Foundation Studies at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts

fdn studies year one

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies Group

We are a group of 12 Waldorf School of Atlanta parents, faculty and staff, local community members and homeschooling parents who have come together to study the work of Rudolf Steiner and experience interconnectedness through the arts. We have all enrolled in a two-year program that is organized through the Center for Anthroposophy and hosted by WSA. We typically meet two Saturday mornings a month for seminars, group work, artistic activities, and sometimes longer workshops. Our interests address the broad themes of human development and personal growth through three distinct but interrelated elements:

  • study of the basic books of Rudolf Steiner, including How to Know Higher Worlds, Theosophy, An Outline of Esoteric Science, and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom
  • cultivation of artistic activities that are transformative in nature, such as speech, drama, music, eurythmy, painting, drawing, woodwork, sculpture, and more
  • some experience of life in a Waldorf school as well as other cultural initiatives arising from the work of Rudolf Steiner.

We are currently mid-way through the second year. If you would like more info or are interested in starting with a new Year One group, email Angela Foster: afoster@thirdbody.net

More information about Foundation Studies can also be found at the Center for Anthroposophy.  And more information about our Atlanta Cluster can be found here.

fdn studies year one work

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies work, year one

Shepherd’s Play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Many years, the Waldorf School of Atlanta offers the Shepherd’s Play as a gift to our community.  Teachers, Parents and Friends of the school organize, rehearse and perform this play.

shepherds play image

 The Shepherd’s Play was found and written down in the middle of the 19th century from the small island of Oberufer on the Danube, close to the borders of Austria and Hungary. Some time in the early 16th or 17th century, a group of German people had migrated there from the neighborhood of Lake Constance. They had taken with them the cycle of religious plays which they had received by tradition from their ancestors. When the plays were collected the parts were still hereditary in certain families. No complete copy existed but each family treasured a manuscript of the words of one particular part. Surrounded as they were by people of a different nation, and speaking a different language, the peasants of Oberufer preserved unaltered both the text itself and the tradition of acting.

In the autumn, after harvest, the peasants who were to take part met together and rehearsals began. All parts were played by men, as in the Elizabethan theatre, and during the time of rehearsal, all members of the cast had to lead (as far as they could) a moral and respectable life, abstaining alike from visits to alehouses and from the singing of bawdy songs. Before the actual performance the whole company went in procession through the village.

The form of the play is such that the actors sing a song in procession, after which the characters concerned come forward and act what has just been sung, while the rest of the company seat themselves at the back or side of the stage.

The Shepherds Play is a beloved tradition in most Waldorf Schools, a gift from the adult community to the children. We are happy to share this play with you and wish you a joyous and blessed Christmas season.

 

In my heart a shepherd

In my head a king

Before the child together

They offer what they bring.

The heart will fire the head

The head will light the heart

The Spirit Child within

Will know Love’s healing art.

–From Notes by A.C. Harwood

Waldorf School of Atlanta - shepherds play  cast & crew

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

As human beings, we use our hands regularly in our daily lives. At Waldorf, the Handwork curriculum is broad and includes skills such as knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, felting, paper crafts, pattern design, and machine sewing.

Many of the benefits of the Handwork program are obvious: hand-eye coordination; basic math skills such as counting, the four math processes, and basic geometry; the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion; and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time.

There are also more subtle rewards that complement these obvious benefits. Students must prepare and care for materials. Many of the created items have a practical use – a case for a flute, a needle book, a pair of socks. Design and color choice allow for individual creative expression. One of the most far-reaching benefits of Handwork class is the social aspect. While there are times when quiet is needed, such as when you are learning a new stitch, most of the time the atmosphere in the classroom is social and conversational, not unlike a quilting bee. Students learn to speak politely to one another. Throughout the process, respect is fostered.

