Library Lady's Corner
Valentine's Day ~ an eye-opening day of lovers and appreciation! February 14 2018Chocolates, flower, cards and candies fill the fourteenth of February every year. It’s a tradition that dates back to 270 A.D. and the life of Valentine. History from this long ago is hard to come by, and is veiled in legend and lore as well as enlightened with clear facts. Given it’s original date, it’s easy to understand that it is a combination of Roman and Christian traditions.
Book Review: The Moon Prince and the Sea August 21 2017Waldorf graduates like Daniela Rose Anderson often carry a global consciousness. They often volunteer for service in unlikely places with the greatest needs. Daniela did such volunteering and came to know a boy named Sumit and a girl named Marina Both were very young and both had terminal leukemia. The heart of Daniela linked the two hearts of the children who shared the same illness from faraway places.
At this time of year being a teacher looks like a good career. After all, teachers “get the summer off!” Sure, they don’t have to show up at school every day, and sure they can wear shorts and sandals instead of dresses and collared shirts. However, once school ends, once reports are completed and meetings subside, the energetic work of preparation begins.
Through books galore, teachers travel to exotic lands from times gone by — India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece if you are a rising fifth or tenth grade teacher — back in time to the reformation in Europe and the many wars around the world in the last 150 years if you are a rising eighth or ninth grade teacher — ‘round the world for the first conscious time with Magellan (was it worth it when so many died along the way?) if seventh grade will be you destination in the fall — back to the land of stories from before recorded history if you are starting as a first grade teacher — and lost in a miraculous world of new life in embryology if you are a twelfth grade teacher.
To be ready for classes in autumn, the reading is varied and enormous in volume.
There’s No Minute Like the Last Minute! December 16 2016Waldorf Publications and the Research Institute for Waldorf Education have many fine possibilities for thoughtful gifts when thoughtfulness in the hectic season becomes hard to muster.
Consider the caliber and depth of some of these gifts — remember, books and subscriptions keep giving long into the future!
There’s Science and There’s Science! Part II April 12 2016One cardiologist whose daughter attended a Waldorf school noticed an eighth grader’s illustration of the human heart from anatomy lessons. The cardiologist commented that if the whole team of cardiology under her understood the workings of the heart as well as the Waldorf student who drew that picture, she would have the finest team in the country.
Happy Groundhog Day or is it Candlemas? February 02 2016
In the mighty Celtic calendar, the year is marked by the two solstices and the two equinoxes. At the Winter Solstice, the days are the shortest of the year; at the Summer Solstice, the days are the longest of the year. At the Autumn Equinox and the Spring Equinox the days are exactly as long as the nights.
The days that mark the halfway mark between these four celestial events are traditionally named “cross-quarter days” as they are the between the quarters markers.
Book Review: Solving the Riddle of the Child: the Art of the Child Study by Christof Wiechert January 25 2016The very essence of Waldorf education lives in the Child Study. Observing the children is primary task of every Waldorf teacher. The entire curriculum should be formed out of this child observation practice and new organs of perception are developed from this practice. This is why Rudolf Steiner was so insistent about administration being done by those who are with the children every day, not by others who have nothing directly to do with teaching the children. The real revolution lives in this open secret of Waldorf education: that the observation of children is the heart of the curriculum… Read More...
At Home in Harmony: Bringing Families and Communities Together in Song September 04 2015If you walk into a room full of people and ask how many are singers, one or two might raise their hands. If you ask how many sing in the shower or along with the car radio, a lot more hands would go up. If you ask how many enjoy music, you’d be hard-pressed to find a hand not up in the air.
Foreign Languages in a Waldorf School July 13 2015In front of the restaurant, famous for its Quebequoise regional cuisine, a cluster of tourists was gathered examining the menu. As one couple read with excitement the menu, glad to find a place with regional cuisine as part of their experience in the beautiful old cit of Quebec, another couple was heard saying, in loud, harsh despair with a sharp New York, distinctively American accent, “Oh no! The whole menu is in French! Can you see anything on there that looks like it could be a steak?” Couple number one turned and explained that the restaurant’s menu was very specifically not American, but devoted to genuine, Quebequoise cuisine. Couple number two expressed disgust and stalked off, expressing loudly their anger and hunger, to find a “better restaurant”.
In broad strokes, each of the four years in the Waldorf high school curriculum embodies an underlying theme and method that helps guide students not just through their studies of outer phenomena but through their inner growth as well. Obviously, these themes and methods are adapted to each specific group of students and take account of the fact that teenagers grow at their own pace. Hence, the “broad strokes.” And yet, one can identify struggles common to most any teenager even though adolescents pass through developmental landscape at varying speeds, they nonetheless have to cover similar terrain. READ MORE
The End of Year Report in Waldorf Schools May 30 2015
Assessment is a “hot topic” in the news and in educational debate. In Waldorf schools assessment takes many forms, none of which includes standardized testing.
During the year, concentrated “blocks” of study might include an end-of-block assessment. A block might be three or four weeks long and concentrate study on one topic. After a botany block in the fifth grade an outdoor “treasure” hunt to find, for example, a monocotyledon, a pistil, a tap root, a deciduous conifer branch, a dicotyledon, and so on, might be the "test.” After a block on physiology in grade seven, an essay entitled, “The Diary of a Sandwich,” might be the means of assessment..... READ MORE
The Rose Ceremony in Waldorf Schools May 27 2015
In Waldorf schools effort is made to observe significant moments in childhood and to celebrate these with rituals that have meaning for children. The Rose Ceremony in Waldorf schools around the world has a long tradition reaching back to the very first Waldorf school.
