Sunday, September 21, 2014

This Week at Spindlewood

This week we began sewing our watercolor paintings into pockets to hold our beeswax crayon drawings. When there are 10 drawings, we ...will make a book to take home.
During Imaginative Play one morning, the children set up and enacted two plays. In one, the sunbeam fairy woke up Mother Earth who watered her garden, and a girl came along to pick flowers, while a bunny searched for an autumn meal. Then, a rascal gnome guided a donkey back to the girl & boy who had lost it.

The children also constructed a four-room house from play stands and cloths. I overheard their discussions of which room was to be the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and what about a hallway?!

Also in the course of play, a “neighbor” was given a cup of tea to warm up from a cold morning, and knights with their steady steads toured the land, so that all will be well.

In the garden, we harvested golden corn with Miss Susan and cooked it up to eat with our golden grain. The sheep now wait for us by the pasture gate, expecting their apple delivery. And we collected two eggs from the hens that we raised as from chicks last spring.

We brought nets from the barn and caught frogs large and small, releasing them into a large bucket with water filled from small pails. where they “happily” float until it was time to go back into the pond.

Blinken was well cared for on our woods walk. He was tucked under his blanket, brought food, and had his house tidied up, while some children climbed small trees and balanced along a big fallen one.
In the afternoon, during lunch, we have shared stories about sleep & dreams, our rooms, and our pet's names. The adventures of Tiptoes & Jeremy Mouse are recalled from the previous day, and the next chapter read before settling down to a rest.

Yours Truly,
“Miss” Elisa

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome to Spindlewood


You are here!

The Spindlewood campus includes the red school building, the play area and shed, as well as two acres including the outhouse, situated in the Silverio homestead. Matthew and his Dad, John Silverio, architect, work in the studio near the parking area.


Please drive all around the turn around and park facing down the road. This will assure that the lawn is kept free of vehicles and you will not need to back up at departure time while children may be walking in the driveway. The parking space nearest the studio is reserved for studio visitors. Thank you!

Car Seats
If you need to leave a car seat for the person who will be picking up your child later in the day, you may leave it on the bench inside the barn.

Comings and Goings

The Silverios are delighted to welcome the families of Spindlewood. They invite you to follow the gravel path past the studio to the kindergarten. In the barn and pasture are two sheep, Buttercup and Daisy. They can be very loud when there is the prospect of an extra snack, and would be happy if you would toss them a dropped apple. You might sight two fluffy barn cats, Coco and Peaches. There are also three hens that the children helped to raise last spring. Sometimes they free range. Children are welcome to swing on the “twisty swing” on the maple tree in front of the barn. (Only four at a time, please.)

Visitors please take care

You are welcome to visit the barnyard at drop-off and pick-up time,  but please closely supervise children at all times. Please do not feed the chickens or sheep from the hay bale or the grain barrels. Children may not enter the sheep corral or pasture and must not walk on the stone walls. Children may not climb trees at pick-up time, due to numerous distractions at that time. Parents are asked to please refrain from standing in the parking area for conversation. It is a town road with occasional cars and we all need to be careful. Thank you for setting an example for the children!                                               

Slippers, boots, extra clothes and bedding

At pick-up time, please check your child’s hook to see if there is a plastic bag of wet clothing that needs to be brought home that day. Also, please check to be sure that your child has a complete change of clothing (underwear, socks, pants, shirt, and sweater or sweatshirt), as well as a pair of slip-on inside shoes to be kept at school. There is a net bag hanging on your child’s hook to store the extra clothes. Marking your child’s name (or symbol) on the inside label of any removable item of clothing with a permanent marker is of great assistance and would be much appreciated.

The Flow of the Day

During the first few weeks of school, the rhythm of the day and the week are established. It is this rhythm that gives children a sense of security and allows them to feel confident in their new surroundings. Strong, familiar rhythms allow the child to move freely from one activity to the next and ease transitions. If your child is feeling uncertain or anxious about what to expect in the kindergarten, it can be helpful to “walk through” the morning ahead of time, perhaps in story form, using the outline of the flow of the day. It can also be beneficial to review the day at bedtime, and ending with a song, verse or prayer. Some parents have reported that lighting a candle at bedtime, rather than using tapes or TV has transformed the experience of bedtime at their house.


