“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
– Rudolf Steiner
Wellspring School is an educational community committed to the development of the emotional, practical, intellectual and spiritual qualities of the child through the Waldorf model of education. Wellspring strives to build a thriving school community through providing:
• A high-quality Waldorf education for children preschool through grade eight;
• A relationship with parents to build harmony between the school and home. The School strives to establish a common understanding of child development, the tasks of parenting and teaching, and the Waldorf curriculum;
• A contribution to the social, cultural, civic and educational life of our local communities by sponsoring workshops, lectures and concerts as well as actively contributing to local activities in our sending towns;
• Support for the growth of the Waldorf educational movement by our membership and participation in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) as a Developing Waldorf School.
Running a child care facility is a full-time job, involving interacting with children to care for them in return for their care being rendered. One of the most neglected areas in children’s care is the child’s relationship with their caregivers and service providers. Children care facilities should have a child care Supervisor and/or Head Start Teacher to oversee the activities and ensure that they are conducted smoothly. However, some staff may be idled by other immediate matters. Hence a provision should be made for their care.
One may wonder why more care is not being rendered to the children attending the various child care facilities. The simple answer is that care is dependent on the individuals who are providing it. The employees running the child care centers should have the required knowledge and skills to conduct activities with the children in a manner that helps to make them develop as individuals. This can be achieved only if the staff communalizes knowledge with the children and their parents.
To this, several skills are required not only for the teachers but for the care providers as well. They include the ability to communicate with the children; the ability to instruct; the ability to motivate; the ability to monitor; and the ability to interact and be with the children in a spirit of forgetfulness and patience.
Josie, a typical elementary school child cared for by three care providers, explains her appreciation of the care providers. “I love the person who is caring for me. I don’t know who did this work, but they are doing a good job of looking after me and learning about me the way my grandparents would have looked at me when they were growing up.”
In a similar vein, Amber, a young junior high school student, shared her observations of a kindergarten teacher: “The most important thing a teacher needs to do is to care about each of his/her students as if they are their own children. They must be able to notice when each child needs help and provide it accordingly. It also helps if the teacher is kind and caring. I remember when my teacher asked me and my friends to gather up and stack chairs instead of putting them back in the same order every time we met. I was so surprised by his kind gesture and his reminder that other people were like me – it reinforced the concept that the world is made up of everybody, regardless of their skin color or how many legs or arms.
These examples may seem trivial, but the situations these children faced inspired them to extremes. Children who feel loved and accepted by their teachers will be more likely to enjoy school and perform at their best. A positive attitude will help accomplish all the goals that a school has set for itself: academic success, improved learning, and development, capacity to provide support to students, and increasing their pride in their work.
The importance of character is manifested in the moral fiber of each child. It is what determines whether a child will be able to overcome many challenges that come at a later point in his or her life. A solid foundation for the character comes from the primary lived experiences of early childhood. Whatever challenges are placed in front of a child, he or she can perform well and overcome them with the help of this solid character foundation.
An important tenet of the Montessori approach is the promotion of values such as love, peace, and respect; the promotion of honesty; integrity; and personal control over one’s self. These values come from the way a child thinks, talks, and acts, and may not be evident to adults. However, they have the most profound effect on the world and all of its members.
When teaching through the Montessori Method, the focus is on the act of learning and doing. This is done in such a way that children are never punished for their lack of understanding. When they do something incorrectly, they are not punished. The Montessori philosophy says that a child’s learning is always more correct than what is taught by the teacher.
The world is a complicated place, and we often make choices that tear down the very things we hold dear. Children are made to transition from home to school, from school to home, from community to community. All this travel through the world crisscrossed by language barriers, economics, politics, changes in values, and new interests breaks many of our children. The job of social workers is to bridge these gaps and help young people embark on the journey to self-determination. Face to face. Sometimes alone.
The child cannot wall off his/her problems. Acceptance, help, and growth are three equally important concepts to any child. So how does the Montessori method fit in with this system? After all, the Montessori method is based on the principle of Entailment or developing the strength and endurance to face life’s challenges and the spirit to overcome them.
Literature is more than just critical essays or stories. It is also defined as any work of art literary or dramatic that has a theme, as well as the basic idea of an argument. The main difference between literature and stories is that stories have a beginning, while poems, plays, etc., do not. Many people would assume that literature involves only literature. This is not true. You can have a discussion about literature without addressing what kind of literature is being discussed. To define literature, that is to refer to works of literature, those works that have been passed down by word of mouth copied written down, or published.
People have different definitions for literature. A definition is a story, an idea, an event, a principle, a style, or anything else that is held to be worth more than mere words. People who read literary works gain a deeper knowledge of the thoughts of the writers. Reading the writings of artists and scientists helps people gain a perspective from different lives. It gives people a tool to improve their lives and reflect more on the lives of those around them.
Whenever people talk about literature, they usually talk about books. Literature refers to any work of imagination and interpretation. It is interesting to note that some people’s entire world is shaped by literature. This is usually seen in the form of a story, a collection of different stories, or a single story that has a meaning everyone tries to notice.
