Far up in the deep blue sky, Great white clouds are floating by; all the world is dressed in green; Many happy birds are seen; Roses bright and sunshine clear, Show that lovely June is here.
What a year it has been! We had many successful events, including the Autumn Equinox Festival, The Mermaid Faire, The Lantern Walk, Santa Lucia and the Winter Spiral. This spring our students created kites and set them aloft, boisterously rolled around the campus on scooters and bikes , then joyfully sped down a water slide. We camped at Crowley Museum and Nature Center; we also engaged in service for them as well as Transition Sarasota and All Faith’s Food bank at Jessica’s Organic Farm stand.
We came together weekly for delicious organic meals with much gratitude for Ms Aneta and her mission of healthy nutritious foods for all. We shared songs, dances, and performances of all kinds, while eating wholesome meals. We decorated rooms and halls together; we crafted many a Saturday.
This year we welcomed many new families, new students, and have made some new friends around the community, such as Longboat Key Turtle watch, Sarasota Honey Company, Crowley Museum and Nature Center, and the Circus Arts Conservatory.
When I look at our mission as a school, I see great strides we have taken this year, with many thanks to our faculty members, to live these ideals. We collectively brought interesting and meaningful developmentally and geographically appropriate activities and ideas to our children.
I see this education as a conduit for belonging – through the curriculum itself, which appeals to the internal experience of the child, the emphasis on our natural surroundings, as well as our sense of community – not just our own entity, but for those around us. Ultimately, there is no more important lesson to teach a child, through modeling especially, than to learn to say, in any situation, “How can I help?”; “How can I use my knowledge/skills/resources to help those around me?” Studies have shown that this is the mark of a successful, content, adult. One who values not personal accomplishments, but is working for the benefit of others in some way. This starts now!
Our vision of the child goes beyond the immediate childhood period, as we seek to support the development of well-rounded human beings: people who are confident, capable, and kind. These are some of the qualities we are fostering here through this unique educational experience, that will serve the children throughout their lives.
We hope you have enjoyed this year as much as we have. Seeing your smiling, engaged children each day is truly uplifting to the spirit! Thank you for all you do to support our school. Have a lovely and relaxing summer.
From Our Classrooms:
Seahorse Pre-Kindergarten and Starfish Kindergarten
The Nursery and Kindergarten have been very busy enjoying many activities. In the classroom, we have been stringing beads to make necklaces and bracelets. This activity is fun and helps the children with their fine motor capabilities. Parent Agnes Nagy came in and explored with the children how to make a collage. We used canvases along with paint and anything else you could think of to create the perfect collage. Thank you Agnes! This project was wonderful practice for following directions and listening along with sharing of materials and artistic work.
Our current circle has a Polish Haying song, 5 little Monkeys, Simon says, and a finger play called “I have 10 little fingers”. The Polish Haying song is rhythmic and uses the days of the week for the children to learn. The “5 little monkeys”, counts from 5 backward to 1 and involves jumping. “Simon says” is to help with focus and attentiveness. Sometimes we do clapping games for rhythm and beat and freeze dancing. The children especially enjoy the freeze dancing!
Parent Kalin Wilson came in and did origami with the children and it was a big hit. They enjoyed making bunnies and bluebirds. Thank you Kalin! This project was fun as well as helped the children with fine motor coordination and listening to directions.
The children made Mother’s Day presents using blue felt and wool to stuff it into a heart. They also drew a picture on a water color card and picked a ribbon to finish it up.
This past week was Bubble time and the children really relished making bubble wands out of straws and pipe cleaners to see what worked the best. We will be continuing this next week too as it was so well received.
The children have really enjoyed making puppet plays and doing shows for their friends. This activity shows how creative they can be with the materials in the classroom and helps with their imaginative play.
Parent Alison Goldy came to class to share with us about turtles, she even brought some of the Mote turtles! There are some wooden fish that the children have spent a lot of time sanding and we will be painting them beautiful colors.
