Special Announcements From The School Office
Re-enrollment for next year will open on February 8th and the reduced re-enrollment fee will be available through March 10th.
Planning ahead for the fall and beyond, Wishing Well School is hosting two special informational nights:
1st/2nd/3rd Grade Information Night: Monday, February 8th, 7 PM
Early Middle School 4-6th grades Information Night: Tuesday, February 23rd, 7 PM.
Be prepared for a fun, informative evening, and find out what’s in the works for the continuing growth of our educational programs here at Wishing Well School. Share your thoughts and get answers to your questions. Both sessions are open to the community at large as well as our current parents, so please invite your friends who may be interested and join us for these outreach events: spread the word!!
A note from Sarah Case:
We are nearly halfway to fulfilling our Annual Giving Campaign goal of $6000. So far we have about 10% participation. Let’s go for 100% participation. I believe that it doesn’t necessarily matter how much you give but that you give that matters. I think that more than just the amount raised is important; there is a value in everyone coming together for a common goal to support our school. Remember you can donate by mail, in person, online @ the Wishing Well School website, and by shopping at Amazon Smile designated to Wishing Well.
To all our wonderful volunteers, a round of thanks, and please note that we have a lovely new Volunteer Board for posting and signing up for volunteer activities, located at the sign in area outside of the Early Childhood Classroom.
Thanks especially to Inez Pahoundis, who has volunteered tirelessly in our office this year, working to organize paperwork and serve our families. She and her family are moving to Monterey, where their children will attend a Waldorf Charter School. Lindy laRoche will be stepping into the office to help out, please feel free to contact her as well, with you’re your administrative questions.
Sarah, The Wishing Well School Office
In the Classroom
Kindergarten & Preschool
In our first week of school, we had a lot of fun baking gingerbread men and hearing this silly story:
Once upon a time there was an old couple who lived on a little farm. One day the old woman decided to bake a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a man. She used raisins to give him eyes, jam to make his mouth, and nuts as shirt buttons. The old woman and her husband couldn’t wait to eat the gingerbread man. How delicious he looked. But as soon as she opened the oven door the gingerbread man jumped out and ran away as fast as he could. The old woman called her husband and they both chased the gingerbread man. But he was too fast for them and he said “Run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!”
On the way a hungry pig saw the gingerbread man and wanted to eat him. The gingerbread called out to him cheekily, “Run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” So the pig, the old woman, and the man chased the gingerbread man.
Soon a cow saw the strange sight. The gingerbread man sang again “Run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” Since the cow too loved cookies she joined the pig, the old woman, and the old man and they all ran after the little man. Next the gingerbread man met a horse. The horse also joined the chase but the gingerbread man was too fast for them.
Soon the gingerbread man came to a river. “Oh no” he exclaimed, “the water will make me soggy! The horse, the cow, the pig, the old woman, and the man will catch me and eat me.” Just then a fox came by. His mouth watered when he saw the gingerbread man. But he didn’t eat him right away. Instead he asked, “What’s the matter little man?” With a sad face the gingerbread man told the fox his problem.
The fox immediately said, “I won’t eat you. Climb on my back and I will carry you across the river.” The gingerbread man agreed. However, this was a very cunning fox. He told the gingerbread man “The water is too deep. You must climb upon my head if you want to be safe.” The little man was so afraid of the water that he agreed. Then the fox said, “The water is still too deep. You must climb onto my nose if you want to be safe.” Since the water was now nearly touching his toes, the gingerbread man moved to sit on his nose. However, as soon as they reached the other side of the river, the crafty fox tossed the gingerbread man up in the air, caught him in his mouth, and quickly gobbled him up. “Mmmm, that was delicious,” he said, licking his lips contentedly.
And that is the story of the poor little gingerbread man.
The story was brought to life in our playground, with the children selecting different characters to play in the chase. It was a delight to see the class running in a big hoard trying to catch the gingerbread man!
Ms. Katherine, Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher
How to Bake a Gingerbread Man
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 med. eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie tin.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Then, add wet to dry and knead gently into dough.
- Refrigerate dough for a few hours then roll it out. If it is too dense to roll, leave it at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling out. Once the gingerbread men are cut out: press in currants or raisins for eyes, nuts for shirt buttons, and jam for a mouth!
- Bake 10-12 minutes and let cool for maximum running speeds before attempting to eat. Mmmm!
Saludos queridos padres,
The Spanish classes continue to sing! These South American verses from my own childhood in Peru are filled with joy and imagination. While some are complex and profound, others are simple and silly, yet they are filled with rich vocabulary.
Best wishes to you all!
