Spaces to Play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

front of school compressed

As part of our work with the Columbia Presbyterian Church to manage the health of our beautiful wooded spaces, we are opening a new playground area just a short walk down the path behind the kindergarten playgrounds.

During this process we have marked out the boundary with Columbia Seminary on the West side of the property, and working with them, have planted a tree border in lieu of a chain link fence. In clearing the space, we discovered long neglected rose bushes, native magnolias, and many trees in danger of being overtaken by ivy.

This project was precipitated by the deteriorating state of trees on the upper playground. Arborists have suggested that the remaining trees require nutrient supplements, aeration, and to be left undisturbed for several months to recuperate from the stress of drought, heat, and compaction of the earth around the tree roots. We will be replacing some of the lost trees, starting in the lowest corner of the playground, with hopes that these trees and shrubs will help to retain more of the rainfall we do receive.

Going forward, the plan is to alternate between playground sites, giving each area time to recover from the daily visits of the children. We believe the new space will offer the children an enriched opportunity to explore play in a new way.
There remain a few tasks to complete including spreading several yards of wood chips. Beyond safety, we are leaving the space unfinished so that as we observe the children’s interaction with the area, we can bring the right things about to support their play. We will send an official ‘Opening” notice in advance of the move.

Please feel free to visit the new space and offer any comments you might have.

~Sara Walsh
School Administrator

creating tree border

This article originally was printed in the December 2012 edition of the Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  Visit us online at www.waldorfatlanta.org.  

 

Gateway at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

gateway

It begins with vision, the pivotal point that allows the soul to dream. Next, the will of commitment transforms the dream into living substance. Lastly, substance finds capable, caring hands to bring solid form. This is the story of The Waldorf School of Atlanta’s new upper campus entrance; it is a living picture of beauty: thinking, feeling and willing.

It began last winter when, at a faculty meeting, the question was asked what the school should raise Auction paddle call money for.  Annamay Keeney, one of our five-day kindergarten teachers, quickly sketched a pencil drawing of an archway; an archway that would bring unity to both sides of our campus. She envisioned a structure that would welcome new and seasoned friends, young and old, to our Administration and Kindergarten buildings. Annamay wanted to create a gateway that would represent solidity and stability, be welcoming and uplifting. The vertical posts represent the four-foldness of the human being. Just as every person is an individual, each post stands at a slightly different angle representing the individuality of being human, reaching for connection to the spiritual world yet grounded on earth. The top beams, like brush strokes represent the connectedness and community of people striving see the goodness in all.

Thanks to the infectious enthusiasm of Chance Claar-Pressley leading the paddle call, our generous community answered back and raised $1,500.00 for campus beautification and permanent signage. Your support and trust allowed the school to begin the project.

Lee Ritchie, who is responsible for many of our campus playground structures, spent this past summer meeting with WSA staff and faculty to develop the vision of the gateway. He thoughtfully incorporated similar details into this new structure; color of wood, smooth, sturdy posts, rounded corners and meaningful translation. With help from Evy Keeney-Ritchie, Nate and Jack Scully and Connor Weeks, the gateway was planted into the ground. Bonnie O’Brien, a long-time WSA parent and former Trustee, spent time designing a beautiful sign, one created to  partner with and balance the gateway. As always, our school was so fortunate to have Mr. Crowley close by, willing to offer skill and valuable assistance.

The Waldorf School of Atlanta wishes to offer its sincere gratitude to all the hands and hearts that made this vision a reality. Truly, inspiration is an invitation to dream and accomplish together.
~Ashley du Pont
Community Chair

gateway design sketch

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Garden Breeze Newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  Visit us online at www.waldorfatlanta.org.

 

MLK Celebration

Yesterday we hosted our annual celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have many opportunities to hear of noble deeds and heroic people from far off lands in times long ago. As Mr. Evans noted in his welcome, it’s not so often that we get to celebrate someone with a history so recent and a home in our very own city.

All classes, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, came together to share songs, speeches, and stories. Older grades paired with younger ones, forming new connections and friendships. Middle school and high school students recited Dr. King’s Mountain Top speech and I Have a Dream speech. Each year, it is a moving experience to hear these words spoken in the voices of our own students. As they carve out their own paths through life, our students, too, will have great things to do in the world.

Mr. Gartland shared the story of Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady. When she was a little girl, Alice loved to listen to grandfather’s stories of faraway lands. She told her grandfather that when she grew older, she would also travel to faraway lands. She would live in a house by the sea. “There’s one more thing that you must do, Alice,” her grandfather told her. “You must also do something to make the world more beautiful.”

