Welcoming New Families

Welcoming New Families

new_familiesSeveral new families to The Denver Waldorf School got together today to brainstorm ways to build community and reach out to families new to our school.

Thank you to Woodrose Parent Kelly Church for organizing and hosting at her home!

Every year The Denver Waldorf School Parent Council, a group focused on drumming up community-building ideas and communicating with parents about the school, creates a “New Parent Guide” to help new families navigate our school community.

The “New Parent Guide” is a humorous peek into our school community from the parent’s perspective. The “New Parent Guide” is great for new families ~ and veterans of our community may learn something new as well!

Shining Mountain Parent Education Talk: Reimagining Money

Shining Mountain Parent Education Talk: Reimagining Money

Our friends at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder have an interesting Parent Education talk planned Tuesday, April 30.
Here is the information from their Community Update, reproduced below with thanks to Shining Mountain!

Reimagining Money

money_can_healA talk by Mark A. Finser, Chairman of the Board of RSF Social Finance
Tuesday, April 30 from 7-9 PM in the
Shining Mountain High School Assembly Hall, $10

After years of our working to bring Mark Finser to Shining Mountain Waldorf School, now he is coming!!!

Members of our community who have heard him speak say they left transformed. It has changed the way they relate to their financial world and how money works in their lives.
This presentation is for those who have savings to invest as well as those who persevere and borrow to pay tuition. Mark talks about the spiritual and energetic aspects of money
in our lives. He explains how even a few hundred dollars invested in socially conscious projects can create positive changes in the world that we cannot even begin to imagine.
RSF Social Finance is inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner and is deeply aligned with the Waldorf education movement. Mark’s father, Siegfried Finser, wrote the book “Money can
Heal” and was a founder of RSF Social Finance. Please click here (or go to Amazon.com) for a preview of the inspiring content of Mark’s presentation, which is very similar to his
father’s book. For more information on RSF Social Finance, please see:
http://rsfsocialfinance.org/

This lecture is open to the public, so please invite your friends!

Confessions of a Screen Junkie on Screen-Free Week

Confessions of a Screen Junkie on Screen-Free Week

by Jennifer Parker, Community Development Coordinator
screenfree_week_2013_poster
I have a confession to make.

Next week’s screen-free challenge is going to be tough.

Here’s the challenge: No iPad, smart phone, laptop or texting. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Angry Birds, no Mad Men and no Downton Abbey. No media, no radio in the car, no magazines.
For one whole week: Monday, April 29 ~ Sunday, May 5.

Next week is all about raising our consciousness surrounding how much time children in particular spend absorbing mass media and in front of screens.

Now comes the confession.

The truth is, I cannot do a full media blackout for one week.

This annual, national screen-free week, organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is endorsed by The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, President Barack Obama, and numerous public and private schools.

But as the Community Development Coordinator for The Denver Waldorf School I need to be on my computer, reading my email, and connecting with our community via our website, Facebook and Twitter.

Plus, this screen-free week comes during the last week before our school’s largest annual fundraiser, The Denver Waldorf School 3rd Annual Walkathon, and the staff will be busy all week drumming up support online, emailing the community and putting out updates on Facebook.

So I can’t give up screens entirely next week.

But I CAN do a modified “media diet” ~ avoiding media and screens when it’s not necessary for work.

Therefore, next week, when I go home to my family, I intend to make some changes to my usual routine.

We have decided as a family to take up The Denver Waldorf School’s Screen-Free challenge and avoid any forms of media or screen time when we’re at home.

We have tentative plans to play cards in the evening together, get organized, plan out a few camping trips for this summer and clean our house. We may take turns taking a walk in the evening, and we have plans to get a babysitter for at least one night to go out for “date night.” I’m hoping to pick up a knitting project I’ve been neglecting and get our family photo album in order. Our class is even tossing around the idea of a parents-night-out that week.

The weekend will be more eventful, with our spring community event The 3rd Annual Strides for Stars Walkathon on Saturday, May 4. There will be a Maypole, chair massages, a delicious $5 lunch, croquet and more.

Ours will be more a personal “media diet.”

But I’m still hoping to reap some of the personal benefits that Dr. Thomas Cooper spoke about when he visited our school this Fall.

Dr. Cooper, author of “Fast Media, Media Fast” challenged families of The Denver Waldorf School to unplug from all media for a period of time. Cooper said such media free chunks in our lives would help us rediscover our personal identities, sharpen our senses, save us time and money, and help us tap into hidden talents.

Facing The Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education

The Denver Waldorf School is committed to raising awareness about the impact of screen-time and educating our community about alternatives that will support the healthy development of children and foster joy and peace within families. Too much screen-time is now also being linked to many childhood learning disorders, including loss of focus. Addiction centers are cropping up in the United States at an alarming rate to help wean people off media addictions.

Two studies by the Pews Research Center and Common Sense Media released in November found widespread belief among teachers that technology is affecting students’ ability to focus.

Waldorf schools around the world have recognized for years the impact that screen-time has on children, including difficulty in developing gross and fine motor skills, visual disorders, social and behavior problems, and other developmental problems.

As Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy and Co-Director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education, wrote in a recent article, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Mind Over Machinery,” electronic media is a tool that should serve humans, rather than the other way around.

Gerwin asked the question: At what age do children gain the developmental skills necessary to handle what the media is throwing at them? If they are engaging in media, what are they not doing? The fear is that children who should be moving, creating their own mental pictures and engaging in lived experiences, are instead sitting in front of a screen, absorbing content created by others who likely did not consider what was developmentally appropriate for children.

According to academics, our technology and media-driven culture has had significant consequences for community building.

