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At the risk of sounding irresponsible, I have stopped reading the newspaper. Actually, let me qualify that: I have not been able to read the newspaper. As I sit at the table each morning and look at the pages of The New York Times, I somehow lose my focus a few sentences into any article I start. Maybe age is diminishing my attention span. More likely is that there just seem to be so many crises going on “out there” that I can no longer digest them. Do you remember Houston? It wasn’t that long ago—and yet it currently stands fourth or fifth in line behind other hurricanes and the massacre in Las Vegas. This is not to say that care, thoughts, prayers and donations of all kinds are not necessary for the victims of these disasters. We all need to do what we can to help. It is more that in the face of so much difficult news, we need visions of hope.
We are entering the season of autumn. Nature is dying outside, days are shortening. Yet on the brisk clear days, there is something bracing in the air. The color of the leaves and light give everything a golden hue. This is the season of Michaelmas. Whatever you believe, the image of Michael is compelling. He is the archangel who waits—who waits to help until he is called upon. How is he called? Through actions of courage, big and small. Any decision to...
At the end of October, the WSP community will say goodbye to 6th grade teacher Cynthea Frongillo as she heads into retirement, and plans new adventures with her husband Alex, our former math and recorder teacher. When asked about how she became a Waldorf teacher, and her experience teaching at the Waldorf School of Princeton, Cynthea wrote the following:
Alex and I discovered some of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on nature while browsing in a friend’s bookshop in 1973, and were immediately inspired to seek out more of his works. We joined a local study group while I was pregnant with our daughter Lyra (now with three children of her own!). Paraphrasing Owen Barfield, I think we both can say that some of Steiner’s writing we recognized to be true, some of it felt true, and that we have been endeavoring to understand the rest through all the years that have followed.
When we discovered that Steiner had been instrumental in a new kind of education, we determined that our daughter would be educated in a Waldorf school. In focusing on the anthroposophical views on education, the wish to work within the Waldorf philosophy grew in us. In 1978, we sold the house we had just built by hand in rural western Massachusetts, and set off for Detroit, and later Emerson College in England to be trained as Waldorf teachers. This has been...
We want to start by thanking you all for participating in the school wide survey. We had one of our best response rates yet and overall the responses were very positive in all areas of the school. Your feedback will help us plan as we look ahead to next year.
Last year we created a new strategic plan for the school for 2016-2019. The Board of Trustees, the College...
As a Waldorf teacher, you are called on to be present. You have to reflect every day on where the students are at, what you could do better, what you didn’t do as well as you’d like. That really requires that you pay attention.
When you shake their hand there’s already so much information there. Are their hands big or are small? Are their hands warm or cold? Whose hands are generally warm, and whose hands are generally cold? You’re also getting specific information about where they’re at on a given day. That idea of cold, hot, dry, damp, fleshy. This is part of them telling you who they are. That’s where it begins, but there’s more.
You’re looking at each other and the conversation may go like this … How are you? Did you have a nice weekend? That’s a nice blouse you have on. You got a haircut. You’re seeing each other and you’re recognizing them. Think about that. Over time, that regular seeing, that regular recognizing … they are seen. And they see me. Every day, you are being greeted by a human...
November 2 is known as Day of the Dead, or El Día de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. Although it seems like it might be spooky, especially being so close to Halloween, Day of the Dead is spirit-filled, but celebratory. On this day, families remember and pray for loved ones who have died. They go to the cemetery and have a picnic at the burial site of loved ones.They will also make an altar in their home, known as an ofrenda. Just like Halloween has special symbols associated with it, El Día de los Muertos also has images that represent the holiday, such as sugar skulls, decorated skeletons (they are depicted as happy, because it is perceived life after death is a happier place than here), candles, food and water offerings, marigold flowers, papel picado or traditional and colorful cut-out paper decorations, and of course photos of loved ones who have passed. All such offerings have an association to the elements of earth, water, air, and fire.
Tuesday, February 2, marked Waldorf School of Princeton’s annual All-Community Meeting, a “state of the school” event that every adult in our midst is encouraged to attend. Almost 50 attendees, comprising all circles within the current community, gathered in Hagens Hall at 7 p.m.
