A Visit From Coast Miwok, in the Shade of Grandmother Oak

Yesterday, Dean and Jason, two representatives from the Coast Miwok Tribal Council, joined our faculty and staff on campus. We gathered in the shade of Grandmother Oak, where Dean and Jason spoke their truth, told us about their ancestors, shared their knowledge of the land, and invited us to reflect more deeply on the place we live, the land our school occupies, and the history we teach. It was a fitting start to a school year that will begin during a global pandemic, and one in which the natural world (particularly the beautiful valley oaks and bay laurel trees on our campus) will play an outsize role in our experience. To conclude, they joined us in a walk-through of our school’s outdoor classrooms, in preparation for our students’ arrival.

During the past month, our faculty and staff have been like busy bees, buzzing around campus (literally) with saws, drills, and pick-up trucks, assembling the outdoor classrooms. We have been ticking off the to do list and distributing Humanity Shields and hand sanitizer. We have been making safety plans and obsessively monitoring the air quality.

With so much to do, it felt impossible to slow down … until we were all gathered in the shade of the oak trees yesterday afternoon. Our guests, and the moment of reflection they inspired in us all, rejuvenated our mood, preparing us mentally and spiritually to welcome our students back to campus.

Dean and Jason, thank you! We hope we will continue to learn from you and the land this year, and into the future.

A Message From Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

As we mourn yet another senseless death of a Black man at the hands of police and continue to see the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous people compromised and threatened, we are continuing to dedicate ourselves to the work of social justice and bringing your children an antiracist education.  

Our faculty and staff have taken up individual and collective work over the summer in looking at our curriculum with an equity lens, adding books to our libraries, creating or purchasing art that represents Black, Brown and Indigenous people, and developing ideas to broaden and strengthen our curriculum content. We have purchased crayons for each class which will broaden the capacity for different skin tones, and have watched a tutorial on how to use our colors for many various shades. But know that the work both continues and goes much deeper than that. 

This summer, we welcomed Randolph Carter (bio below) to guide us through a DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) training.  As part of our DEI intensive, we read thought provoking articles, we took racial antibias tests put forth from Harvard University. It was an eye opening exercise we invite you to explore: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html.

We looked at our own biographies and conversed about ideas related to bringing a strong antiracist education to Marin Waldorf School. Faculty and staff were grateful to share together and to deepen our understanding. We are pleased to announce that we will continue our relationship with Randolph, as we have brought him on board as an outside consultant to work with the DEI group, the staff and faculty, and the extended community.  

We look forward to welcoming parents into the conversation in a formalized way, and in the meantime encourage you to reach out to us at dei@marinwaldorf.org with any comments and or questions.

As both the founder of East Ed and a member of the Black Panther Party, Randolph has devoted his career to promoting equity and diversity in education and communities. He is currently directing the campus diversity efforts at Portland Community College, Cascade Campus. He was a Fellow in the Harvard University School Leadership Program, Graduate School of Education, where he received a master’s degree in education with a school leadership qualification. He is currently a doctoral student in the School of Education Leadership and Change at Fielding University.

He was a middle school reading specialist, a school administrator, and while at the National Association of Independent Schools, he directed their equity programming and founded two of their signature projects: People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Randolph has also served on numerous school boards, including Fielding Graduate University and the Institute for Community Enrichment. He is a member of the Education Committee of the New Press. His publications include peer-reviewed articles and book reviews published in national journals.

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.

Welcome to Grandmother Oak

A collaboration between the faculty, staff, and parents at Marin Waldorf School, Grandmother Oak is a place to share what we do at school and how we live at home, with each other and with the world.

This community notebook got its start when the COVID-19 stay-at-home order shuttered our Lucas Valley campus. Our school community had to find new ways to be together.

At Grandmother Oak, we gather to share recipes, crafts, lessons, music, stories, and songs from our community, as well as a taste of what’s happening in our classrooms. If you’re new to our school or to Waldorf education, welcome! Please have a look around.

MWS parents and faculty, this is our page! Please send your photos, stories, resources, and ideas to Julie at grandmotheroak@marinwaldorf.org.