Dear Wishing Well Families,
As I was looking at past newsletters I was reminded that it was just one year ago this month that we began school at Sunnyside! This shocked me. Marking time is a challenge for me at this point in my life. The children grow like weeds, keeping up on cleaning the house is like being on a hamster wheel and the in’s and out’s of daily life seem to fly by. But to recognize a moment brings a depth to our lives that enriches our souls. Thank you for being an amazing part of this moment now. I am thrilled to celebrate our one year anniversary of our new school with you!
The children seem to have a sense of this as well. They are settling into the rhythm of their classrooms gladly and joyfully. They are learning to care for their things and each other. Their voices are joining us in song in English and in Spanish. There is freedom within the form of our days and the moments that arise in this form are so endearing that I think I may just write a book someday. There are also those moments of strife when we all are trying to find our way. As parents and teachers our job is to help navigate these moments. If we can jump off the hamster wheel for just a moment, and meet our children with our higher selves this will bring a centeredness to our parenting and our children will see our striving. This is one of the biggest gifts we can give them.
Oct. 18th 10a.m. – Field Trip to the Los Osos Fire Station
If your child does not come on Thursdays but you would like to join us please talk to me. We will need 4 parent volunteers to join us on this field trip. If you are interested please email me and let me know. Thanks!
Oct. 29th 7p.m. – Parent Evening: finishing touches on our pumpkins and a guest speaker!
Nancy Major, an educator in this county for over 20 years with homeschool, charter school and Waldorf experience, will come and talk to us about the benefits of a Waldorf education in light of vision therapy, her latest endeavor. She is also a board member for Wishing Well School. I am thrilled to have her come and talk to us! This is an evening not to miss!
Oct. 31st 12-1p.m. – Halloween Parade and Festival (see below for details)
Nov. 5th 12:15-1pm – Dia De Los Muertos Celebration (see below for details)
We are about to enter the season of festivals. Below is a little bit about our first two festivals…
What fun to dress up! And is there a more fun vegetable than a pumpkin? I think not. Halloween brings much excitement for all of us and as a parent of young children, some trials too. The amount of sugar is a challenge and so too are all the frightening masks, scary costumes, etc. Sometimes just going to the grocery store is a loaded errand because of the witch above the ice cream. I have struggled with how to keep the magic of this festival balanced with how we as a culture celebrate. At our house we have the sugar fairies that come the night of Halloween and in exchange for some candies they leave a simple gift the next morning. Below is an excerpt from an article that reminds us of how the young child relates to this festival.
THE SPIRITS OF HALLOWEEN
Eons ago, as they looked upon the mists that wove around their fjords and heaths, ancient Europeans had a particular experience as the days grew shorter. Toward the end of the month that we call October, they perceived the souls of all of those who had died in the past year gathering and preparing to ascend to their heavenly home, making a space for the souls due to be born in the year to come. But before they could assume their place in the ethereal realm, the departed souls had to sweep away all the detritus of the life just past and cast it to the earth. Thus the popular image of witches riding on their broomsticks is a misperception: in reality, the brooms are sweeping away the witches!
At the time when the child is in fourth-grade, a sense of human mortality begins to dawn within her. Children of this age are rightfully and healthily drawn to all of the frightful and gruesome aspects of Halloween, and they look forward with trembling anticipation to visiting a haunted house, watching a horrific form arise out of a swamp, or, if only through a well-told story, being scared out of their senses!
For the younger child, however , the situation is different. The spirits and creatures with whom the younger child communes are not those created by human error, but rather those in whom the innocent and wise powers of Nature reside: gnomes and undines, fairies and elves, the spirits of stones and streams, sun and wind. For young children to be exposed only to the dark and demonic qualities of Halloween is to deny the unspoken conviction that they care in their souls that the world is good.
– Eugene Schwartz, Waldorf Educator
So, here is the plan for our school Halloween celebration. For those children that come on Wednesdays, please come to school in regular clothes with their costume in a bag. Please keep costumes simple, traditional worldly roles (fireman, farmer, etc.), nature spirits, costumes that require the imagination, etc. In line with our school, please no TV or movie characters. We also would be happy to provide a cape, crown, silks, hat, etc. if you want to keep it really simple. We will have a regular morning and after lunch when we go outside, the children will change into costumes for our parade. If you don’t come on a Wednesday you are invited to join us at noon for the parade. We’ll parade in costume for the parents and maybe go down to the Calfire office. Afterwards we’ll play outside then come inside for a puppet show and end the day with a special gift. The festivities will begin at 12pm. Come and celebrate with us!
