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Early Childhood Category

Martinmas Celebration

lantern walk

Early Childhood
On Friday, November 15, our Rosewood Kindergarten class joined with Mr. Clough’s first and second grade for a truly magical experience. All week we had been working on our lanterns for this event, speaking of it, telling stories and singing songs. Anticipation was in the air!

Earlier that day, the first and second graders and I placed lights along the path to illuminate our way. The children worked diligently to gather wood for the fire pit, piling twigs, branches, and logs into wheelbarrows and wagons, metal tubs and baskets. They showed great industry and willingness. Thank you, children, for your help!

Mr. Clough lit a bonfire as the moon rose in the mild November night sky. The grades children performed songs, depicting in lovely gestures the story of St. Martin. Mr. Clough captivated all with his telling of St. Martin stories.

The moon was full and bright as we lit the lanterns. Ms. Ursula led the way and off we went on a completely silent lantern walk. This was the first silent–and the most reverent–walk in my experience! What a lovely sight to see the lighted lanterns silently winding their way through field and forest! Picture a full moon, silent and purposeful walking, and only the whispering of leaves under many feet. All went home in silence, and we thank you for that! This festival was a gift. May all of you carry the light within you through the cold, dark nights of winter.

-Ms.Beth

First and Second Grades
The stories of great human beings who have touched the lives of those around them inspire us and remind us of the highest virtues we, too, possess. Martin of Tours, who later became St. Martin, is one example of such a human being. He was forced to join the army against his will, but even as a soldier he found ways to care for those less fortunate than himself. On a cold November day he stopped to help a freezing beggar. He cut his cloak in two and gave half to the beggar. St. Martin went on to become a monk who lived his life in service to the poor and less fortunate.

We celebrate Saint Martin’s deeds with the festival of Martinmas. In this time of year when the nights are growing longer we make lanterns to light our way through the darkness. Our small lanterns illuminate our path and symbolize the flame of kindness and compassion in us all.

-Jeremy Clough, First and Second Grade Teacher.

The Spirits of Halloween

This article by Eugene Schwartz gives an explanation of why we try to keep All Hallows’ a scare-free experience for our youngest children. Please read and comment. 

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For the younger child, this festival reaffirms the goodness of the world. Eons ago, as they looked upon the mists that wove around their fjords and heaths, ancient Europeans had a particular experience as the days grew shorter. Toward the end of the month that we call October, they perceived the souls of all of those who had died in the past year gathering and preparing to ascend to their heavenly home, making a space for the souls due to be born in the year to come. But before they could assume their place in the ethereal realm, the departed souls had to sweep away all the detritus of the life just past and cast it to the earth. Thus the popular image of witches riding on their broomsticks is a misperception: in reality, the brooms are sweeping away the witches!

At the time when the child is in fourth grade, a sense of human mortality begins to dawn within her. Children of this age are rightfully and healthily drawn to all of the frightful and gruesome aspects of Halloween, and they look forward with trembling anticipation to visiting a haunted house, watching an horrific form arise out of a swamp, or, if only through a well-told story, being scared out of their senses!

For the younger child, however, the situation is different. The spirits and creatures with whom the younger child communes are not those created by human error, but rather those in whom the innocent and wise powers of Nature reside: gnomes and undines, fairies and elves, the spirits of stones and streams, sun and wind. For young children to be exposed only to the dark and demonic qualities of Halloween is to deny the unspoken conviction that they carry in their souls that the world is good.

— Eugene Schwartz

Ten Beautiful Mornings with Your Child

0DEM0537In honor of our Ashwood Waldorf School’s upcoming Parent-Child classes, we offer you this quote from the 19th-century American humorist, Josh Billings:

“To bring up your child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in awhile.”

We think our Parent-Child Classes offer the perfect way to “travel that way yourself.” For 10 beautiful mornings this fall, join a group of dynamic parents, their young children (18–36 months) and Ashwood’s veteran early childhood educator and awesome Waldorf mom, Cherry Short-Lee.

The children engage in creative play while parents may engage in child-led play or work on a craft project, help with snack, or discuss a reading on an aspect of parenting with Miss Cherry and other thoughtful parents.

The morning ends with a walk through the woods and time to climb and swing on our playground. A goodbye circle completes the morning.

Ashwood’s Parent-Child program nurtures the whole family and provides a bridge from home to school. When ready, the young child may transition to the mixed-age Early Childhood classroom.

Parent-Child 2013-14 Schedule

  • Weekly on Thursdays, September 19–November 21
  • Weekly Thursdays, January 9–March 20 (with no session on February 20)

For more information or to receive an application form, please contact the enrollment director at 207-236-8021 or info@ashwoodwaldorf.org.

