Monday, September 21, 2009

This Thursday

Dear Parents,

This Thursday, I will be traveling to Rudolf Steiner College near Sacramento, California to participate in a task force on Waldorf Early Childhood Training. I will be one of twelve who will be working with WECAN (our Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) as we take up questions of providing education for the teachers and caregivers of young children.

Ordinarily, I would not miss a day of school this early in the year, but the children are settling in happily with the care and guidance of Mister John. Heather Wyman (mom of Lucas) will be here that morning through lunchtime. And Shelby Downing (mom of Evan) will be here to take the six older boys for a walk to the stream for the morning. (Not to worry, we will ALL hike to the stream soon!) So, the hikers may bring rubber boots and rain pants that morning.

Thanks for "letting me go" to carry on our work in the wider Waldorf and LifeWays community. And special thanks to Mister John, Miss Heather and Miss Shelby for their wonderful support. I will be back next Tuesday morning after recovering from the 'red-eye express' return trip!

(Many people "my age" move on to administration alone, but in my estimation, being with the children is the best part!")

Off and Running!

Dear Parents,

Thanks to your quiet and focused cooperation at drop-off time (helping your child find and put on inside shoes, greet the teachers and deliver food) we are off to gentle and harmonious start of the school year! Indeed, with your help in a cheerful and confidant "see you soon!", the "waving window" has quickly ceased to become a "wailing wall" and tears have quickly become smiles.

This second week, the children will recognize the "grain of the day" in our menu. It is a slight change from last year, with Tuesday being Rye Bread Day, Wednesday being Stone Soup with Barley, and Thursday being Rice Day. The complete menu is attached.

I forgot to mention previously (although perhaps this is part of the "lore" that is passed down from generation to generation of parents) that if someone other than the one doing drop-off will be doing pick-up, car seats may be stowed for the morning in the barn on the bench.

Also, we still have a few openings in the afternoon. So we are able to offer an afternoon "drop-in" option for $20/afternoon. We begin at 12:30 with lunch served by Mister John, then a quiet time on individual mats set up with pillows and blankets brought from home, a Thornton Burgess Old Mother West Wind story read by Mister John, foot rubs and quiet time for half an hour as one or two fall asleep. Then outdoor play and Mister John's woodworking shop until parents pick up at 3:00. It is a restorative afternoon of "neighborhood" activity, even if the children don't fall asleep.

Thanks again for the privilege of hosting your children at Spindlewood. Mister John and I regard it as a sacred duty to support the children and their families during these formative years.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Parent Response to Family Work Party

Hi Susan!

What a great group of families yesterday! The morning was a great example of how Spindlewood benefits our whole family - not just our daughter Zo (although clearly, she reaps the real rewards). We all had such a great time. I only wish I could have stayed longer...

See you Tuesday!

The Magic of Work and Play

Our Parent-Child Teacher Michele Beckstrom found this quote that summarizes nicely what our intent is:

"When an adult is working with their hands, he/she is engaging themselves with life, with creative activity. Young children imitate the gesture of the work, and through this they show a greater ability to engage in their movement and play activity. Parents can see how their own activity influences their child in positive ways. The adult is not centered on their child but in work, and the outcome is that children can also do so with their world, therefore getting a better balance in the relationship."

Lourdes Callen (from The Parent and Child Group Handbook by Dot Male)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What a happy, cheery, playful Family Work Party we had this morning! Windows are washed, flower boxes planted, firewood split and stacked, and leaves raked in preparation for the first day of school. The kindergarten building and grounds are fairly glowing from all of the good work of parents and grandparents. It is so amazing to see how the children engage themselves with work and play alongside the adults! Such parental involvement is so supportive of the children's succesful participation.

This is the mood that Mr. John and I will focus on maintaining throughout the school year, of cheerful, purposeful activity that inspires the children's cooperation and involvement. We are grateful for all of the parents who helped to warm up the kindergarten this morning and set the tone for our year together.

Looking forward to welcoming the children on Tuesday!
Ms. Susan