Senior Projects (Part 6 in a series)

Senior Projects finished up on April 6. We have been introducing a senior to you each week in this short blog series. (See our April 14 blog post for the first installment in the series.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Simone Graham, another Green Meadow student who has attended our school since Kindergarten.

Interested in human psychology and behavior, Simone studied Lie Detection for her senior project. Simone showed us examples of how to tell if someone is lying (hints: watch where they look when they answer you, and be alert for fidgeting and/or passive language) and offered a demonstration by a fellow student who was most definitely not telling the truth.

Watch a portion of Simone's senior project presentation.

Congratulations, Simone!

Why Waldorf? (Part 7 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from the McDonagh boys: Colin (4th grade), River (1st grade), and Fionn (Nursery). They are the children of Melissa McDonagh, our Admissions Director for Grades 1-12, and her husband Peter.

Melissa first encountered Green Meadow when she was in high school, when she attended a poetry event here on campus, and then she returned later in life as a student teacher, to observe in our classrooms. She was a parent for several years before joining our staff in 2014.

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of the McDonagh family.

GMWS: When did you first come to Green Meadow?

C: I came to Parent & Child Classes in Oak House. [In 2008.]

R: Parent & Child!

F: I don't know...forever.

GMWS: What do you enjoy doing at school?

C: I love Games and Spanish. We get plenty of time for recess. I really liked doing my Bearded Dragon research project. We go on cool trips, like to the Hawthorne Valley Farm, the aquarium, and the Lenape Village.

R: We get to move around a lot...even in Math. We get to play outside everyday.

F: Play. We play inside with the toys with our friends, we play in the woods, we play on the farm.

GMWS: What is your favorite thing about Green Meadow?

C: I guess all of it is pretty good.

F: The Arts Building. It has the best water fountain. One time, we watched a Eurythmy performance there.

GMWS: What would you tell a student coming to Green Meadow?

F: It's fun!

C: Just do it--my mom will help you!

 

Senior Projects (Part 5 in a series)

Senior Projects finished up on April 6. We have been introducing a senior to you each week in this short blog series. (See our April 14 blog post for the first installment in the series.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Emily Lauer. Like Utchaa, featured in our last post, Emily has been at Green Meadow since Kindergarten. A do-er, Emily is involved "in almost every extra-curricular activity there is," and is a go-to person on campus, for everything from helping to run a fundraiser to running the sound and lights in Rose Hall.

For her senior project, Emily studied American Sign Language (ASL). She told us a little bit about the history of ASL, taught us to sign "hello, how are you today?" and signed a story about herself.

Watch Emily present on ASL, with interpretation for a hearing audience by her mentor.

Congratulations, Emily!   

Why Waldorf? (Part 6 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Marieke Duijneveld, a Kindergarten teacher who has three children in the school and is herself a Waldorf graduate from the Netherlands.

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of Marieke with her family.

I love teaching in the Early Childhood Section of Green Meadow Waldorf School because working out of anthroposophy brings out the best in children and in me!  I love to constantly reflect and ask myself the question: "Why I am doing what I am doing?" It's inspiring for me to be thoughtful regarding every moment I create in my class: how can I best offer a program that serves the individual child in their development?  What craft, movement, story, song, snack, and ritual will help them become who they truly are?  

That’s what I try to give the children: a foundation for the future, growing the roots to be strong, interested, brave human beings that will meet the world with love, joy, and resilience. It’s a real honor for me to provide that gift of a Waldorf environment; I’m convinced it’s the best way to start the "career" of becoming a healthy adult!

Senior Projects (Part 4 in a series)

Senior Projects finished up on April 6. We have been introducing a senior to you each week in this short blog series. (See our April 14 blog post for the first installment in the series.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Utchaa Williams, who presented on High-Performance Motorcycle Riding. Utchaa has been at Green Meadow for more than 13 years, since Kindergarten.

After convincing his father and the school that his project was a safe and reasonable thing to do, Utchaa purchased a bike and took classes to learn to ride responsibly. His presentation taught us a bit about the physics of riding a high-performance bike, and also showed how it can be done safely, by a beginner. (Tip: control your speed!)

Watch an excerpt from Utchaa's presentation.

Congratulations, Utchaa!

Why Waldorf? (Part 5 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Emily Lauer, a twelfth grader who has been at Green Meadow since Kindergarten. She is currently on her senior internship (as is the entire Class of 2017).

