Quail Springs Farm Trip

quail springs farm trip

Hello to all you wonderful parents,

It was so nice to be back today with our whole class.  Stories came out all over the place from both groups and their doings from the past week.  It sounded like Ms. Kipps did a lovely job of holding the Maples with only a few girls (depending on the day) and the children all seemed to be happy to return together.
Well, before my stories leave me and we are on to the next thing, I thought I would share some of my experiences and observations from our trip.  First of all, I was so thoroughly impressed by our group of 7 students and their ability to meld into another group, make new friends, be confident with who they are and, no one cried for mama at night!
We were pretty far out there, off the grid, learning our lessons from the land.  I find that when I remove myself from the hustle of daily life, the natural surroundings of the place show me what I need to learn and I have the ability, time and desire to listen.  This was evident for the children as well in that they came up against their own limitations, whatever they were, keeping track of their belongings, fear of darkness, setting up a tent, moderating their own body temperature with jackets, hats, etc., cleaning up after themselves, etc. and they were able to be in a place where they could rise to meet their challenges without others interfering.  During the drum stalk, (which was a blindfolded walk where the children had to find their way through the canyon, about an eighth of a mile, to the sound of the drum) I found that letting them stumble and go the wrong direction for a bit was very hard for me to do.  I also realized that if I guided them and showed them the way, that I was taking a piece of their learning away from them.  As I was at my last class’ graduation from 8th grade (before I had children) a mother in the class told me (as I’m standing there very pregnant) that the whole thing, from the moment they breathe their first breath is about letting go.  This trip was another breath for the children, like that first one, and now it is our task to know how much to guide them and where the boundaries are for each stage of growth.
To give you a little picture, each morning we woke to do farm chores from 7-8am and then we prepared our own breakfast and lunches.  The farm provided lovely fresh soul food for dinners. No sugar!  It is amazing how much sugar our children consume.  I found them really craving it and it was a little like detoxing from sugar while we were there.   We camped about a 5 min. walk from the main commons (2 yurts) where we met for meals and morning circle.  The mornings and afternoons were filled with a creek hike, planting trees, learning about compost, looking in a top bar beehive, games, tours of yurts and cob structures, swinging and lots of laughing.  Each evening we had campfires either outside or inside in a wood stove.  Stories and songs sent us off to sleep as we crossed the canyon back to our campsite.  The weather was transitional the whole time and skies were amazing.
Thank you for this lovely opportunity to spend so much time with your children.  They blossomed, as did I, with the desert rain and horny toads.
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April 2013

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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.

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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

¡Feliz Primavera!
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.

Upcoming Events

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

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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,

Kim

March 2013

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Dear Parents,

     Everything is in a hurry in Spring and Spring isn’t even officially here.   I sense much excitement around our school in anticipation of what will come. What will next year look like? How will we fair with the upcoming events?  How does the board communicate efficiently?  Who will be the next group of families that come to us?  How is my child doing?  The list goes on.   With all this hustle and bustle we can’t forget to look to the natural world to bring us balance.  There is a moment before the bud appears on the branch when it is just a branch, and then as if magic has occurred, you look again and there is a bud, swelling with anticipation. In that moment before, there is a listening, a knowing.  I find that if I truly listen to myself, my children, the world around, then I can create something new within.  With the freshness of Spring comes a clean slate, a new opportunity to cast away the hardness of winter and an opportunity to really listen.  If we can just remember to slow down enough to do it.
     Speaking of listening, I will be hosting conferences with parents for children who will be kindergarten and first grade age in the fall.  These conferences will begin after Spring Break.
     In the spirit of growth, the children will be growing grass in baskets.  Please bring in a Spring basket with a handle lined with either a plastic or brown paper bag.
     Next Monday and Tuesday are picture days.  Cory and Elliot (Poppy and Fischer’s parents) are professional photographers and they have offered to take school pictures for us.  What a treat!  Please pick up an order form at your sign-in/out table.
     March 16th is our open house from 10am-12pm.  There are flyers available for distribution next to the tuition basket in the kindergarten.  Please take a few and post them at your favorite spots.  This is a big help to getting the word out.  Thank you!
     Lastly, Tuesday March 19th at 7pm we will have the opportunity to hear from a master Waldorf teacher who will be here visiting.  Her name is Dorit Winter and she was the director of my teacher training program.  She will be visiting our school and mentoring all of us teachers while she is here.  This is a very special opportunity and I do hope you will come to hear her speak.  The title of her talk is “Why Waldorf?”
     Thank you for bringing your darling children to our school.  They are all so near and dear to my heart.  Blessings on our Spring!
Warmly,
Kim
P.S.  Don’t forget our next parent evening this Wed. at 7pm!
P.P.S.  It’s been one year since we got our puppy Lucy!  If only puppies could stay small!
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February 2013

Dear Parents,

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!

Upcoming Events

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

Kindergarten

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.

Preschool

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.

Grades

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.

Spanish

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:)

Gardening

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!

K.I.N.D.

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.

Board

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.

With Love,

Kim

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!

December 2012

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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!

Upcoming Events

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.

YOPAC Velveteen Rabbit Flyer 2012-1 2

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

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.

Goodbye

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!

bff

best buds

I hope the peace of the holidays find a way to settle into your homes, hearts and minds.  With joy,

Kim

October 2012

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.

Upcoming Events

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…

Halloween

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…

Kindergarten

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…

In Preschool, we are playing lots of rhyming handgames and we are growing our imaginations.  We still love our little Mousie Brown that first visited our circle in September. Here is his rhyme:
Up the tall white candlestick climbed little Mousie Brown, to eat up all the tallow….but he couldn’t get back down! So he called to his Grandma, “Grandmaaaa, Grandmaaaa!” But Grandma was in town! So he curled into a ball, and he rolled right down…..
We also love to pretend we are little seeds asleep in the earth, stretching and growing when the sun shines on us, and the rain falls upon us.  We grow up tall and strong, and spread our branches out wide!  Then we like to tell one another what kind of plants we are.  We have had lemon trees, apple trees, sunflowers, and more in our Preschool Circle Garden!
And of course we can’t forget the pumpkins! Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate…the first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!” The second one said, “There are witches in the air”, and the third one said, “But I don’t care!” The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” the fifth one said, “It’s Halloween fun!”  The whooosh went the wind, and out went the lights, and the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
Thank you for sharing your children with us! Everyday is a new adventure in childhood discovery!

Espanol:  From Senora Ana…

Versos:   Me volteo y me volteo y me hago un caracol.  En el cielo hay estrellas y en la tierra estoy yo.
 A, E, I, O, U  dime como te llamas tu.
Canciones:  Amigos, amigos uno, dos, tres, todos mis amigos estan aqui.  Hazel es mi amiga, Koa es mi amigo . . .
El gallo pinto se durmio.  Y esta manana no canto.  Todo el mundo espera su cocoroco.  Y el sol no salio porque aun no lo oyo
 

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!

Kim