Recently, we have introduced to each child a friend. These friends are a knitted cat for the Nursery children, and a doll for the Kindergarteners. The little ones were found under a tree and each child could name their own. These dolls are more than just play things, but their own little friends who can help the children with big feelings they may be having. The children are taught to treat them with love and respect; they are played with only in class and at the end of the year will go home with each child.
With love and respect,
Ms. Birte and Ms. Laura
We have been busy in the first grade finishing the letters of the alphabet. The children’s favorite letter was discovered after following a treasure map to find ‘X’, and the hidden treasure! We have been challenged by singing our alphabet song forwards and backwards!!
We have been reviewing numbers 1-12 in many ways and recently introduced place value.
Our bean bag challenges continued, with times tables, throwing and catching, juggling and basket dunk. The children visited with a local animal rescue, interacting various animals they learned of in their Nature Studies class, as well as made fidget spinners as an end of year surprise project.
The first graders are all good knitters now, and are finishing up their final projects and are looking forward to showing them off!!
The second and third grade is a classroom of do-ers! Students have been experiencing many hands-on activities, such as making acorn pancakes, and sewing buttons. Students were introduced to the ‘C’ flute and are practicing scales along with a new song. We’ve traded Fridays at Phillippi Estate Park for fun stations and slip & slide play by the garden. With the recent Maypole celebration, the students practiced their weaving of the maypole ribbons.
We spend the first part of the morning practicing various seasonal or German songs and circle and game activities to begin our day. Students are enjoying reading aloud and summarizing “Stuart Little” and finishing up the writing of their own short stories, represented in their own little booklets as written and illustrated by them.
Other lessons included non-fiction material (an educative book about manatees) – they also did a combined wax crayon / water coloring drawing of a manatee; as well as the story of Joseph and the Multi Colored Cloak.
Math is a daily continuation of the four processes as well as a good dose of mental math, which is so important to critical thinking. All students are getting the level of academics that is appropriate for them, with some students receiving one-on-one tutoring and others working on more challenging material. Cursive writing has come to completion, with all letters dutifully practiced, and we have begun practicing some short poems in cursive.
The last weeks of school we have been patiently awaiting our praying mantis egg case to hatch and study, practicing bean bag math, and completing the book Stuart Little along with a small preparation of a scene from that story in drama class. Mental math with time and money along with Rehearsals for the end-of-year parent presentation are a main focus this week. We’re in a busy time of year and appreciating each day!
Ms Yolanda and Ms Stefanie
Over the past months our class has been doing some serious time traveling! From Ancient India, to Persia, Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, we finally arrived in Ancient Greece. This expansive study was an opportunity to see how human consciousness has changed over thousands of years, and how each of these cultures lived within their unique geographical conditions and belief systems.
For example, in Ancient India we saw they did not much care for life on earth, but rather looked forward to the time when they would die and leave earth behind. The most noble of actions was to give up all comforts and pray. In Persia we saw the advent of farming, and other organized work, however, the people of Persia still looked forward to going to the kingdom of light to Ahura Mazda after their death. Still later, in Babylon, people were much more at home on earth. They built cities, watched the stars and measured time. We saw how these comforts brought uncomfortable feelings about death – we heard in the epic Gilgamesh, of how very hard he tried to find the secret of living on earth forever. In Egypt we found those who became even more at ease on earth, learning to measure with accuracy, and build with stone. Although they had gods they revered, everyone attempted to take their earthly belongings with them; not just their possessions, as seen in their overflowing tombs, but their physical bodies also, in their mummification practices.
Conversely, in Ancient Greece, we saw a definite disconnect occur between people and the spiritual realm. A large focus of our Greek study was that of the golden age of Athens, only fifty years long, yet an enduring influence on cultures around the world, even to present day. We learned about their democracy, architecture, sculpture, theater, and of course, rational thought. We learned of a new concept – philosophy – or love of wisdom.
