this topic. Some highlights include:
- “When children engage in authentic play in nature-based outdoor spaces, they develop skills in a variety of domains simultaneously.” – Miller, D.L., Tichota, K,.White, J. (2009).
- “Sullivan has revealed that the symptoms of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are relieved after contact with nature. The greener the setting, the more the relief.” – Taylor, A., Kuo, F. & Sullivan, W. (2001).
- “Children who regularly have positive personal experiences with the natural world show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility.” – Fjortoft, Ingunn (2001).
In addition to the learning benefits to boredom and time in nature, there is also the issue of free play. This article from Parenting Science explores over a decade of studies about the benefits of unstructured play time. The author is careful to note that free play does not mean physcial education classes or sports. Free play is just that. Unstructured play time, which is proven to help math skills, language development, and creative problem solving.
- “Play and exploration trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.”
- “Psychologist Edward Fisher analyzed 46 published studies of the cognitive benefits of play (Fisher 1999). He found that “sociodramatic play”—what happens when kids pretend together—’results in improved performances in both cognitive-linguistic and social affective domains.'”
And finally, before you schedule a summer of busy stimulation, consider this article and advice from Simplicity Parenting writer Kim John Payne. He says:
“[When Google is hiring they say] ‘we’re less concerned about grades and transcripts and more interested in how you think.'”
If we rewind to a childhood that makes an adult like that, what do we see? Is it racing around from one prep course to another? From soccer to piano to Mandarin? A childhood on the clock and filling up the gaps with zoning on the iPad and obsessing about making more friends on Facebook?
I don’t think so.
When we really look at what happens for a kid when they slow down, tune in to themselves, take space and get busy in serious play, we can see that what they are learning is how to be create a kind of inner structure that will serve them (and us) well in the world ahead. … Play provides a deep and wide-reaching domain for kids to experiment with the real work of the real world.”
Two Waldorf educators have been invited to speak at TEDX events — Jack Petrash and Lori Kran — each discussing not Waldorf education per se, but what they believe to be the essentials of education reform.
Petrash spoke in his video, Educating Children for the Journey, on the importance of teaching children the skills they need for an unknowable future. After giving an example of his scientific learning 40 years before about “Asbestos, The Miracle Fiber,” he went on to relate the limits of subjects and facts. It is his belief that the focus needs to be on teaching capacities.
According to Petrash, there are three essential capacities we need to teach children:
- A capacity for focus and willpower, which he calls “the strength to do what needs to be done.” He goes on to describe immersion as a characteristic of genius and of play in children. Teach children to focus at play, and you teach them how to be immersed in an experience.
- A capacity for a deep and rich emotional life. Petrash believes children can be taught emotional intelligence and resilience through art, and he believes that integrating art into each subject helps children identify as artists and reinforces immersion and emotional connections to topics.
- A capacity for lively, curious, and dynamic thinking. He calls it “playful thinking” and relates it to a future of playing with ideas and asking important questions. Basically, “playful thinking” helps future adults become problem solvers, so that they can solve the unknown future world’s problems.
In the end of the video, he expounds on the idea that our children deserve more than just left brain academics, and that the world will be a better place when education teaches children they way they want and deserve to be taught.
Lori Kran begins her segment, The Heart of Education, with a Steiner quote: “The most important thing is to establish an education through which human beings learn, once again, how to live with one another.”
This leads to her primary takeaway that when academic subjects are taught imaginatively, through experiential learning, children become connected to topics and, through this, become independent, creative thinkers.
Kran believes this emotional connection is key to a bright global future, saying, “The world needs people with heartfelt thinking who are connected to their community and are motivated to do good work.”
Watch Lori’s Video HERE: The Heart of Education
Watch Jack’s Video HERE: Educating Children for the Journey
Cordell and Joanna Caley: Thanks for always being willing to help and for the significant contributions in IT, development, yearbook, and class plays!
Holly Christensen and Max Thomas: Holly has been a part of the school for many years, four of her kids have attended SGWS. Thanks especially for your support in the office and help with field trips! Max, thanks for your help with the camping trip!
Firouz and Kristen Daneshgari: Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand when asked. We so appreciate your help in the school store, SGWS Board, Personnel committee, and Capital Campaign Committee!
Greg and Meredith Hansen: Meredith, words cannot express our gratitude for your leadership and commitment to the school store. Greg, thanks for your help with the class auction projects for 8 years.
Dina Harley: Thanks for being one of our best referral parents and for your help with field trips, massage donations, and dying t-shirts!
Frank and Patti Wagner: The Wagners have sent three kids to SGWS and been a part of our community for 18 years. Thanks especially with your support with fundraising by coordinating Acme receipts and Entertainment books!
by Hazel Emery, M.Ed
Last week, athletes in Grades Six and Seven competed in their Championship Meet on Sunday, May 17, at Hudson High School. Nearly all of our athletes set new personal bests in their events, and nearly all returned with a ribbon or medal for their performances. The coaches were extremely proud of the work and effort put forth by all the athletes.
Grade Eight athletes had a preliminary meet on May 16 in Independence, where most of them set personal bests. It was a very rewarding day. At this preliminary meet, the top four finishers in each event went on to the Championship Meet on Thursday, May 21, at Brecksville/Broadview Heights High School. As noted last week, Sarah Caley qualified in the 400m run, and Hayden Matias qualified in shot-put and discus. Both Sarah and Hayden set new personal bests, with Sarah placing sixth and Hayden placing fourth in both his events.
Congratulations to all our athletes for continuing to improve throughout the season and for performing so well at the meets. Many of our athletes finished in the Top 10 for the Akron area and the Cleveland area in the CYO league. Spring Garden had two athletes in the State of Ohio Top 10: Hayden Matias in the shot put and Catherine Greer in the 200 hurdles.
As always, Coach Stewart and her assistants are grateful to parents’ continued support of the SGWS Track and Field team.