Hello to all you wonderful parents,
Dear Wishing Well Parents,
It has been a lovely first week back from Spring Break. I have found the children to be quite excited to be back with their friends, almost bubbling over with energy. To meet this in a healthy way we are finding the moments when we laugh together, bend the rules a bit, and begin new endeavors.
I bring you the image of this tree because it amazed me when I saw it. It is in one of my favorite places in the whole world, Donner summit, and we were having a family picnic when I stumbled upon it. There is no soil anywhere nearby, only granite rock. Being at the top of the summit, weather conditions are extreme and you can see this in the formation of bark, how it has grown to accommodate the wind, etc. Then I looked to the roots.
Now I couldn’t help but think of our little school when gazing upon this wonder of the natural world. We of course are not as old and firmly rooted as this tree but the way in which the roots have spilled over the rock and wrapped themselves around to find its nourishment, gave inspiration. The choices we need to make for our children are sometimes difficult. Being that they are mostly young our choices have been relatively basic. As they grow and challenge us the choices we will have to make will be become larger and sometimes more difficult. Finding the right nourishment for our children is a personal path yet finding others to share in the journey eases the task. Our community here at Wishing Well is a special place. Each and every one of you at our school has embraced the challenges that come along with finding what is right for you, your family and our school. I appreciate the intention that you have for this process of forming a school, defining your family and engaging in your own personal growth. May we all find what gives us the strength to grow even through the rock!
From the Board
We have an amazingly dedicated board working toward forming a group that can communicate well and trust each other with growing our school. I would like to thank each and every person who has stepped forward to take on this task. Thank you for offering all you do!
On that note, you are all invited to board meetings. They are the third Wednesday of every month and are open to any parent at our school. Our next meeting is April 17th at 6:30pm. There will be no parent evening that night, as it states on the calendar you received in January.
The minutes for every meeting are posted in a binder that lives next to the refrigerator in the kindergarten and I often post them for about a week on the cork board above the sign-in/out at the kindergarten. Come and listen in on our next meeting!
From the kindergarten
In the kindergarten spring has sprung! Weddings have happened and new friendships are being forged. There is a real feeling of deep care for each other, like family. As the children grow some are mastering jump rope, tying shoes, learning to read the name tags, and learning how to skip. Our current story is one of transformation about a caterpillar named Twig who almost believes he will never fly. It is titled, Prince of Butterflies. Since some of the children will be entering their second or third kindergarten year and some will be entering first grade, at this time of year I bring “readiness” activities. Our day is peppered with these types of songs and games. We are playing a memory game at the end of clean-up and we’ve been singing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” bringing letter awareness, just to name a few.
Please look for a Spring Conference sign-up sheet on the board over the sign-in/out table. I offer conferences to parents whose child is five (or will be five by June) or older. If you would like to have a conference and your child is younger I am available. This is a good time to touch in about how your child is doing. Thank you for signing up!
From Sra. Ana
This wonderful spring weather makes me feel like dancing and singing more than any other season. In the preschool and kindergarten we are singing songs about animals and nature that have lively movement. We will also be revisiting dance songs that get the children up and moving in the morning. !Canta con nosotros!
In the grades class for the past couple of weeks we have had spring as the main theme during Spanish time. We made “cascarones,” (hollowed out eggs filled with confetti that when broken bring good luck) for Easter and learned a spring song, “La Bella Primavera.” We will continue with spring vocabulary and in the coming weeks add vocabulary from the natural world around us.
April 13,2013: Children’s Day in the Plaza
10am-3pm in the Mission Plaza, San Luis Obispo
We will have a booth at this event so that we can get our name out there in the community. If you are interested or available to help, please talk with Kim. Stop in for a visit and plant a seed with us!
April 21, 2013: Earth Day Fair and Music Festival
10am-5pm, El Chorro Regional Park & SLO Botanical Garden
We will also have a booth at this event too. This should be a fun day. The booths are around the playground and there are lots of cool places to explore. We hope to see you there!
Kite Parade has been cancelled:(
May 1, 2013: May Day at Wishing Well School
On Wednesday May 1st, you are all invited to celebrate the spring season with dance and song. In the morning please bring extra flowers or greenery from your yard. At noon we will be weaving crowns. We’ll end the day with a treat!
Thank you to everyone who donated and pitched in at our garage sale fundraiser this weekend. We made $1973.50!!! A special thank you to Ms. Julie , Jesse, Maya and Dylan for hosting the event at their home. The organization was seamless. Also thank to the events committee for orchestrating the weekend. Good job everyone!