At the Waldorf School of Atlanta all first graders learn how to knit. This basic skill uses both right and left hands, and brings a steady, calming rhythm to the younger child. Crocheting, which emphasizes the right or left hand, almost always follows in the second or third grade. Cross-stitch is paramount to fourth grade as the children begin crossing over from childhood to adolescence. In fifth grade, knitting in the round, used to make hats, mittens, and socks, is a three dimensional, mathematical activity leading up to critical thinking in the middle school. Long-term hand-sewing projects involving concepts, patterns, and mathematical computations are usually found in sixth or seventh grade. The eighth grade Handwork curriculum often involves machine sewing, which perfectly integrates the student’s study of American History and the Industrial Revolution.

We hope you enjoy the Handwork series on our blog:

Grade 1 handwork

Grade 2 handwork

Grade 3 handwork

Grade 4 handwork

Grade 5 handwork

Grade 6 handwork

Grade 7 handwork

Grade 8 handwork

Our Handwork Teacher is Lisa Roggow.

lroggow photo

 

 

 

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 1

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear First Grade Parents,

Teaching the first grade has been a delightful experience. Since the very first day, the children in class were waiting expectantly for their first Spanish lesson. They have two classes a week; sessions started at twenty minutes long and will gradually grow to a forty-minute lesson.  The form and content of the Spanish language class for lower grades is very similar to the morning circle in main lesson.

The class is organized in a rhythmical flow of “in-breathing” and “out-breathing”; keeping a healthy rhythm is essential for 6 and 7 year olds. In the beginning of the class the children stand up and begin to repeat verses, songs, and movements. As children’s capacity for imitation and recitation at this age is at its peak, the child can absorb the language in its totality, instinctively, by habit.

During the second phase of the lesson, the children sit down and are prepared to receive a content that requires greater concentration. We play games where some brief dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. In the beginning pupils respond chorally, but some individual questions would appear from time to time. They also hear stories that are familiar to them in their native language, such as “The Little Red Hen”, or “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. This concentration time is followed by activities such as dancing or games that provide a more relaxed form. Finally we all recite our closing verse to conclude our time together.

Spanish is extremely rich in poetry, and has many examples of lively and imaginative poems. Through such offerings the child enters the soul of a culture, even though he/she may not yet understand the meaning of what he/she is repeating. The formative qualities of language enrich the child’s feelings. Little by little, all this world of songs, verses, and movement is transformed in later years into rapid learning allowing the child to have a total experience of the language.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna Garza, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna at holiday fair

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 2

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Second Grade Parents,

Second grade Spanish class will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays this year. We started with a brief review of the songs and some of the games from last year and pretty quickly new songs and poems had to be included.

In the first three grades the children are totally immersed in the spoken foreign language. They learn through their innate ability to imitate and memorize. At this time their speech organs are more flexible and it is possible to learn more accurate pronunciation as well as the natural cadences of the language.

Just as in every grade, rhythmical organization of the lesson is essential. Previous activities are continued and enlarged upon. Students will learn verses and songs involving movement or finger games; they also learn to follow simple commands. Vocabulary is based on learning about themselves and their immediate surroundings, such as: body parts, colors, counting, the classroom, animals in nature and pets, simple conversation about themselves and their needs. In addition to relevant songs and verses, story telling and crafts accompany the celebration of seasons and festivals to bring a sense of the culture of the country.

The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. They have developed strong abilities to memorize and repeat and many of the children will be ready to speak by themselves. Towards the end of second grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in the second grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs. Perhaps the greatest change in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness that language has a social function that allows communication.  They realize that there are other people who communicate in a different way.

The world of nature reflects the mood of the second grade main lesson with nature stories. The Language class content closely follows the main lesson: fables, legends, and stories of saints. As mentioned above, children are beginning to “wake up” and notice that there are differences among human beings. Fables provide the opportunity of looking at these human characteristics embodied by animals in a humorous way. In Spanish we have important writers of fables. Outstanding ones are Iriarte, Samaniego, and Lope de Vega.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna grade 2

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 3

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Third Grade Parents,

Since the very first day of school the third grade students have been working hard.  We have 2 Spanish lessons each week, Tuesday and Friday. We are lucky to have Ms. Dilworth bring some Spanish into her lessons; so children get dosages of Spanish here and there.

