Despite old man winter’s attempts to chill us with his icy breath, the Waldorf School of Baltimore’s students remain valiant against his persistent blows. We have something that old man winter fears . . . FIRE!
Fire holds a wealth of endless intrigue. Its presence inspires and instigates all realms of knowledge. Before it, poetic and scientific thinking are equal. When fire is introduced to children in a way that respects its might, it unfolds secrets. There is a reason that in the great myths fire always had to be stolen from the gods — fire is a piece of the distant Sun dancing before us. When children are properly introduced to the real and inspirational power of a flame they learn to respect it. It is not enough to tell children, “fire is hot, don’t touch it,” or “fire is dangerous, stay away from it.” In fact, this type of “teaching” only encourages the behavior we want them to avoid — we’re telling them the very thing we want them not to do. Delivering a negatory statement doesn’t teach anyone anything; in fact, it raises curiosity and increases the likelihood that the object of your fearful disdain will be explored beyond your presence. Giving children answers robs them of discovering the questions.
In WSB’s Nature Study and Forest Aftercare programs students will be guided through doing their own a risk assessment of fire. In the months ahead, we will explore fire through guided discovery, conversation, storytelling, co-authorship of safety practices, cooking, and marshmallow eating. To study fire is to study transformation. We will examine how fire transforms darkness into light, cold into warmth, wood into charcoal, and fear into confidence.
Please continue to check out this blog as we unfold the fire mysteries. Future fire explorations will be tagged #FireMysteries.
And one last round of photographs from our 3rd grade’s week a Hawthorne Valley Farm. For more information about the trip be sure to check out Part I.
Every year, WSB’s 3rd grade heads to Hawthorne Valley Farm for a week-long farm trip. This is has a been a tradition for over 30 years! In fact, Ms. Smith, the 3rd grade’s homeroom teacher, was last here when she was a 3rd grade student at WSB!
On the farm, students work hard and play hard. They’re involved in just about every facet of farm life — from cleaning out the mudroom and washing dishes to mucking out the dairy barn and chopping firewood. Please enjoy the photos below. We’re two days in with two more to go and plenty more to do!
Spring is here and with it an abundance of spring related projects are budding!!
On Wednesday, Mr. Anderson, WSB parent (Lauren), and her two children (Ellie and Sebastian), took part on our volunteer day to clean up the forest in time for the Children’s Garden Spring Festival. In just 45 minutes this small crew picked up 35 pounds of garbage! (Which just so happens to be the body weight of Sebastian.) Just imagine what a larger group could do within 2 hours of time! Please consider joining us for our next round of volunteer days!
WSB’s 6th & 7th Grade students are designing storm drain murals for the Coldsping Newtown neighborhood. We are hoping to get 4 of them installed this Spring! Students have been working on their designs and will be chalking them onto the drains next Friday. They were given guidance by Blue Water Baltimore over the winter on how to make effective murals, and we have reached out to the Coldspring Community Association to seek their approval.
Check out drafts of the 4 creative designs!
With Spring just around the bend, a variety of outdoor projects will be springing up around the school. And, you (yes, YOU, dear reader), will have the opportunity to participate in some of the action. The Green Dragon Action Team will be hosting 9 garden volunteer days after school from 3:30pm-5:30pm on the following days:
- Wed, March 25
- Thurs, March 26
- Fri, March 27
- Mon, March 30
- Tues, March 31
- Wed, April 1
- Wed, April 15
- Thurs, April 16
- Fri, April 17
To participate please send an email regarding your interested to WSB’s Ecoliteracy & Sustainability Coordinator, Michel Anderson. NOW, before enjoying Spring Break, please take in these photos displayed in homage to Winter and its wonders. In them you will find Mrs. Friedman’s ride down the hill and the grand finale (aka: The Super, Mega-awesome Sled Ride of the Century)!
Be sure to get your hands earthy!
Today WSB’s 5th grade class jarred the honey we extracted from our bees’ honeycomb in the autumn. They also made labels and performed a rigorous inspection and quality control taste testing. (Please Note: All testing was done after the jars were filled.) WSB will soon be offering the honey for sale to raise funds to advance our bee stewardship practice.
This week Mrs. Harris’s 3rd grade spent some time outside making a large mortar & pestle out of a log. The process involves clay, fire, charcoal, and stones. Making things such as this is done in the 3rd grade to foster the development of practical skills. Around the age of 9 children begin to see themselves as separate from their parents — learning how to make things, cook, and clean, instills within them the feeling that they will someday be able to stand on their own and take care of themselves.
As the log’s top was burning, some of the students started making an elaborate city at the base of a tree. Below are a few photos of what they came up with. . . .
Tonight I will be starting the Baltimore County Master Gardener Program. Classes will run from January 22nd to April 9th on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This is part of WSB’s effort to expand our school’s garden this coming spring. We’re hoping to make the garden a central place for our students to grow and learn. We are also looking into the possibility of opening the garden to the wider community. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your interest and commitment level to gardening this summer — this information will allow me to plan just how vast our garden can grow and be sustainable. This is a fantastic opportunity for you and your children to learn and grow together throughout the summer months . . . not to mention revel in the satisfaction of harvesting the bounty of your efforts (literally!). Please be in touch.
Passion does not arrive on a videotape or a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along the grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.
~ Richard Louv, excerpt from Last Child in the Woods, p.159
Just sharing a few photos from the 7th Grade’s afternoon hike yesterday:
I’ve taken on the practice of going outside at lunchtime and fiddling around in the school garden. My goal isn’t so much to accomplish much gardening this late in the season as much as it is to interact with the children and allow them to get their hands dirty. Without fail, everyday a few of them run up to me to see how they can help. Some days we weed or drag a few things to the compost, other days we just look for worms and other insects in the soil. Everyday is productive whether or not we actually get anything done.
Below are my vigilant 1st Grade composters, ever excited to lend me their helping hands.