The school yard was filled with proud, smiling faces today as the new first graders of the Seacoast Waldorf School were welcomed with a rose!During this beautifully simple and heartfelt ceremony, the oldest students in the school greeted the first graders one by one, handing them each a rose as they began their journey through the grades. Entering first grade is an enormous change for children, and the giving and receiving of the flower gives a special significance to their growth, and their transition out of early childhood and into the grades program. The Rose Ceremony is a tradition that is performed on the first day of the school year at Waldorf schools all across the globe, and has been since the early 1900’s when Waldorf Education began. It is just one of the many traditions performed at the Seacoast Waldorf School to celebrate and honor the children and their families as they experience important milestones in their lives.
Most Likely to Succeed? New Film Challenges The Way We Think of School
Showing: Wednesday, January 6th at 7pm at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NHSixty five percent of today’s grade school students will go on to work in jobs that haven’t yet been invented. That’s according to Most Likely To Succeed, a new documentary designed to challenge the way we think about education. It argues that the American education system is preparing students for jobs in an economy that no longer exists, and that by focusing so heavily on testing, we’re leaving our children uninspired and unprepared for life after school. The documentary, sponsored by the Seacoast Waldorf School, will be the featured film in the Portsmouth Music Hall’s Film Matters Series, Wednesday, January 6th at 7pm at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. To purchase tickets click here The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the film’s Executive Producer and the founder of the school featured in the movie. The evening is aimed at getting people talking about a number of questions:
- In today’s talent-driven economy, where can a truly effective education system take us?
- What would it look like?
- What goals must education satisfy to achieve that vision?
Earlier this month, the students, faculty and administration - joined by parents, grandparents, family and friends - gathered together to celebrate Michaelmas. A little-known festival, Michaelmas is observed at Waldorf Schools across the globe and celebrates St. Michael, the protector of humanity, who according to fifth century tradition, in battle tames a dragon to save the kingdom. Because the celebration falls near the equinox, it is often associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.In keeping with tradition, this year's Michaelmas celebration took place in Seacoast Waldorf School's playgrounds and outdoor spaces and began with the grade school children and teachers reciting verses and singing as the nursery, preschool and kindergarten children and their families looked on. The stories and verse contained themes of courage, light conquering dark, inner strength, and deeds of goodness. Families, students and faculty then gathered at picnic tables for a delicious outdoor feast of soup (made by the children), corn bread, cider and apple crisp and time together enjoying the beautiful sunny day before heading indoors to tour the children’s classrooms. The Michaelmas festival reminds us to both summon and honor the courage displayed each and every day – in noble acts big and strong. It reminds us to be a champion for others, to look for the good in all and to always strive toward our fullest human potential.
Earlier this month, the American Journal of Public Health published an important study on the relationship between a 5-year old’s social competence and their ‘future wellness’ as adults. The study, which followed nearly 800 kindergarteners into adulthood, concludes: “"Kindergarten pro-social skills were significantly and uniquely predictive of whether participants graduated from high school on time, completed a college degree, obtained stable employment in young adulthood, and were employed full-time in young adulthood.” In other words: Early childhood is the foundation of a healthy, productive life. Kids who developed social and emotional skills during their preschool years fared better in school, were more likely to stay gainfully employed, and were more likely to stay out of trouble as adults. As more and more schools focus on academics at younger and younger ages, Waldorf schools take a different approach – centering the early childhood curriculum around experiential learning, developing skills and confidence via imaginative play, practical life skills, and artistic opportunities. "Traditionally, we're focused much more on academic achievement and more and more we're realizing through many studies that academic achievement is only one part of making somebody successful," said Damon of Penn State University, lead researcher for the study Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness. In a Waldorf kindergarten classroom, the child becomes accustomed to working within a group, listening to stories, interacting with a teacher, and following a daily routine. Most importantly, a Waldorf kindergarten gives young children the gift of free play. Self-directed free play allows children to process what is happening in their own lives and helps children to self-regulate, to share and take turns, to collaborate, create and problem-solve. It is from these interactions that they develop open-hearted kindness and consideration and respect for others – all skills that are critical to a person’s long-term well-being. Waldorf schools teach young children empathy with the goal of helping them develop into morally responsible, integrated individuals with a high degree of social-emotional intelligence. A Waldorf early childhood education imbues a lifelong love of learning, social and emotional intelligence, the ability to think creatively and solve problems and an appreciation for a deeper connection to the world. Learn more. Visit www.seacoastwaldorfschool.org or call 207-686-3140 to schedule a private tour of one of our beautiful early childhood classrooms.
Last week, Seacoast Waldorf School celebrated the harvest festival of Michelmas. First, with a re-enactment of St. Michael, the protector of humanity, battling the dragon to save the kingdom. Then, grade school children and teachers gathered on the sunny slope of the early childhood playground to sing and recite verses as the nursery, preschool and kindergarten children and friends and families looked on. The stories and verse contained themes of courage, light conquering dark, inner strength, and deeds of goodness.
Families, students and faculty then moved to the grades playground for an outdoor feast of soup, corn bread, cider and apple crisp and time together enjoying the beautiful sunny day before heading indoors to tour the classrooms. The Michelmas festival reminds us to both summon and honor the courage displayed each and every day – in noble acts big and strong. It reminds us to perform acts of kindness - to make good choices even when no one is looking and to seek the good in others.
Wednesday, September 3rd, marked the first day of the 2014/2015 school year for children in first through fourth grade at Seacoast Waldorf School. On the first day of school each year, we welcome the incoming first grade class with a Rose Ceremony, a rite of passage honored in Waldorf Schools all over the globe. The faculty and grades children gather together as the kindergarten teachers lead the students onto the campus to greet their new Grade 1 teacher with a handshake, and to receive a rose from the eldest grades class. Welcome first graders!