The Rose Ceremony happens twice each year: on the first day of school and on the last day of school. The ceremony at the school’s beginning is designed for the oldest students in the school (8th grade or 12th grade) to welcome in the youngest children... READ MORE
Discovering the Waldorf Pentathlon: An Overview May 20 2015
All across North America during the month of May Waldorf schools gather fifth graders for the annual Pentathlon. Three to seven different schools’ fifth grade classes gather at one hosting Waldorf school to compete in this annual celebration of fifth grade grace, skill, and determination, as a crowning salute to the curriculum of the fifth grade in Waldorf schools around the world. We owe gratitude to the “Spacial Dynamics Movement” for developing this rewarding tradition that gives schools a day of social interaction as well as affirmation of the curriculum, specifically Greek history... READ MORE
Over the last decade or so homework has taken center stage in many child development debates and research projects. The increased scrutiny has even sparked a national “No Homework Day” which is celebrated today, May 6.
In a child’s early years, there is concern that homework will restrict a child’s active learning by limiting... READ MORE
May Day in the Waldorf School May 01 2015May Day is a Northern Hemisphere festival (and is also called International Workers’ Day) and is celebrated in many Waldorf schools. It is an ancient tradition of celebrating the arrival of summer. Known as Beltane in Celtic lands, and celebrated by the Romans recognizing the goddess Flora, May Day is a popular tradition. The May Pole Dance is a joyful experience, and often the center of the May Day celebration. The May Pole often bears garlands and symbolizes the tree of life and growth of spring vegetation. This festival is celebrated as an entire school community. In most Waldorf schools, children from each grade take turns doing a May Pole dance. The patterns get more complicated as the children mature. Whole classes of children prepare “May Baskets,” hand-woven baskets of new spring flowers that are then hung on the fence posts or door handles or front steps of neighbors or loved ones to wish them a happy spring.
Every Day is "Tell a Story Day" in a Waldorf School! April 27 2015Children learn deeply and completely from stories and because of this they play a key role in the Waldorf curriculum. Reprimands, dialogue, cautions, or rebukes might appear to be effective, however, it’s really only stories that can school little ones on the great truths of life, the dangers of straying from the path like Little Red Riding Hood, or the high value of staying connected to nature by being kind to living things as in The Crystal Ball.
In the early years the Waldorf curriculum uses fairy-tales, fables, and legends. By grade four Waldorf students are using drama to explore Norse Mythology. In the later grades Greek Mythology, fine literature, and poetry reveal treasured stories such as Percival and Faust. Stories are found throughout the Waldorf curriculum every day.
Everyday is an "earth day" within a Waldorf school but since 1970, April 22 has been formally observed as "Earth Day" across the nation. With every day that passes, the ill effects of modern civilization on the environment has become more and more evident. Climate change, air/water/ocean pollution, shrinking wetlands, deforestation, habitat destruction, ozone depletion, and water shortages are just a few of the issues facing the planet today.
Back in the early 1960’s, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin began noticing that the condition of the environment was not being recognized on any political agenda despite evidence of degradation.
Haiku Day 俳句の日 April 17 2015
Haiku is short, Japanese poetry. The name, Haiku, is derived from the Japanese word, “kiru,” cutting. “Cut to the chase” might be a modern, North American interpretation of the reason for Haiku.
Traditionally, haiku (originally called “hokku”) is made up of 17 “on” or “morae,” that we might refer to as “syllables” or “beats:” 5 – 7 – 5. Classic Haiku have two images with a “cutting word” in between, hence the “kiru” or cutting reference in the name. Also classic Haiku are seasonal and at least one image of a season appears in it. Everyday images are usually expected for an authentic Haiku.
March 20th or 21st always marks “the first day of spring.” Jokes abound in the Northeastern part of our country because it often doesn’t feel at all like spring on this inaugural day.
But the real event is a cosmic one that takes place in the stars and planets. This is why the exact day is not possible to state without stellar calculations. The day is called “The Spring (Vernal) Equinox.” It’s partner is “The Autumn (Autumnal) Equinox.” On these two days the days and nights are exactly even – balanced. Both have pagan a religious ceremonies in human history designed to celebrate the miracle of this perfect balance.
Great and Glorious Saint Patrick March 17 2015What is so special about St. Patrick’s Day? Why is “everybody” Irish for this one day each year. Some ice cream stores give out free ice cream if a customer is wearing green on that day. In Ireland for centuries all pubs closed for the day of the great saint. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and other cities in the United States have parades to honor the man. It is hard to think of another country that has such a famous saint to represent them or who has been so passionately celebrated as Saint Patrick. Ever wonder why?
It's π Day!! March 14 2015Since 1988 math enthusiasts have been celebrating 3/14, as “Pi Day.” Pi, roughly equal to 3.14, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter; an irrational number that has been calculated out 10 trillion digits with no repeating patterns and seems a mystery in its conceptual simplicity.
This year’s Pi Day is extra special. The year being 2015 makes the date as written, 3/14/15 and π calculated out two more decimal places is 3.1415. Calculate to nine decimal places and π is 3.141592653. This means that on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 we will have witnessed the longest extended Pi Day of our lives, the next not coming around until March 14, 2115!
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