Maestra Karina, Spanish Teacher
YO ESTOY AQUÍ
Yo estoy aquí, aquí yo estoy,
Presente con mí ser para amar y crecer.
La luz es mi guía que me llena de alegría
Yo vivo en harmonía porque yo estoy aquí, y aquí yo estoy,
Presente con mí ser para amar y crecer.
I AM HERE
I am here, here I am,
Present with my being to love and to grow.
The light is my guide that fills me with joy
I live in harmony because I am here, and here I am,
Present with my being to love and to grow.
Caracolito, caracolito ¡quién te hizo tan chiquito!
Si tú te asomas hacia la arena el agua te llevará
Y el pobre caracolito solito se quedará.
Caracolote, caracolote ¡quién te hizo tan grandote!
Si tú te asomas hacia la arena el agua te llevará
Y el pobre caracolote solote se quedará.
Little snail, little snail who made you so tiny!
If you scoot along the sand the water with wash you away,
And poor little snail will be alone.
Big snail, big snail who made you so big!
If you scoot along the sand the water with wash you away,
And poor big snail will be alone.
These past three weeks we have been in our second number block of the year, exploring the world of numbers. In the 1st and 2nd grade the goal is to ensure that the child feels at home within this realm. This means being able to confidently count and work with the number line, and understanding that each number has a certain quality. 12 is much different than 13 and that is a spiritual quality that we try to bring to the student through our work and observation of the number. There are many ways to achieve this.
The children’s memory capacities are engaged since the change of teeth, and by this point in the year they know the date. So each morning we write the date on the chalkboard, and I ask, “what makes our date today?” If it is the 20th, they might say: 10+10 or 21-1 or 40/2 or 10×2, or sometimes 5+10+5 -1+1. Since all four operations are introduced simultaneously, doing division or multiplication in 1st/2nd grade is a snap. It’s just another way to look at number!
We also do lots of rhythmic work with counting. For example, we’ll toss beanbags back and forth while counting by 3’s. We will also step around the room counting forward and backwards. Coordinating a step for each number allows the child to really get it in their bodies and strengthens the memory.
Another fun activity for this block was bowling, using full water bottles for pins and basketballs for bowling balls. There are 10 pins so when 4 are left standing how many are knocked down? We had fun and learned how to keep score. Knowing the number bonds up to 20 is foundational for confidence in working with numbers.
All of these activities support being at home within the realm of number. There are many things you can do at home, as well, to aide your child in building their foundation with numbers. Try these out for fun and learning: card games, board games, estimation questions, anything involving balance (i.e. walking on a curb, forward and backward), following directions, number writing practice, knitting/handwork, and plainly counting with your child.
Mrs. Wishon, First/Second Grade Teacher
The Third and Fourth grades have been studying “Man and Animal” these last few weeks, all from the perspective of Man and his ability to not only think and to feel, but to Will and to be creative. This is one ability that sets him apart from the animals, to be sure! We looked especially at some soft-bodied marine animals, and observed how they are almost all head. We learned how the cuttlefish not only has eyes that can see with amazing detail, but can then can change their color and shape to imitate what they see and blend into their surroundings with truly magical detail. The cuttlefish also was the original source of the finest sepia ink. We stopped short of a trip to the Mediterranean to collect some ink, but we did that in our imaginations. Next is a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we’ll dive down and enjoy staying dry while we enter the world undersea.
Mrs. Bodger, Third/Fourth Grade Teacher
Upcoming Events & Festivals
ALL SCHOOL ASSEMBLY & VALENTINE’S TEA
Parents, please join us Friday, February 12 at 11:30 AM for an assembly and celebration of Valentine’s Day! We’ll gather as a school for a short program and a presentation by each class. Then the Grades and Early Childhood Classes will adjourn to separate rooms for their very own Valentine Tea Party! Ms. Katherine invites Early Childhood parents to bring in Valentine cookies. She also has a Valentine garland project up for volunteers!
ALL SCHOOL POT LUCK & WORK DAY
Please join us for an all-school pot luck on Saturday Feb. 27 at noon! Bring your favorite dish to share. WORKDAY SCHEDULE: At 10 AM we’ll start puppet making in the Kindergarten, under the direction of Miss Katherine: Help the Kg stock up on puppets for our children to play with at school. Come when you can. Easy sewing, no experience necessary. This is a great way to get your volunteer hours in! Children are welcome to play outside as we work, but you will be in charge of your child. Please arrange for one adult to watch no more than two children. Non-sewing parents can watch the children, or there will be a couple of woodworking projects going on as well, please our new Volunteer Board, in front of Miss Katherine’s class to sign up for those.
At NOON we’ll share a pot luck lunch. You’re welcome to come by for just lunch, if you can.
