Waldorf Alumn Wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Waldorf-educated neuroscientist Thomas Südhof, MD, and two others earned the prize for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic and for solving the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system.

Südhof, a graduate of the Hannover Waldorf School in Germany, is a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University.  Congratulations, Dr. Südhof!

Read more here: Thomas Sudhof wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Another German Nobel Prize winner had this to say about Waldorf education:

“The advent of the Waldorf Schools was in my opinion the greatest contribution to world peace and understanding…” – Willy Brandt, Former Chancellor of West Germany, 1971 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

Check out this list of other Accomplished Waldorf Alumni.

And, learn more abut Waldorf education at Seacoast Waldorf School’s Fall Open House this Saturday, October 19th, from 10am to noon.  Call 207-439-7911 for details.

Free Playgroup: An Introduction to Play the Waldorf Way

Free Baby / Toddler Playgroup
Friday, October 25
9-10:30 AM 

Free playgroup at Seacoast Waldorf SchoolSeacoast Waldorf School invites parents, toddlers and babies of the greater Seacoast area to a free playgroup hosted at our beautiful facility and grounds in Eliot, Maine.

Once a month, we welcome parents, caregivers and their young children (up to age 3) to drop in for a free playgroup.

In the warm, home-like environment of a Waldorf classroom, children enjoy the freedom to explore and test new skills in a safe and beautiful environment filled with natural materials and simple toys.  Outside time offers additional fun with sand and water play, gardening, and nature exploration.

Experience the beauty of the early childhood classroom at Seacoast Waldorf School

This is a parent led group.  Adults enjoy meeting other parents, learning simple songs and games to take home, and sharing insightful discussions about parenting issues.

Come meet other parents, make new friends and enjoy a casual morning of free play indoors and out.

Seacoast Waldorf School is located at 403 Route 236 (HL Dow Hwy), Eliot, ME 03903.

Click here for directions or call 207-439-7911.

Third Grade Farming Field Trip Offers Hands-On Learning

Wolf's Neck Farm Think back to your school years. What were the most memorable experiences? For most of us, working and visiting with people and places from outside of our day-to-day school environment are among the most memorable.

Studies show that the most effective education stems from real world applications in which students learn organically as a result of their school work. But, with budget cuts limiting field trip opportunities, avenues for teachers to provide  field experiential learning are dwindling.

Not so at Seacoast Waldorf School. Last week the third grade students embarked on their third field trip of the year – this time to Wolf’s Neck Farm a historic 626 acre farm on the Maine coast dedicated to sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and community well-being.

Seacoast Waldorf School farm campWaldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to education –  integrating the arts, practical arts and academics in order to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.  In Waldorf, the third grade curriculum includes an introduction to the basic practical aspects of food and shelter. Third graders are given an opportunity to work on the farm, where they learn about barnyard structures, livestock practices and agriculture.

At Wolf’s Neck Farm, surrounded by beautiful green pastures overlooking Casco Bay, the Seacoast Waldorf School third graders soaked up three days of sunshine while exploring life on the farm.

Third grader on farm camp tripThe first afternoon, after a tour of the farm, collecting more than two dozen eggs, and watching the ducks take a bath, the class headed to their campsite along the water’s edge via a hay wagon ride. Once at the campsite, they ate lunch, explored the shore, and unpacked their gear before heading back to the farm for more farm chores. Then, back to the camp site to set up their tents and settle in for a fitting meal of shepherds’ pie.

The following day, waking to the sound of hungry cows moo-ing, the third graders tended to the animals and then helped pick carrots, blue cabbage and other produce in preparation for the Freeport Farmer’s Market. That night, they bundled up and had lasagna by firelight before s’mores and a game of glow-tag.

The final day included collecting more eggs and feeding the pigs before packing up the campsite and heading back to school. The three days on the farm provided the children with dynamic, hands-on education about the food we eat, the animals and plants we depend on, and the environment around us.

