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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Our Hollyhock kindergarten teacher, Nicole, weaves a new story into her morning circle each week, drawing in the children’s attention as they say good morning to each other and learn new songs and full-body movements to accompany the tale.
Since our campus close in March, Nicole has shared a morning circle with Hollyhock families every week. In this charming circle, she leads the children on a visit to the farm with her assistant teacher Jennifer. This circle includes two songs in French, which a kindergartner can pick up and repeat easily, even if they don’t understand the language!
In addition to building a warm classroom community each morning, the morning circle is a time for kindergartners to learn by listening and repeating, to develop balance and motor skills by following the teacher’s movements, and to use their imaginations in stories and songs. In some circles, Nicole introduces tongue twisters, bean bag tossing, and partner games.
Families can listen to this circle at home and make up their own movements as the children greet the little chickens and farmers.
Last week, Ms. Lisa, our Kindergarten Aftercare Teacher, shared a sweet audio recording with the kindergarten classes, inviting them to join her on a morning hike. As she walks, Ms. Lisa guides the children in imagining the sights, sounds, and smells along the way. At Marin Waldorf School, our kindergartners go for a hike every Friday, so this imaginative little story fits right into their weekly rhythm.
Here’s an excerpt from the note Ms. Lisa sent to families:
Greetings! I wanted to reach out and let you know that I have missed seeing you and the children, and that I hope you are well. I have a short, simple tale to share with the children–included both in a recording (5 minutes) and in writing (with photos) for you to share with your child if you would like… Many times the children in Bluebirds, and summer camp, have enjoyed the simple stories I tell them, either about my life away from school, or stories that I make up. So in that spirit of simplicity, I’d like to share my morning hikes in nature with the children. I describe what happens, though I do take some creative license to “include” the children, as though they are hiking with me. I am looking forward to seeing all of you again soon!
Last Friday, we would have gathered to celebrate our traditional May Faire in the shade of Grandmother Oak. It’s a favorite event, one we all look forward to, and since we couldn’t be together, we asked our families to celebrate the spring at home and to share their pictures of their May Faire celebrations with us.
The beauty, kindness, and creativity of our community is always astounding! Thank you to everyone who shared their celebrations with us.
Flower crowns are a tradition at our May Faire, and many children made their own with garden flowers, paper, or felt, while others gather wildflowers or roses.
Some of our sweet families dropped off spring baskets for their neighbors.
Others made maypoles for dancing or for their toy gnomes, including a very inventive maypole made from an outdoor umbrella!
Others gathered wildflowers on their hikes or gifted garden flowers to their neighbors.
Did you celebrate the May Faire at home? Let’s keep our celebration growing! Please share your pictures with us.
At Marin Waldorf School, we are always blessed to be surrounded open space, hawks circling overhead, and even the occasional wildcat sighting. But our campus closure has drawn in some new and beautiful visitors. Just last week, a doe found a quiet corner of the preschool play yard to give birth to twin fawns.
Here, kindergarten teacher Peggy Rock recounts her explosive introduction to the deer family that is now making Marin Waldorf School its home.
Last Sunday, as I was attending our Sunday morning coffee, in the Morning Glory classroom, teacher Nicole came to my door. She said to come out and look. I left the meeting and went outside our classroom to see a beautiful young doe leaping back-and-forth in the preschool play yard. We thought she was trying to get over the fence, as we couldn’t figure out how she got all the way into the play yard with the gate closed. A little fawn was lying nestled immobile against the fence. It looked like it might be brand new.
The mother continued frantically leaping back and forth back and forth. Suddenly she turned and took a great leap at the building and violently broke a window in the Morning Glory classroom with her hooves. It was only then that I realized that she was trying to distract us from her baby, and that we needed to go back into the room so she wouldn’t be so anxious.
When we had backed away, she and the fawn suddenly raced toward the kindergarten play yard. Later that day I saw her munching leaves on the hillside, gazing through the window at me quietly and peacefully as if nothing had happened to make her frightened. She hadn’t hurt herself a bit. We continue to see her every day that we are here. Although I have only seen her with one of her babies, I hear that there are two!
It seems our new Marin Waldorf School family is making itself right at home! Enjoy a couple more photos of our dear deer, snapped by kindergarten teacher Adriana.
Created by our social ethics teacher Ms. Baxt, Camp Kindness was offered as a weeklong elective course for students and their families, preschool through 8th grade. The week was comprised of pro-social activities to build family and community connections, with the goal of contributing towards the health of others while actively living our values with our children. Says Ms. Baxt, “Kindness is contagious too.”
Each day of the week was dedicated to essential workers in different sectors: health care, sanitation, postal and delivery services, child care, and food supply chain. Check out Ms. Baxt’s recommendations for spreading kindness to food chain workers.
Tuesday: In honor of food chain workers
Remember that we can help share the good will by doing our mediation for these important workers. Take a deep breath and focus your family’s thoughts on the workers, “May these very essential workers be safe. May they be healthy. May they be happy. May they, and their families, be at ease.”
Options (do one, or do them all) 1) Call your local lower cost grocery store to find out how you can donate some healthy snacks and send some notes of appreciation to their employee break room. 2) Sign-up to deliver or donate food for those in need. Or scroll down for volunteer opportunities in food and in senior support. 3) Deliver notes to your neighbors’ mailboxes asking if they know somebody who needs help with groceries, errands, or meal delivery. Don’t forget to include your contact info. Remember that research shows transmission does not occur through food — just use safe delivery practices. 4) Invite a “guest” for a meal. Do you know somebody who might be lonely at home? Invite them to join your family for a virtual family meal. Think of some questions you could ask them to learn more about their lives. This is a good spot to find great questions.
UPDATED WITH MORE RESOURCES! Our annual May Faire is a celebration of spring and of community. While our campus is closed, we have a plan to celebrate the hope and beauty of springtime together, in addition to spreading that joy to our neighbors, friends, and grandparents, who were supposed to be the guests of honor at this year’s May Faire (stay tuned for more information on that!).
For more elaborate bouquets, Origami Guide has a step-by-step guide to creating paper lotus flowers. Choose a piece of paper that won’t rip easily, and don’t worry if your corners start looking worn as you fold and fold: the result is lovely when the flower is complete. This video shows you how to create surprisingly pretty paper flowers using Post-it notes.