For third grade, the class continues to be mostly oral. Students are very excited because of our new element in the lesson: they will be creating their own Spanish book!  We start the class with a greeting verse, followed by songs, clapping games and speech exercises. The content that comes next requires greater concentration. We play games where dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. Towards the end, students work on the creation of their first Spanish Word Book.

The third grade curriculum, as for all the grades, is a reflection of the main lesson curriculum. The class content closely follows the one of main lesson: farming, trades, domestic chores, the produce of the earth, building, and time. The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. Towards the end of third grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in third grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness; children begin to feel separate from the world. Imitation begins to disappear, individuality acquires a new importance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

grade 3 Spanish Book

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 4

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Fourth Grade Parents,

Fourth grade is a time of change for language teachers. The previous three years are completely oral, and now is the time to move on to writing, reading, and the teaching of grammar. Obviously the oral phase never ends, and from 4th grade on the oral experience expands and is joined by writing and reading. The process is very similar to the way a child learns his/her native language. First they listen, then they imitate, later they read what they have written and in older grades explore the grammar of the language they speak.

In the language class students read by writing the material they have memorized in previous years.  By reading material with which they are already familiar orally, they are able to establish a solid basis in their reading. This process facilitates good pronunciation.

Basic grammar rules will be “introduced”, as many of them were acquired unconsciously while learning all those verses, songs and poems in the previous years. We will work differentiating all the pronouns, learning the basic rules of gender and number, and we will start to explore basic conjugation of verbs.

As stated before the oral phase never ends. Recitation in this year is powerful, repetitive, and if possible should have a lot of alliteration.

The class has a similar rhythm to main lesson. We begin with a rhythmical part, where we do verses, poems, songs, and speech exercises accompanied by gestures and clapping games. This lasts around 10 minutes. (the material is repeated for a period of 4 to 6 weeks). Then comes the feeling/listening part of the lesson, where material is reviewed and new content is brought to the students through different activities. Reading out loud chorally and then individually will be done during this part of the lesson, which lasts up to 15 minutes. Finally we have the thinking part, where book work is done. Students will quietly work in their Spanish book for about 15 minutes. At the end we all say a verse together to conclude our lesson.

You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways:

  • Look for and enjoy Hispanic festivals in town, share the information with other parents (look for Day of the Dead festival in November – a family festival)
  • Do not miss the opportunity, but do not push, of finding Spanish around. If you visit a Hispanic restaurant, take a closer look at the menu, they might have a bilingual menu. If you know some Spanish, use it, practice it, be a model for your children. If you see me, greet me in Spanish. Some grocery stores have a Hispanic or international aisle, take a look at the foods they offer, find if they have bilingual labels.
  • The most important part of all this is to have a positive and open attitude “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.

Studying languages is a window into the soul of a culture, into its genius, individuality and musicality. It is well known that learning another language expands one’s thoughts and ability to penetrate the feelings and the soul of the other culture. Through the art of communication we cultivate an interest in others.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna working outside with grade 4

Sra de Luna working outside with Grade 4 students.

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 5

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

 sra de luna headshot

Dear Fifth Grade Parents,

Any teacher who has taught fifth grade at a Waldorf school would agree it is a pleasure to teach this grade. The curriculum is very rich and the fifth graders have usually achieved a balance in their growth. Physiologically they have not reached puberty –although they are close to it- and they are, for the most part, physically and mentally well balanced.