Dia de los Muertos
I particularly love this celebration because it speaks to that thin veil between the earthly and the spirit that is always around us but is often unrecognized. This year we will celebrate by decorating an altar (ofrenda). Each family is invited to bring photos of loved ones that have passed on (please put your name on the back) for our school altar. The ofrenda will be set up in the graders room. All families are invited to come to school on Monday Nov. 5th at 12:15p.m. to celebrate with us. We will have an all school viewing of the altar at 12:30p.m. There will be live music played while we admire the altar and remember our loved ones who have crossed over the threshold. This is a quiet few minutes. The door will be closed at 12:30. If you arrive late please wait until we are finished to come in to view the altar. Thanks!
“Día de los Muertos is a celebration that comes from the blend of the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures and the Spanish Catholics. The indigenous cultures of Mexico believed that the souls of the departed returned to visit during this time of year. To this day, families gather to remember those who have gone, with stories, singing, dancing, and sharing a feast composed of their remembered loved ones’ favorite foods. The customs for Día de los Muertos are as diverse as a simple offering of flowers at the tombs of the loved ones to creating beautiful and artistic altars to honor family members who have crossed over.”
What we’re up to…
Our current story thread is “Rumplestiltskin” a classic Grimm’s fairy tale.
Songs: “Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow…” and “Jack-o-lantern, jack-o-lantern you are such a lovely sight, as you sit there in my window looking out at the night. You were once a yellow pumpkin growing on a sturdy vine. Now you are my jack-o-lantern let your little light shine.”
And a don’t forget about Peter…
Rhyme: “Peter, Peter pumpkin eater had a wife but couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well!”
Preschool: From Ms. Betsy…
Espanol: From Senora Ana…
Last but not least…THANK YOUS!
Thank you to Teleri, Branwen’s mom, for making the beautiful colored napkins we use every day. A different color for each day! They are so sweetly made and such a gift of love for our laps. Thank you!
Thank you to all of you for bringing in our apples, nuts, cheese and flowers and thank you for taking the laundry.
Thanks to Monique for making our bathroom soap.
Thanks to Angie and Monique for cleaning our bathrooms.
Thanks to Koa’s dad for getting started on our compost bins. And thanks to a few other dads who have volunteered to make seedling flats.
Thanks to Ecobambino for donating two beautiful wooden washboards.
Thank you for bringing your beautiful children to our school. Happy Autumn!
My apologies for not doing a better job keeping in touch with you over the past few months. Last year at this time a swarm of bees came through my neighborhood and landed just on the other side of our fence. At the time the school was still at our house for only one more week and I wanted to catch the swarm so that I could have bees in my backyard. Well I did that and I’ve been through some ups and downs with them and I have learned quite a bit in this past year about bees. The other day, almost exactly a year to the day, our bees swarmed again. Luckily they didn’t go far, just the front yard. The strange thing was that they spilt into two clumps when they swarmed, which I had never seen before. Ok, I know you are wondering where I’m going with this. The bees for me have been a touchstone into the natural world, a mirror of reality and an opportunity to observe. Seeing reality mirrored in the natural world is a reminder to slow down and remember that there is something larger present. There is a presence connecting all of us if we just take the time to see it. The bees have helped me to do exactly that, especially in relation to the school.
Next year our school will be swarming in two directions. We are growing a grades program and a preschool program. The current first grade room will be transformed this summer into a preschool classroom and the room next to the kindergarten classroom will be the first/second grade classroom. This jump is huge for the school and very exciting. Thank you for your patience, pioneering spirit and trust this year and in years to come.
Along with the shift in programs there will be a shift in staff too. I am thrilled to say that Ms. Jan, Ms. Julie and Senora Ana will be returning next year. I will be teaching the mixed age kindergarten (4, 5 and 6 year olds) along with Ms. Julie, Senora Ana and Ms. Jan. The preschool teacher and the assistant are still being determined. Ms. McGinley will be the class teacher for the first and second graders. Senora Ana will continue teaching Spanish to the first and second graders and Ms. Mariah (Gavin and Chaz’s mom) will be teaching gardening and handwork. I am excited to be on this journey with these amazing new teachers. Welcome!
This summer I had posted that I would be hosting a summer camp. I have decided that I am not going to do summer camp. I am terribly sorry for any inconvenience that I may have caused your family. As you can see with the growing needs of the school I will need to be setting up classrooms and getting ready for the fall. I wish you all lots of fun family time this summer.
The children, like a healthy hive, have worked hard this year and grown in many ways. They know each other now, take care of one another and they challenge each other to grow. It has been an honor and a joy to spend each day with your children. Each one has learned and grown so much this year.
Please come to our end of the year celebration on Saturday and invite your family and friends. It is going to be a fun day and a great way to kick off the summer. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!