Saltwater Tides: March 2016
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In the heart of a seed
Buried deep, so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.

"Wake!" said the sunshine
"And creep to the light,"
"Wake!" said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.

The little plant heard,
And it rose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.


Image: Marjan Van Zeyl; Verse: Kate Louise Brown
FROM REBECCA'S DESK: A NOTE FROM OUR PEDAGOGICAL COORDINATOR

This weekend I had the eye-opening experience of attending the annual VIU Conference on Educational Leadership.  There were four keynote speakers from within BC, and 27 recent Masters of Educational Leadership graduate speakers.  The Conference was attended by 300 people, mostly educators and administrators from all over BC, particularly the Island.  All of the speakers were bringing new and innovative ideas, research and tools to share with other teachers and administrators.  

The topic headings of the presentations I was able to attend were:  "Teaching through Inquiry", "Community Explorations", "Place-based Education", "Inquiry based Learning", "Mindfulness in Teaching" and "Transformational Leadership".  As I sat and listened to the speakers I was struck over and over by how excited both the presenter and the audience were with the exciting and cutting-edge  ideas being shared.  I was delighted to observe the nodding heads and hear the satisfied clapping at the conclusion.  Why? you ask.  Because all of these ideas, these cutting edge ideas, are very much what Waldorf education has been doing for over 100 years.  

I felt validated and inspired by the excitement that a Waldorf way of teaching and governing effected a huge audience.  No one mentioned Waldorf and yet they were all sharing ideas that have been successful for us for a long time.  This made me feel invigorated to share with the wider community what we do here.  That our system is a system of inquiry in every lesson, everyday, a system where we rely on the connections with our community to teach our curriculum (like farming in grade three, apple harvest in Kindergarten, first nations studies in grade four, botany in grade five, history, geography, etc), a system that gets involved with our immediate community (place-based) through Winter Faire, Tin Town days, Creekside connections, Project Watershed and others, a system that teaches mindfulness through reverence, values, simplicity, routine and daily rhythm and a place where teachers and staff share leadership, care for each other and communicate with dedication and love.  

I love this place.  I'm going to tell the world about Waldorf today.           

                                                                                  -Rebecca Watkin

IMPORTANT DATES: MARCH
MARCH 10: 
PAC Meeting
2:00-3:00 at Playhouse Cafe
MARCH 18-APRIL 4: 
Spring Break! 

 
Follow Saltwater School on Facebook for event updates! Click on this button to visit the page.


Class 4-5 has been studying Ancient Egypt. Can you guess who got mummified? The mystery will be revealed in the next newsletter! 
SOCIAL INCLUSION: THE SALTWATER APPROACH


THE HEALTHY SOCIAL LIFE IS FOUND WHEN IN THE MIRROR OF EACH HUMAN SOUL THE WHOLE COMMUNITY FINDS ITS REFLECTION, AND WHEN IN THE COMMUNITY, THE STRENGTH OF EACH INDIVIDUAL SOUL IS WORKING.                                   
                                -RUDOLPH STEINER

Image: hands4made.blogspot.ca

In the summer of 2105 Saltwater Waldorf School adopted the Social Inclusion Approach developed by Kim John Payne as his response to bullying, teasing and antisocial behaviour in the schools. Kim Payne developed his approach through his work as a counsellor, researcher and educator. He has been helping children, adolescents and families with social and emotional issues for over twenty years. The Social Inclusion Approach emerged out of this work and he has implemented this approach in many communities. 

The Social Inclusion Approach is based on these principles;

  • Conflict is an essential part of social interaction, and necessary for our growth.
  • Conflict is an essential part of social interaction, and necessary for our growth.
  • Conflict, in the form of bullying and teasing, if addressed, discourages it elsewhere. 
  • Bullying and teasing, if unchecked, creates long term damage (for both the perpetrator and the target). 
  • A no blame approach creates an atmosphere of acceptance (not of the behaviour, but of the players) and prevents bullying and teasing from going underground.
  • It is necessary that children be shepherded through conflict by consciousness and wisdom in order for there to be learning and peace. 

