WSB Sustainability Club partners with MOM’s Market to reduce waste

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This week, our Middle School Sustainability Club at the Waldorf School of Baltimore took a quick trip over to Mom’s Organic Market. Our students brought 4 shopping carts FULL of “Terracycling”. Terracycle collects waste that can’t be recycled through normal means- candy bar wrappers, batteries, and more.

During our visit, students learned about other ways of reducing our waste, discussed ways of improving their collection program with MOM’s staff, and had time to share a picnic lunch.

We are so very thankful to Mom’s Organic Markets for their collaboration, and look forward to working together to create a more sustainable Baltimore!

A Very Busy Spring!

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Here we go! The weather is warming and Waldorf School of Baltimore is taking notice.

Classes are out tending their gardens, the chickens have started to lay A LOT more eggs, and we are spending even more time in the Forest.

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The 4th Grade just returned from their class camping trip in the Catoctin Mountains. They had a wonderful time hiking, learning about local wildlife and playing flashlight tag.

Closer to home, the Forest Program is busy cooking over campfires and soaking up the rays of the warm spring sunshine. Whether we’re exploring nature near or far, our students and teachers are certainly making the most of this spring! Check back soon, we’re sure to have many more adventures in store.

 

Let the Sunshine In!

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Spring has sprung! 
The Waldorf Forest Program is making the most of the warm weather and longer days.
To start out talking about shelter (our theme for spring) Miss Jung told a story about two fairies trying to find shelter in the woods around the school. The children right away started making plans how the fairies could be helped: collect sticks, leafs, and other things to make shelters and houses.
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here we are enjoying our snack in the forest.

Our older group of students is learning to start a cooking fire with flint
(no matches or lighters here!)
They reviewed the safety rules with their younger peers before we all sat down for s’mores and (not too) scary stories.
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After our Spring Break is over and we come back to school, we will be getting ready to celebrate Earth Day! Enjoy the outdoors

The Lessons We Learn

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There are so so many huge concepts that teachers and parents feel responsible for imparting to our young charges. It is a daunting task, introducing someone to the notions of empathy, collaboration, self-reliance, reflection and confidence, to be sure.

We would do well to remember that so many of those same lessons were imparted to us not through the wise words of a mentor, but through the silent (and likely VERY intentional) modeling of a teacher, a peer, or the greatest teacher of all, our Mother Nature.

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I overheard this interaction recently, while in the forest with our students and teachers:

Ms. Jung: Hi there, M, watcha doing? It looks like you are trying to uproot this poor little tree.

Student M: Pulling on dis twee

Ms. Jung: Aw, Poor tree. Let’s not pull it. It wants to grow leaves in the spring.

Student M: Why?

Ms. Jung: So it can give us shade, and it can feed the animals

Student M: Oh. Otay. De twee wants to gwow?

Ms. Jung: Yes. It does

Student M: Otay

Our teachers work very hard to facilitate safe, revelatory experiences for our students, and sometimes the smallest interactions can have profound impacts. Student’s time in the forest gives them examples of caring for others, working together, and following through on plans. When we are climbing tress, balancing on fallen logs, or swinging from vines, we’re developing upper body strength, balance, courage, building self-esteem, gross motor skills, and learning how to experience joy. 

 

If we can muster the courage to throw the door of the world open wide and to then step back in courage and make room for new experiences, our reward is getting to experience again, as if for the first time, a true and pure sensation of joy and freedom.

IMAGINE Where We’ll Go!

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Our recent week at the Waldorf School of Baltimore has been filled with imaginative play and inclusive outdoor experiences. Some of our younger students in the Forest Program are excavating  ancient relics (or at least, interesting looking rocks) and preparing them for display in our Forest Program Museum of Odds and Ends.

Members of our Terracycle team are collecting recyclables and designing posters to better inform the student body.

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Our Terracycle program is in partnership with MOM’s Organic Markets, if you’d like to know more, click here

Other students are participating in the “Urban Agriculture” elective class. Participants are growing sprouts, micro greens and lettuce as they explore some of the creative ways of growing food in unexpected places.

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I’ll sign off today with the words of Dakota, one of our 4th graders:

     “I love playing in the woods, and I like to draw and I like TO EAT!!!”

 

 

Waldorf Makes the Most of Winter Weather

This week and last, Waldorf students displayed their resiliency by exploring the changes winter bestowed on the natural world. The key to enjoying nature, no matter the season, is appropriate clothing. A constant mantra in our Nature Studies and Forest After-School is:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!”

Once we’re all bundled up, the exploring can begin. We  admire the outdoors not just with our eyes, but with all our senses. During the coldest days this week, we stayed inside, working on planting plans for spring, learning about the magic of spirals, and started to write letters to local organizations asking for their support. Here is what Sam in 5th Grade wrote:

“Dear ________________,

We are 5th graders at the Waldorf School of Baltimore, and in Nature Studies we are doing a final project because once in middle school we will not have Nature Studies class anymore. For our project we have adopted a small part of the woods to create a native garden. A couple goals of our project are to stop invasive plants, and to build our class legacy. We know it will be amazing when we’re finished. We would greatly appreciate if you could donate seeds, soil, etc. Thank you

Sincerely,

     Sam

 

Please stay tuned, as every week brings new adventures in Eco-literacy.

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An Introduction.

 

 

 

The Waldorf School of Baltimore’s Sustainability program has been growing in incredible ways, and one of our goals in this new year is to do a much better job of sharing our successes, celebrations, and even missteps with you. WSB Sustainability hopes to add an important voice missing from our conversation- the sound of our future, brought to you by the students of our Waldorf school.

Each week  WSB Sustainability Blog will bring a new perspective from one of our students, as well as updates from our Forest Aftercare Program and new developments in our ongoing efforts to be (and share) our best selves in our community. 

The Forest Aftercare Program is also growing. We have three teachers working with our Sustainability Coordinator to offer a unique after-school experience. In every imaginable kind of weather, Ms. Brooks, Ms. Jung, and Ms. Ferguson wander into the forest to mentor and guide our students as they wonder at the growth around them, and puzzle at all the growth within themselves.

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My name is Jason, this is my first year as Sustainability Coordinator at Waldorf School of Baltimore. I have  inherited a fantastic program from my predecessors, and have continued growing the “TerraCycle” Partnership with MOM’s Organic Markets. The Waldorf chickens are in good hands, since I also run a sustainable farm. This year we are introducing a Middle School elective on urban farming, working to secure grant funds for a *special* community project, and learning Nature Studies in the elementary grades.

As an avid hiker, I have a unique opportunity to overhear a broad range of people’s responses to nature. One way of thinking about our journey is as a means to a scenic end, but there are far greater opportunities for reflection here. While some monuments fail to live up to the hype, perhaps it is more beneficial if we look at them as milestones- moments in which our natural world demands we pause. Now, I’m inviting you to look at how far we’ve come together already, and help me search for clues to as to what might come next. As the impulse for reflection builds to resolve, we turn our eyes to the next leg of our journey.

Please check back frequently, every week brings new adventure!

Jason Reed

Sustainability Coordinator at Waldorf School of Baltimore

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