Blessings on our growing school,
Welcome back! I hope you have had the opportunity to have more family time this week and reconnect with your budding children. It seems that blossoms aren’t the only thing bursting around my house. The children in spring have a wonderful giddiness about their spirit. This past week for me has been rejuvenating and inspiring. After spending time in the snowy Sierra’s, we headed to Marin County to a Waldorf teacher’s conference. Ms. Stefani, Ms. Cindy, Ms. Jan, Ms. McGinley, Sra. Ana and I spent a few soul strengthening days together on the campus of the Marin Waldorf school. For me, reconnecting with colleagues, old and new, is a big part of helping me see the whole picture of our school and what we are trying to create.
I would like to say a huge thank you to those of you who helped our Valentine’s Tea to happen, especially Lindy, Sam and Angie. It was such a sweet moment to look around and see all these little people drinking tea and conversing with parents and friends. What a lovely group of children and parents we have!
Feb. 26th 7pm – Parent Evening: The Importance of Touch by Ms. Betsy
March 7th 7pm – Grades Parent Evening
March 11th and 12th – Picture Days (look for order forms this week)
March 16th – Open House
March 19th 7pm – Why Waldorf? – A talk given by out of town guest and very experienced Waldorf teacher Dorit Winter – TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!
March 20th 6:30pm – Board Meeting
March 25th-29th – Spring Break
News from our classes and beyond
The kindergarten has been busy with lots of doing. We started in January working with simple looms that we made from found branches and some from my Christmas tree. It was fun to explore all that is woven in our world and to try our best at basic weaving. That lead us in Feb., into stitching of different kinds, paper, felt and some individual projects that children have wanted to make. We also have been busy building our woodworking area.
Please bring in an Easter basket lined with a brown paper bag. The children will be growing their own grass for their Easter baskets!
Our most recent parent evening focused on the 6 year transformation, where much of the recent activities in our classroom and out support this transformation. It was wonderful to share our struggles with our own children but also to gain a deeper understanding of what some of our children are experiencing in this shift that occurs from about 5.5 to 7 years old. There is compassion in walking in another’s shoes, even if they belong to your 6 year old. There is a lovely article written by a Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Long Beach, Ca. It is at the end of this newsletter if you’d like to read it.
Ms. Betsy has joyfully been bringing a consistent rhythm to our preschool class. One way in which she has helped to form the class is through the sewing of some little gnomes. Each child has their very own gnome. It has been through this project that the children’s play has been transformed. Much care is taken with these little friends and the children in turn are caring for each other.
The grades class has been in a language arts block of study. In the grades program about 3-4 weeks is dedicated to an area of study. In Waldorf education letters and writing are introduced before reading. Historically, humanity’s relationship to the development of written words has been a similar process. First came pictures, then symbols, then a further breaking down into letters and eventually to deciphering the sounds into words that could be read. The graders performed a story for the kindergarteners and preschoolers that they had been working on and you could see the pride in their smiles. Ms. McGinley reports many “Ah’s” happening in the grades class this time of year. Seeds are starting to take root.
Sra. Ana is keeping us all on our toes with her joyful smile. Each day on the bench she brings us songs and dances. Lately we’ve all been learning about all the “animales de la granja,” (animals of the farm). If you’re not careful she might choose you to hold the goose:)
Ms. Mariah is busy most mornings with quite the crew of big and little ones out there. They begin their day with a verse, some deep breaths and a touch in of what the tasks are for that morning. After hands have gotten dirty and tasks accomplished they circle again to close their time. Our garden is expanding toward the circle of stumps. Coffee mornings will begin this Tuesday, 2/26. We hope it will be a space for parents to meet and enjoy the garden. Bring your mug!
Ms. Cindy and Ms. McGinley have been dilligently taking out 4-10 children on Fridays to explore our beautiful coastal ecosystem. The children are transported in a “Funride” van which is alternatively powered. The children are loving exploring and the two teachers love it too. This first 6-week session has been a big success. Check the K.I.N.D. link or the homepage for a flyer about the next upcoming session.
Our board meetings on Jan. 16th and Feb. 12th were wonderful. I tell ya, we sure do have an amazing group of parents at our school! The overall feeling is that there are lots of people who want to see our school thrive and have the time and energy to help make it happen. I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a striving group of people. Check the minutes tab on the homepage to see minutes from our meetings.
As we jump into spring I am always surprised at the rapid growth of everything. I hope that we can see in each other the growth we have made and will make as parents, teachers and a school. We are on quite the journey together as our children and the gardens in our hearts continue to blossom. Many thanks.