We heard about Socrates, Plato and finally Aristotle who led us to our final chapter of Greece – Alexander the Great. Aristotle was the tutor of this unique ruler. Alexander’s quest for unification of Greece with Asia led to the largest empire the world had ever seen, along with a unprecedented purpose – to unite the knowledge of these cultures – the ancient wisdom of Asia, along with the new wisdom of Greece. Alexander didn’t desire to conquer and enslave, rather, he envisioned humanity coming together. His capital city, Alexandria, in fact, became a hub of culture and learning for philosophers from all over, with an extensive library and museum. Alexander’s rise and fall were the perfect ending point for the block – the fact that he was so young, yet so accomplished and also flawed, left quite an impression, and also mark an important step – from mythology to history.
With the study of ancient civilizations in this order, the children experience an evolution of human consciousness that meets their budding interest in the deeper thoughts and questions of existence.
Our Ancient Civilizations block concluded with the children captivated in their task to emulate some of these figures in our first ever “Living Wax Museum”
The pinnacle of the curriculum of the year is undoubtedly the Greek Pentathlon, which we participated in with various other Waldorf and inspired by Waldorf schools in the Southeast region for the first time. This event, included not only the traditional athletic portion (Wrestling, Javelin, Long Jump, Discus, and Running) but also the artistry and reverence of the games, just as the Greeks did. Activities are completed with beauty, respect, and dignity. The children from all schools are divided into four major city states – Sparta, Athens, Thebes, and Corinth, by temperament. This is an opportunity for independence, a true rite of passage, with all of the students emerging strengthened in various ways, by this event.
Our ancient studies would not be complete without learning of some of the mathematical accomplishments of these times. The term geometry often elicited groans before we began to talk about how much of our lives depend on these discoveries. We imagined the origins of the concepts we take for granted, such as the circle, triangle, and square. We learned about the rope stretchers of Egypt, Thales and his shadow discovery, and of course Pythagoras, and all of the practical applications for these ideas, and how they changed how these civilizations were able to accomplish their goals in areas such as irrigation, surveying, and stargazing.
New blocks for us this past month include a sailing block with Sarasota Youth Sailing, which is an exercise in bravery, courage, independence, and responsibility, as the children build their boats each session, then head out into the bay for several hours of hands on learning of sailing.
We finished the year with a final block of botany (medicinal plant were studies earlier in the year). Here the children were introduced to plants in a different way, first with the theme of metamorphosis, or how plants grow. We talked about how the major plant parts, how plant gathers nutrients and water; photosynthesis and why it matters. We studied the bees, and how important their role here on earth is. This study included a visit to Sarasota Honey Company, where they children could see the hives, and learn more about the bees of this area, and how we can help them. This block also included learning how to identify and organize the plants groups. On our field trip to Crowley we used this more in depth knowledge to identify plants on our walk.
It has been quite an action packed year! Looking forward to what is to come next year in 5/6th. Wishing you all a renewing summer.
Always an adventure,
In case you missed it, here is a post on our Rollathon:
Thank you again to our sponsors, volunteers, and students for their dedication!
Reminder – Refer -a – Friend Program!
For every new student you refer, you will receive $100 off your total tuition bill, as will they! All referrals are greatly appreciated!
Bluebird House Service Trip to Crowley Museum and Nature Center
Our grades students, along with Saltmeadow School completed our second service project of the year for Crowley Nature Center! This project involved building bluebird houses, with the expert assistance of their woodworking volunteer, Eric McGrath. Thank you so much to Ms Yolanda and Ms Jessica for organizing this project – the students built the houses, then inserted tiny cypress scrolls with encouraging messages for the future inhabitants. Once we delivered the houses to Crowley, each student had the opportunity the mount the house in a thoughtfully chosen spot. It was such a special day of community, service, and nature.