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of Emily Lauer's morning view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I am lucky enough to have two internships in NYC! One is working at Walter Pictures, a video production company. The other at the Allouche Art Gallery. So far I have had a wonderful time at both. Walter Pictures is mostly responsible for making music videos and I was lucky enough to be able to shoot with them in the first week of my internship. At the art gallery, I have been able to take part in many different aspects of the business, including helping put together a gallery opening.

I could go on and on about what I've been up to but I’ll save that for another time. The real question is how on earth has my Waldorf Education prepared me to go out into the world, start working, and have some clue about what I'm doing?

Two things come to mind:

Waldorf teaching really develops a well-rounded person, someone who is ready for anything and has both the skills and the brains to do it all. That is part of it.

I also believe that the social interactions that we practice in school, such as the way that we treat each other and how much importance we place on respect for our teachers, emanates through our work and is cherished in any work space.

I think anyone who has been through a Waldorf Education will have no trouble finding and fitting into any career or job that they choose. 

 

Senior Projects (Part 3 in a series)

Senior Projects finished up on April 6. We have been introducing a senior to you each week in this short blog series. (See our April 14 blog post for the first installment in the series.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Dylan Manning, who came to GMWS when she was in the Lower School from Rye, NY. Dylan has many interests, including storytelling (she loves The Moth Radio Hour and was a student teller in 2016 at the Rockland County Storytelling Festival, which was sponsored by Green Meadow), stand-up comedy, triathlons, and writing.

Dylan said that one of the most satisfying parts about writing her novel was having it printed and holding the manuscript in her hand. She also loved character development, sometimes forgetting that her characters were fictional. 

Congratulations, Dylan!

Why Waldorf? (Part 4 in a series)

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of MaryJoe Walikainen, author of this post, and Max Rome, Grade 6. (Not pictured: Ava Rome, Grade 4; Ava and Max's father, Michael Rome)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from MaryJoe Walikainen, mother of Ava and Max in the Lower School.

I breathed such a sigh of relief when my kids began attending Green Meadow Waldorf School (GMWS) two years ago. In GMWS, I found the cohesion between school life and home life that I desired.   

My kids shake hands and look in the eyes of their teachers at the beginning and ending of each class, every single day.  They consistently feel what it’s like to sincerely connect with another and to be seen by another.  This also conveys a sense that they matter and that they are accounted for.  

During roll call each morning, my kids declare out loud that they are present.  This is another representative example of a simple gesture touching upon a much deeper life skill.  By saying they are present, they are connecting to themselves as well as acknowledging their place within the larger group, which leads to a sense of belonging as well as responsibility.   

These basic abilities of connecting with oneself and with others can certainly be learned at home.  However, GMWS not only acknowledges the importance of these skills and reinforces them, they run increasingly deep with each advancing grade in school.  I don’t think the importance of these life skills can ever be underestimated.  

I have so many examples of how much my kids have blossomed since attending GMWS and I haven’t even gotten past roll call.  Suffice it to say, I sleep soundly knowing that my kids have a solid school foundation from which they garner courage and confidence as they grow into themselves.  Providing them the ability to attend is one of the most important offerings I can make, not only for my individual children, but toward the realization of the greater world I envision.  

Film by Kellen Quinn '00 at Montclair Film Festival

Kellen Quinn '00 recently produced Brimstone & Glory, which will be shown on May 6 and 7, 2017 at the Montclair Film Festival.

Here's a synopsis of the film:

Tultepec is known throughout Mexico primarily for one thing—it is the beloved home of Mexico’s fireworks industry. Each year, the community gathers for an annual festival for San Juan de Dios, creating a ritual celebration of fire, explosion, and danger unlike any other. BRIMSTONE & GLORY is an immersive portrait of Tultepec as it prepares for one of the most spectacular displays in the world; a concussive, pulsating event that fills the streets with revelers seeking a colorful, shimmering dreamscape. (In Spanish with English Subtitles)

Congratulations, Kellen!

 

Please support the Pfeiffer Center!

The Pfeiffer Center's Neighbor to Neighbor program builds community among children from many walks of life in Rockland County, NY, cultivating relationships with plants, animals, the soil, and each other through a variety of activities on our small organic farm. Green Meadow students partner with low-income students at Chestnut Ridge Middle School through this important, innovative, multi-faceted project.

Demand for the program far exceeds what the Pfeiffer Center can currently provide. If you Give a Click, the Pfeiffer Center could be considered for a major grant to expand Neighbor to Neighbor. Visit this page, and vote every day until May 12. 

This grant will enable the Pfeiffer Center to hire staff, develop programming, partner with local organizations, and bring the Neighbor to Neighbor experience to many more children.

