Hello Saltwater families and community. The month of January has flown by. There are many events coming and plenty to mark on the calendar. Please do not forget about the school planning session this Thursday January 30th - see below for the details. Also in this newsletter, we asked Wendy Poole about the Value of Play and a parent reflects on his experiences as a volunteer. We are also expecting a visit from the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America in February. Read on to find out why....
School Planning Session - Thursday January 30th
We are hosting a facilitated planning session for the Saltwater School Community (Saltwater Education Society) - board, committees, faculty and parents - to consider the 2014-15 school year and beyond in the context of:
- Family/student commitments for 2014-15
- School Space Resources
- Scope of Classes and Programs
- Human Resource Requirements - Faculty, Administration and Volunteers
- Financial Resources
Since this will be a facilitated 'strategic planning' session, the more members of the Saltwater Community that can be involved (head, heart and hands), the better. One of the challenges for the Board and/or Faculty in making key decisions for each year is the involvement of as many in the School Community as possible. We would like to bring into the discussion as many facts as are available, encourage discussions across interest groups and use our rich Waldorf tools to guide the process.
Date: Thursday January 30th
Location: Common House at Creekside Commons
Note: Please park in visitor spots (marked 'visitor' on the pavement, or on the neighbouring side streets)
FEBRUARY 12TH AWSNA SITE VISIT - What does this mean for the Saltwater School?
Hello Saltwater families. As you all know our school is in it's third year of operation here at our current Tin Town location. Our school community has grown to 55 students and 39 families and we are changing quickly. What is the next step for us? For the last year, the Saltwater School has been in the process of applying for Waldorf Developing School
status. What is this process you ask?
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
(AWSNA) oversees all Waldorf schools including those who are in various stages of development. On February 12th an AWSNA representative will be coming to do a site visit at our school. She will talk to all of our staff, observe classes, talk with the Board, look at our budget and make a general assessment of our current state. When she is finished she will send her site visit report to AWSNA and recommend that the Saltwater School be called a "Developing Waldorf school". The benefits of this are many including mentorship, global connections with schools worldwide and the ability to officially call ourselves a Waldorf School.
As part of her site visit, Kathy Brunetta will be giving a Parent Evening Talk on February 12 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. The topic will be: "Understanding your Child: Exploring Waldorf Perspectives of Child Development."
We ask that as many families as possible come out for this talk. It will be wonderful to show our school's community spirit and to support Kathy's talk. There will be some good food
and good conversation
. This is a very exciting time for our school - we hope to see you there!
THE VALUE OF PLAY - by Wendy Poole
There is so much value to play, that open time without imposed structure, where imagination can take hold and flourish. A cluster of wood becomes a castle, a vine becomes a crown. A long stick is now a unicorn with a rider, galloping through the dale. To live in the magical world of children’s play is a treasure to be nurtured. Play is a child’s work, where they untangle and recreate the many elements of life they live throughout their day. The importance of free, open-ended play in a child’s life is supported by decades of research. The research shows that social, emotional, physical and cognitive development is strongly supported by creative play.
As you sit back and appreciate your child in play listen to the language whether with others, or self- talk, as the play unfolds. This is when you’ll hear and see the uniqueness of your child as they blossom. They are always working something out socially, whether with a friend or on their own. As their play continues their busy bodies and minds are busy problem solving. This could be how to get a heavy bucket of water to the sandbox without spilling it, or how to do a button up on a doll’s sweater.
Self-regulation, a skill we need throughout life, is developed in children during time spent playing make-believe. It is connected to the ability to manage one’s feelings and to pay attention in a learning environment. Good executive function (self regulation) is a good predictor of success in school, and effective development in all aspects of being human in this world today.
Have fun with your young ones! Provide simple, safe environments outside and in. Have toys and materials around that support an imaginary world where fancy and fable unite. Feel good to allow lots of time for free, creative play. Your children are laying the foundation for life later on when they will need to stretch their imaginations to solve problems, nourish their passions and find their place in the world as adults.
REFLECTIONS OF A PARENT VOLUNTEER - by Aaron Dowker
I have been present to corral the 2-3 kiddies for their Monday walk for the last couple of years, taking along my other son Pan (now 3, he'll tell you). I remember seeing them all lined up in Kindergarten at the gate chittering away, all of them talking at once. I closed my eyes and was amused to realize they sounded just like a flock of birds. Cheep Cheep. From the start they seemed to have an obsession with knights and swords, riding horses - brandishing sticks.
We started the year walking to the field trough Creekside and up to Capes Park next to Cumberland Road. We would walk the trails, the children looking for the letters of their names amongst the branches. Eventually we would arrive at a swampy wood, housing among other things a gnome apartment block (woodpeckers). A tree (once up now over), making for a springy balance beam. Just recently we discovered a Ferry swamp. One day they stumbled across a geocache. They all wanted something but having nothing (but their sticks) they had to wait for the next week to bring something to trade.
Eventually bikes were added to their repetoire - first to Bill Moore Park. Eventually our trip was extended to the Airpark and beach and with so many of us we had to take the crosswalk at Cliffe Avenue in shifts. Trailers pulling siblings, and lunches and first aid kits combined. It was quite cute to see the whole class on the Airpark playpark Merry-Go-Round - and still if you closed your eyes, you can hear the sound of birdies.
CREEKSIDE COMMONS COHOUSING
Creekside is a community conceived, developed and managed by residents. We all have individual title to our homes and the front, side and backyards are landscaped to individual tastes. We share equally in the common house, workshop and large vegetable garden. Decisions about use of common facilities are made using a modified consensus process. There are currently homes for sale.
For more information about cohousing, our community or the homes available please check our website at www.creeksidecommons.net.
Did you know that we have a well-stocked parent library in the office? We have information on any Waldorf subject including curriculum, a wide variety of parenting books, crafting and much more. Parents are welcome to sign out any books they are interested in. For more information talk to Alison (also known as Madame Hunting).