The Six-Year Transformation
November 28, 2012 by maplevillage
The following article was written by Ms. Michelle, the kindergarten teacher of Maple Village School in Long Beach, Ca. http://maplevillage.wordpress.com/about/
The six-year transformation is an amazing and tumultuous time in the life of your youngling (and for you!). This time is referred to as the “first puberty,” which gives a great deal of insight into the kind of behavior you might expect during this time. Although it is called the six-year change, it usually happens between the ages of 5.5 and 7 years. This developmental shift is not simply the next step in a linear progression, but rather a full transformation into a different being. It is likened to a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. Everything changes for your child… physically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally. His body is changing, his consciousness is changing and his connection to the world is changing.
Let’s start by getting a clear picture of the changes happening, then we can move on to ways to meet and to support our dear one as he works his way out of that cocoon!
Physically, your child is GROWING. His limbs will stretch; he will loose his “baby fat” and those sweet dimples in his hands. He will develop actual wrists, a waist and a neck. This means he will be hungry and may have growing pains. Leg aches, joint aches and even tummy aches are par for the course. He will also loose his baby teeth and grow his adult teeth. This is an uncomfortable and exciting process. At our meeting, I showed an x-ray of a child’s mouth and jaw at this age and it is full to bursting with new and old teeth. Looking at this photo invokes a pang of compassion…it shows the crowded, shifting space of your dear one’s head! Even his heart rhythm changes during this transformation. All of these physical changes result in your child feeling “funny,” uncomfortable, moody and sometimes even in downright pain. And the physical changes are just one element of this developmental shift. Please hold your child with tenderness and compassion, feed him healthy, nourishing food and make sure he gets good rest. His body is working hard and building!
Intellectually, a new world opens up to your child. Until now, all of his life forces have been focused on developing and building the body. The internal organs are not fully formed at birth. It takes until around the age of seven to complete most of this formation. Once this happens, the life forces are freed up to work on developing the feeling realm and the intellect. Your child will suddenly view the world differently, he will understand more. He will see that adults make mistakes and have more pointed questions about the world. This induces a painful time of the loss of the magic of early childhood. He used to swim in a sea of self-centered fantasy. He was very connected the world and to you. Now he has a more emerging sense of himself as separate and individual. This is exciting and powerful, as well as terrifying! You will feel him separating and this is a bittersweet time for parents. We want our children to bloom and grow, to spread their wings. But ouch…separating from us can be hard to take. Be strong and have courage to allow your young one to go forth and to become the fullness of being he has come here to be!
This new perspective sets the stage for a new round of limit testing. Everything looks different, so he needs to find the boundaries once again. Don’t be surprised if he tries out new things–inappropriate language, arguing, outright refusal, disrespect, running around in a frenzy, telling white lies–the sky is the limit. Again, this is the time to be strong without alarm. If you hold the boundaries with love and understanding, he will find his center again. We need to approach the six-year changer with the attitude that we have compassion and understanding of what is happening, and that we are here to hold him, to be in charge and to love him unconditionally. We know his heart is still made of gold and that he must try things out to find his way. We will remind him which way to go and help him to get there.
Although his intellect is beginning to bud, he is still not ready for full academics and intellectual explanations. Your dear one still relates to the world best through story and creative pictures. Let him dwell in the magic and wonder of early childhood that still remains for him. First Grade is just around the corner!
Your child’s play used to be inspired from the outside. He used to see an object and it would become something in his mind’s eye and he would play that. Now his play is inspired from the inside. He creatively imagines what he wants to play and now seeks objects to become the scene he sees. He will spend more time setting up his play than actually playing it out. Since this shift means that all comes from within, there are times when he cannot find the inspiration. You will start to hear “I’m bored.” This is ok, in fact it is good! This is a big sign of First Grade readiness. Let him sit with it and struggle to find his inspiration. If he gets too distraught or moves into a frenzy, bring him into your work. Children at this age need real, meaningful work to help organize their energy and motion. Let them help chop vegetables for dinner, set the table, take out the garbage with you, sweep, scrub walls, pull weeds, hammer nails, repair things…whatever you are working on. Your cheerful, purposeful, competent action and energy will guide and ground him. Usually after a little time working with you, he will find his way back into play with his frayed edges smoothed.
Up until now, your child has been a being of pure will. His will has helped him to learn to walk and talk, to be a human child in this American culture. He has been centered on doing. With the six-year transformation, he shifts into the next seven-year stage of being focused on feeling. He will begin to become more sensitive to the words and actions of others. He suddenly realizes and notices more in this capacity. An off-handed comment that he would have scarcely noticed a few months ago now really hurts his feelings. Many children will say things like “everyone is mean to me,” or “no one likes me.” This is an emotional time akin to adolescence. He is developing feelings, empathy and compassion and can be very sensitive. Please take these statements with a grain of salt. Have compassion for your tender one, but know that things are almost always not as bad as he feels in that moment. This is an important time to keep the communication flowing with your teacher. Check in. One day an incident or two can feel like the weight of the world and the next day, life is beautiful again. Having all of these new feelings is hard at first. Its a great feat to learn to sort through them, to identify them and to make sense of them.