Senior Projects (Part 2 in a series)

Senior Projects finished up on April 6. We have been introducing a senior to you each week in this short blog series. (See our April 14 blog post for the first installment in the series.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Matt Olson. Matt joined Green Meadow in Sixth Grade, after moving to the US from Canada (when his mom, Ruth Olson, accepted a job as a Class Teacher at Green Meadow).

For his senior project, Matt designed and built a tiny house with the help of his mentor, GMWS alumnus Michael Scharff '77. Concerned about the environmental and financial costs of a traditional home, Matt set out to build a small, efficient house that he could donate to a family or organization in need when he was finished.

Read more about Matt's project in our local paper, The Journal News; see him on News 7 NY; or watch a short video of his senior project presentation. You can also watch the full-length presentation

Congratulations, Matt!

 

Why Waldorf? (Part 3 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Maskit Ronen, Life Sciences teacher in the High School, and mom to four children in the school.

The science curriculum in the High School is designed to meet the needs and interests of the students, which change and expand every year. I love that all the students learn the basic concepts of different sciences, regardless of the path they are going to take in life. Since I teach some of the life sciences and earth sciences curriculum in each grade, I can introduce a topic in 9th Grade, give the students some knowledge about it, and then revisit the same ideas and expand on them the following years. This spiraling back and deepening methodology helps the students integrate new ideas with previous ones, which increases their ability to then apply their accumulated knowledge to real-life situations.

I am lucky to be able to observe and address the students’ thirst for facts in the 9th Grade, followed by their need to better understand processes in 10th Grade, then by their interest in causality and hidden forces behind these processes in their junior year. When I meet the seniors in the Fall of their last year in high school, their interest in who they are becoming and how they fit into the world around them is palpable. The curriculum meets these needs with a wider look at the Animal Kingdom, and explorations of ideas such as natural selection, philosophy, architecture, and modern history. As with any group of young adults, there are struggles along the way, but the enthusiasm our students have towards the future keeps me hopeful and motivated and makes it all worth the effort.

Senior Projects (Part 1 in a series)

We just finished Senior Projects Week. The 22 members of the Class of 2017 all shared their amazing projects, which you can see on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. We are very proud of all of them.

I'm a Green Meadow staff member and parent, and I have had the privilege of teaching a senior math class for the past two years in the Fall, so I get to know our seniors fairly well and I'd like to introduce several of them to you in this short series.

First up is Grayson Sussman-Squires, who presented on photojournalism.

Grayson came to GMWS in Ninth Grade after attending elementary school at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz. Grayson is an environmentalist and activist who was published in The Huffington Post in January 2015, when he was a sophomore at Green Meadow.

Watch Grayson's presentation on his photojournalism project, excerpted here.

You can see more of his photos on his blog.

Congratulations, Grayson! 

Senior Projects Make the News!

Matt Olson '17 built a tiny house to donate to a family or organization in need for his senior project. Here's a short video and article about Matt's project.

Congratulations to Matt and all our seniors! Watch clips of senior project presentations.

Why Waldorf? (Part 2 in a series)

Every week for the next several weeks, we will introduce you to a teacher, parent, or student who will share something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Jaden Laboriel, Grade 2. As you will see as you read below, Jaden is a keen observer and tells it the way he sees it.

(If you click on the title of this post, you will see a photo. Jaden is pictured on the far left, at his First Grade Rose Ceremony in Sept. 2015.)

GMWS: When did you come to Green Meadow?

JL: In Parent & Child classes.

GMWS: What are your favorite classes?

JL: Handwork & Games.

GMWS: What is your favorite thing about Green Meadow?

JL: I like the Fall Fair, because of the Dragon Run.

GMWS: What would you tell a student coming to Green Meadow?

JL: I'd say it's a good school, probably better than the one you're in. Each class is unique, the teachers are nice and really polite, we celebrate good holidays, we get to do good plays, and we have a lot of buildings. We have Rose Hall, where we watch some of the plays. We have a real ringing bell instead of the kind of bell most schools have.  We also have a good basketball team. And the kids here have good posture. The school is amazing.

Why Waldorf? (Part 1 in a series)

This week, we are excited to launch a blog series featuring the perspectives of parents, teachers, and students from across the school. We will hear why they have chosen Waldorf Education, and what it means to them. Stay tuned for weekly posts on this theme through the end of May!