What gifts will our children have to offer the world? What roads will they travel? These are questions we can only ponder when, as Rudolf Steiner suggested, we ”receive the children with reverence; educate them with love; let them go forth in freedom.”

Annual Fund Yarn Bombing

The annual fund fairies are tracking this year’s progress by yarn bombing this tree. Each colored stripe represents 5%. Let’s help the fairies reach their goal as they knit their way up the tree. Each gift counts, whether big or small!

You can read more about yarn bombing in the New York Times here.

Community Enrichment Lecture

To celebrate our 25th Anniversary, The Waldorf School of Atlanta is pleased to welcome back Torin Finser for an evening of insightful lecture and lively discussion.

“Waldorf Education as a Social Initiative – a lecture for the greater Waldorf community interested in educational innovation and social change”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hazelwood Hall

7:00pm


Torin M. Finser, Ph.D., is Chair of the Education Department of Antioch University New England and founding member of the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, NH. He has been an educator for three decades and has been a keynote speaker at conferences in China, Korea, Nepal, South Africa, Norway, England, Switzerland, Canada, and throughout the United States. He has also served as an organizational consultant for a variety of schools. Leadership development and support is a theme that runs through many of his books. Dr. Finser serves as General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He is the author of Silence Is Complicity: A Call to Let Teachers Improve Our Schools through Action Research—Not NCLB (2007); Organizational Integrity: How to Apply the Wisdom of the Body to Develop Healthy Organizations (2007); In Search of Ethical Leadership: If Not Now, When? (2003); School Renewal: A Spiritual Journey for Change (2001); and School as a Journey: The Eight-Year Odyssey of a Waldorf Teacher and His Class (1994), which has been translated into Thai, Korean, and Chinese.

Foundation Studies opening weekend

Foundation Studies got off to a great start this weekend. 19 participants, including folks from our local community and from afar, came together to begin their two-year part time study of Anthroposophy and the Arts. Rick Spaulding of Chicago kicked off the weekend with an exploration of Ralph Waldo Emerson as a forerunner of Anthroposophy in America. WSA administrator Sara Walsh led the group in artistic observation of the mineral kingdom.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this opening weekend, we were reminded as well of Atlanta’s own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who foresaw the day when people would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What fitting inspiration as we bring this new work to Atlanta. We are so pleased to be able to offer this course of study in our community, and we wish all the best to everyone involved. It is sure to be a fruitful journey!

Grade Two

Grade Two chalkboard

Foundation Studies

The Waldorf School of Atlanta and Academe of the Oaks are pleased to host a new Foundation Studies course through the Center for Anthroposophy beginning this year.

What is Foundation Studies all about?

It is a guided exploration of Anthroposphy and the Arts.

Just what is it that draws us to Waldorf Education? Do you feel a desire to learn more about the foundations of Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy? Do you wonder what framework our class teachers draw on when designing the curriculum? The Center for Anthroposophy offers a course of study that is a guided exploration of anthroposophy and the arts. The program is designed for anyone wishing to understand the underlying philosophical basis for Waldorf Education and is open to parents, teachers, school volunteers, and community members. It can be a great starting point for anyone wishing to pursue Waldorf teacher training and is often a source of incredible self-development.

The Foundation Studies Program is made up of several Saturday sessions in which participants work as a group, with time in between for individual study. Each session is anchored by a presentation from an experienced Waldorf teacher or Anthroposophist, and together with the group, forms a study of Rudolf Steiner’s basic books. Participants will also experience artistic activities like painting, drawing, singing and eurythmy. The shared questions, presentations and artistic renewal will help develop a support network within our school community and is sure to strengthen the spirit of our school.

Registration is going on now. Opening weekend is Friday night, August 26 & Saturday, August 27, 2011. The program primarily runs two Saturdays a month from 9 -1. There are also two special seminars on August 26 & 27 (Opening weekend) and November 4 & 5. We are working to form a childcare co-op for parents who enroll in the course. Financial aid is available through the Center for Anthroposophy.

Please contact the local coordinator, Angela Foster, at  afoster@thirdbody.net for more information or to register visit:
www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/foundation-studies/registration/

To view our schedule, please click here.

“No day should pass in our human life without receiving at least one thought that alters our nature a little, that enables us to develop instead of merely to exist.”

~ Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education, age 18

25th Anniversary

WSA is excited to acknowledge 25 years (1986-2011) of providing Waldorf education in the metro Atlanta area.  As we prepare for the 2011-2012 school year, we are also planning a yearlong celebration of our 25th anniversary. Watch for more announcements throughout the year as we celebrate this exciting milestone in our school’s history!