Special Announcements from the School Office
If your family chooses to not vaccinate or partially vaccinate your children, please fill out the form below and take it to your doctor. Then bring it in to the school office for us to keep on file. This form must be completed before January of 2016. If the form is complete then your child will be “grandfathered in” so to speak, and the child will be exempt either entering kindergarten or 7th grade. Please read more on the following website to understand the law as it pertains to your situation:
The School Directory is printed and available to be picked up in your classroom! It is lemon yellow this year. Please help yourself to one per family. If you lose one I do have extras in the office. I did notice one typo: Don Popham and Heidi Lorge, Rowan’s parents, recently became board members and I neglected to include them on the board roster. Many apologies Don and Heidi and welcome to the board!!!
There is some talk going around of a monthly craft night starting up in the New Year! Let me know if you’re interested. Lilly and I organized this last year and we’re thinking of doing it again. We’d love to get your feedback on preferred days and times if this is something of which you’d like to be part.
Hang on to your gently used clothes and children’s toys. We will be having our Annual Clothing Swap in the New Year. It’s a fun way to jazz up your winter wardrobe and to clean out your closets. There are always some good scores. There will be wine and appetizers. It’s a lovely evening.
If you are looking for ways to complete your volunteer hours, please come see us!
Wising Well is run by a dedicated, volunteer Board of Directors. We want to thank Heidi Lorge and Don Popham, Rohan’s parents, who have recently joined the board. Both Heidi and Don work at Cal Poly, and have years of experience in organizational management, and getting things done!
Also, a big heartfelt thank you to all the many parent volunteers who are working hard at our school! Beyond the practical help of the work, I see how it really lifts the hearts of the whole community to hear how so many people are contributing. You continue to inspire Ynez and I to keep working hard at our volunteer jobs here in the office. Thank you!
A special thanks goes to Austin Miller for building the balance beam for Mrs. Wishon’s class- I hear they are really enjoying it!
And thank you to Cindy Konrad, mom to Eleanor in 2nd grade, for organizing our November coat drive. We donated over a dozen coats to the Women’s shelter.
Thank you to Lindy LaRoche for heading up the Annual Giving Campaign. Lindy is such a gifted businesswoman and she brings all of her passion and organization to helping us stay on course during this important fundraising event. Thanks Lindy! And don’t forget to donate! It’s tax deductible.
Sarah and Ynez, The Wishing Well School Office
In the Classroom
Things are cookin’ in the classroom! Here’s the recipe we used to make our muffins this November and the children love to help with all of it! You can bake your own pumpkin with its many nurturing nutrients and blend it without the skin, for a creamier texture.
Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Spice Muffins
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup pumpkin purée
¼ cup milk of choice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mixture: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
1¾ cups whole wheat flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs, and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée and milk, followed by a mixture of the dried ingredients.
Bake 23-25 minutes and let cool before removing from tin.
We sang a song at circle that caught the attention of the children with its reverent and more thoughtful mood. It was powerful to see their strong imitative capacities as they mimicked the slow, sculpted gestures. They sang in front of the whole school during the Harvest Assembly: “Down with darkness, up with light, up with daylight, down with night…Each of us is one small light, but together we shine bright…Go away darkness black as night, go away- make way to the light…” We finished with show of a more lively song and dance: “…Dance to the sun, dance to the rain, dance to the Earth who gives us grain…”
Outside in the garden we got into costume and performed the story of Running Deer and Little Fawn who go to visit the wise old medicine man in his teepee at the top of the hill. Little Fawn is sick but Flying Eagle, the medicine man, prepares a tea from the healing plants of mother earth, and Little Fawn grows well again.
In the classroom during play the children are still finding and getting to know new friends. Oftentimes they may connect through a task such as: cleaning the shelves and toys, wiping or setting the table, and carrying baskets outside to collect calendula and lavender. We have been watering the garden beds and harvesting to make healing salves.
This Monday as we return from Thanksgiving break, with the whole school present, we lit the first light of Advent: the light of stones. We look forward to the Advent spiral and St. Nicholas might visit us this Friday!
The children will hear a story of the Shoemaker and the Elves, which is filled with magic and kind-heartedness. I will leave an article out for parents about the idea of nourishing the child’s imagination at this age and giving a space for their own truth to flourish. It is written by a well known outdoor educator who has a model school in Denmark. It touches on the reason why in the Waldorf Kindergarten we do not speak analytically to the child and rather meet them in imagination which is moving, changing, morphing, and open to interpretation.
I hope you all stay warm as the season changes and you can find some time for stillness during the holiday season!