 

First Day of Summer Camp 2013

Waldorf and Montessori: What’s the Difference?

Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

A question we often hear from parents is: “What are the differences between Montessori and Waldorf eduction?”

These two educational philosophies actually started with a similar goal: to design a curriculum that was developmentally appropriate to the child and that addressed the child’s need to learn in multiple ways.

A fundamental difference between these two forms of schooling has to do with the role of the teacher. Montessori teachers act primarily as facilitators, intervening only when a child requests help with an independent learning activity that has been selected by the student. In a Waldorf classroom, on the other hand, the teacher is an authority who leads the class in a variety of teacher-directed activities. This means that Waldorf children participate in activities such as singing or acting or math games or juggling that they may not have chosen to do on their own. Balance, rather than specialization, is encouraged.

In the social realm, Montessori students are taught not to interrupt their peers while they are working, but are encouraged to help younger children complete a task with which they are unfamiliar. Waldorf education, on the other hand, puts particular emphasis on the development of the young child within a group. Barbara Shell, a teacher who worked in public, Montessori, and Waldorf schools, put it this way:

“Waldorf teachers orchestrate this [social] development by modeling good social behavior with their children, by getting the children to join together in movement activities, by introducing songs and games that develop group consciousness, and by helping children learn to work through disagreements.”

Read Barbara Shell’s article in its entirety by downloading the following PDF:

A Look at Waldorf and Montessori Education in the Early Childhood Programs.pdf

If you have any questions about Waldorf education, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 207-236-8021 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Early Childhood Bridge Crossing 2013

At the end of each school year, the Early Childhood children, teachers, and families gather for the Bridge Crossing. In this joyful ceremony, first-grade ready children, wearing silken capes and golden crowns, cross over a wooden bridge festooned with fresh flowers. The crossing symbolizes their readiness to enter the Grade School. They are then followed by the younger children, who wear different colored capes and cross the bridge into “Summerland,” receiving a hug from their teacher on the other side.

Click on one of the photos below for a slideshow.

Ashwood to Offer Kindergarten Tuition Assistance

P1000031In a move to make a Waldorf education more accessible to families of midcoast Maine, Ashwood Waldorf School is pleased to announce a new tuition assistance program for families with kindergarten-aged children.

Ashwood has a longstanding history of fostering an economically diverse school community through its generous grade school tuition assistance program.

This is the first time in its 27 years that the school has extended financial aid to the pre-school population.

The new tuition assistance will benefit applicants to Ashwood’s mixed-age, five-day kindergarten, which accepts children from age 3 1/2 to 6 years. Tuition assistance will cover up to 10 percent of the posted tuition for this program.

“With its balance of academic excellence, rich programming in the arts and outdoor education, we feel that the value of what Ashwood offers to the children is clear,” said School Director Jody Spanglet. “We see this value, each and every day, reflected in the children’s bright faces and inquisitive minds.”

Ashwood offers awards of up to 50 percent of tuition for Grades 1-8.

All of Ashwood’s tuition assistance awards are based solely on need.

The tuition assistance application deadline is March 1, 2013.

For more information: info@ashwoodwaldorf.org or 207.236.8021.

Play

Play

Play is not only a child’s real work in life, it is the foundation of creativity yet to come. For the young child, play is a way of understanding the world and is vital for healthy emotional and intellectual development.

The inner forces of imagination, cognition, and flexibility, which are developed during play, become the capacities for life-long learning.

Activities

Activities

The teachers take special care to have a daily and weekly rhythm of activities that gives time for both structure and spontaneity.

The day begins with a long period for free play alongside artistic and household activity (cooking, painting, cleaning etc).

Playtime is followed by circle time, consisting of verses, nursery rhymes, songs, and circle games that enliven and strengthen the children’s natural creativity and provide the content for higher quality of play.

Then the children gather together for a wholesome snack–usually which they have helped to prepare–after which they play outside where they explore, dig, run, jump, and exercise their limbs as well as their imaginations.

Lastly, a story is told often brought to life with simple hand puppets. The exposure to fairy tales and puppet shows allow the children to feel secure in a world where the good triumphs over bad.

Rosewood

Rosewood Early Childhood Center

Ashwood Waldorf School - Early Childhood BuildingIn a Waldorf school the physical environment plays a central role. Our rooms are beautifully decorated and the atmosphere is calm and purposeful.

All toys are made of natural materials: wooden blocks and wooden toys; shells and stones; beeswax; broad paintbrushes, clear, bright, translucent watercolors, and big sheets of wet paper; large vivid wax crayons – these are some of the materials the young child comes to know and to use with delight.

These help awaken the children’s sense of touch to the physical sensations of a world that is still new to them.

Toys and dolls are simply-made with a minimum of detail so that the children’s imaginations will bring them to life.