The Social Inclusion Approach adopts a similar process to that of the Restorative Justice in Canada, or of the renowned Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa. 

The premise is to intervene and mediate in bullying and teasing situations without bringing blame or punishment into the process. This encourages honesty of all those involved. Each person’s story gets told and heard, including all the missteps, and like a restorative process, the aggressing student experiences the impact his or her behaviour has on others and is held accountable for his/her actions. Resolutions are decided upon collectively, in order to improve the situation and restore harmony. The process fosters tolerance, understanding, compassion and peace. 

Social and emotional learning was at the core of Rudolph Steiner’s intentions for Waldorf education when the first school was founded in 1919 and it continues to be today. Educational researchers now recognize that social and emotional learning is a prerequisite for academic success. Waldorf pedagogy supports the social health of the student body with both implicit and explicit messages. 

To learn more about how Social Inclusion is being used at Saltwater Waldorf School please contact Sarah Nolin at sarah.n@saltwaterschool.com.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDWORK 

I would like to touch upon the importance of working with our hands.  It is becoming mainstream knowledge the value it has on our brain development and well-being.  Rudolf Steiner knew of the importance of this.  When we educate the hands, we are educating the child towards being a free human being. Generally speaking today, children learn simple hand movements such as typing, or swiping a screen.  The skills they learn in handwork are not about the product but about the process.  Learning skills such as knitting, crochet, cross stitch etc all have a relevance to the development of the child.   The process of carding wool from a sheep, spinning and knitting also help to build a relationship with the world around us so that we can appreciate where things come from and understand the footprint we make.    This article goes deeper on the value of working with our hands for a successful society. This short video is awesome and is discusses Steiner's indication about handwork and creativity.

Here is an indication by Rudolf Steiner:
"Teaching should now lead into the practical spheres of life. There are many people in the world who have no idea how much healthy logic and clear thinking can be developed through learning to knit. All the boys in the Waldorf schools knit a face-flannel and darn their own socks, just as the girls do. Whoever wants to be a good philosopher ought to know how to mend his shoes too. In some classes the child is also taught how to weave and spin and learns how paper is made. This handwork teaching, which is valued very highly in our schools, leads over later on to bookbinding. Bookbinding and box-making are learned. The importance of this lies far less in the actual binding of books than in the fact that the procedures connected with bookbinding are carried out at a certain age in the life of the child. This is of great importance for later life."

*This is a slightly abridged version of notes taken by Hedwig Hauck of the Swiss Teachers’ Course April 1923; 
Image: countrylifeexperiment.com

SCHOOL NEWS & EVENTS

"French classes across the school (grades 1-7) have been celebrating the Quebec Carnaval in February. As we move into March, we will be looking at Sugar Shacks- the season of the maple harvest. Some classes will experience "tire" at Mount Washington. We encourage you to take your family to the Cabane A Sucre happening March 12th in our very own Valley (see poster). This should be a lively event, and you may even have a chance to hear some francophone families in our midst. Enjoy!"
                       
                           -Mme. Simard



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!
MOVING TOWARDS WHOLENESS: A WOMEN'S WELLNESS RETREAT
Join instructors Heather Lanier and Jane Williams for 'Moving Toward Wholeness' - a Women's Wellness Retreat Day taking place on Saturday, March 12th at Creekside Commons.For more information about Spacial Dynamics,  visit spacialdynamics.com.  If you have questions about the workshop or would like to register, please visit the event's Facebook page or contact Michelle Nagle.
COMOX VALLEY PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY PRESENTS: IMAGEFEST 2016
Come one, come all to the camera club’s annual showcase to be held on Saturday March 19th at the Sid Williams Theatre. I’ll be selling my book, Still Moving, will have some prints on display, and have contributed a multi-media presentation. It would be wonderful to see you there, and promises to be a great evening since the camera club (now known as the Comox Valley Photographic Society) has many diversely-talented members.

Tickets are available through the Sid Williams Theatre, and there are still some great seats available. 

Cheers,
Karen Alexandre 
RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING WORKSHOP
FUN FRIDAYS: ONGOING
Psst: SALTWATER SCHOOL IS ON THE WEB! CONNECT HERE: 
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