Ms. Katherine, Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher
Saludos queridos padres,
We are off to an exciting start on our journey to learn “Español.” Your children are getting used to the richness of the sounds through verses, games, artwork and songs. I am introducing South American rhymes and rhythms that I learned as I was growing up in my home country, Peru. These verses are filled with joy and imagination. While some are complex and profound, others are simple and silly, yet they are filled with rich vocabulary. Below are a few samples of what we have been working on.
Best wishes to you all!
Maestra Karina, Spanish Teacher
MI MAMITA ES BONITA
Mi mamita es bonita, ella es como el sol
mi mamita es muy Buena y la quiero yo.
Todas las mañanas cuando me levanto
viene a saludarme y me da un beso.
Yo quiero decirle que mucho la quiero
con un fuerte abrazo y con un gran beso!
My Mom is Beautiful
My mom is beautiful, she is like the sun
My mom is very kind and I love her.
Each morning when I get up, she comes to greet me and gives me a kiss.
I want to tell her how much I love her
with a warm hug and a big kiss!
ABRO MI CORAZÓN
Abro mi corazón para dar,
Abro mis manos para recibir,
Abro mis ojos para ver
Abro mis oídos para oír
Abro mi boca para hablar,
Abro mi mente para comprender,
Abro mi corazón para amar
I open my heart
I open my heart to give,
I open my hands to receive,
I open my eyes to see,
I open my ears to listen,
I open my mouth to speak,
I open my mind to understand,
I open my heart to love.
Hurray for Harvest!
The entire school gathered for a lovely Harvest Assembly on the last day before our Thanksgiving break. Every student participated.
The First and Second graders entertained us with some clapping games and rhymes. They donned colorful hats indicating which group they were with: adding, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying. Then each group recited a verse about their process. The graders love math!
The Third and Forth grades began with a Chumash song, then sang some rounds and fugues for us. They played on their recorders, a song they had learned to sing last year: “Rise up, oh flame, by thy light’s glowing, show to us Beauty, Wisdom, and Joy”. And we do take our beauty, wisdom and joy very seriously in Waldorf Grade school education!
Ms. Katherine’s Early Childhood students entertained us with some movement and songs from their circle time, and we all enjoyed home made corn muffins and apple cider courtesy of the Kindergarten.
A Special Visit!
St. Nicholas visited the children this past Friday, Dec. 4. I don’t believe anyone actually saw him, but all the children left their shoes outside, and it must have been good ol’ St. Nick who filled them up with treats: apples, gold chocolate coins, shiny gold painted walnuts, and gold dust everywhere. Plus, I hear the first and second grade class actually got bright shiny real coins for their piggy banks! St. Nick wrote a poem for each grade school child: we have posted these in the classroom, and parents are more than welcome to view the poems, and try to guess which one applies to their child!
Upcoming Events & Festivals
DEC. 11th Nana’s Sing Along
DEC. 18th Advent Spiral
Nana’s Sing Along
Join us this Friday Dec. 11th for Nana’s sing-a-long, from 12-12:30pm, and sing carols with your children. Emory and Pearl’s Nana loving plays the piano for us each year. Don’t miss this special, get you into the spirit event. All are welcome!
Dec. 17th is our last day of school before winter break and on Dec. 18th (Friday) we will celebrate the coming of light.
You are invited to our 8th annual Advent Spiral on 12/18 Friday evening at 5pm. This festival carries a quiet tone. With beautiful live music and walking 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.
This year will be a little different than in years past. We will be performing a puppet show for the children and then everyone will be invited to walk the spiral. Our spiral this year will be indoors. Preschool and Kindergarten students can walk together with their families and the grades students will walk the spiral on their own.
At 5 pm we will begin the telling of “Snow White and Rose Red” a delightful and humorous fairy tale of two loving daughters and their encounters with an ungrateful dwarf and a friendly bear. Mrs. Bodger will be orating and Mrs. Wishon, Ms. Katherine, and Mrs. Bodger’s lovely daughter, Claire, will be the puppeteers.
After the puppet show, there will be crafting in the 3/4th grade classroom: pomanders, cranberry wreaths, and popcorn stringing. At this time you will be called to visit the magical Advent Spiral Garden in the 1/2nd grade with your child.
Here is quick link to see how to make a pomander:
We will use clementines which will be easy for children to press the cloves in on their own without pre-poking the holes. You can hang them up in your home to dry: they will keep and smell good for many weeks, and longer.
To see the simple and easy cranberry wreaths:
This is a treasured moment of the season we look forward to sharing together. Please join us to celebrate the coming of light on Dec. 18th at 5pm.