With this new awareness of emotion, he will see that his actions can also trigger emotions in others. Children learn that they have power. They can make someone else do something they want with a word or action. They can make others laugh or pay attention with a word or an action. Kindergarteners experiment with manipulation and exclusion, as well as with being goofy or inappropriate. It is our job to help guide this and to hold the boundaries. I let the children know that “those words hurt feelings,” ”we all play together in the Sunflower class,” ”we will bring our kind ways,” ”Sunflower words.” This is another place where children need boundaries and love. I identify their need, name the emotions and give clear, simple words on how to be kind and appropriate and to do what is right. We find compromises and solutions. Sometimes it is hard. Your child might have to wait or share. But these are crucial lessons to learn for a healthy social environment. This is where our stories are a lifeline. When I see certain behaviors emerge, I tell a pedagogical story or faerie tale with a character engaging in the behavior and the resulting feelings and actions of those around him. The character then goes on to take the path of right action, of nobility, and goodness is restored (and he usually becomes the King.) Again, we should not be alarmed by this experimentation. We simply need to guide them to the shining path and give LOTS of patient reminders.
This is also a time of emerging sexuality. It will be interesting to see how this manifests in our class of all boys. In the past, we always have a few children “fall in love” each spring. We have weddings, princes seeking princesses. One year, I had a boy find a crown at the start of each playtime. He would build a house, set a table with a fine feast and then call out “I need a queen!” And he had a queen in mind. Each day, Sarah would accept and be his queen. She would sit at his table and he would serve her. They were precious! We often had to use our phrase, “we will save our kisses for our moms and dads.” Your children were created to be sexual beings. They need guidance on what behavior is appropriate, starting now! Another phrase heard in Kindergartens around the world is “pants up and skirts down in the Kindergarten.” Again, do not be alarmed. Just inform your dear one of the right way of being with a neutral, firm, loving tone.
Children at this age also begin to talk about God and infinity. Our boys are fascinated by the concept of “googleplex.” They want to know the highest possible number. What is the MOST!!?? They are so dear. One child said “infinity is 1063!” and another corrected him saying “No! It means it goes on forever!” They have amazing philosophical and theological conversations. Again, the world is opening up to them. Their minds are expanding.
In the classroom, I manage nine of these emerging butterflies in a number of ways. Of course I bring my loving firmness. I make deep heart connections with each child and seek to understand his wholeness to the best of my ability. I hold boundaries and give lots of reminders with a neutral, informing tone. I set the example with my own speech and gestures. I tell tales. I model fine manners, joyful work, compassion for all, wonder and creativity. I give the boys many opportunities for meaningful work. We use real tools to hammer and saw to build our own toys and useful items for the classroom and the community. We use our hands to help others, to give. I provide physical challenges on our walks and in our circles. We balance, climb, jump rope, play clapping games, run obstacle courses. We have special, important jobs. We serve each other. We practice our manners and “Sunflower words.” Sometimes we make healing pictures for each other. We give hugs and apologies. We celebrate everything we possibly can and we give gratitude. Today you heard our “Thank You” song. We use this song to thank each other for gifts and kindnesses. All in all, we seek to have the “right way of the world” affirmed in our beautiful Sunflower classroom. It can be gritty work at times, but all is well. As we say at the end of each circle, “I dance with the flowers, I sing with the sun, my warmth I give to everyone.”
This is a time of great beauty, expansion, growth, confusion, sensitivity and change. The best way to guide your youngling through this is by meeting him with deep compassion, loving firmness and a strong daily rhythm. Our love and attention will see him through. Let him work, venture out to seek new challenges and be there to enfold him in your arms when he needs it. He will vacillate between going boldly out into the world with a new vision and regressing into clinging and insecurity. He needs to be held between form and freedom, just as he will in adolescence! And know that you are not alone. We are the village. We hold each other and all of our Sunflower boys together. They are your nephews, your family. What a gift we all are to each other.
More stories and photos from our Sunflower Kindergarten class can be found on Ms. Michelle’s class blog!
Please help spread the word about K.I.N.D by printing and sharing our flyer. Click HERE to download it now.
Merry Season to You All!
I hope all this rain sprouted seeds of creativity for all of you or at least some puddle stomping. Just as the rain drives us indoors to cozy up for the afternoon so too does this time of year bring an inner soul mood and gesture of turning inward. We see it in nature and ourselves. With the days growing shorter and colder we are afforded more inside family time and maybe a moment for some introspection too. How can we bring this mood of reverence and inner quiet to our children and ourselves when the hustle and bustle of the media world is encouraging us to buy, spend, want?
