Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Study Group Cancelled this week 11/14

Dear Parents,

This week's study group will not meet because Miss Svetlana will be accompanying the 4th grade field trip.

We will resume next Wednesday, 11/21.


Monday, November 5, 2012


Dear Parents,

I hope you, your family and friends, and your community is safe and warm during this difficult for our city and beyond time. I am so grateful for all the simple pleasures of life, my home, heat, electricity, and food. I hope more people will get back to their normal life as soon as possible.

I would like to invite you to our next study group meeting, this Wednesday, from 9:30 to 11 am. Please let me know if you can come. If you cannot please feel free to use this blog as another way to communicate, socialize, and learn from each other.

This Wednesday, we'll be talking about teachers and parents, the joys and lessons of being a teacher or a parent.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Chapter 4 Grade School

Last Wednesday we had our 4th meeting. Lisa, Kathleen, and I talked about Waldorf Grade School.

Kathleen's son is in the 1st grade. She was wondering about the way we teach reading and how it evolves. She appreciates the imagination and creativity that her son's 1st grade teacher uses to teach letters. She mentioned how disconnected her son felt when learning to read in his public school last year. In the book, Jack Petrash gives a great example of a story for letter K (king) and letter C that makes sound k (castle's cat that appears when the king is too busy). We talked how the stories, songs, and verses we learned as children can explain very difficult concepts and stay with us our entire life. Lisa recalled a math song she learned in school that helped her to udnerstand a math concept.

Then we talked about competitiveness and how Waldorf education works with it. I mentioned that starting everything from the whole reinforces the sense of community. Being with the same group of children and the main teacher for several years also fosters the feeling of interconnectedness. Of course, competitiveness is a reality of our modern life, especially in New York. In Waldorf school, we're just showing that there are other ways to inspire learning and growing.

The question of staying in one group and having the same main teacher for up to 8 years came up next. I shared my school experience of being with the same group of children for 8 years and having the same teacher first for 4 years and then for 4 more. We talked how being in one group often teaches important social and emotional skills. Academically, seeing your friends learn and master new skills with or without struggle demonstrates the importance of patience and courage for learning.

Kathleen mentioned that her son is excited about having the same teacher next year but she is wondering what it is like to experience the same teaching style for more than two years. The children in grades school do have other subject teachers. In the 1st grade they usually have at least 6 more teachers in addition to their class teacher. In upper grades the amount of subject teachers often increases. The class teacher has to adjust her teaching style every year to meet new needs of a growing child.

Next meeting we will finish our discussion about the class teacher and will start a new one about Waldorf High School curriculum. Feel free to chare your comments and/or questions on the blog.

"The greatest scientists are artists as well. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world."
Albert Einstein 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter 3: Early Childhood

Today a discussion was held about Early Childhood and Chapter 3.  The conversation centered around parental connection with the young child and possible deeper study of Steiner's thoughts on attachment and breastfeeding in early childhood.  We also spoke about the unique, creative, and practical methods Waldorf teachers use in class.  There was a focus on the Thoreau quote that begins the chapter which relates to precociousness. Svetlana spoke about the recession of intellect as a dominant force and bringing to children a sense of connection to the earth, the world, and to each other. 

Was there something new you learned or something specific you felt connected to while reading Chapter 3?  Do you have any questions about Chapter 3 that a trained Waldorf teacher can answer for you?  Please post in the comments below and join the study especially if you are unable to attend our Wednesday meetings.

Next Chapter for Wednesday, 10/17, Chapter 4: The Grades

Join us in the Library after Coffee Hour and enjoy a brief tour of the adult selection of books available as well!

Irene & Svetlana
Chapter 3 Quote:
"I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings.  We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected.  Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Meeting Time

Next meeting is this Wednesday, October 10, from 9:30 to 11 am, at the library. We hope this time will work better for everyone. You are welcome to come in at any time.

Feel free to continue the conversation on our blog by posting comments.


From Svetlana: First Meeting

Hello All and thank you for your interest in our Fall Study Group!

We had our first meeting last Wednesday, October 3rd and we discussed the first two chapters of Understanding Waldorf Education. If you don't have the book yet, you can order the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Waldorf-Education-Teaching-Inside/dp/0876592469/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349716917&sr=1-1&keywords=jack+petrash

Our first conversation led us to the discussion of the needs of a young child in our modern world, particularly the protection of his/her senses and respect for the world of a young child. We also began talking about the tools and methods of an early childhood teacher in Waldorf schools.

Next Wednesday we'll continue the conversation about the Waldorf early childhood curriculum. Please prepare by reading Chapter 3. 

I'd like also to hear from you if an earlier start time would serve you better (9-10:30 am). I'd love to hear your feedback.

I'm looking forward to seeing you soon at the library!

~Svetlana Zabolotnaia
Verse for Week 2:
We are not granted a rest on any step
The active man must live and strive
from life to life,
As plants renew themselves
from spring to spring,
So man must rise
Through error to truth,
From fetters into freedom,
Through sickness and through death
To beauty, health, and life.
-Rudolf Steiner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beginning Together

This Fall, we will gather in the school library on Wednesdays from 10AM-11:30AM to study Understanding Waldorf Education by Jack Petrash.

Parents who are not able to join us on Wednesday mornings can read the book and follow along online to share their comments and read re-caps of our meetings.  

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 3rd from 10-11:30AM in the school library.  Copies of the book are still available.  Please come prepared to discuss chapters 1 & 2: "Broadening Horizons" and "Head, Heart, and Hands".

Verse for Week 1:
The wishes of the soul are springing,
The deeds of the will are thriving,
The fruits of life are maturing,

I feel my fate,
My fate finds me.
I feel my star,
My star finds me.
I feel my goals in life,
My goals in life are finding me.

My soul and the World are really one.

Life grows more radiant about me,
Life grows more arduous for me,
Grows more abundant within me.

Rudolf Steiner