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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

Middle School Trip to Gulf Hagas

Gulf Hagas, the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a three-mile-long slate gorge located in the mountains of central Maine. Last week Ashwood Waldorf School’s Middle School students enjoyed a two-night camping trip to the area crowned by a day-long hike along the rim of the gorge. It was an amazing trip: waterfalls cascading through narrow passages, sheer slate cliffs, crisp fall colors, and even a moose on our way home. Our profound thanks go to all of the parents who helped make the trip possible by cooking and shopping and providing equipment. We’d also like to send a big shout-out to our chaperone/guides: Buck O’Herin, David Ray, and John Luft.

Amy Watson, Seventh Grade Teacher, and Laura Purdom, Sixth Grade Teacher

Photos by John Luft.

 

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Ari Snider ’10: Framing a Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe asked Belfast High School senior Ari Snider ’10 to tell us about his recently completed year abroad. He writes: “It was fun and interesting to tie my Ashwood years into my exchange experience. I believe that there is a very real connection between the two.” — Editor

During my years at Ashwood Waldorf School I would often complain about drawing borders on my main lesson book pages. I was never the most steady-handed or discerning artist in my class, and I found form drawing tedious and irksome. I looked forward to high school, where painstakingly detailed borders would no longer be required.

Freshman year at Belfast Area High School replaced main lesson book pages with printer paper; yet, I did not feel liberated. I missed outdoor recesses, hands-on specialty classes, daily singing, general cultivation of the creative spirit, and other keystones of Waldorf education. I especially missed the creative task of each carefully drawn Main Lesson book page. I craved a more wholesome experience akin to that of my Ashwood education.

The possibility of a year abroad had already begun to tempt me when, early into sophomore year, I learned about Rotary Youth Exchange. A year later, I bid my family farewell and set out for Belgium.

ari-2I left the United States as a cultural ambassador, only to arrive in Belgium feeling like a nervous child in a foreign land. The emotional turbulence of the initial adjustment period tested my resolve and forced me to reaffirm and reexamine my core values. Only then did I begin growing into a mature exchange student, a process that continued throughout my exchange year.

Three kind, caring, and adventurous host families provided me with a strong base of support throughout the entire year. Over time I developed fast friendships with my Belgian Scouts and schoolmates, as well as with other Rotary exchange students. In the end, saying goodbye to my Belgian life hurt, but the pain of the farewells was a testament to how wonderful the year had been.

A year abroad offered me the challenge and engagement in the present for which I had so yearned. In Belgium, I nurtured my ari-1creative spirit by becoming fluent in French, exploring my host country, and opening myself to new people and experiences.

Living abroad taught me that my own perspective was the most important factor influencing my life and how I reacted to and processed the challenges and opportunities that faced me. Throughout my exchange, I relearned the importance of framing each page of my life within its own carefully drawn border.

—Ari Snider ’10

Christian Community Michaelmas Gathering

Last May, the Christian Community moved its services to Ashwood Waldorf School. They are now preparing for their annual Michaelmas gathering at Ashwood, scheduled for October 19 and 20. The following will provide the details of activities planned for that meeting:

The Reverend Darryl Coonan will be returning to Maine to meet with the community and conduct the Michaelmas services. He will be arriving in Rockport on Friday, October 18, and he will visit with the community until Sunday afternoon, October 20.

On Saturday, October 19, at 5 p.m., there will be meeting of current and prospective Servers with Reverend Coonan. The activities involved in being a Server will be discussed and rehearsed. Please see below for more information about being a Server.

At 7 p.m., there will a gospel study, using Revelations, chapter 12 as the text. This will be followed by a Close of Day service at 8:30. Reverend Coonan will lead us.

On Sunday, October 20, there will be religious instruction for children at 9:15 a.m. This will be followed by a the Children’s Service at 10:00. This service is for children between the ages of seven and 14. Parents and adults are also encouraged to attend, lending their support to the children participating in this service.

The Act of Consecration of Man will be held at 10:30 a.m. All who are nine years or older are welcome at this service. For child care during this service, please call Cherry Short-Lee at 207-273-3045 to make arrangements.

At 11:30, Reverend Coonan will then speak to us on the topic “The Four Parts of The Act of Consecration of Man.” A discussion of this topic will continue until 12:15 P.M.