WFN_sheep“I loved all the animals: the pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, ducks and rabbits, ” said third-grader, Seamus. “Each day, we fed the animals, made sure they had fresh water, and played with them. We even got to work together to help corral the sheep so they could get shorn.”

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.

Lecture & Workshop by “Simplicity Parenting” Author, Kim John Payne, Nov. 1 & 2

Simplicity Parenting Workshop at Seacoast Waldorf School

Kim John Payne to give Simplicity Parenting lecture and workshop November 1 & 2 at Seacoast Waldorf School

Today’s busier, faster, technology-centric society is compromising childhood. Faced with too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too little time, children become anxious and overwhelmed, have trouble with friends and school, or may even be diagnosed with behavioral problems.

In his critically acclaimed book, Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, internationally renowned author and family consultant, Kim John Payne, offers a clear and effective pathway to simplify four realms at home, which reduces stress on children and their parents, and allows room for connection, creativity and relaxation.

On November 1st and 2nd, as part of the new Seacoast Simplicity Parenting Center, Seacoast Waldorf School will be hosting Kim for a lecture and parent/educator workshop.

Nov. 1 Simplicity Parenting Lecture

On Friday, November 1st from 7-9pm, Kim explains why “less is more” and presents a step-by-step process you can take to help your child feel calmer, happier and more secure.

  • Step One: Simplify your environment
  • Step Two: Simplify food and mealtimes
  • Step Three: Simplify your family’s schedule
  • Step Four: Simplify the amount of information and involvement about the adult world

These changes ultimately reduce stress on parents and provide more opportunity for care, connection
and creativity with their children.

Admission for the lecture is $15.

Nov. 2 Simplicity Parenting Workshop

In the workshop on Saturday, November 2nd, 9am-1pm, Kim dives deeper into pathways-to-simplicity, allowing attendees to work one-on-one with Kim and other parents in attendance to discuss the lecture and address other parenting concerns, such as discipline and social resilience.

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to gain insight from a professional with 27 years of experience working as a family and school counselor, adult educator, researcher and as a consultant and trainer to over 110 U.S. independent and public schools.

Admission for the workshop is $45. Attend both the lecture and workshop for $50.

For more information about Kim John Payne and Simplicity Parenting visit www.simplicityparenting.com

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If you wish to pay by check, please send to Seacoast Waldorf School, 401 Harold L. Dow Highway, Eliot, ME 03903.

Farming and Outdoor Activities Promote Well-Being

Seacoast Waldorf School third-grader proudly displays first egg of the season

Seacoast Waldorf School third-grader proudly displays first egg of the season

Studies show that children (and adults) who frequently play outdoors and interact with nature reap benefits to their spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and mental well-being.

At Seacoast Waldorf School, children 18 months through fifth grade benefit from hands-on agricultural and environmental learning experiences each and every day.  From playing in the sandbox to tending to the chickens on the school’s ‘farm’, planting, watering and harvesting produce from the many raised garden beds, composting, and observing nature in the fields, woodlands and wetlands on our school grounds, students gain a deeper connection with nature.

Third graders learning how to care for Seacoast Waldorf School chickens

Third graders learning how to care for Seacoast Waldorf School chickens

Seacoast Waldorf School grade school students help with farm chores daily and use the diverse 5-acre campus for experiential studies that enhance their academic curriculum, particularly in the sciences, including zoology, botany, ecology, geology, physical science, and chemistry.

Education Expert, Sir Ken Robinson, on Creativity and Changing Educational Paradigms

While now nearly three years old, the animated video below – taken from a speech given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education expert and recipient of the RSA Benjamin Franklin award – still reflects the crisis in our current education system.

In this animated rendering of Ken Robinson’s talk, Robinson challenges the way the current public school system works and lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD.

Download a transcript of this video (pdf).