A Time of Turning Inward
I hope you all had a thank-full Thanksgiving. What a joy to spend time with family and have the focus be on being with each other, sharing food and giving thanks. December is here already and I love this time of year because of the wonder in our children’s eyes and for the opportunity it provides us to teach our children about reverence. At 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. How can we bring this mood of reverence and inner quiet to our children and ourselves when the hustle and bustle of the media is encouraging us to buy, spend, and want?
The first week of December marks the first week of advent. Advent means that which is coming. The solstice marks the shortest day of the year and this time of year we anticipate a return of the light. At school we celebrate advent by focusing on the four natural kingdoms, one each week in a whole school assembly on Monday mornings. We do this by telling a story, 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. The first 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.
These are the verses we say at school.
The first Light of Advent is the Light of stones:
The Light that shines in seashells, crystals and in bones.
The second Light of advent is the Light of plants:
Plants that reach up to the sunlight and in the breezes dance.
The third Light of advent is the Light of beasts:
Beasts that crawl upon the earth, from the greatest to the least.
The fourth Light of advent is the Light of humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds,
The Light of hand, heart and mind.
Simple Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season
1 YEAR TO 3 YEARS OLD:
A set of wooden blocks (can be made by hand, or tree limbs that are smooth and splinter free, cut into rounds and sanded)
Soft doll, with doll cradle and blanket
Baskets of smooth sticks, shells, nuts in the shell, stones
Stacking toys (there are wooden ones that are nice)
Small truck or car
Basket of silks, six or eight, in large squares for playing and dress up
Stick crayons in red, yellow, blue and some sturdy paper for coloring
Small board books, classic
4 YEARS TO 7 YEARS
Dress up capes and crowns
Play areas for pretend kitchen, pretend laundry area
Digging tools for the garden, seeds
Crayons, Water color paints, or Beeswax for modeling
Playstands for creating homes, forts, pirate ships, etc.
Simple music instruments are nice: rattles, bells
Outdoor riding toys
Wagons, swings, ropes, small logs outside
Doll, clothes for the doll
Small animals for playing
Small dollhouse with furniture or a Barn with horses, stalls, fences
Candle next to the bed for light and songs/stories
8 YEARS TO AGE 12
Knitting kits, wool, etc.
Crochet sets and patterns
Bird watching kits
Binoculars, telescope, microscope
Books, books, books!
Sport equipment as your family enjoys
Bike, Roller Skates, or Rollerblades
Treasure box for rock collection
Cards, dice & Board games: checkers, chess, cribbage, shut the box
Collectables (big age for starting collections i.e., coins, stamps, etc.)
Items that your child really desires and will take care of
Wood carving with supervision
Blackboard is nice for wall with chalk
Kits for building, tool sets that are real tools
Paints, pastels, chalk- supplies for future works of art!
ANNUAL GIVING CAMPAIGN
Hi Wishing Well Parents!
We are so grateful that you have chosen to send your child to Wishing Well School. To educate each and every child at our school is an honor and a privilege.
Right now around the country and all over the world schools are reaching out to their communities with Annual Giving Campaigns. Schools everywhere depend on these supplemental funds for the school to function. We at Wishing Well are aiming for 100% participation within the school this year: faculty, staff, board members, and parents. This internal giving campaign is meant to foster the strength of our school, to provide a vibrant educational atmosphere for the children involved here.
On average the gap between the tuition that a Wishing Well family pays to educate a child and the cost of educating that child is nearly $600. The Annual Giving Campaign helps close the gap between tuition and the actual costs of a Waldorf education. In addition to closing the tuition gap, campaign funds are used to sustain the richness of our full Waldorf education, Preschool through Grade 4. Specifically, the monies raised enhance curriculum, improve facilities, support student programs, provide tuition assistance, teacher training and teacher mentorships.
Our school budget this year requires that our school raise at least $6000.
Our goal this year is to raise over $12,000.
Parents, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, and other friends of the School are asked to participate in the campaign. We understand that each family has a different gift capacity — some giving more or less than others. Please join in with a gift that is personally significant for you and your family.
Contributions are fully tax deductible as charitable gifts to the Wishing Well School.
You can make your gift in any number of ways, including writing a single check, charging to your Visa or MasterCard, spreading the payment over 12 months, or offering a gift of securities. Wishing Well Schools non-profit id number is: 46-4131186 501(c)(3)
There are four ways to give now:
- Onlineby clicking on our Paypal donation link on the Wishing Well Website.
- Mail your donation to Wishing Well School at 880 Manzanita Drive, Los Osos, CA 93402. Please include your name and contact info and note “annual giving” in the memo line of your check.
- In person drop your check off in the office or deposit your donation in one of the jars in the classrooms. If you are bringing cash please give to Sarah or Ynez personally.
- While shopping for gifts- Shop with Amazon Smile: simply type in smile.amazon.com and select Wishing Well School as your charity of choice.
