Saltwater Tides: February 2016
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For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,

So far will the sun shine before May.

Image: Marjan Van Zeyl

On February 2nd, we celebrate Candlemas. It’s time to recognize that winter is on its way out, the light is beginning to return, and spring is finally on its way! It is a great time to do rituals involving the hearth and home. If you have a fireplace, give it a good cleaning along with the rest of your house, and celebrate Candlemas with a nice hearty fire. If you have any Yule greenery left over, then this is the time to gather it up and toss it in the flames.  

Many traditions circle around Candlemas however the tradition at Saltwater is to make candles outside over the camp stoves.  The children gather together, sometimes in groups of two classes, and walk a figure eight around two stoves or the stove and table singing a dipping song.  The candle later becomes a blessed light at the centre of the snack table or the table in the homes of all of the children.  It represents the "light of revelation" or the bringing of spirit light to the people.  For the children, we recognize this light as the warmth and renewal of spring.  

To all of you I wish a blessed Candlemas.


*verse and info from

FEB 8: 
Family Day (no school)

FEB 15-19:
Teacher Conference Week (no school)
FEB 13: 
Saltwater Saturday 
10:00-11:30 at Cedar Schoolhouse
(scroll down for more information)
Reminder: Follow Saltwater Waldorf School on Facebook for frequent updates! Click on this button to visit the page.

Walking out of the assembly today, the children and I continued to sing the song which we had all been gifted with by Ms. Irwin – “Snow again or Heavy rain..” As we walked I commented on the sky above us as I often do, noticing both the fading crescent moon ahead and the brilliant morning sun on our left.

One of the children suddenly sang – Sun again or Mo-oo-on ..” and I laughed. It was not the first time a child had changed the words of a song, and it was not the most eloquent display nor the silliest by far, yet there was something about who was speaking and how they spoke, that made it truly hilarious. 

Rudolf Steiner in speaking to Waldorf Educators leaves us with the reminder to make the children laugh every day.  It is not exactly that I never thought of this before, or that I would have had weeks of solemn lessons and serious faces, but to be intentional about leaving space for the joy and lightness to emerge, this was a new thought. 

It is not easy to be a child – to navigate all the up’s and down’s of the day. It is certainly not easy to be a parent sharing in these up’s and down’s and helping where one can. It is not easy at times to walk this earth.

Rhythms, routines, facing challenges, changing patterns, listening well, getting along with others, welcoming and loving those around us. These things are not easy.

Laughter comes in unexpectedly. It surprises us and brings lightness and connection. When someone is laughing and your eyes meet even briefly you have shared in something sacred. Namely, the beauty of life.

Emerson says, “The earth laughs in flowers.”  Little giggling snop drops, a burst of a sunflower and a rollicking unstoppable meadow of dandelions!!  All the colour combinations you can imagine the whole world over.  Think about it. Giggle about it.

When we leave room for joy to bubble up wherever it will, we lose for a moment whatever weight we were carrying. There is a coming together. 

It is certainly worth paying attention to when it is honest laughter and when is it disruptive and getting out of hand. In teaching 7 and 8 years olds, this truly becomes a dance, yet it is one that I continue to be mindful of.  There are many lessons to be learned and habits to be formed, and yes it would be nice to have far less interruptions and talkativeness. But, when everyone is giggling over the same little slip up or well placed comment, when a joke has been told and ripples of excitement tumble over each child and fill the room, it is the time to smile warmly. It is a time to remember that these days are the foundations of their lives. It is a time to remember that as teachers we are to bring them into a world that is beautiful. 

We hold the space. They are the ones who bring the joy. Every time.

Laughter is one of the greatest gifts we can receive from our children. Are we giving them the space to fall over with giggles and are we allowing ourselves a moment to join in?  R. Steiner brought a lot of wisdom to education, but this might be his greatest thought. To bring laughter; to create a safe place for happiness each day for every child.

It turns out that I do not do much at all. I hold the space, and let the children be children. It is not so much about making them laugh, as letting them laugh.

"For there is nothing better you can bring into the classroom than humour, and it is good for the children to laugh too, for is they always see the teacher come in with a terribly long face they will be tempted to make long faces themselves and to imagine that is what a person has to do when sitting at a desk in the classroom. But if humour is brought in and you can make the children laugh, this is the very best method of teaching. Teachers who are always solemn will never achieve anything with the children."

Rudolf SteinerThe Kingdom of Childhood

Image: Celia Portail 


An fun and exciting event is in the works: The Family Spring Dance! It will likely be in May and we are currently looking for a Dance Planning Committee. The idea behind this event is to celebrate our school community.  Come and help create our celebration - contact either Janet or Marussia.

An important Parent Council Executive position has been filled, the Treasurer. Please welcome Anna Horel. She is the parent of Nicholas in Class 2/3 and Kailey in Class 6/7.  Thank you Anna and we look forward to what you bring to our community.

We are working on a new Hot Lunch program. Parent Lucie, of Grace in Kindergarten and Rose in preschool, grew up in Czechoslovakia where she ate hot lunches at school. All the children ate together in community. Lucie has lasting memories of these times and is wanting to bring some of that joy to our school. She is working with Kristi and needs 1 or 2 more committee members to really get this program going. Does this interest you? Please contact Marussia at the school office.

Fun Fridays are up and running. Thank you Kristi and Marussia for being the committee who bring us this fun time of connections. At the last council meeting we voted to purchase our very own popcorn machine and it will be here soon! Kristi and her husband Josh are a new school family and have Jude in Class 1-2 and Alistair in Class 2-3.

Your Parent Council minutes from the last meeting, January 20, will be posted outside your child’s class bulletin board.




There are openings available in the Thursday-Friday program of the Periwinkle Preschool. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Wendy Poole, Lucia Perez, or administrator Marussia Nesling for more information. 

Experience a morning in our Early Childhood programs - for families with children aged 0-6. This is a wonderful way for new families to test-drive our school - please spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested!
Mark your calendars! A workshop for faculty and parents on building relationships - March 7th 6:30-8:30 in the Kindergarten classroom (Cedar Schoolhouse). The workshop is available for a suggested donation of $5.00/person.

Eric Bowers is a Vancouver-based CNVC (Certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer) with extensive training in Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory. Eric has a passion for helping people create great relationships. In his experiential and playful workshops, Eric combines Nonviolent Communication, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory to teach skills for building inspiring relationships. 

For more on Eric: 

Further workshop details coming soon!
Moving Toward Wholeness is an upcoming Women's Wellness Retreat Day. The retreat will explore Spatial Dynamics and will be led by Heather Lanier and Jane Williams, taking place March 12th 2016 from 10am-5pm at Creekside Commons. The cost to register is $100. For more information and to register, please visit the event's Facebook page or contact Michelle Nagle via email or phone 250-334-3038.
Needle felted gnome - by French needle felting artist Celia Portail 
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