Fall Hootenanny Festival!

Join us for a festive children’s morning with live music, crafts, apple pressing, puppet storytelling, sing-a-longs, harvest parade, snacks and more. A fun event for the whole family!

Open to the public and free of charge.

 

Saturday, October 18th

10am-12noon 

 

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2014 Summer Camps!

Preschool and Kindergarten Children at Seacoast Waldorf School

The Seacoast Waldorf School is excited to offer six summer camps over three weeks,  July 7th-25th, 2014.All six week-long camps will take place on our school campus taking advantage of its many beautiful acres of surrounding forest, trails and ponds.  The camps serve children ranging in age from 3 years old to 12 years old.  Space is limited! To read details and register children for summer camp  click here

 

 

What is Anthroposophy?

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I spent the weekend of March 21st-23rd in Freeport, Maine attending the AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) Northeast regional conference held at Merriconeag Waldorf School. The conference was attended by over one hundred and fifty people representing Waldorf schools from all six New England states as well as the province of Quebec.  The keynote speaker was Florian Oswald, the head of pedagogy at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. The Goetheanum is also the world headquarter of the General Anthropological Society. Hearing Mr. Oswald’s thought provoking and inspirational speeches got me thinking more about what exactly is Anthroposophy? As a parent in a Waldorf school (not to mention a Director) I felt compelled to learn more about this important underpinning of this highly effective form of education.

I feel fairly well versed in the benefits of a Waldorf Education for children: integrated free play, art and music which develop neural pathways, original thinking and executive function, handwork and form drawing to develop fine motor skills and higher ordered thinking, rhythmic teaching via a concentrated main lesson and four week blocks for true retention of information and fostering curiosity, early introduction of foreign languages, much active year-round time spent outdoors developing a reverence for the beauty of earth, etc…and that is just the tip of the iceberg!  I have no doubt that our children receive much freedom, inspiration and fortitude from their Waldorf Education everyday.

What I was not at all as familiar with, and sometimes wondered about, is the philosophical basis underlying this very creative yet deliberate system of teaching: Anthroposophy.  I share with you what I have learned in the hope of not only de-mystify Anthroposophy but also embracing it for what it is: a key component in Waldorf Education’s evolution into the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.  Anthroposophy is a broad philosophy founded by Rudolph Steiner that has been applied practically in Waldorf Education, biodynamic agriculture, medicine, ethical banking, special education (the Camphilll Movement) and organizational development. The term Anthroposophy comes from the Greek words for “human” and “wisdom”.

Generally speaking, Anthroposophy advocates inner development of the human being’s intuition or inspiration, in order to develop our abilities of perceptive imagination beyond just sensory experience. This is often done via meditation, reflection, sleep, envisioning etc.  Anthroposophy, as a study, strives to apply the precision of science to investigations of such intuition. The idea is that when we have a powerful experience of imagination or intuition it is supported by a spiritual source which exists to help us – some may call this source the realm of the whole of shared human consciousness, some may call it God, some may call it the spiritual world, some may call it angels;  the terminology is entirely a personal choice.  The point is that intuition on the level of genius comes from somewhere beyond our own personal experiences.

Please note,  Anthroposophy is the philosophical foundation of Waldorf Education, it is not taught to children! Teachers and staff study Anthroposophy and strive to use it’s techniques in their work. For example, if a student is having a difficult behavioral issue, the teacher might make observations of that child, meditate that evening on the concerns – holding the child in the highest regard – and then sleep on it and see what ideas or inspiration they awaken the following day. Another example are the highly creative, sometimes impromptu lessons Waldorf teachers are famous for — where did these brilliant, on-the-spot ideas come from that reach the children exactly where they need to be reached in that moment, in that lesson, on that day? Some would say they come from the teacher’s previous Anthropological practices of meditation and reflection leading to their heightened imagination and intuition in the moment.

It is important to also note that Anthroposophy is not a religion. As a philosopher and writer, Rudolph Steiner’s work touched upon elements of many organized religions including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim and Hindu faiths. According the U.S. Center for Anthroposophy, “Anthroposophy is a method of inquiry, a path of research, rather than a fixed set of ideas. Rudolf Steineronce characterized Anthroposophy as an upside-down plant, with its roots in the heavens (the world of the spirit) and its blossom and fruit in practical life on earth. This ‘growing down’ means that clear insights born of disciplined spiritual research can help us re-enliven the practice of education, health, farming, technology, and countless other areas of daily life.”

There are about 10,000 institutions around the world working on the basis of Anthroposophy today including sixteen Waldorf schools affiliated with the United Nations’ UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, which “sponsors education projects that foster improved quality of education throughout the world, in particular in terms of its ethical, cultural, and international dimensions”.*   And many Waldorf schools receive full or partial governmental funding in European nations, Australia and in parts of the United States (as Waldorf Education charter schools).

