Waldorf School at Moraine Farm | Blog

Walk to End Homelessness


Photographer Jacquie Spector

The Waldorf School at Moraine Farm participated in the annual Walk to End Homelessness on Saturday, October 15. The walk is organized by Family Promise – North Shore Boston, a nonprofit interfaith hospitality network that provides temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, and case management for families experiencing homelessness on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Approximately 16 people from our school community joined the walk. Through these efforts, Waldorf School at Moraine Farm families raised $1,300 towards helping Family Promise further their mission of housing families and helping to get them back on their feet.

“Since 2013, 85% of the people that Family Promise – North Shore Boston has served have successfully moved onto permanent housing within an average of 150 days AND each and every one of those families remain in permanent housing to date!”

Quoted from Family Promise – North Shore Boston.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are giving back to the community with service. We are proud to support Family Promise – North Shore Boston.

Waldorf Moraine 30year

Celebrating 30 Years Through Service

Seventh and Eighth Graders Clean Up the JC Phillips Nature Preserve During Michaelmas

J.C. Phillips Service 7th and 8th gradeAs part of its thirtieth anniversary, the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is dedicating itself to service. To start off the year, the seventh and eighth grade participated in a community cleanup for one of our neighboring properties, the JC Phillips Nature Preserve. Appropriately, our first service took place in conjunction with the celebration of Michaelmas.

The school is not alone in using Michaelmas as an opportunity to undertake tasks to improve and care for its surroundings; in fact, many Waldorf schools around the globe work this into their annual celebration.

Why is service frequently considered an integral part of the observation of Michaelmas?

Michaelmas, as it is observed in Waldorf schools, is the “festival of courage” celebrated as the earth traverses the tail end of the late summer meteor showers and the northern hemisphere begins to tilt away from the sun. Around this time of year, many Waldorf students hear, in various forms, the story of Saint George, which parallels the story of Michael. Michael, the archangel who inspires courage, is associated with this festival time. The story of the Archangel Michael says that he fought an evil dragon in Heaven and casted it down to Earth, for humanity to carry on the fight against evil. Through the inspiration of this angelic being, the lowly peasant, George, was inspired to persevere, though the odds were stacked against him, to complete a daunting task, slaying the “dragon”.
In the story of Saint George, there is a wicked dragon attacking a city and the people see no way out of their plight until Saint George arrives and slays the dragon. He refuses all gold and riches as reward, even refusing the hand of the princess in marriage; he acts only out of the desire to use his strength to help those who are weaker and needier than him.

In a similar vein, at this year’s Michaelmas assembly, third-grade teacher Ana Coffey told a wonderful story about a little boy who wished to serve Michael. He found he could not do so out of tyranny or subservience, but only out of helping those in need with no expectation of getting anything in return. At our school, we have no cities to defend from dragons, or shining swords of light to wield (at least not outside our imaginations), so we channel our energy in other ways, to beautify our school and campus or otherwise help our community. We do it not for any material reward, but purely for the joy of service. The reward is knowing that we have given of ourselves to help others, as that is the true Michaelic impulse.

Cleaning up the JC Phillips Nature Preserve

On September 29, 2016, the seventh and eighth grade participated in a community clean up at the JC Phillips Nature Preserve. This preserve is adjacent to our school, and the system of trails are often utilized by our students and teachers. At the top of the hill overlooking Wenham Lake once stood the home of William Phillip, whose father and family had resided on Moraine Farm. It was always William’s dream to live in that exact location, and as an adult, that dream was realized.J.C. Phillips Clean up

Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1968, the remains of the home are few: some pillars, bits from the fountains, and some walls still stand. It has been a few years since a clean up was performed. Since then, a campfire circle and layers of soot, ash, and trash have been steadily building up, along with lots of graffiti. Our school’s clean up was the first phase of our plan. We removed trash, glass, and bags upon bags of soot. With the area much improved, we next plan to paint over the graffiti. The school’s goal is to restore this spot to the peaceful place it once was, giving it the feel of a secret garden.

Stay tuned for an update on this important service project!

Co-written with Coleen Ryan (Science in Nature Program Coordinator) and Maggie Smith (2nd-grade teacher). Edited by Megan Hogan.