This week marks the first week of advent. Advent means that which is coming. At school we celebrate advent by focusing on the four kingdoms, one each week. This week is the week of the mineral kingdom, next week is the plant kingdom, the third week is the animal kingdom and the last week is humankind. We do this by lighting a candle and saying a verse that reminds us of a moment of thankfulness for all that is in our natural world and for all that is within us. These are the verses we say at school.
The first Light of Advent
It is the Light of stones:
The Light that shines in seashells, crystals and in bones.
The second Light of advent
It is the Light of plants:
Plants that reach up to the sunlight and in the breezes dance.
The third Light of advent
It is the Light of beasts:
Beasts that crawl upon the earth from the greatest to the least.
The fourth Light of advent
It is the light of humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds,
The Light of hand, heart and mind.
Our last day of school marks the coming of light with the solstice. You are invited to our 5th annual Solstice Lantern Walk on 12/20 Thursday evening at 5pm. This festival carries a quiet tone. With beautiful live music and the children all holding their lanterns as they walk silently into the darkness, we are reminded of our own inner light, the light of our children and the return of light to our world. Please join us for an evening of quiet on Dec. 20th from 5:00 – 6:30ish. We will also have a puppet show at 5:30. The doors will close at 5:30 so please don’t be late. There will be no food at this event so please make sure your little ones have had either an early dinner or hearty snack beforehand.
Thank you for those of you who were able to make it to last week’s parent evening. We showed a video from the school where I used to work in the Bay Area, The Marin Waldorf School. It’s titled “Why Waldorf.” If you have never visited a Waldorf school it is a great window into the why behind the curriculum and gives you a good feel for what we are trying to head towards. It is on YouTube and I have two copies of it on dvd. The short film was such a success that the parent who made it made another video that is also on YouTube titled, “Media and Waldorf.” This is also a great film especially to watch before we enter into the holiday commercialism craze. I highly recommend you take a moment to view it. It just might help you to explain your choice of limited/no media to your aunt, uncle, grandparent, parents etc. at the next family holiday party:)
At our parent evening we also spoke about how to bring meaning to this time of year in your home and here are a few of the suggestions: Light a candle at dinner, go for a walk to gather pinecones/evergreens, make a wreath, create an advent calendar based on giving back, i.e. one day it says help a neighbor bring in their trash can, another day it says spoil the dog, another day it says donate food to a shelter, etc., tell stories, spend the rest of the Solstice Lantern Walk evening in candlelight at home, say the advent verses at home. I’m sure you have many others. Please keep up the discussion!
Barter Mart: Dec. 7th at 7p.m. Wishing Well School
Velveteen Rabbit Ballet: Dec. 14th from 11am-12pm, Spanos Theater
*Please email me and let me know if you are interested and how many tickets you’d like. I am going to try to get a group discount if there are enough people interested in going.
Make a handmade gift for your child! Starbaby workshop: Dec.15th, 10a.m.-12p.m. at Wishing Well School, cost $10 (see home page for details). This event is open to anyone so please spread the word. Pre-registration is required.
Solstice Lantern Walk: Dec. 20th at 5p.m., Wishing Well School
Thank you to all of you for supporting our garden. Our first harvest day brought in $30! Not bad for some veggies which by the way were the most amazing greens I’ve ever had!
A big THANK YOU to Brad for finishing the compost bins! And thanks to those of you who helped make seed flats. Our garden is growing!
Thank you to Hunter’s grandma for donating a beautiful scale so we can measure all our produce from the garden.
Rob, Tricia and Fiona Durham are relocating to Boulder, Colorado. They have been a spark of enthusiasm and a true joy to have at our little school. We wish them all the best as they embark on a new adventure. We will miss them all dearly. We love you Fiona!
I hope the peace of the holidays find a way to settle into your homes, hearts and minds. With joy,
Dear Wishing Well Families,
As I was looking at past newsletters I was reminded that it was just one year ago this month that we began school at Sunnyside! This shocked me. Marking time is a challenge for me at this point in my life. The children grow like weeds, keeping up on cleaning the house is like being on a hamster wheel and the in’s and out’s of daily life seem to fly by. But to recognize a moment brings a depth to our lives that enriches our souls. Thank you for being an amazing part of this moment now. I am thrilled to celebrate our one year anniversary of our new school with you!
The children seem to have a sense of this as well. They are settling into the rhythm of their classrooms gladly and joyfully. They are learning to care for their things and each other. Their voices are joining us in song in English and in Spanish. There is freedom within the form of our days and the moments that arise in this form are so endearing that I think I may just write a book someday. There are also those moments of strife when we all are trying to find our way. As parents and teachers our job is to help navigate these moments. If we can jump off the hamster wheel for just a moment, and meet our children with our higher selves this will bring a centeredness to our parenting and our children will see our striving. This is one of the biggest gifts we can give them.