There are people who try to combine their reading and thinking skills. It is also a tool that can be used to help people improve their lives by improving their knowledge. A good example of this is the famed Charles Dickens. Every time you read one of his novels, you are always in the grasp of what life is like. The novels visually describe the life and its conditions.
Blue printing is the most common printing style for books. It is popular because it gives a smooth and delicate look, and is also unique. The text is usually in blue or some other cool color, and the cover art usually has a picture of some things, like a hero, or an old man.
The graphic novels are specifically for the adult audience. They don’t appeal to children because children’s concentration powers are not as developed as adults’.
Graphic novels are usually written to entertain and fun. The usual scene depicted is that of a hero who struggled to overcome some circumstances. Topanga books are specially designed for the younger audience.
‘Readers’ books’ are aimed at keeping children interested in literature. They might be educational, and make children enthusiastic about reading. These tend to be illustrations-based and employ many interesting techniques to draw the reader in. Illustrations are used to describe the text in pretty much each word.
The illustrations are usually done in such a way that we can understand the text better. We are able to discern the metaphysics of the novel from the text. A reader is able to recall certain details that he or she recognizes from the illustration.
Children’s books by Maria Montessori.
A Montessori book is simply a book intended for children. This is because the teacher will use the traditional book as a tool for teaching when it comes to teaching reading and writing. The difference is that in a Montessori book, the ‘text’ is never presented to us but instead something for us to experience and understand. This is intentional because, in traditional reading, we absorb the text without active participation.
With the Montessori method, we are able to actively ‘enjoy’ the text because we are allowed to become involved with the book. To follow the example of a preschooler, a child who has just fallen and is massaging his legs will read a sentence that says, “The sky is blue. In two mountains stands the third mountain. I think there are animals in the mountains.”
This example is actually very closely mimicking the typical Montessori teaching method. By explicitly involving us in the process of learning, we are able to hang emotive meaning on the sentences and actually interpret the meaning based on the meaning we are able to see.
In the same way that we develop our own interpretive interpretations of what we are reading, children who are taught by this method will develop their own way of interpreting and understanding what they read. So in practical terms, when we develop our own interpretive understanding of a subject, we know that we are working with the correct information.
The third method of education for children is the Montessori Method. It is a method that will work in all areas of education, not just reading and writing. Because of the way a Montessori classroom will be set up, it is possible to have an environment that is both child-friendly and stimulating for children.
Environmental clubs are a mainstay in schools and colleges. They reflect the school’s commitment to the community and the students’ eagerness to create positive change in the world. By establishing an environmental club, students acquire skills to identify problems, investigate alternatives, and propose solutions that will contribute to a better school environment and tread lighter on the earth. Whether you are just starting an environmental club or are looking for ideas to ramp up your activities in time for Earth Day, here are 3 questions to give your team focus and impact.
- Who is missing from the discussion?
Clearly, too many members in a club will hinder its ability to create a unified vision, make decisions, and carry out tasks. But a strategic sampling of students and teachers, who have strong ties to other groups of students, administrative staff, custodians and the school community, is necessary. Diversity of student participants will spread enthusiasm throughout the student body and avoid the stigma of an environmental clique. Encourage specific individuals to join the club. They may just need a little nudge.
Consider inviting special guests to participate during key discussions. If the custodians have not been consulted on the energy conservation efforts, or if the purchasing officer is not included in the investigation into green school and cleaning supplies, chances are high that your club will be seen as pushing an agenda, instead of creating momentum.
- Do the activities have meaning to those outside the club?
If the parents are told the school will start boomerang lunches and discover that means the lunchboxes will come home smothered in yogurt and half-eaten food scraps, will they understand the issue being addressed (i.e. to increase awareness of food and packaging waste, and not to transfer trash disposal responsibilities from the school to home)? Will they understand the impact of the activity? (The average school-age child generates 67 pounds of waste per school year, the equivalent of 13,000 pounds of waste per year for a school with 200 students.)
Of course, communication is key to creating understanding and ownership among everyone involved beyond the club membership. Regular communication will help teachers, students and parents keep the environmental issues on their minds. But rather than simply repeating your club’s message over and over, try sharing best practices, testimonials, where the school is at in meeting its goal, and any lessons learned.
- Have you gone beyond the cliche?
Think of ways to inspire your club beyond planting a tree and picking up litter in the park on Earth Day. Evidence of an inspired environmental club is when environmentally-responsible practices have permeated different aspects of the school, from daily operations to school ground greening to student learning. How about a green prom, field trips to the local landfill, or fundraisers to purchase eco-friendly school supplies? The Teens Turning Green chapter at San Rafael high school in California recently carried out a series of fundraisers, including hike-a-thons and bake sales to purchase 9 sets of Austen refillable and non-toxic dry-erase markers. Those 9 kits mean that the environmental club has saved 2,215 markers from going to the local landfill. There’s nothing like original ideas to inspire a school community into action.
Including the right people in your club’s discussions, generating a true appreciation for your activities, and thinking outside the box for original club activities should mobilize your club to take green to the next level.