Science in Nature: Monarchs at Moraine Farm

By Coleen Ryan

butterfly-emergeAs we continue to get to know our Moraine Farm campus, each season brings with it new surprises and experiences. This September the second grade happened upon a Monarch caterpillar in the meadow that leads to the school garden. I have been keeping an eye out for Monarchs over the past few years and beyond the random butterfly, I have seen little else. When I learned of the sighting I was eager to investigate. The next morning with a large jar in hand I scoured the meadow for the caterpillars and found several! butterfly-chrysalisThis began our adventure stewarding Monarchs this fall. The school has embraced the experience and the children have been checking in on our new residents often—from hungry caterpillars to jewel colored chrysalis and emerging butterflies.

What a gift for us to have this glimpse into nature and its ability to transform. It feels good to know we helped ensure over a dozen Monarchs made it to adulthood and are now on their long journey south. We will definitely keep an eye out for their return next year!adult-monarch

The Waldorf School at Moraine Farm Is Set in Stone

Stone Sign

Chris Dowley, Laura Freysinger and son with Jonathan Poore during the inauguration of the new stone sign o.n Friday, Sept 09

The Waldorf School at Moraine Farm welcomes back its students with a new stone and wood engraved sign. This sign is a gift from long-time supporters and parents of the school, Chris Dowley and Laura Freysinger from Marblehead, MA. The school will inaugurate the new sign during the Back-to-School Ice Cream Social on September 09, starting at 2:45pm.

“It is our hope that, many years from now, as students, parents, and faculty walk the grounds of Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, they will look at all that has come before them with the same sense of gratitude that we do today,” said Chris Dowley. “They will know that someone cared enough to be a steward of the gifts they received, and thought enough to pass them on.”

“The sign panel itself is of salvaged timber from a house on Cape Ann,” noted Jonathan Poore, one of the designers of the sign. “The massive piece of Cape Ann granite was found as you see it with the graceful curve all ready to cradle the sign. The school was founded on Cape Ann so the sign reconnects us to its roots while deeply anchoring us to our beloved new home on Moraine Farm.”

The school thanks Kate Wiggin and Jonathan Poore for the design and recognizes Butch Roth and Dave Araneo, two dedicated alum parents, for the fabrication.

The stone sign includes a copper plate with the following engraving:

Given in memory of Millard and Barbara Freysinger


Chris Dowley and Laura Freysinger,

Devoted parents of Gavin Dowley, Class of 2016.

With gratitude to this school

and to all who have contributed to its success.

August 2016

“It is not just the grounds and the buildings that we care for,” said Laura Freysinger, “but we are sowing the earth with creative thinkers who will go forth and manifest the future of our world. It is our deepest desire to be part of that destiny.”

Laura and Chris have volunteered time and energy in myriad ways during their fourteen years at the school. From the annual Holiday Fair and book sale planning to assistant teacher to making costumes for the children’s plays, Laura and Chris have always been active participants at the school.

“It has been our privilege to participate in these roles while watching our son grow in this very nurturing environment,” notes Laura.

Although Laura and Chris may not be around for the daily school pickups and dropoffs, as their son has now moved on to high school, they still have big plans for the school.

“For now, we would like to continue to be active participants in the school,” says Chris. “We are students of this journey and participants in its destiny.”

“We would like to see the expansion of a new gymnasium and performing arts center, while continuing to increase diversity and reach ‘full’ enrollment,” says Laura.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the school. Laura and Chris recognize that the school’s 2011 move to Moraine Farm and its development of a full Waldorf curriculum have been huge accomplishments for the school.

“We are so thankful for all the work, time, energy, and resources that Laura Freysinger and Chris Dowley have put into the school over so many years,” commented Sabrina Babcock, co-administrator at the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm. “Their engagement, on so many levels, has really helped make the school what it is today. For that, we are so grateful to have them be a part of our growing community.”

The school also thanks long-time preferred ice cream vendor, Cherry Farm Creamery located at 210 Conant Street in Danvers, who will donate the ice cream for this social.


From Cape Ann to Beverly, Waldorf School at Moraine Farm Reflects on the Journey of the Last 30 Years

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, which began as the Cape Ann Waldorf School (CAWS) in 1986, is celebrating 30 years.

The school has come a long way since it opened as a kindergarten in Gloucester, in a beautiful oceanfront home back in 1987. The school moved twice more before finally finding a permanent home at Moraine Farm. The first move to Beverly was to the church adjacent to Moraine Farm. Three years later, in 1991, the school moved to Hale Street in Beverly Farms, seven miles away. Although the Hale Street school had wonderful energy with high ceilings and abundant natural light, the indoor and outdoor spaces could not accommodate all the students and their activities at the school—which had grown to include early childhood programs through eighth grade.