Overall Athroposophy is a very optimistic philosophy advocating the spiritual dimension of all human beings and advocating our ability to use our spiritual abilities of intuition, imagination and inspiration to improve the work we do.  This conference was a truly enjoyable learning experience for me and I invite anyone interested in learning more about Waldorf Education, its teaching practices, history or underlying philosophy of Anthroposophy to attend an AWSNA conference.  If you are intrigued by this article and wish to discuss it or the study of Athroposophy as related to Waldorf Education,  I would welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation or even organize a study group.
* Agenda Fact Sheet, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization dated 18 April 2001

Sports Illustrated Reporter to Speak at Seacoast Waldorf School

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Keep Your Kid in the Game!  
Friday, April 11th –  7pm
How to Strike a Balance Between Fun and Performance in Youth Sports:  a lecture by Sports Illustrated reporter Luis Fernando Llosa

Three out of four kids quit youth sports by the age of thirteen and orthopedic doctors are seeing a dramatic increase in serious repetitive sports injuries in kids, previously reserved for professional athletes.  In this talk we examine common problems which can curtail a young athlete’s development and find out how you can keep your kids enjoying sports in a healthy way. 

Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment (Lyons Press), co-authored with Kim John Payne (Simplicity Parenting) and Scott B. Lancaster (former National Football League youth sports director) is a candid, practical guide to help parents navigate the fanatical, results-obsessed world of youth sports. On Friday night, April 11th, co-author of Beyond Winning Luis Fernando Llosa speak at the Seacoast Waldorf School highlighting his concerns about youth sports today and offer suggestions for change.

Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling Seacoast Waldorf School at 207-686-3140.
Luis Fernando Llosa PhotoMr. Llosa has made more than 500 national and local television and radio appearances, including CBS Evening News, CBS Early Show, CNN, FOX, FOX News,  Nancy Grace, Univision, and CNBC, NPR, ESPN Radio and The Jim Rome Show to discuss sports-related issues.  An award winning former Sports Illustrated reporter, Luis Fernando Llosa exposed Little Leaguer Danny Almonte’s 2001 age fraud, which was ranked among the top ten sports scandals of the past century. Llosa was also the most sourced journalist in the Mitchell Report on Steroids in Major League Baseball and broke stories on boxer Shane Mosley’s use of EPO and testosterone and the federal indictment of New York Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Rodomski. In 2008 he co-wrote “Sins of a Father” a Sports Illustrated exclusive about a 13-year-old in-line skater injected with HGH and testosterone by his father, who became the first parent ever convicted and jailed for providing his child with steroids. That story was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress during the Roger Clemens hearings and referenced in those proceedings.
Location: Seacoast Waldorf School 403 Harold L. Dow Highway, Eliot, Maine 03903
Date & Time:  Friday, April 11th  7pm
Cost: $15 per ticket.

Turning Education on its Head: New Research Discovers How Children Really Learn

classroom4Recent discoveries in neuroscience have completely changed our picture of how human beings learn. In this ground-breaking talk Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D. will review the contemporary research which sheds new light on how—and for how long—our brains develop.

New neurological research shows that the brain behaves less like a “hard-wired” computer and more like a dense forest in which pathways appear through repeated use and disappear through neglect. The implications of this research for the future of education are powerful, especially since the neurological functions of children and young adults do not fully develop until they reach their early twenties. Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D., will explore how education can spur children to develop their powers of multiple intelligence.

This not-to-be-missed lecture will show parents, educators, and doctors the newest research about how our brains work, with a special emphasis on our children’s brains. We all know our kids are smart but their special skills and intelligence  may not always be able to be measured by schools and tests. How can we foster our children’s own special brand of intelligence? How can we help them become creative problem solvers who can face the world’s challenges? This lecture led by Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D. should be “required” attendance for all educators and parents.

Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D., has been an educator for more than 30 years, is currently Director of the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, NH and  co-Director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education.

Date: Friday, March 28, 2014

Location: Seacoast Waldorf School

Time: 7pm-9pm

Cost: $10 per person

Space is limited. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly suggested. To purchase tickets click here.

For more information, please call the school office at 207-686-3140.

Come in out of the cold! Free Saturday Children’s Winter Warmer Morning 1/25

Snowmen!

Come in out of the cold and enjoy a fun Saturday Children’s Winter Warmer Morning! This family-friendly event is a free gift from the Seacoast Waldorf School to the wider community. Come enjoy music, food, free play and a puppet story time in our warm and cozy building from 10am-12noon on Saturday, January 25th. For more information call 207-686-3140.

 

 

Support Our School!

Outdoor play at Seacoast Waldorf School

Outdoor play is a way of life at Seacoast Waldorf School

Seacoast Waldorf School has launched their 2013 Annual Appeal Campaign.! The campaign runs from 11/22 until 12/20. The Annual Appeal campaign is essential to the day to day operations of our school and relies on a communal spirit of gratitude and giving…as most of you know, tuition covers only 70% of the full cost of a Waldorf education.The goal this year is to raise the $20,000 needed towards teacher and staff salaries, building maintenance, program development and other expenses related to the education of our children. The Annual Appeal also enables the school to make vital investments that seed new initiatives, create a rich and meaningful curriculum, support outreach and strengthen community ties.

