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Waldorf News

4th grade Thor - Norse Myths

Painting with Children in Waldorf Schools

The child explores color through his feeling life. How far does the lively, joyous yellow wish to radiate into the surrounding white? How happily and safely protected it feels when surrounded by blue, if their meeting leads to a delicate merging of each, producing a third color, green, which is not dense or heavy, but more like a gentle bridge between its two “friends”. Or, in a different exercise, one might begin with green (pre-mixed) as the first step taken by the colors in “building a house”. The green lays itself down evenly across the bottom to be the floor of the house, measured in an amount suitable to the page as a whole. The bright, active red comes to its rightful place, sitting in the middle on the green floor while also arching above to form the walls and roof! Now yellow and blue contribute their part. And what do they offer their two friends and each other in this story? The teacher’s task will be to embody the conversations of the colors with each other in a language felt and understood by the children. More »

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The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes. The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. More »

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10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. More »

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The Land Stewardship Program at Hartsbrook School

The Land Stewardship Program at the Hartsbrook School has, like the school itself, grown out of the very soil upon which this school is planted. More than 20 years ago, the fledgling program was slowly finding its way into the life and learning of our students, beginning as field trips to a local bio-dynamic farm (Brookfield Farm CSA) to join in a variety of seasonal planting and harvesting activities, then expanding to other area farms, patiently waiting for the opportunity where a full program could start to be realized at the school itself. Fast forward to today, with an almost full curriculum in place that encompasses the kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, supporting students as they work and learn about the many pressing issues that affect our relationship with the earth. More »

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Going North for the Summer

When I entered my 7th grade year I was a Girl Scout, a dog-lover, and an unpopular “teacher’s pet.” As the year progressed I quit girl scouts because it wasn’t adventurous enough, one of my dogs died of cancer, and I still didn’t have any friends. In her search for something exciting for me to do during the summer, my concerned mother stumbled upon Northwaters. I attended a two-week all-girls program, fell almost instantly in love with the land, and promised myself I would work at Northwaters one day. I came home a much changed and happier person. Adventurous and socially outcast at 13, the opportunity to step outside my insular Waldorf class and learn what I was capable of both socially and physically was a great gift. I made friends, one-match fires, and carried a canoe. My self-esteem shot up as I realized that the unhappiness I felt in my home life was only one version of how my life could be and I had the power to make it better. More »