Oct. 18th 10a.m. – Field Trip to the Los Osos Fire Station
If your child does not come on Thursdays but you would like to join us please talk to me. We will need 4 parent volunteers to join us on this field trip. If you are interested please email me and let me know. Thanks!
Oct. 29th 7p.m. – Parent Evening: finishing touches on our pumpkins and a guest speaker!
Nancy Major, an educator in this county for over 20 years with homeschool, charter school and Waldorf experience, will come and talk to us about the benefits of a Waldorf education in light of vision therapy, her latest endeavor. She is also a board member for Wishing Well School. I am thrilled to have her come and talk to us! This is an evening not to miss!
Oct. 31st 12-1p.m. – Halloween Parade and Festival (see below for details)
Nov. 5th 12:15-1pm – Dia De Los Muertos Celebration (see below for details)
We are about to enter the season of festivals. Below is a little bit about our first two festivals…
What fun to dress up! And is there a more fun vegetable than a pumpkin? I think not. Halloween brings much excitement for all of us and as a parent of young children, some trials too. The amount of sugar is a challenge and so too are all the frightening masks, scary costumes, etc. Sometimes just going to the grocery store is a loaded errand because of the witch above the ice cream. I have struggled with how to keep the magic of this festival balanced with how we as a culture celebrate. At our house we have the sugar fairies that come the night of Halloween and in exchange for some candies they leave a simple gift the next morning. Below is an excerpt from an article that reminds us of how the young child relates to this festival.
THE SPIRITS OF HALLOWEEN
Eons ago, as they looked upon the mists that wove around their fjords and heaths, ancient Europeans had a particular experience as the days grew shorter. Toward the end of the month that we call October, they perceived the souls of all of those who had died in the past year gathering and preparing to ascend to their heavenly home, making a space for the souls due to be born in the year to come. But before they could assume their place in the ethereal realm, the departed souls had to sweep away all the detritus of the life just past and cast it to the earth. Thus the popular image of witches riding on their broomsticks is a misperception: in reality, the brooms are sweeping away the witches!
At the time when the child is in fourth-grade, a sense of human mortality begins to dawn within her. Children of this age are rightfully and healthily drawn to all of the frightful and gruesome aspects of Halloween, and they look forward with trembling anticipation to visiting a haunted house, watching a horrific form arise out of a swamp, or, if only through a well-told story, being scared out of their senses!
For the younger child, however , the situation is different. The spirits and creatures with whom the younger child communes are not those created by human error, but rather those in whom the innocent and wise powers of Nature reside: gnomes and undines, fairies and elves, the spirits of stones and streams, sun and wind. For young children to be exposed only to the dark and demonic qualities of Halloween is to deny the unspoken conviction that they care in their souls that the world is good.
– Eugene Schwartz, Waldorf Educator
So, here is the plan for our school Halloween celebration. For those children that come on Wednesdays, please come to school in regular clothes with their costume in a bag. Please keep costumes simple, traditional worldly roles (fireman, farmer, etc.), nature spirits, costumes that require the imagination, etc. In line with our school, please no TV or movie characters. We also would be happy to provide a cape, crown, silks, hat, etc. if you want to keep it really simple. We will have a regular morning and after lunch when we go outside, the children will change into costumes for our parade. If you don’t come on a Wednesday you are invited to join us at noon for the parade. We’ll parade in costume for the parents and maybe go down to the Calfire office. Afterwards we’ll play outside then come inside for a puppet show and end the day with a special gift. The festivities will begin at 12pm. Come and celebrate with us!
Dia de los Muertos
I particularly love this celebration because it speaks to that thin veil between the earthly and the spirit that is always around us but is often unrecognized. This year we will celebrate by decorating an altar (ofrenda). Each family is invited to bring photos of loved ones that have passed on (please put your name on the back) for our school altar. The ofrenda will be set up in the graders room. All families are invited to come to school on Monday Nov. 5th at 12:15p.m. to celebrate with us. We will have an all school viewing of the altar at 12:30p.m. There will be live music played while we admire the altar and remember our loved ones who have crossed over the threshold. This is a quiet few minutes. The door will be closed at 12:30. If you arrive late please wait until we are finished to come in to view the altar. Thanks!
“Día de los Muertos is a celebration that comes from the blend of the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures and the Spanish Catholics. The indigenous cultures of Mexico believed that the souls of the departed returned to visit during this time of year. To this day, families gather to remember those who have gone, with stories, singing, dancing, and sharing a feast composed of their remembered loved ones’ favorite foods. The customs for Día de los Muertos are as diverse as a simple offering of flowers at the tombs of the loved ones to creating beautiful and artistic altars to honor family members who have crossed over.”
