Back to School (a Few Weeks Later).

September 28, 2012

"It is aliveness that must be the guiding principle. 
Joy and happiness in living, a love of all existence,
a power and energy for work, and imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility...These are the forces which are the very nerve of education."~ Rudolf Steiner

Well hello there.  Where have I been?  Hmmmm.  I suppose we have been busy wrapping up summer activities, starting school and beginning our fall rhythm.  (That and spending too much time on Instagram!  You should join me!)  But I wanted to be sure and check in and reflect a bit on the journey we have been on with C-Man over the past month.

C-Man started first grade this year, which is a big deal at his school.  He was in the so-called Early Childhood part of the school for several years.....which is a lovely, nurturing, homelike environment.  "The Grades," as they are called in Waldorf Schools, mark a big change for the children.  This is the first time they sit in desks, raise their hands, have traditional schoolwork, etc.  They have a main lesson teacher and at least 2 special subject teachers (French, Music, Handwork, Games and Eurythmy) each day.  They play on the "big yard" with all of the older kids.  They are much more independent and there's a lot more work to be done.  

The school does a really lovely job of marking this transition with the children.  During the summer, all the new first grade families joined together for a Bridge Ceremony on the big lawn at the school.  The families sit with their children together facing a wooden bridge covered in flowers.  Each child is called up and the family walks them to the bridge, gives hugs (tears are shed by certain mamas and papas) and the child crosses over to meet their teacher for the very first time.  She greeted each child with a handshake and a few special words for that child, and then she took them to their classroom for the first time.  Parents aren't allowed to join in this part.....it really is part of the first bonding that takes place between the child and the teacher and the class as a whole.  (In Waldorf Schools, the main teacher stays with the children all the way through eighth grade, so the bond will become very deep.)

Then, on the first day of school, there is an Assembly for all grades.  The main focus is to introduce or present the incoming first graders to the rest of the school.  A high school senior met each new first grader, gave him or her a rose and walked to the front of the auditorium where the child again met the new teacher.  It was truly beautiful and very moving to see C-Man go through this process with confidence and ease. 

I wish I could say everything since then has been seamless but after a few days, C-Man started having some tears and anxiety before school (a first for him, so that made it a bit harder).  He has worked through it now and runs from the car each morning with a "Bye mom!" (or dad)....which is a relief to hear.  After thinking a lot about what could have been bothering him (he could never identify to us what it was), I believe he was sort of mourning the end of his days in the cozy cocoon of Kindergarten and Nursery.  He was facing work and structure and discipline (all in a very nurturing Waldorf environment, of course!).  This was the end of an era for him and I believe my little man knew it.  

Last night B and I got to go to a class meeting with his teacher and the other parents and we got to sit at his desk and look through his book of classwork and see his paintings and drawings and his little basket where he keeps his things and participate in the morning circle activities and it was so lovely.  He is learning to oil and care for his wooden flute and is sanding his first pair of knitting needles. I am happy for him (and very grateful) that he gets to spend his days in a beautiful and natural and nurturing environment with teachers who love and care for him and give thoughtful instruction.  I meant to get some photos of the room and the beautiful little details but forgot.  Another time. 

I hope all of your transitions back into the school year went well.  xoxo

{first day of first grade}

12 comments:

  1. Love your summary of our school. I couldn't have said it better.

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  2. I fell into reading your blog after being an avid reader of "Alice Q Foodie" for a while. My husband and I will be moving to La Mesa next month, and are looking into schools for our future family. I have been intrigued to read of your experience with the Waldorf School, as I am also a teacher (but in a public school setting in Poway). We debate the merits of sending our children to my school district vs. trying a private school locally. I have enjoyed reading about your family's experience so far, and would love to read/see more. When you do have a chance to post the photos of your son's classroom, I'd very much enjoy seeing them! Thank you!

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  3. Nice to see you here! The experiences you share inspire me to create a warmer, more child-centered, more family-friendly community for my Kindergarten class. Thank you for the Waldorf cheat sheet! See you on Instagram!

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  4. How is JuJu liking school? I love the Waldorf concept. You're doing a wonderful job with your kids...

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  5. Such a lovely little peek into C-man's evolution. Sounds like the most perfect school. xoxo

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  6. What a lovely way to begin one's educational journey. Thanks for sharing what's been up with C-man. The parts about the flute and knitting needles make me smile when I see him there with the Ferrari logo on his t-shirt. He's a man of many interests.

    jbhat

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  7. Yay you're back! Although I'm also loving your pics on IG I've missed your blogging :) The Ferrari t-shirt is too cute on your little man, I grew up with a Dad obsessed with all things Ferrari... learned to drive in one! Keep up the writing, you are an inspiration.

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  8. This is lovely. I'm SO happy C-Man has such a wonderful school. As you know, I think that quality early childhood education is so, so important... I'm so glad that he was able to move past his fears and embrace this new stage! It can be so daunting! Even for us adults :) Looking forward to hearing more and seeing classroom pics!

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  9. I like waldorf education. I started reading about it because of your posts. We dont have waldorfs schools around here.
    Its going to be a great year for C-Man! Best wishes for him.
    I also love instagram, but please keep writing here. I love reading your posts.

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  10. We are so proud of you C-man!

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  11. Hi! I remember the experienced with my eldest when she began in her 1st grade. She's crying whenever she doesn't see me but, after a couple of weeks she adopted the routine.Such a precious memories when I looked back and thankful that I was able to see those moments.

    Glad your kids are into big school now. I'm glad that you able to update your blog, I'm your follower on instagram and I really adore your uploaded pics most especially your kids. Your daughters is such a fashionista in the making. Love seeing them.

    Best regards to your family!

    audrinajulia.blogspot.com

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  12. Jora, this made me cry. C-man is growing up. He is such a special boy. xo

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