Dear Waldorf community,
These days with distance learning, lay-offs, uncertainty, and now protests in our cities, and communities, I think it is especially important to keep the dialogue open. We need to talk about race. We need to talk about injustice. We need to talk about what we can do.
I believe nature is a great healer. I hope I can do my part in helping by offering children a safe place to grow and learn in nature.
Here is an article I found helpful to read, and learn how to talk to children about the difficult topic of racism, violence, and protests.
Have safe and wonderful summer
We got sad news last week. Our chickens happily pecking away in their safe enclosure had become the dinner of some other creature. As is often the case we do not know exactly what happened.
They were happy chickens, loved and well cared for. They gave us many an egg in return, and at least me many hours of entertainment.
My favorite chicken memory is simply walking up to their run calling “Here chicky chicky” and see them run up to the fence in their funny looking, waddling chicken running style.
I will miss them.
I will also learn to love the inevitable new chickens I am certain will grace us with their eggs when school does not have to be remote anymore. They will not be Star, Peanut, Fluffy, and Midnight. No chicken will be able to replace them. They will be new chickens, with new names, new personalities, new quirks, likes, and dislikes.
The cycle will be complete.
Helping Children Deal With Grief
The Dragonfly Story : Helping Kids Understand Death
Sunday, May 3 was Forest School Day.
Did you know the forest school movement was started in Europe? Being outside in all kinds of weather, spending your childhood in mud and sand has always been an integral part of European thinking. Below are some interesting articles about the history of the movements in Europe and the USA.
History of Forest School
Teaching Among the Trees
With Spring come rains. That got me thinking about water, and water cycles. Water is one of our most important resources, and yet one of our most neglected. We take it for granted that it flows out of our faucets and showers in clean, usable quality.
Did you know there is an urban water cycle?
Here is the link to a short National Geographic article about the urban water cycle:
Did you know water vapor – the water that forms clouds, and thus rain – is only a tiny fraction of our planet’s water resources? Most of the water on earth comes in the shape of oceans, lakes, rivers, ice caps, snowy mountain tops, waterfalls, and any other body of water you can think of.
Here is the link to a short National Geographic article if you would like to learn more:
Maybe a little late to the party, but to me every day is earth day!
On Earth Day I went out, to go on a nature picture safari, and I took pictures of my favorite wildflowers, that also play an important role in providing bees with food right as they start up their year:
Dandelion – scientific name Taraxacum – comes in two main branches: Taraxacum erythrospermum (red-seeded dandelion), and Taraxcum officinale. The red-seeded dandelion is what we mainly find in North America. Dandelion greens are edible, and so are its yellow flowers. They can be used to dye cookies, and other baked goods, and also make a wonderful yellow playdo if mixed into the dough.
Look for interesting links in one of the next Waldorf Weeklies.
Have a wonderful week
I recently took a walk in my neighborhood park. I am fortunate. I can walk to my park. It was a brisk, cold, sunny day. When I came to the park I stood still, listened to the sounds, smelled the air, payed attention to the colors, the movements, the stillness.
It is amazing how many things you can notice, if you pay attention. Here are some of the things I saw:
From top to bottom: Bee Balm, Buttercups, a wetland habitat with some kind of puffball mushrooms, and our resident groundhog, trying to hide behind a tree.
Have a wonderful week
Whenever I go out for a walk, or to my yard I immediately start noticing patterns. The way certain plants grow in a circle for example, or the way rocks lay about on the ground.
Picture one shows a European plantain plant growing in my yard. Notice how the leaves grow around in a circle? Did you know the juice of a plantain leave will relieve mosquito bite itches? Try it out this summer! If a pesky mosquito bites you pick a plantain leaf, squish it up, and put the juice on the bite … Certainly very useful.
The other picture shows off my hosta, and my rose. Notice how the hosta leaves have white patterns around the borders? They also grow more or less in a circle.
After I made all those discoveries I set out to create some art with materials I found in my yard. This was a very calming and meditative activity for me.
1st and 2nd can look forward to similar activities in the coming weeks
Stay healthy and safe
Till next week
The distant learning moment I sent home to Nature Studies students the other week was to look for Signs of Spring. This inspired me to go on my own hunt to look for spring in my neighborhood. I went for a walk to my community garden.
On my way there I saw two trees: one in full bloom, and one just budding.
The blooming tree is a decorative cherry, and the curious buds sprouting directly from the stem and branches of the other tree let me know this is a redbud tree. It is native to the Eastern US.
Arriving in my community garden, I walked around to look for more signs of spring, and boy were they everywhere!
I found patches of clover, interspersed with chickweed, and deadnettle, as well as some violets right behind my garden beds, and other parts where dandelion, grew mixed up with more chickweed.
I find all this fresh green delightful. I have to admit Spring is my favorite season. It holds the promise of the growth, renewal, and hope for me.
Stay safe and healthy until next time
I have done sit-spots with a few of the nature studies classes. Mostly those have been guided. 5th grade had started working on nature journals, sitting in the forest observing, and noting their observations in their journals.
What is a sit-spot?
A sit-spot is a favorite place in nature to sit, be still, listen, feel, smell, and look. As you become still, focusing on only one of the senses, you may start to notice things you have never seen before.
One of my favorite sit-spots is in my community garden, on a bench. This garden is surrounded by city situated as it is in the middle of Baltimore. And yet if you sit absolutely still you can notice a plethora of birds, from the birds of prey circling overhead to the sparrows, and finches twittering in the branches around you.
A sit-spot can last from a few minutes to as long as you like.
This can be practiced in a yard, on a deck, or even just at an open window in times of social distancing. In fact this is an excellent practice during social distancing. You are supposed to be alone, or in the case of a child or tween with an adult, but away from them.
Why is it so important to keep still every once in a while? Sitting still seems something we do a lot in today’s world. This is however not just sitting still. It is also reaching out with your senses, to come to your own quiet space. It is about noticing the small things, about finding solace in a hectic world. It is about making connections with nature.
Dear Waldorf Community,
No single sentiment is more important than this in troubled times: We will get through this together, albeit apart, practicing social distancing.
As the Nature Studies teacher one of my responsibilities is the well-being of our school’s chickens.
Thanks to the generous offer of the Lowenstein Family this is one less thing to worry about!!!
They have offered to take in the chickens, and they have been safely transported to their TWSB closure home.
Thank you Lowenstein Family!!
Take care, stay safe and healthy