Why Waldorf?
Week 1

From Jessica Rowe, Early Childhood parent

It all started on a spring day three years ago. My husband, Jim, passed me an article in The New Yorker magazine about the rise of Waldorf schools in China. In considering the educational path we wanted for our children (Ozzie, Luke, and Luna), we were stuck between public school and homeschooling, but neither felt right to us. Our lives changed that day as we were introduced to Waldorf Education. The following week, we took a tour of Brooklyn Waldorf School, and later that month, we enrolled Ozzie in kindergarten. 

Initially, we were drawn to the beautiful pink walls of the Kindergarten rooms, the smell of fresh bread baking, and the ample time for free play throughout the day.  In the past three years, there have been so many other things we’ve come to value as our children’s education has infused our family life: spending time together on a walk through the woods, saying a blessing together before we eat our family meals, tapping a maple tree in our yard for its sweet sap, or snuggling up together and reading a fairy tale.

Our love of Waldorf Education has continued to grow at Green Meadow because it nurtures the individuality of our children while teaching them the value of working and playing within a group; because our children’s teachers have given them freedom to explore along with the structure they need to feel confident and relaxed within that freedom; and because it’s a place where we’ve been supported in learning and growing as parents and as people. We’re so grateful that we’ve found Waldorf Education.

Senior Project Presentations, April 3-6

Senior Projects are a hallmark of many Waldorf schools and a beloved tradition at Green Meadow. All seniors conceive their own independent senior project in May of their junior year, and then work with an outside mentor as well as a faculty mentor throughout their senior year until their school presentation in April. Join us for this memorable and moving week.

This year’s Senior Projects include Building a House, Photojournalism, Midwifery, Finance, Writing a Novel, Fashion Design, Roller Derby, SCUBA diving, and Luthier Training.

Hear directly from four seniors about their experience: take a look at pages 14 and 15 of the March/April issue of The Bulletin.

Click here for specific presentation times during Senior Projects week.

This Saturday, 3/25: It's About Time! Benefit to launch our endowment

This year, we are focusing on establishing our first endowment; hence the name of our fundraiser: “It’s About Time: A Benefit for Our First Endowment.” The proceeds from our benefit will begin planting perennial seeds and establish a foundation to grow upon. An endowment is a permanent fund in which the principal is held in perpetuity and only the investment income is expended annually – providing a permanent, long-term source of funding. Endowed funds support activities not just for one year, or even one generation, but forever! Funds are invested prudently to ensure they can sustain current and future needs.

A healthy endowment will provide strength, longevity, creativity, and flexibility for Green Meadow, ensuring steady income to support key programs and invest in new ideas.

Buy tickets here (before Saturday 3/25).

Bid in the online auction. (Closes at 10:30pm on Saturday 3/25)

Understanding Waldorf Education

This article offers some great information that corrects common misperceptions about Waldorf Education. 

In summary: 

Misconception #1. “It’s artistic.”
Yes, but it’s not just for artistic students. The art enhances all aspects of deeper learning and unites the hemispheres of the brain.

Misconception #2. “It’s unstructured.”
We are very structured in our daily rhythm, in core academics, and in the expectations of the teachers, among other things. We are very conscious of allowing the children "out breath" activities like movement to balance the "in breath" of focused academic work. Our daily, monthly, and yearly calendars follow a coherent and predictable structure.  

Misconception #3. “It’s for children with learning challenges.”
Most schools are able to meet a small number of children with challenges in any given class.

Misconception #4. “It’s non-academic” (especially the Kindergarten).
No. Not at all. The Early Childhood lays the foundation for future academic rigor with rich language, imaginative stories, and all kinds of skill-building. Lower School students (who begin learning two languages in First Grade and play in an orchestra beginning in Third Grade) are learning through their feelings to engage deeply with material presented by their teachers. Our High School curriculum is challenging and prepares students for college and career.

Misconception #5. “They don’t start reading until third grade.”
Reading is much more than the sum of its parts, so we use a holistic approach similar to today’s Whole Language teaching style. Our pace is different than mainstream schools, and the result of the way we teach is that Waldorf students emerge from school as lifelong learners. 

Misconception #6. “It’s way behind the times."
Modern scientific research is bringing to light some astounding facts about human development in the first three decades of life – discoveries that are highly consistent with the academic progressions recommended a century ago by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education. Much of what is considered cutting-edge today (teacher looping, block-style learning) has been integral to Waldorf Education for nearly 100 years.

 

 

Don't miss Screenagers on Tuesday, March 7!

 

The award-winning film Screenagers probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director's own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.

Rose Hall,  7:30pm
Free and open to the public.

Watch the trailer.

Register for the screening.