After an intensive search for the right permanent location, the opportunity to move to Moraine Farm finally came. Our current neighbors, Project Adventure, approached the school about the possibility of purchasing a building and land at Moraine Farm. It didn’t take long to see all the potential a Waldorf school could have in that place. In the spring of 2011, the school moved to Moraine Farm.

Moraine Farm

The attraction to Moraine Farm was not only in the forest, fields and farm, but also the history behind the landscape by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the founder of landscape architecture in the United States, spent his lifetime creating means for translating humane, democratic ideals into environmental forms.

Olmsted’s designs reflect his understanding of the powerful relationship between the human organism and the natural world, much like the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education.

The school shares the stewardship of Moraine Farm property with several partners: Project Adventure, an outdoor experiential education program based on the farm since 1999; the Essex County Greenbelt Organization, which oversees the farm’s conservation restrictions; the Batchelder Trust, which owns more than 60 acres of the farm and is committed to preserving the beauty and historic fabric of the property; and the Trustees of Reservations, the oldest land trust in Massachusetts.

September 2010. The original school building and eight surrounding acres at Moraine Farm

September 2010. The original school building and eight surrounding acres at Moraine Farm

Transforming the school

Before moving, the school built a new wing for the existing building on its new property. It engaged architects who worked to bring the building into greater harmony with Olmsted’s vision. This year, the school is continuing this vision with a new entrance pathway and patio with gentle curves bordered with native plants and trees. This new space creates a fluid connection between outdoors and indoors.

November 2010. Digging the foundation of the new wing

November 2010. Digging the foundation of the new wing

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm now and for the next 30 years

The school uses the time-tested approach of Waldorf schools throughout the world, integrating a rich, age-appropriate, classical curriculum in math, science, foreign languages, and the humanities with music, visual and practical arts, and movement. Teachers work to make all lessons experiential, imaginative, and connected to practical life. The new campus is allowing the school to take its experiential approach to the next level, taking full, creative advantage of the natural world at Moraine Farm across all subjects, classes, and ages.

In 2014, the school embarked on a ground-breaking “Science in Nature” initiative to further develop the use of Moraine Farm and adjacent Phillips Preserve as an outdoor classroom. Teachers work collaboratively to create outdoor lessons and activities that support students’ academic, physical, and emotional development.  As part of the Science in Nature program, the school offers lectures, workshops, and other activities at Moraine Farm for the public.  A new greenhouse, garden, and beehives established in the spring of 2016 also give students more opportunities to connect with and learn about the natural world.

August 2016. Summer camp students tending to Mimi Batchelder’s “Bean shed” walled garden, recently incorporated into the school’s curriculum.

August 2016. Summer camp students tending to Mimi Batchelder’s “Bean shed” walled garden, recently incorporated into the school’s curriculum.

The school looks with excitement to continued collaboration with its partners, families, and the wider community in environmental education, recreation, festival life, conservation, historic preservation, community-supported agriculture, and beyond.

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary with Service

Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the school will celebrate its 30th anniversary in several ways. Besides commemorating the anniversary at all the school’s annual events—from the Fall Festival and Open House (Saturday, September 24, 2016), the Holiday Fair (Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19, 2016), and the Winter Festival and Open House (Saturday, February 11, 2017), students will participate in several community giving activities. Starting off in September, a group of students will work towards improvements—painting, trash clean-up—to the neighboring J.C. Philips Nature Preserve. Other giving activities will be planned throughout the year. Updates will be shared on this blog.

The 30th anniversary celebrations will culminate during the Spring Soiree on the Saturday evening of May 20.  During this gala event, the school will recognize long-term supporting friends and families, along with alumni, for their time, talents, and contributions in helping the school to become the well-established, vibrant institution it is today.

About Waldorf School at Moraine Farm

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is an independent, non-profit school founded in 1986 as the Cape Ann Waldorf School in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It serves approximately 120 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.

The mission of Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is to help students discover and develop their individual capacities so that they can fully engage in the world and contribute meaningfully to society.

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is one of 121 Waldorf schools in the United States and nearly 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide. We welcome admissions inquiries throughout the year.

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is located on 10 acres of the historic Moraine Farm property in Beverly (701 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA).

by Jenny Helmick and Miriam Silva Preas

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm celebrating 30 years

Article by Beverly Citizen

Source: Waldorf School at Moraine Farm celebrating 30 years – News – Beverly Citizen – Beverly, MA

One of only 121 Waldorf schools in the nation, Beverly’s Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, formerly the Cape Ann Waldorf School, will be celebrating its 30th year of operation when the doors open to students in just a matter of weeks. (read more)

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm

701 Cabot Street
Beverly, MA 01915

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