What we’re up to…
Our current story thread is “Rumplestiltskin” a classic Grimm’s fairy tale.
Songs: “Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow…” and “Jack-o-lantern, jack-o-lantern you are such a lovely sight, as you sit there in my window looking out at the night. You were once a yellow pumpkin growing on a sturdy vine. Now you are my jack-o-lantern let your little light shine.”
And a don’t forget about Peter…
Rhyme: “Peter, Peter pumpkin eater had a wife but couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well!”
Preschool: From Ms. Betsy…
Espanol: From Senora Ana…
Last but not least…THANK YOUS!
Thank you to all of you for bringing in our apples, nuts, cheese and flowers and thank you for taking the laundry.
Thanks to Monique for making our bathroom soap.
Thanks to Angie and Monique for cleaning our bathrooms.
Thanks to Koa’s dad for getting started on our compost bins. And thanks to a few other dads who have volunteered to make seedling flats.
Thanks to Ecobambino for donating two beautiful wooden washboards.
Thank you for bringing your beautiful children to our school. Happy Autumn!
My apologies for not doing a better job keeping in touch with you over the past few months. Last year at this time a swarm of bees came through my neighborhood and landed just on the other side of our fence. At the time the school was still at our house for only one more week and I wanted to catch the swarm so that I could have bees in my backyard. Well I did that and I’ve been through some ups and downs with them and I have learned quite a bit in this past year about bees. The other day, almost exactly a year to the day, our bees swarmed again. Luckily they didn’t go far, just the front yard. The strange thing was that they spilt into two clumps when they swarmed, which I had never seen before. Ok, I know you are wondering where I’m going with this. The bees for me have been a touchstone into the natural world, a mirror of reality and an opportunity to observe. Seeing reality mirrored in the natural world is a reminder to slow down and remember that there is something larger present. There is a presence connecting all of us if we just take the time to see it. The bees have helped me to do exactly that, especially in relation to the school.
Next year our school will be swarming in two directions. We are growing a grades program and a preschool program. The current first grade room will be transformed this summer into a preschool classroom and the room next to the kindergarten classroom will be the first/second grade classroom. This jump is huge for the school and very exciting. Thank you for your patience, pioneering spirit and trust this year and in years to come.
Along with the shift in programs there will be a shift in staff too. I am thrilled to say that Ms. Jan, Ms. Julie and Senora Ana will be returning next year. I will be teaching the mixed age kindergarten (4, 5 and 6 year olds) along with Ms. Julie, Senora Ana and Ms. Jan. The preschool teacher and the assistant are still being determined. Ms. McGinley will be the class teacher for the first and second graders. Senora Ana will continue teaching Spanish to the first and second graders and Ms. Mariah (Gavin and Chaz’s mom) will be teaching gardening and handwork. I am excited to be on this journey with these amazing new teachers. Welcome!
This summer I had posted that I would be hosting a summer camp. I have decided that I am not going to do summer camp. I am terribly sorry for any inconvenience that I may have caused your family. As you can see with the growing needs of the school I will need to be setting up classrooms and getting ready for the fall. I wish you all lots of fun family time this summer.
The children, like a healthy hive, have worked hard this year and grown in many ways. They know each other now, take care of one another and they challenge each other to grow. It has been an honor and a joy to spend each day with your children. Each one has learned and grown so much this year.
Please come to our end of the year celebration on Saturday and invite your family and friends. It is going to be a fun day and a great way to kick off the summer. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
We are now in the fourth month of school in our new classroom. What a year it has been! The school has begun to take on a life of its own, but this life is not one that is supported by only one voice. It takes all the voices and feelings and energies of each and every one of us to make its one voice. We are at the beginning of something big, as we are each and every day when we are awakened by our children. And then of course, there are the kinks…
Kink: 1. a tight curl or bend in a length of thin material 2. a painful muscle spasm 3. a difficulty that is likely to impede operation 4. a mental peculiarity 5. an unusual or eccentric idea
I believe I have encountered every definition of kink at least once in the past 4 months. How we deal with these bumps in the road are the real lessons of life and one of the most important gifts we can give our children.
We teachers are settling into our roles, the children are settling into and experimenting with friendships and our sense of place is beginning to arrive in our garden. Systems are developing and patterns are attempting to be established. Yet we are still new. As much as I want to have it all figured out it just isn’t. So with a bit of the newness comes chaos, uncertainty, and most importantly growth on many levels. Thank you for growing, it can be hard work and it is delightful to be growing with all of you and your lovely children!
May the new year bring us all much prosperity and happiness. Thanks for the highs and lows but mostly for the inbetweens.