Political scientist Robert Putnam wrote in his book “Bowling Alone” that television has drastically eroded participation in civic enterprises, clubs and volunteer groups. While more people in the U.S. are bowling, they are “bowling alone,” figuratively and literally, rather than in groups since the television set became a household fixture. This has had a huge effect on communities and volunteer groups.

Of course, mass media and technology aren’t all bad. There is much to love about the technological tools that have become so much a part of our everyday experience. However, key is carving out time to unplug once in a while and reconnect with ourselves, our families, our friends and our community.

Modify screen-free week to suit your family: Could you do just one day? Could you unplug at home but stay connected at work? Get creative and think about ways you can incorporate the spirit of screen-free week into your family routine.

The Denver Waldorf School would love to hear what your family has planned.

What is your family doing for screen-free week?

We’d also love to hear your thoughts coming out of this experience for our upcoming Newsletter. Good luck, have fun and please email communicate@denverwaldorf.org with any insights on your experience!

Sincerely,
Jennifer Parker
Community Development Coordinator
communicate@denverwaldorf.org

New Kids!

New Kids

There are a few new “kids” in our community. goat

Check out these very cute pictures of Cassie Wilkinson’s new baby goats. Samoa, the mama goat, had three little boy kids.
resizedgoatkids3

Reading Buddies

Reading Buddies

DSCN2992We snapped a few cute pictures today of 5th grade students encouraging and reading with their 2nd grade reading buddies!

In a Waldorf School, the foundation for reading instruction is laid in the Kindergarten and even before, through the rich language of fairy tales, the pictorial imagery of songs and poems, and the desire of the young child to listen to stories and repeat rhymes and sing songs.

DSCN2993

DSCN2995

DSCN2987

DSCN2988

DSCN2989

DSCN2990

DSCN2998

DSCN3000

Popcorn Promotion for The Walkathon!

Popcorn Promotion for The Walkathon!

DSCN2951The Development Committee popped popcorn for students on Friday, April 19, 2013 to promote the upcoming Denver Waldorf School 3rd Annual “Strides for Stars” Walkathon, our school’s largest annual fundraiser.

The Walkathon is Saturday, May 4th at Cheesman Park starting at 8:00 am. However, Denver Waldorf School supporters are encouraged to register before Monday, April 22 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.

Click HERE to register as an individual or a team.

Check out the creative team names, such as the Roberts Red Devils, the Frisky Goats, the Georgeff Clan and more!

DSCN2959

DSCN2961

DSCN2970

DSCN2981

DSCN2984

DSCN2986

4th Grade Class Play ~ Tales of the Trail

4th Grade Class Play ~ Tales of the Trail

Students in the 4th Grade presented their original play “Tales of the Trail” on Thursday, April 18, 2013. The play ties into the 4th grade Waldorf curriculum about Colorado’s geographical history.

Take One: The Kansas Tribe
Take Two: Julio Montoya
Take Three: Susan Magoffin
Take Four: William Hedges

DSCN2892

DSCN2885

DSCN2881

DSCN2880

DSCN2879

DSCN2874

DSCN2895

DSCN2893

DSCN2873

DSCN2871

That Peace Group Presents Global “Day of Silence”

That Peace Group Presents Global “Day of Silence”

thatpeacegroupThe Denver Waldorf School Social Justice committee “That Peace Group” is inviting everyone to participate in the global Day Of Silence, tomorrow, April 19th.

What we are doing:
~ Be silent from at least from 8-3, many will do the entire day. (We have agreed that participants should opt into an academic exception and speak in class to support their teachers and their learning.)
~ Wearing black shirts to raise further awareness
~ Wearing rainbow pins (hopefully) to show our unity and support (stop by Renata’s office to pick up a pin)

Why we are doing it:
~ This day is to raise awareness of the millions of youth whose gender identity and or sexual orientation cannot be categorized within the heterosexual/straight “norm” including but not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender individuals.

~ This day represents the silence that millions of youth are forced into daily as they live in a world often hostile and exclusive of their very identity. Although we have seen great progress throughout the 20th century into the 21st century, youth across our nation face the risk of being kicked out of their homes, having their family ties severed and broken, being told over and over again that there is something wrong with them, being sent to camps to get “cured,” being ostracized and relentlessly teased at school and so much more if they are not silent about their identity.

The potential consequences of not being silent vary from community to community, state to state and country to country with some countries still enforcing the death penalty for being gay. This climate lends itself not only to the silence of youth throughout the world, but the experience of excruciating loneliness, isolation and self-doubt that comes from this silence.

“That Peace Group,” the social justice committee begun by Denver Waldorf School High School students. encourage everyone to join use in this day of action!

For more information about the movement please visit:
http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.html

Please see High School Coordinator Renata Heberton at highschool@denverwaldorf.org for more information.

Several DWS Students In Dalcroze School of the Rockies Benefit Concert

Several Denver Waldorf School Students in Dalcroze School of the Rockies Benefit Concert

Several Denver Waldorf School students, Kieran (7th grade), Braden (4th grade) and Ella (6th grade) would like to invite the Denver Waldorf School community to a benefit concert by students of the Dalcroze School of the Rockies on Saturday, April 27 at 5:30 pm benefitting El Sistema Colorado. Admission is free, with all freewill donations going to El Sistema. Families and children are most welcome.

If you have any questions, please contact Denver Waldorf School Parent Krista Douglass at kristadouglass@msn.com.

dalcroze

DWS Senior in “South Pacific” in Lakewood

DWS Senior Isaac Harden in Production of “South Pacific” in Lakewood

Congratulations to Denver Waldorf School Senior Isaac Harden who has an ensemble role (and bass solo) in an upcoming production of South Pacific at the Lakewood Cultural Center. This is the culmination of Isaac’s Senior Class Project on Singing (in Public!).

If you like community musical theatre, consider going to a show.
The show runs for three weekends with matinee and evening shows available each weekend.

isaac