Winter Wonderland

Two feet of snow fell on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving the children not one, but two snow days! Here is how the campus looked on Wednesday night, all ready for a day of school on Thursday....

Kindergarten Children Step Further Into Nature

By Lindsay Miles, Kindergarten Teacher Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. —Wendell Berry, A Place on Earth This year’s kindergarten has taken an even larger step into nature by creating a daily rhythm that is held primarily outside. While indoor work and play remain a part of the curriculum, our meals and circle time have been brought outdoors, and we have added a nature walk and extra time for gardening to our outdoor routine.  With work in the social realm being so prominent in the Waldorf Kindergarten, what better place to foster these lessons than the natural world around us? Gathering together and sharing a meal is an important part of the Kindergarten curriculum (photo J. Benoit).  The children take part in preparing the snack and setting the snack table, and they take turns serving their friends. This year we are eating more food harvested from our very own gardens. To prepare for the day, the children begin indoors in our newly designed two-room classroom. In the larger room, everyone is bathed in sunlight as we chop apples, prepare the basket for our nature walk, fill our canisters with dried teas and other supplies, water plants and otherwise tend to the important chores of everyday life. Play goes on simultaneously, with the children tending to babies, creating fairy and gnome villages and building elaborate creations out of large wooden blocks.  In our smaller room, there are two tables for indoor activities such as painting, bread...

Frederick Law Olmsted

What does Moraine Farm have in common with Stanford University and New York City’s Central Park?  All are landscapes designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. PBS is launching a new series on Olmsted tonight — here’s a trailer: Visit Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America Website...

Studying Virtue

Perhaps you’ve noticed the sixth graders looking particularly noble and valiant lately. On Friday evening, May 30, 2014, a beautiful knighting ceremony was held for them to culminate their studies of the Early Middle Ages. Each student carved a wooden sword and painted a shield in preparation for knighthood. They also learned about what virtue is, and how thinking about virtue has changed through the ages. They considered perspectives from the age of the Greeks and great philosophers like Aristotle, the Romans and what they valued, and how the concept of virtue changed in the Middle Ages, including the ideals of Saint Thomas Aquinas. During their preparation for knighthood as a modern rite of passage, the sixth graders were expected to help others. The students did more around the house to help in family life, and also sought places to assist those in need outside of family life. Some helped prepare or serve meals to the needy, one helped neighbors with young children, and others helped with spring cleaning in their neighborhoods.

I hope you got to see the symbols of knighthood that each child made – their swords and shields – while they were on display outside the sixth grade classroom and in the first floor hallway! –Connie MacLeod, Sixth Grade...

A Case for Writing by Hand

This happens to be the most emailed story on the New York Times web site today. At Waldorf schools, handwriting is an integral part of how students learn to read and write. What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades WWW.NYTIMES.COM Even as the emphasis shifts to the keyboard, experts say that learning to write by hand improves motor skills, memory and creativity. Does handwriting matter? Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard. But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep. Read more...