Although we still call it “snack” a hearty mid-morning meal will be prepared each morning and served around 10:30. For those who are staying for the afternoon, we will prepare a simple lunch. Each family is asked to bring an assigned item of food each week.

Let’s stay in touch!

Please check the basket to the right of the door in the kindergarten mudroom each morning where you will find my letters to you. On the shelf below you will find a small notepad and pen for leaving notes for me. Notes are necessary if, for instance, someone else will be picking up your child at noon, or if you would like me to call you later in the day. I welcome your phone calls and can be reached at 992-7312. If there is a day your child will be absent, please phone me before 8:30. Your child will be missed. This is also a good time to arrange for a conversation later in the day. If there are special circumstances or changes at home that may affect your child, please let me know so that I may be aware and assist your child in any way possible.  I can also be contacted at  I usually check my email each evening.                                       

Looking forward to a wonderful year together!
With love,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

OPEN HOUSE on April 5, 2014, Saturday, 10am - 1pm

Stop by for a visit and a tour of Spindlewood. We are a member of the Independent Schools Association of Mid-Coast Maine.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Letter from a Parent

Dear Spindlewood Families, 

What a beautiful and magical evening in the Kindergarten last night.  It's one of my favorite Spindlewood festivals.  I love watching the concentration on each child's face and seeing them so carefully and intentionally walk forward (and backwards!) with their candles.  It must take quite a bit of courage for some of them. 

This is a bit belated, but I feel moved to share.  I was honored to spend two mornings helping Miss Elisa a few weeks ago.  I loved getting to know your children a little more.  I enjoyed experiencing the kindergarten rhythm where I felt nurtured by the flow of the morning.  Usually when I drop Ami off, the morning feels quite short, but those mornings stretched out so wonderfully and indulgently.  It was as if a whole day had happened in 4 hours! 

I feel grateful that a magical place like Spindlewood still exists for the children where there is a sense of timelessness, safe sanctuary, nourishing food, and imaginative indoor/outdoor play.  I love the community that it creates for me. 

I look forward to building on my relationship with each of your children as the year progresses.  And I also look forward to getting to know you all more.  I'd love to find a morning in late January that you could stop by at my house after drop off for a cup of tea/coffee, scones, and your company! 

(Ami's mom) 

May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.

May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging. 

--John O'Donohue

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Light the candles one by one
Count off the days in rhyme
Every day a task well done
For now it’s Advent time
It is always with much joy that we write to you about the coming season that we will share with the children. Yes, the shops downtown are completely ready for the holiday season, but here in the Kindergarten we possess the luxury of Time. Soon we will feed the last pumpkin to the sheep. Our leaves are raked and our firewood is stacked. Just as the November winds and rains have swept away all signs of early autumn, we are cleaning out and making ready for what is to come. The woods and frog ponds are becoming quiet, and daylight is dwindling. There is an emptiness as the Earth breathes in and expectancy as we approach the darkest time of the year. It is as if the entire natural world is coming to a point of stillness – waiting for the advent of what… and who… is to come.
Throughout history, humankind has waited for the return of the sun and the rebirth of life. There are as many ways to celebrate this as there are individuals. We experience it in several ways with the children. Here is a description of some of the activities and events to come in the kindergarten.
The Moss Garden – Each child will receive a ceramic bowl.During the first week of December, beginning with the sparseness of the empty bowl, we will experience the gifts from the mineral world – sand, shells and crystals. During the second week we find the world of plants, using the moss that we have carefully gathered. The third week brings the animal world. Finally, we come to the human realm, represented by a candle.
For our young children, the center of their lives is their family. Father and Mother to a little child are much more than individual personalities. They are the fullness, love, support and encouragement that surround them. And surely every family who receives a child has a moment of experiencing that they receive a gift from heaven. Somewhere in our consciousness we regard them as a little King or Queen, and of course during infancy they are treated as such.
So it is for this that we build our gardens during the season of Advent. We celebrate the family (not necessarily the historical Holy Family, but a Universal Family). This is what surrounds our children as they become a part of this world. We mark this coming into the world or “incarnating” with the family festival of the Advent Spiral. This will take place at 4:30 pm next Sunday, December 8th at Spindlewood.
Inside the Kindergarten, a spiral of evergreens is built on the floor with a large pillar candle standing on a stump in the center. At the opening of the spiral are set shining red apples with small white candles placed in the center. Here we find the spiral form as symbolic of the universe. Everything – galaxies, growing vines, seashells, our bones, the inner part of our ear, all move or are formed in the dynamic of the spiral. When we wipe a table, sweep the floor or rake leaves, the movements are in the spiral.
The evergreens placed in this form are “everlasting”, eternal. The child takes her apple that is symbolic of one’s own individual karma or life challenges, walks into the spiral, lights her candle from the central pillar, walks out of the spiral and places the apple and lighted candle on the spot that she chooses. The child finds her place in the world. As each child adds her lighted candle to the dark garden it gradually becomes illuminated. This beautiful ceremony is accompanied by singing and the gentle tones of the harp of our neighbor Cheryl Martine.
Of course, no discussion of how the symbolism is interpreted occurs before or after the event. We allow the child to take what he may from the ceremony. We allow him to enter fully, without discussion. For safety sake, please no long dresses; long hair needs to be tied back away from the candle flame. Afterward, the apples and candles will be brought outside and distributed. If there are siblings or friends between the ages of 4 and 9 who would like to carry an apple/candle, please sign their names on the poster in the mudroom, so that we will know how many to prepare.
The feast of St. Nicholas is December 6 – Who knows, perhaps by the following Tuesday he will find his way to our polished boots and shoes?
On Thursday, December 19, families are invited to come in from 8:30 – 9:30am for a Gingerbread Tea Party. According to our tradition, the oldest girl in the kindergarten will dress as Santa Lucia, wearing a crown of light and carrying the gingerbreads, accompanied by the baker boys. 
Wishing you all joy and deep peace,
Miss Susan & Miss Elisa       