Many companies have matching gift programs; your gift may be matched one, two or three times by your organization. Please check with your employer’s Human Resources office to see what programs are available.
Every donation is deeply appreciated. Thank you!
Lindy LaRoche & Sarah Peterson, Annual Giving Co-Chairs
A Letter of Thanks from the School Office
Thank you to all the families who came out on Work Day to beautify the school. We rearranged the office, set up the classrooms, cleaned and scrubbed, formed garden beds out of the mushroom compost, and generally put a lot of elbow grease into making the school ready for a new year.
Things are up and running here in the Office, and our TADs enrollment system is online! Many many thanks to Angie Yates, our board Vice President, for spending a great deal of time this summer to set up the TADS system for the school. Using TADS saves the school money on the administrative end and that is wonderful because more resources can go to the classrooms.
Pre-School and Kindergarten parents please make sure you’ve completed all of your school paperwork. Thank you to all of you who have passed in your completed paperwork and physicians’ reports!
A big thank you to our special projects parents: Alison Ingle for sewing crayon cases for the 1st graders and curtains for the school office, Teleri Williams for running our weekly Wednesday Coffee in the Garden (8:45-10:30 come by!), Eric DeShelter for fixing the school gate, and to Lindy LaRoche for putting together the beautiful autumnal scene and verse in the outdoor display case. Thank you to anyone whom we may have missed. So many small acts of kindness are done every day.
Thank you to the School Board, a wonderful group of hard working volunteers, who has spent a lot of time over the summer getting our new school licensing ready, hiring new teachers (!), preparing a budget, acquiring new school toys and equipment and many other behind the scenes tasks. Board meetings are open to the whole school community, and meeting dates are listed on the school calendar.
Sarah and Ynez
The Wishing Well School Office
Children’s tables to loan:
We have two lovely small all-wooden tables( with chairs) suitable for children, that we need to store until next year. Any family that wishes to, may borrow them until August of this year. Please see Sarah or Ynez in the office. On Monday October 5 we will be putting the tables and chairs outside to see who wants to borrow these items. We will also have a number of “yard sale” clothing items in case anyone wants to look through them.
In the Classroom
It has been a grand start to the year with all the children in the Preschool and Kindergarten. Many new friends have been welcomed by the old and a sense of community and wholeness is starting to form amongst the children. They are eager and ready to learn at our early circle time, following along with the new songs, and beginning to mouth the words and mimic the movements. One of our songs “Good Morning Little Bird” welcomes children in the birdie nest, the teacher’s lap, as we sing to the child and they say their name for the whole group. This has been a sweet way for the children to see and get to know each other and they look forward to the repetition of this song and the warmness it holds.
We have many helpers in the classroom, who love to do good for others and happily take up special tasks such as sweeping or helping another child to get on their shoes. One child at morning circle is chosen to help carry the candle and to snuff it out, children help to collect napkins and picture name tags at the table, and we have many willing hands chopping veggies and kneading dough on bread day.
Earth who gives to us this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Sun above and Earth below
Loving thanks to you we show
After we say our blessing we all hold hands and say “Blessings on our snack, our family and our friends, and peace on the earth. Bon Appetit, we may eat!”
The days have been hot and we hope it will soon cool off! A little run under the sprinkler hose always helps us and the shade of the tree has been a blessing as well. Outside, the children are digging and finding ‘gold’ sand! They swing, run, and climb. Soon we will fix up the little garden bed near the sandbox.
After outside play, we end the day on the rug inside with a short ‘magic disappear’ game and story telling time. We began the year with a story of the little house with no doors and a star inside and a boy’s journey to find it. (Cut an apple in half sideways and you shall see what I mean). Now the children are listening, with wide eyes and open mouths, the story of Mashenka and the Bear. This is a story of how a clever little girl overcomes the lower nature of a bear who tries to keep her in his house “as meek as a mouse…to make his dinner and breakfast too..and be his servant faithful and true.” After Mashenka fools the bear she safely returns to her grandmother and grandfather’s house. I find this story appealing for its strong visual elements, the repetition, and the humor. I also find the victory of the girl in the pursuit to attain her freedom to be empowering. Oftentimes, children will listen so attentively to a story that they will notice if I miss a line. They come to rest in and rely on this sort of daily repetition and rhythm for learning.
La Maestra Karina started Spanish classes this Friday with the Kindergarteners and it was beautiful to see the children sitting at her feet in awe as she played her Native American flute in the golden morning sunshine! There are many more magical moments to come!
