Inspiring Music From Kusi Kawsay

A few months ago, we shared some gorgeous pictures and an update from our sister school, Kusi Kawsay Andean School, an indigenous nonprofit educational project in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Pisac, Peru. Today, we are delighted to share that Kusi Kawsay has released its Pukllay album, a beautiful compilation of student songs for the fertility season of the traditional Andean Calendar.

Kusi Kawsay’s mission is to foster personal and cultural self-esteem based on respect, reciprocity and dignity while providing its students with the skills to navigate both modern and traditional worlds. 100% of proceeds from this benefit album will go to Kusi Kawsay School. Let’s support their important work! Click here to listen to a sample and purchase the album.

You can learn more about Kusi Kawsay and their unique community on their website.

Audio Story: “The Fairy Helpers”

Mr. DeRienzo, our school’s aftercare lead teacher, is a storyteller extraordinaire. This summer, he’s sharing a series of original audio stories featuring an imaginative cast of recurring characters, appropriate for preschool-and-kindergarten-age children (appropriate and enjoyable for older children too)!

In our first tale, Gold Monkey and Jeremy the Giant accompany Mr. DeRienzo’s sidekick Ozzi to help the fairies in the forest. It’s fun work … but silly antics always ensue when our friend Gold Monkey is involved!

Story #1
“The Fairy Helpers”

If you liked that story, subscribe to the whole series on the registration page here! New stories will be posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from June 22 to July 17.

All material © Rod DeRienzo 2020. Please do not share or distribute without express permission from Mr. DeRienzo and Marin Waldorf School.

Teachable Moments in the MWS Parking Lot

In this sweet excerpt from our 2020 alumni panel, alumna Marissa Meyer (class of 2020) explains how her eighth grade teacher used a parent’s flat tire in the school parking lot to help bring their study of the Industrial Revolution to life.

“There wasn’t necessarily a right answer or a defined objective. It was, how do you figure it out?”

A Puppet Show in Spanish

To practice comprehension and review vocabulary with MWS third graders, our Spanish instructor Maestra Pineda created this lovely felt puppet show for her students. Follow along as grandma, grandpa, dad, and the whole family try to pull a giant carrot from the ground.

¿Cuantas zanahorias recogen los abuelos?

Feature image: “carrots” by The Bunny Maker is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lasting Bonds

Recently, our school director Ms. Neale shared these sweet photos of her daughters’ “wee ones,” Sunbeam and Moonbeam, sitting together in her garden on a sunny summer morning. Kindergarten parents make these small fabric dolls for their children, which are magically delivered by fairy mother to kindergartners throughout the year.

Ms. Neale’s daughters graduated from our school eight years ago, but her daughters’ wee ones still live at home.

This is one very small illustration of the way Waldorf education touches the whole family, creating memories and experiences that bond us to our children and last for decades. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Neale!

MWS Recommends: Resources for Parents

Since our campus closed in mid-March, our families have been sharing resources with one another. Following are a few of our favorite resources for parents.

MWS favorite Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, has many excellent podcast episodes related to parenting during the global pandemic and stay-at-home order, including “Loving Limits and Discipline During the Intensity of Family Time.”

Greater Good in Education, from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, offers a wealth of resources and ideas for parents and educators to help navigate the COVID-19 shelter-at-home including activities, podcasts, videos, and practices.

You can also check out the center’s online Greater Good Magazine for articles and advice, including this lovely little post “Six Daily Questions to Ask Yourself in Quarantine.”

Are you in need of some extra support? Parents Place, a part of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services, is offering a wide range of resources for families during the Coronavirus shelter-at-home order, including free and paid online workshops, remote counseling, a blog with advice and information, and videos for parents.

For Zoomed-out families, here is a very good article, “10 Ways to Protect the Brain from Daily Screen Time,” by Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. in Psychology Today about mitigating the effects of screens and WiFi at home.

Concerned about electromagnetic waves at home?
Here’s a parent-recommended article, “How to Set Up a Safe Computer Workstation For Your Child During COVID-19” from Environmental Health Trust.

Just for fun: first grade mom Anouk told us to check out the homemade re-creations of famous artworks throughout the world by following the hashtag #betweenartandquarantine. (Read about how the movement took off here.)

MWS Recommends: Activities at Home

Since our school closed in March, our families have been sharing resources with each other in our weekly newsletter and through word of mouth. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite activities and recommendation for children at home… and please send more if you have them!

“The Great Pause” — A Tale for Young Children
Once upon a time, in a land far away, but not too far away, in a time long ago, but not too long ago, there was a lovely little kingdom of very hard workers. This kingdom was built up of four villages, each ruled by a wise and kind Queen…
Click here to read the rest of the story on the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) website.

You can join the Marin County Free Library online then borrow from their huge selection of e-books and audiobooks at home.

During the closures, the Marin County Free Library has started recording their weekly story times for young children.
Click here to hear more about online story time or to check out the many crafts and activities the library recommends.

Audible is also offering free audiobooks while schools are closed.

Founded by preschool mom Heidi, Blue Dot Kids Press is a small press that publishes stories that connect us to each other and the Earth. Click here to check out their beautiful offerings.

A MWS kindergarten family recommends family-friendly martial arts with Oakland-based Peter Ajemian. He leads daily workouts for adults, and three weekly kids classes on Zoom. More info on Soja’s website.

MWS families recommend Quarantine Clay Club with Petaluma Pottery! Clay kits (for pickup), online tutorials, and more. Click here for more information about their programs.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is sharing free nightly live streams of their operas, which remain available to watch throughout the following day. Click here to watch the most recent performance.

Keeping it local, San Francisco Opera is also offering free streaming of their performances on their website, as well as steams of previous performances.

America’s test Kitchen Kids: Downloadable and printable recipes, as well as food-based activities, like salt painting.

Mapbox created a printable map coloring book to use at home, with instructions on how to download software and create your own color-able map. Click here to download the maps or create your own.

Now That’s Impressive!

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the Marin Waldorf School campus, you’ve likely seen middle school students circling around on their unicycles. Unicycling is perhaps the most memorable aspect of our movement curriculum in the upper grades. As movement and games teacher Ms. O’Ryan says, “Unicycling and juggling help empower the students to make a new relationship with their sense of balance and make sense out of chaos—two hands, three bean bags.”

In this short, clip one of our 6th graders shows off her incredible balance and coordination while juggling on a unicycle.