GMWS Blog

How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More Than Any Other Activity

Green Meadow students play an instrument from third through twelfth grades. This article highlights some of the neurological benefits. We know there are many other benefits as well, both tangible and intangible.

A Strong Trust in Children's Abilities

This piece from The Washington Post is worth reading. Our favorite quote: "I also believe that competence can only be gained through experience; therefore, allowing our children to take risks will actually make them safer. Behind this philosophy is a strong trust in children’s abilities in general; I often feel that we don’t give children enough credit in this area."

Green Meadow Robotics Club Engineers a Big Victory

The Green Meadow Waldorf School robotics club, aptly named the PolyGnomes, won the FIRST Tech Challenge Mid-Hudson Tournament on Saturday, January 10 at Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, NY. In this year's game, Cascade Effect, students designed and operated a robot that placed plastic balls in various goals on a playing field in a complex game. This season, the PolyGnomes were the only team to go undefeated with a 9-0 record. They also achieved the honors of #1 seed, Captain of the Winning Alliance, and won 3rd place for outstanding robotic design out of 22 teams.

The Green Meadow PolyGnomes were led to victory by students Danny Chang, Brian Frei, Chester Lee, Takama Saeki, and James Yang. The team is coached by Physics and Math teacher James Madsen and Math teacher Lisa Krogh. According to Mr. Madsen, "Even though our robot was only about 80% healthy on Saturday with some control issues, the team compensated with brilliant strategy, outstanding driving, and a versatile engineering design that was able to do secondary tasks in addition to its primary goals. This group, especially the seniors, is highly motivated and tirelessly dedicated. The design is exceedingly innovative and versatile."

The team's next tournament will be on January 25 in Yonkers, then they will move on to play in the Empire Division Regional Tournament at Pace University on February 8.

What defines a high-quality pre-Kindergarten?

This NPR piece from earlier this year advocates for a play-based Early Childhood education, which Green Meadow offers.

Why marionette shows are good for us all

Don't miss the puppet and marionette shows this Saturday, October 11, at our Fall Fair. Here is some background on marionette theater and its role in Waldorf Education, from our Early Childhood Chairs:


Dear Parents,

The Early Childhood teachers at the GMWS Fall Fair, October 11, perform a marionette puppet story. The silk puppets, props and set are all handmade and the selection of each story is carefully considered. We choose stories that offer windows into diverse peoples, give pictures of magical occurrences, and offer delight to our young children and adults. We are hoping each child will come to one of the performances at the fair.

Marionette Theater has a very special place in human history that begins in the South Pacific islands and Asia. There is a long evolution from the east into the west of shadow puppets, paper figures on rods, glove puppets and puppets on strings. The term “marionette” comes from “Little Mary”, when puppet stories were performed in churches in middle Europe. From that time, characters such as Puncinella and Punch-and-Judy spilled into the market places for children and adults to see.

Everything offered in the Waldorf early childhood programs is there with a full background of reasons of the benefits to young children. Marionette stories have the obvious feast to the senses of color and movement for the eye, music for the ear, and a story that stirs imagination and feelings. And, there is so much more for your child, and for you.

Puppet stories of all kinds offer special times for inner quieting, contributing to attention and concentration. Even our most active children need the balance of meeting their inner quiet. It is this place of inner sensing as an older child and an adult, where our thoughts meet the imaginations living in our heart and we are then able to perceive the resolve for our next steps to any situation.

The stories give the picture of a little world that is whole and becomes fully realized- there is a problem to solve, obstacles to overcome and every character receives the deserving fruits of their efforts. Our children must first experience a world that is good and whole, if they are to become adults who can meet a world that is riddled with issues and needs mending. In our marionette stories the puppeteers are visible. Regardless of your personal beliefs and religious practices, this is the picture that there are other forces and elements at work in the world that assist our intentions with love and support us in our challenges.

The indications we work with come from Rudolf Steiner and his intensive work with people in a children’s home after World War I. He believed fairy tales, told in this medium, gave comfort and healing to children in those devastating times.

Parents find their way to the Waldorf school because they recognize something here that is in harmony with their wishes for their children as they guide them into our complex world. In these simple and delightful tales is rich food for all the children and adults at the school.

On Saturday, October 11, at our Fall Fair there will be three performances of our marionette puppet show, “Talking Eggs” (for children 4 yrs and older). Show times are at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

In addition to the marionette performances, we are offering a table top puppet show, “Autumn Bear” (for children ages 2 to 4 yrs. old). Show times are at 11:00am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm.

On behalf of the Early Childhood teachers, we hope that you and your child will join us for one of these special performances.

Warmly,
Leslie Burchell-Fox and Lisa Miccio
Co-Chairs of the Early Childhood Section

“The Pedagogical Values of Marionette and Table Puppet Shows for the Small Child”, Bronja Zahlingen, An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten, WECAN Publications. 

The Marshmallow Test

Are students losing their ability to self-regulate? Is "self-regulation" another word for obedience? What about the debate on willpower and that hard-to-define concept du jour, "grit"?  This piece on the “academic diligence task” raises complex questions.

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