Ms. Katherine, Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher
The First/Second Grade is humming right along! We’ve had a very exciting start to the year. Teeth seem to be falling out daily. Our tooth count is already up to 50! That means there have been a total of 50 teeth lost in our class. That Tooth Fairy must have a pretty fine castle! We take note that in the Waldorf philosophy the loss of the teeth is a prominent sign that academic work, imbued with imagination, can now begin. In the first 7 years of life, the child’s life forces are aimed at developing the physical body. At the change of teeth the child’s life forces are freed from transforming the physical body and thus begins a readiness for formal learning.
Academic readiness is not only judged by the loss of milk teeth but also by how the child is in his/her body. It is the work of the early grades teacher to make sure the child doesn’t have any underdeveloped reflexes, spatial orientation, or movement coordination issues in these first few years of grade school. If unchecked these can lead to difficulties in reading, writing and math. These are difficulties that I address each week in a special class called, the Extra Lesson. Here we do things like establishing dominance (right/left handedness), fine and gross motor skill development, spatial orientation, bean bag work, etc. The therapeutic nature of this class makes it lots of fun. Who wouldn’t like a class where you get to write with your feet? Try it, you’ll surprise yourself.
The first few weeks in our classroom we have been paving the way for handwriting by focusing on form drawing, a lesson unique in Waldorf schools. The study of form drawing begins with the most simple forms, a straight and curved line. In terms of an inner soul experience the straight line can be connected to thinking, one’s thoughts can be “sharp, straight,” “to the point,” and the curved line can be connected with our will. It requires an inner flexibility and effort to create a curved line, and by doing so we engage our will. As these two inner activities are presented to the child another capacity is enlivened and developed and that is the feeling life, the third aspect of the three-fold human being. Form drawing works on these three basic aspects of the child’s inner being (thinking, feeling and willing). The children have been making the shapes with their whole bodies and then later bring them to rest on paper. Working with these three capacities lays a beautiful foundation for our upcoming work with letters and writing.
Please poke your head in anytime to see what we’re up to! 1st/2nd grade is busy and lots of fun! I’m loving being with the children each day.
Ms. Wishon, 1st/2nd Grade Teacher
A basic theme of the Waldorf curriculum in Grade 4 is the process of “Crossing the Rubicon”, or the changes in awareness all children experience abut the age of 9 years. The stories of Grade 4 include those told in the Edda, a collection of Norse myths. These give, once again, images of a creation myth, but this is not a repetition of the creation stories in Grade 3. These stories depict the evolutionary process of gods, earth, human beings, and the forces of nature. They describe the fading of ancient supersensible consciousness in human beings.
These stories mirror the change of consciousness undergone by the students in their own development. They are slowly tying off the umbilical cord that connected them with the spiritual world. The Edda reports these processes without hesitation or fear. The
Twilight of the Gods is depicted as a fact, a fact that the gods know is coming. What happens has to happen as a consequence of ancient deeds. The Edda gives the students images of consistency and courage, without any sentiment. The stories hint at a new world, without the guidance of the gods.
After this poetic main lesson block comes an important block that centers on natural history and observation. Local geography helps the students to become spatially aware of their local world and to awaken their interest in the wider world. We begin close to home with maps of the classroom, school yard, and the way to the students’ homes. Then we study the local Morro bay watershed with real-time observations, coupled with imaginative stories about a certain Gnome who rides a leaf from the very top of the watershed, all the way to the Estuary: and meets many friends on the way. We will also include stories of the area’s original human inhabitants. In the second geography main lesson block, later in the year, the area of study will expand outwards to the state. Here the students will develop a sense of direction in space, and their map drawing will include the geographical features of California.
Ms. Bodger, 3rd/4th Grade Teacher.
Hi Wishing Well Parents!
As we explained at the School Welcome Orientation Tea evening we are requiring all families to volunteer for 40 hours per school year. This works out to about 4 hours per month. I have a lovely rainbow binder in the school office where each family has an individual log sheet. After you’ve completed some volunteer work you can come in and fill in your hours.
The 40 hours came out of a study the board did this summer to determine the total number of hours required to do all the tasks required by the volunteer jobs required by the school over the course of the school year. If your family doesn’t have time to volunteer you may opt to pay for volunteer time at the rate of $20/hour. You may also purchase items for the classrooms: toys and supplies for early childhood or books and other supplies for grades classrooms in exchange for hours. A third option is to ask another parent volunteer to sponsor you for your hours. Some parents volunteer a lot and may be able to sponsor your hours. The nice thing about the 40 hours is that is brings a level of parity into the volunteering realm and helps us account to ourselves and each other what we’re doing. Our other goal with the volunteer board is to help spread the volunteers out over all the different areas of school operation.
We will assess your hours in December and let you know where you stand. If none of these options work for your family, please come talk to the office! Volunteering should feel fun and community building, so let us know if it’s not.