For the second year, the event was styled as a panel presentation, with members from each of the school’s leadership bodies: Board of Trustees, College of Teachers, Parent Council, and Administration.
Eurythmy and chorus teacher Susan Eggers opened the evening with the song “Let Us Sing Together,” and College Chair Amy Shor welcomed the audience and read Rudolf Steiner’s Faithfulness Verse, further setting the warm and communal tone.
Board Chair Nick Rumin spoke first, providing an overview of the night’s agenda as well as the governance model of the school; after introducing the chairs of various committeesand task forces, he mentioned a few highlights from the board’s work this year, such as the newly renovated Crib Barn.
Next, School Administrator Parizad Srivastava summarized the school’s new strategic plan, which focuses on four priorities over the next three years: provide healthy and...
I was fortunate to attend a screening of Beyond Measure at John Witherspoon Middle School on October 20, at an event sponsored by the Princeton Public Library and Princeton Public Schools.
The premise is this: “Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings?”
The film’s creators seem to be on to something. According to a report issued by the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education and presented at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Education:
“Over the past two decades, our country has been trying to build a standards-based accountability system as a foundation for a more equitable and higher-achieving education system. In practice, however, we have created a test-based accountability system that does not reflect the standards we aimed for at the beginning of the 1990s, much less today’s fewer, clearer, higher Common Core Standards.
Several studies, using several different methodologies, have shown that the state tests do not measure the higher-order thinking, problem solving, and creativity needed for students to succeed in the 21st century. These tests, with only a...
This little fellow made quite the stir in second grade today. He (or she) flew into the room, as I had the door propped open so that we could get a little more air on such a muggy day. Poor thing couldn’t find his way out. At one point, I managed to catch him, but he flew from my hand.
Alas, later in the day, after many of the second graders had gone home, Ms. Pearson (aka the Bird Whisperer) came in and said she knew a little trick. She caught the little bird, flipped him gently on his back, and he went into a sleep-like state. She said this is what happens when you flip birdies over. Then she took him outside, flipped him back over, and he happily flew away!
Second graders were thrilled to have another class pet, but I’m pretty sure this little (we think maybe a wren) is happy to be back out in the fresh air!
Those wild animals sure seem to love our classroom. Wonder who will be our next visitor?
This is a season of abundance in the Waldorf School of Princeton garden—biodynamic and organic kale, some peas, spinach, lettuces, arugula. But with classes out for the summer, what do we do with it all?
Student and alumni volunteers as well as our campers have been helping with the harvest; during the summer months, much of it is donated to local organizations such as the Cornerstone Community Kitchen. Are you stuck for ideas with your own garden harvest?
I love an arugula pesto on ravioli, sauteed kale and garlic as a side dish, and peas just raaaaaw! What about homemade kale chips with a little sea salt and sesame oil?
And don’t forget foraging. Here on campus we have wild blackberries (perfect mixed into a little Greek yogurt)!
When you enter the Golden House, look up. The entry vestibule has been embellished with clay tiles made in 2014 during the WSP’s 30th year by the faculty and administration. The tiles represent the wishes, and the important forces deemed necessary, for the next 30 years of our school. If we raise our gaze when we enter the school, we can hope to look toward higher ideals and what is higher in ourselves as we participate in this community. Nancy Lemmo, much-loved former faculty chair and administrator, often said about making decisions, “we are creating the school for the next 100 years, not just today.” How lovely, too, to have the tiles mounted and installed by alumnus and current parent Joseph McLean ‘92, a further contribution to our shared vision.
More recent posts
At the end of October, the WSP community will say goodbye to 6th grade teacher Cynthea Frongillo as she heads into retirement, and plans new adventures with her husband Alex, our former math and recorder teacher. When asked about how she became a Waldorf teacher, and her experience teaching at the...» read more
...» read more
As a Waldorf teacher, you are called on to be present. You have to reflect every day on where the students are at, what you could do better, what you didn’t do as well as you’d like. That really requires that you pay attention. When you shake their hand there’s...» read more