For the Language class, this moment of equilibrium brings a greater flexibility in managing the class. The students are found to be more receptive and less likely to argue with the teacher.  In general, the lesson has the same format as in previous years, but there is a change in the length of the three parts.  The first part of the lesson is the same but shorter than previous years (rhythmic part- songs, tongue twisters, riddles, clapping games, recitation, oral conjugation, etc.). The students do not need to move as much as the younger ones, for the realm of feeling is experienced more strongly than the will.  During the second part of the lesson we go over grammar or other material that require greater attention and concentration (both recalling previous material and introducing new). After this the class will do some writing or reading. The students will create their own Spanish book, which will reflect artistically all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry and grammar.

Accurate pronunciation will be practiced through speech exercises, poems and reading. The children will now be given short homework assignments as well as regular grammar quizzes, vocabulary tests and dictation.  Legends of Mexico will be the topic for story telling and reading. The texts will be reviewed by answering questions about the content in oral and written form. Vocabulary will be brought from the stories and other topical themes. Grammar is developed from what was introduced in the native language in 4th grade. Students will work extensively with the conjugation of regular verbs in present tense and some irregular verbs will be introduced.

As you can see the year will be full!! You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways.  The most important part of all is to have a positive and open attitude –  “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna- Linden Tree Photography WSA Yearbook 171

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 6

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Sixth Grade Parents,

The sixth grade is a transitional year as it marks the threshold to puberty. As the faculty of thinking awakens, the learning of languages undergoes a considerable change.  The students are growing in self-awareness and the oral presentation of the teacher stops being as accessible to the children as it had been in earlier years. The student’s rising intellectual capacities need to awaken to the conceptual structures of the language. To accommodate this remarkable change we will have three lessons a week instead of two.

In sixth grade the students formulate, memorize and write down fairly complex grammar rules. They have received a three ring binder for Spanish homework assignments, grammar exercises, vocabulary, and regular practice sheets. Students are expected to take their binder home and have daily reviews of the material covered at school (10 minutes would be sufficient) to keep the language learning ongoing. The students will continue to work on a book, which will reflect artistically all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry and grammar.

So far (in the first six weeks of school) we have covered personal description (adjectives – gender, number), dialogues, introducing yourself, present tense for regular verbs and irregular to be and to have.

South America with its rich historical and mythological personalities becomes the main theme throughout the year. The history, geography, and customs of these countries become the vehicle for increasing vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. This year I have the honor to have been invited to teach about South America during main lessons.  I am looking forward to it!

Last but not least, sixth graders are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests. If homework is not done on the due date, students will be sent to Study Hall to complete it. The homework schedule is organized in a way that it does not overlap with assignments from other lessons.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or make an appointment for the upcoming conferences.

Looking forward to a great year,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna drawing on chalkboard sra de luna grade 6 chalkboard drawing

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 7

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Seventh Grade Parents,

Seventh grade has begun Spanish lessons with great enthusiasm, energy and good rhythm. They will have three Spanish sessions during the week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In this grade the search for answers, causes, and reasons continues. Discoveries are made and new goals are reached. The students’ new vision of the world needs new perspectives and answers. Likewise, in the language class, they are going to require a content that responds to their needs, as well as new challenges that will support the strengthening of their sense of self.

The study of voyages and discoveries forms a major part of the main lesson curriculum. For Spanish lesson, it is an extraordinary opportunity to explore old cultures of the American continent. Stories of European explorers and conquerors, as well as legends and historical narratives of indigenous people will be the main focus. The seventh grade curriculum deepens the cultural studies through geography, history, literature, and poetry.

Specific grammar work involves an extensive work with verb conjugation: present, past and future of regular verbs as well as simple irregular verbs. Vocabulary for everyday situations such as shopping, asking for directions, and other varied social situations provides a framework for these grammar studies.

In 6th grade students began an organized binder with all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry, practice sheets, homework/classwork assignments and grammar.  Students are expected to take their binder home and have daily reviews of the material covered at school (10 minutes would be sufficient) to keep the language learning ongoing. Seventh graders are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA 

sra de luna-Linden Tree Photography 2012 diaz de muerta 009