Different areas for volunteering include development, grounds, festivals, gardening, administration, classroom help, and outreach. There is a list up in the office on the bulletin board with more many details. THANK YOU!
We have a few chairs that need repair. If you are willing to repair these chairs, please check with Sarah or Ynez in the office.
Here are a few short-term volunteer needs, and who to contact about the specifics:
Re-drill & Install compost signs in Garden : see Sarah or Ynez
Repaint/refurbish Wishing Well sign at street : see Sarah Peterson in the office.
Build a balance beam for 1st/2nd grade: see Mrs. Wishon
Build a tree swing for the lower playground: see Mrs. Wishon
The Autumnal Equinox fell on Wednesday, September 23, marking the official start of Fall. While most of us associate this time of year with the vibrant changing of the leaves, here in the central coast we know that before the leaves turn red, the apples do. September marks the beginning of the “cooling off” season. Traditionally, it is a time of bounty and celebration as the last heat of summer brings the growing season to fruition, and harvest begins. Wishing Well students were invited to mark the beginning of Fall by doing some harvesting of their own at local apple orchard SLO Creek Farms.
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.” George Eliot
The plaza of our local Mission undergoes its own colorful transformation each Fall as San Luis Obispo hosts a street painting festival, now known as Via die Colori, or street of color. Our lovely 3rd and 4th grade teacher, Ms. Bodger and her daughter Claire, along with some of the grades students, joined over 100 artists participating in this year’s event. In a square hosted by Wishing Well School, Ms. Bodger and company created a beautiful chalk drawing inspired by Waldorf drawing techniques, portraying the classic autumnal tale of St. George conquering the dragon. Read on below in our Upcoming Festivals section and discover the heart of this traditional tale, and the meaning of Michaelmas: Festival of Courage.
Oct. 9th Santa Barbara Michaelmas Celebration
Oct. 30st 12-1p.m. – Halloween Parade and Festival
Nov. 2th 12:15-1pm – Dia De Los Muertos Celebration
We are about to enter the season of festivals. Below is a little bit about our first three festivals…
MICHAELMAS: THE FESTIVAL OF COURAGE
Parents may find themselves more than a little puzzled by some of the songs and tales the children bring home from school in the opening weeks of Fall. There are stories of dragons being slain and talk of Michaelmas: is this holiday peculiar to the Waldorf philosophy? Where does it come from, anyway?
Michaelmas ( pron. MIK-kel- mus) marks the Autumnal equinox, when days and nights are of equal length. In England it s known as one of the “quarter days”, when, as the crops were coming in, tithes were paid to the manor lord, and other financial transactions took place. It is a time of change, when we say goodbye to carefree summer days and begin to tackle new challenges in our lives. The forces of nature slow down, and our own inner light must flame up to deal with the tasks at hand. The familiar story of St. George rescuing the princess and slaying the dragon is a Michael story. George represents our true, selfless self, and with great courage, he frees the princess ( that part of us that is represented by the dragon)
What are the dragons of today? The dragons of self-centeredness are clever little beasties who lure us into thinking only of our immediate needs and comforts. They pull our awareness down, so we do not see the suffering of others. To conquer the dragon, we have to develop a consciousness for community and nations, a global, unprejudiced awareness. Children can begin to do this by internalizing these stories of selfless feats. As always, no attempt is made at an “explanation” which is an adult, personal interpretation. The simple, imaginative pictures are brought to the child, from which is drawn the sustenance that is needed.
Dragons like to keep us away from seeking our spiritual origins. They are our weaknesses: egotism, desires and fears. To eliminate them is too saintly a task for most of us, but we can tame and subdue them. Many teachers tell stories about St. George taming the dragons, rather than slaying them. This is also the time of year of the meteor showers, when iron falls right out of the sky: it is the iron will that we will need to conquer our dragons. This is a universal need: here, we use stories from the English-speaking world, but the principal applies to people of all cultures.
Brave and true I will be,
Each good deed sets me free.
Each kind word makes me strong,
I will fight for the right!
I will conquer the wrong!
THE SPIRITS OF 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.
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. Please have children 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 parade and parents are welcome to get into the spirit too. If your child doesn’t come on a Friday you are invited to join us at noon for the parade. We’ll parade in costume for the parents. 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 office/aftercare room. All families are invited to come to school on Monday Nov. 2nd 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.”
From the Editor
Thank you to all those who have contributed to our Fall Newsletter, lending time, effort, skill, and encouragement to the process. Thank you all for the wonderful pictures, stories, and your enthusiastic participation in the doings and happenings of our school. You make Wishing Well a wonderful place to learn and grow!