Thank you to Mia and Evan, Hunter’s parents, for getting soil donated for our garden beds. Central Coast Landscape Products donated 4 yards of wonderful soil so we now have dirt in our garden beds! Thank you for this amazing gift! Let’s grow!
Mia and Evan also donated our filtered drinking water system and installed it in our classroom. This was done back in September and I’m not sure if I ever said thank you to them. So thank you. I look forward to drinking our water each and every day as do our children.
Thank you to David and Heather, August’s parents who hauled in many stumps and built our new digging area. Everybody needs to dig!
Thank you to Sarah and Pete, Eli’s parents for donating two new shovels with which to dig. Alright let’s dig our heels in now and get to work!
Thank you to Anna and Gareth, Rowan’s parents who bestowed the gift of chanterelle mushrooms and swiss chard to all of our tummies.
Thank you to Gretchen and Chris, Charlie’s parents who donated our worm bin composter. This worm bin came from Gretchen’s neighbor and friend, Carla, who recently passed. She loved gardening and loved children, so her spirit lives on in our garden.
We will be having a parent evening on Jan. 25th at 7pm, this Wednesday night. We hope you can make it for another fun evening. Our topic will be on establishing healthy boundaries for your child.
Tuesday Feb. 14th. I am not quite sure yet what time this will be exactly, but morningish. I’ll let you know. If you would like to give Valentine cards to the other children, we ask that you make your own, or if you buy them please stay away from commercialized/characterized ones. We have a large group. If you want to participate in a Valentine exchange, please make 24 Valentine’s.
We will not have school Feb 20-23rd. This is a teacher development week and I will be attending two teacher’s conferences. I’ll let you know all about them when I return. School resumes Feb. 27.
If you have enrollment contracts or other state paperwork to turn in please put them in the basket on top of the cubbies.
Tuition prices for this term (January – June) are:
If you would like to have your child stay late please write a note to me and we can arrange it. Aftercare is from 1-4pm, T-Th, at $5/hour.
Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America is an organization that works with Waldorf schools and initiatives. I am currently in the process of becoming a “developing member” of WECAN. This will basically put us on the Waldorf map and offer us support in the way of mentoring, book discounts, an annual subscription to their magazine “Gateways,” news, conferences, etc. This is an important step in the growth of our school and I am excited to be doing it.
Welcome to our new families!
Monique and Steve Klosterman have Pete (5) and Iris (1).
Tammy and Ryan Hubbard have Hazel (3).
And from Big Sur Charter, Georgia (Renee and Kurt) is now joining the 1st graders and Sidda (Heather and her husband whose name escapes me right now) is joining the kindergarten on Tuesdays, as well as Thursdays.
I hope to see many of you on Wednesday night for our parent evening at 7pm. Have a great week!
Dear Wishing Well Parents,
I hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and happy. Our little lemon tree, donated by Teleri and Shawn, Branwen’s parents, is bursting forth. The fruit is coming. Over the holiday my family asked me how it was all going with the school. My response was a wide smile. “Have you ever seen something that you thought about for a long time, come to life?” It has been amazing to watch the fruit come to our little school (that’s not so little anymore). The transformation that is taking place in the children has also been remarkable. They know where things go now. They delight in swinging and building rocket ships, cars, shops, you name it. And they delight in each other. It is almost as though there is a bit of gel to the group now and it is so awesome to be a witness to the building of friendships and love. I feel grateful.
This month there are three Wishing Well events:
Mama’s craft day, silk dyeing
This Saturday, Dec. 3, Megan is hosting a silk dyeing gathering for all the mamas at 11am at 1149 Pasadena Ave., Los Osos. I’ve got all the supplies and I’m looking forward to a relaxing, creative day. Thanks for putting this together Megan.
Next Monday, Dec. 5th we will have a parent evening at 7pm. We will be making the lanterns for our Solstice Lantern Walk. If you cannot make it please let me know via email, so that we make an extra for your child.
Solstice Lantern Walk
This year is our 4th annual Solstice Lantern Walk. This festival carries a quiet tone. During this time of year there is a soul mood and gesture of turning inward. We see it in nature and ourselves. With the days growing shorter and colder we are afforded more inside family time and maybe a moment for some introspection too. With beautiful live music and the children all holding their lanterns as they walk silently, we are reminded of our own inner light, the light of our children and the return of light to our world. Please join us for an evening of quiet on Dec. 15th from 5:00 – 6ish. Like last year we will not do food so please make sure your little one has had either an early dinner or hearty snack beforehand. Thanks!
Recently I came across this beautiful, inspiring video. It feels timely. Enjoy.
p.s. Thank you to Ana and Gareth, Rowan’s parents, for helping us to get our garden fund started. We love the chard!