Help us Reach our Goal of 100% Participation!

Our goal is to see 100% participation by our families. Your participation is critical in demonstrating our joint commitment to the school and this metric is considered when organizations are awarding grants and other funds.

Donate Today!

Please support us today with your tax-deductible gift towards the 2013/2014 Annual Appeal.Click the donate button below to make a secure gift via PayPal or credit card or download an Annual Appeal form.


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Why This Parent Chose Waldorf Education Over Public School For Her Two Children

At the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for our new building I shared how I had once heard one of our original founders say “every community needs to have a Waldorf school” and admitted that at the time I didn’t quite understand why she would make that claim. Now, five years into my own children’s journey between public and private education and having become familiar with the methodology of the Waldorf curriculum, I understand perfectly. Here are my top three reasons why I agree that Waldorf education should be available in every community and why we are so fortunate to have a Waldorf school in our own backyard.

A Seacoast Waldorf Student proudly displays his self-created math lesson book.

A Seacoast Waldorf Student proudly displays his self-created math lesson book.

Foremost, I have never met a more passionate and dedicated group of teachers. Waldorf teachers are by far the most enthusiastic educators in the world. They are in love with their curriculum, methodology and their students. Each morning Waldorf teachers greet every child at the classroom door by name, shake their hand and make eye contact. They are genuinely devoted to these children’s academic and life success. They devise extremely interactive and creative lessons which often require them to work long days in preparation, they frequently make themselves available for school events on weekends and have chosen to train and teach in the Waldorf method because they believe in it. (It is certainly not for the pay!) Unfortunately in conditions of overcrowded classrooms, institutionalized teaching procedures and forced standardized testing curriculum, most public school teachers are frustrated rather than enthusiastic. In an age where too many children hate school or exhibit a variety of classroom disrupting behaviors, by sharp contrast, Waldorf students are excited to come to school. Upon arriving at school this September I heard a child declare to his parent “I love coming here!”. Shouldn’t every student be saying that? Waldorf teachers create a vibrant learning environment which promotes joyful learning. This positive experience of school creates a lifelong love of learning. This is a far reaching gift I feel I am giving to my children.

Second, the Waldorf curriculum, though developed almost one hundred years ago in 1919, couldn’t be more appropriate for preparing our children and grandchildren for a future we cannot predict. Through its use of experiential learning Waldorf education teaches to a multitude of learning styles; visual, auditory, artistic, kinesthetic and many others, creating in the children the ability to synthesize new information and problem solve from many modes. Through the use of biographical stories and fairy tale characters the children create a vivid emotional interest in new material being presented and retain information for the long term. Creativity is included in every lesson – math, science, reading, writing and of course the traditional arts & music programs. This permeating facet of creativity in all lessons promotes critical and original thinking, advanced problem solving skills, clear self-expression and the strong self confidence needed to create something from scratch. These are all skills that tomorrow’s innovators are going to need. Unfortunately, most traditional American public schools teach only in two dimensions and the lessons are primarily passive. Lessons in Waldorf Education are three dimensional and very, very active! There is a saying; “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.” Waldorf Education involves the student from their earliest sensory experiences in the nursery school program to living history lessons in the elementary grades. I cannot imagine a better preparation for the twenty-first century for my children than the ability to creativity problem solve, collaborate, generate original thought, communicate clearly and have self-confidence in their ability to produce results.

German lesson

German lesson

Finally, the Waldorf curriculum cultivates awareness of the the larger world around the student. Awareness of multiculturalism is presented through study topics broadly ranging from ancient Hebrew Sukkah dwellings to festivals celebrating the good deeds of the Celtic Saint Michael to singing of an African lullabye, “allunde, allunde” in the early childhood program. Also, awareness of the global environment and the human place in it, is present every day in a Waldorf School. All Waldorf students spend a significant portion of each day outdoors enjoying our beautiful five acre wooded campus, working in our outdoor farm classroom with the chickens and vegetable beds or taking nature hikes at one of our picturesque local mountains. As my seven year old son told his former public school friends, “Recess is never canceled at my Waldorf school!”. Waldorf students learn to experience and appreciate all of nature’s seasons from spring mud to winter sledding. Waldorf children also build their awareness of the greater world around them by learning not one but two foreign languages beginning at age six. This is a full seven years earlier than most public schools offer foreign language study. I believe all of these – cultural awareness, environmental gratitude and early exposure to foreign languages are the building blocks for developing a child’s sense of social responsibility. I certainly want my children to be good global citizens and a Waldorf education is strongly supports the early foundations for that.

These gifts of a joyful learning experience, self-confidence built on original thinking and the building blocks of adult social responsibility are just a few of the reasons I have chosen to enroll my children in a Waldorf school. There are so many others. I am moved when I imagine the difference a generation of Waldorf graduates might go on to make in our world! Yes, indeed, there should be a Waldorf school in every community. I am so grateful we have ours.