Ken Robinson champions a radical rethink of our school systems in order to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. Want to see what that might look like?  Check out Seacoast Waldorf School today. www.seacoastwaldorfschool.org

Join Seacoast Waldorf School for Crafts & Coffee – Wednesday, Oct.2

craftsandcoffee

In the Waldorf curriculum, the practicing of handwork includes, but is not limited to, knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, wet felting, paper crafts and machine sewing. These activities create a foundation for subjects such as physics, geometry, or other areas of math and science, while also improving children’s dexterity, concentration and feelings of self-reliance.

To learn more, download the article: Importance of Handwork in the Waldorf Curriculum

Seacoast Waldorf School is pleased to introduce a monthly craft series for parents and friends of the Seacoast Waldorf School.

crafts at Seacoast Waldorf SchoolThis month, on Wednesday, October 2nd, from 8:30 – 10:00am, join us as we make wool felted pumpkins for the holiday season. Seacoast Waldorf School handwork teacher, Erica Taylor, will be hosting this special morning craft event.

Suggested $5 donation for material. RSVP appreciated.  Call 207-439-7911.

 

Michelmas & Grandparents’ Day, Celebrated September 26th

The celebration of festivals is an important part of Waldorf education.

Michelmas at Seacoast Waldorf School

Seacoast Waldorf School Celebrating Michelmas

Our first festival of the school year is Michelmas, which will be celebrated on Thursday, September 26th.

Michaelmas, as it is observed in Waldorf schools, is the “festival of courage” celebrated as the earth traverses the tail end of the late summer meteor showers and the northern hemisphere begins to tilt away from the sun. Michael, the archangel who inspires courage, is associated with this festival time. Through the inspiration of this angelic being, the lowly peasant, George, was inspired to persevere, though the odds were stacked against him, to complete a daunting task, slaying the “dragon”.
Our Michaelmas festival includes a performance of the St. Michael play followed by refreshments. This year, Michelmas will also be celebrated on Grandparents’ Day. Parents and grandparents are invited to attend a presentation by the grades children starting at 10:45AM. This will be followed by a harvest lunch of vegetable soup, corn bread, apple crisp and cider on the playground. Grandparents are welcomed to tour the classrooms from 12-12:30.

 

Seacoast Waldorf School Marks Grand Opening and Gives Thanks to Seacoast

Seacoast Waldorf School Ribbon CuttingSeacoast Waldorf School, located 10 minutes outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the Seacoast-area’s only Waldorf school, today announced its ribbon cutting ceremony to be held Thursday, September 19, at its new location on 403 Route 236 , in Eliot, Maine.

Seacoast Waldorf School, serves children ages 2.5 through third grade with plans to expand to eighth grade. Parents choose Waldorf, the fastest growing educational movement in the world, for its:

  • Play-based early childhood programs that act as a natural extension of the home, allowing children to be children and freeing them to explore and learn in their own time
  • Celebration of nature and environmental awareness, a topic crucial to our future
  • Inclusion of music, arts and languages, at a time when these creative programs are being cut from traditional education programs, and
  • Academic excellence and small class sizes in the grades with less focus on testing and homework and more attention to original thought

The school welcomes the community to join us at noon on September 19th at the school’s new campus to celebrate the opening and recognize the following businesses and individuals without which the opening would not have been possible:

Ambit Engineering

Carl Aichele Construction Company

Engineered Building Systems Inc.

Infinite Imaging Company

Keller Williams Coastal Realty

Kennebunk Savings Bank

Liberty Bell Moving & Storage

Manypenny | Murphy Architecture

Matt Malone Construction

McEachern & Thornhill Attorneys at Law

Moriarty Electric Company

Northern Pool and Spa

P Gagnon & Son, Inc.

Petersen Engineering

Piscataqua Landscaping

Platinum Fence Company

Ron Raiselis of Strawbery Banke,

Site Structures Landscaping

Ultra Services Inc

Windward Consulting LLC

and the selectman and planning board of the town of Eliot
Please join us in honoring and thanking the above. Refreshments and classroom tours will be available.