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Alumna Board Member Reflects on the Lantern Walk

Below is a letter from one of our Spindlewood Board Members Liz Hannibal Drury. Her three  sons attended Spindlewood. Now that the youngest has begun college, Liz has been given a sabbatical year from her middle school teaching position to complete her Masters in School Development at Harvard. She has given me permission to share parts with you. I though you would appreciate her response to my note on the Lantern Walk....

We look forward to Liz’s return to our community. In the meantime, she joins our board meetings by speaker phone. (Our next meeting is November 21. It is always an “open” meeting if you would like to join us at 7pm.)

Warmly, Susan

From: elizabeth drury []
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 10:53 PM
To: Susan Silverio
Subject: Re: Lantern Walk next Thursday, November 7 at 4:30pm

Hi Susan, 

This note could not have come on a better day. I have been a bit nostalgic about the boys' childhood, went back through the photo albums, and showed them to new friends in Cambridge....

I remember the Lantern Walk as a magical yet hauntingly challenging time. It seemed to mark a transition toward introspection that required community and a little candle in the soul. Oddly, or serendipitously, I feel those feelings again at this time. Perhaps I need to have my own little lantern walk of sorts here in Cambridge

 I love my experience at Harvard and am so very thankful for my experience of growth here. Many new friends, many young as my guys. As comes with awareness and growth, comes some discomfort as well. One thing working on me in this learning time is the conflict I feel about education. I am so dearly drawn to wanting to help the public school child, to really offer nourishment. I also see the trend toward strict testing and form, especially here in Boston Public Schools. The school I am at is a highly successful "turnaround" school which means the children of poverty have had the valuable experience of moving from violence and uncertainty of a failing school to a stable, highly functioning, much more peaceful experience. There is no doubt that there is good work going on here. However, I am adrift in my soul......knowing that really my wellbeing comes from God, not a person. Yet the aloofness (here) leaves me parched for a deeper and more meaningful, nourishing experience, myself. This has me wondering about the wealth of a true foundation for living that Waldorf kindergarten established in us. Education is so much more than the "thin" calling of the competitive test. And, paradoxically, there is no disputing that good is happening here..I am coming into a cold time and I just want to have a little light and warmth there at my school with me. I am dedicated to learning what I need to learn here, to being loyal to my commitment but I pray for a narrow path toward beauty out of loneliness. 

 And so I enter the dark time of cold, with a hope of a little shelter for my tiny candle. 

 My best to you, and such gratitude for the lesson of your loving tutelage over the years. 

Love, Liz