End of the Week Update – 2/14/14

February 14, 2014 in Inside SWS

It’s been a treat to see the sun peeking out the last few days! A much needed reminder that spring is indeed around the corner, in spite of last weekend’s snowfall. We hosted a middle school dance for students from area Waldorf schools, which drew families from as far as Port Townsend and Bellingham. Needless to say they took delight in the impromptu snowball fights outside!

On Wednesday our Chinese students in grades 8-12 offered a marvelous celebration of the Chinese New Year for the high school community. There was a rich array of presentations and activities, including songs, poems, ping pong, and calligraphy. To top it off, a group of hardworking students spent last weekend making 300 perfect jiao zi (the traditional Chinese dumplings) to share.

Thursday brought the 5th grade performance of “Pythagoras” featuring two casts of students! Students confidently demonstrated their skills in eurythmy, dance, music, and of course, geometry.

This weekend we are pleased to host the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) conference, which will bring together more than 100 educators from across the country. We are grateful to our Early Childhood faculty, particularly Lisa Wolfe and Debora Petschek, for their leadership in organizing this professional development event.

I’d like to share a couple of recent articles that caught my interest, and might engage yours as well. First, importance of persistence as well as learning when to say “enough” is explored in Teaching Kids to Quit. In reading this I was reminded of an experience I had with my oldest son when he was in 5th grade, and two weeks into the basketball season, was miserable. Developing the skill to thoughtfully and gracefully let go of a commitment is valuable, I believe.

Ink on Paper: Some Notes on Note-taking was a timely read for me. I am taking Italian classes, and in a flashback to college days, find the only way I can begin to remember the various list of verbs and conjugations is to copy and re-copy my class notes. There is something about the act of physically transcribing the information that commits it to memory. Research shows that students taking notes in longhand did significantly better on both factual learning and higher-order conceptual learning. The connection between these conclusions and our students’ work in Morning Lesson books is striking.

Finally, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, something on love from a blog post I read this week:

“Love, as it exists in the English language, has the habit of causing some confusion. This is because it covers a wide range of feelings and emotions. You can use the same word to indicate a type of toothpaste you prefer as you would to describe how you feel about the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Something about that doesn’t seem quite right, don’t you think? And don’t get me started on the confusion it causes in relationships. We’ve gone so far as having to distinguish between “love” and “being in love”. But even that means different things to different people.

The ancient Greeks knew better than to have one word to describe such a range of things. They had at least four separate words to describe different types of love: Spiritual love (agápe), physical love (éros), familial love (storgē), and mental love (philía). Philía is often translated into English as brotherly love or friendship. If this word sounds familiar to you, I’m not surprised. Ever wonder why Philadelphia is the “City of Brotherly Love”? Philía is the root of many other words we use today: Philosophy (love of knowledge), philology (love of learning), and basically any word that ends in –phila or –phile (bibliophile, Anglophile, etc.)

My favorite philía word, however, is philanthropy (love of mankind). If you are part of a philanthropic organization, this may resonate with you as well. We are doing what we are doing because of a love of mankind. When someone makes a donation to our organization, it is because of a love of mankind. We want to make the world a better place because of a love of mankind. And that’s something to keep in mind not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.”

We are grateful for your love of Seattle Waldorf School!

Have a wonderful winter break –