A potluck brunch will then be provided. If you are able, please contribute a potluck dish for all to enjoy. Please bring reusable knives, spoons, forks, plates, bowls, cups, and napkins for your own and others’ use. We are trying to eliminate the waste and expense of using paper and plastic dining supplies. It is hoped that this social time will provide an opportunity to discuss the future of the community in the new Rockport location.

Reverend Coonan is also available for conversations and sacramental consultations on the morning of Saturday, October 19. He may be contacted at 617-732-1511 or 617-817-2253.

For those visiting from some distance, please contact Cherry Short-Lee at 207-273-3045 for information about accommodations in the Rockport area.

Lecture on Modern Brain Research and Education

This Friday, September 13, at 7:00 p.m. Douglas Gerwin, PhD, will offer a lecture on “Turning Education on Its Head: What modern brain research says about how children and young adults learn.” The lecture takes place at Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport.

Recent neuro-scientific research shows that the brain behaves less like a “hard-wired” computer, more like a dense forest in which pathways appear through repeated use and disappear through neglect. The implications of this paradigm shift for education are huge, especially since the cortical functions of children and young adults do not fully develop until they reach their early 20s.

In this ground-breaking talk, Dr. Gerwin explores how Waldorf education helps children and adolescents unfold their powers of intelligence through a curriculum designed to nourish their developmental needs from pre-school through the high school years.

Douglas Gerwin is the director of the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire and has taught history, literature, German, music and life science in college and at Waldorf high school levels for the past 35 years.

Questions? Please contact Barbara Richardson at brichardson@centerforanthroposophy.org.

Click here for a flyer about the event.

CNN Profiles the “Waldorf Way”

As enrollment skyrockets at Waldorf schools from coast to coast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on “The Waldorf Way,” looking at three key aspects Waldorf education–movement, testing, and technology–with a cognitive neuroscientist.

Click here on the image to go view the video:

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Learn more about Waldorf by exploring our website, or by calling 207-236-8021 or emailing info@ashwoodwaldorf.org.

Education Innovator Nancy Harris Frohlich Joins Ashwood’s Board

Nancy Harris Frohlich

Nancy Harris Frohlich

Ashwood Waldorf School is pleased to announce that prominent educator Nancy Harris Frohlich has joined its Board of Trustees.

It was a chance encounter with a 12-year-old Ashwood student that led to Frohlich’s association with the 28-year-old independent school.

Each year, Ashwood participates with other area schools in the student art exhibition at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. While attending the exhibit, Harris fell into conversation with Michael Frampton, then a Fifth Grader at Ashwood Waldorf School and one of the student exhibitors.

Impressed with Michael’s ability to talk about his artistic process, Frohlich decided to attend a presentation at Ashwood featuring the school’s Eighth Grade Projects. These annual projects integrate art, technology, engineering, writing, and design within the context of a yearlong mentoring relationship with a professional in the field of endeavor.

Detail of the painting

Detail of the painting

Frohlich, a lifelong proponent of art in education, recognized a kindred spirit in her encounters with Ashwood. “Art inspires kids to become adventurous thinkers,” Frohlich reflected in her blog. “It teaches them to plunge into problem solving, breaking the whole into manageable parts. It invites them to apply and deepen their understanding in virtually every curricular area—in particular in math, engineering, and science.”

A teacher and educator since 1972, Nancy Harris Frohlich has a Master of Education in Child Development from Tufts University.

Frohlich was head of school at The Advent School, Boston, for 17 years. During her tenure there, she oversaw major renovations to the classroom facilities, developed and documented the curriculum, founded the school’s early childhood program, and established after-school and summer programs.

Prior to her work at The Advent School, Frohlich served for 20 years at the Charles River School as director of studies, coordinator of lower grades, and teacher of first and third grades. From 1979 to 2012, Frohlich directed teacher workshops in thematic education for schools.

In 2013 Frohlich founded ArtWorks, “a center for research and collaboration to promote the teaching of thinking through art.” She is an advisory board member at the Charles River School and The Advent School.

Ultimate Frisbee Camp 2013

Here are a few fun views from Ashwood Waldorf School’s Ultimate Frisbee Camp. Learn more about Ashwood and the “ultimate sport”.

 

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.

 

More Tumble & Rumble Camp Fun!

Today we take a look at the obstacle course that Mr. Clough created. The children are having a great time swinging, balancing, jumping through hoops and walking blindfolded through the Misty Mountains.