Within the Apple Blossom kindergarten, I recently sent home Susan Johnson's article that explains the connection to the Waldorf pedagogy and a child's readiness for first grade. Some signs of first grade readiness include a curiosity about learning to read and questions about reading and writing letters. Parents often ask me what they should do when their child shows an interest in learning how to read and write. The best advice I have is to never discourage a child's curiosity, but also, to never directly begin to teach them to read and write. Direct teaching would include providing your child tools and opportunities considered age-appropriate in a mainstream kindergarten, such as offering worksheets about letters, taking them to an accelerated program outside of school, or setting them up on a screen with a game about letters or reading. (There are very rare instances of children learning to read all on their own without these tools and teachers never say no to that.) Instead, you can reassure your child that their curiosity is a part of what first grade will be about: beginning to learn letters and how to read them. It will be wonderful! While you both wait for first grade learning, go to the library regularly. Check out books and read them to your child. You might even follow along the words with your finger while you read. Answer questions about reading as simply as you can, without providing more than the child asked for. Create enthusiasm for how much he or she will learn about reading from their teacher when arriving in the first grade.
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On Wednesday, the students celebrated the festival of Saint Lucia. Santa Lucia Day is another Festival of Light and celebrates the life of Saint Lucy during the longest night of the year (under the old Gregorian calendar December 13th was the Winter Solstice).
Hence, part of the song lyrics:
Santa Lucia, Thy light is glowing
All through the darkest night, comfort bestowing
Dreams float on wings of night,
Comes then the morning light
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia
This celebrated Scandinavian festival of light brightens the dark days. It is a celebration of the coming light lengthening the days and celebrates the life of Saint Lucia, an Italian saint known for her kindness and love.
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What a delightful evening that was had by all on Thursday, November 9th. We had a wonderful turnout in support of the children and the work we are doing in the kindergarten. I really appreciate the strength in our parent body and the warmth that we receive from the community. The children I walked with included families from all five kindergartens at both Golden Valley Schools. The children were reverent and awed by the experience of walking in the great wide world under the stars with their handmade lanterns and coming across Mother Earth in the trees.
A parent asked me about the pedagogy behind the Lantern Walk. This pedagogy would not be appropriate to share with the kindergarten child, but it may help adults deepen their understanding of the origins and archetypes within our kindergarten festival life.
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We are eager to announce that Tuesday, November 28th kicks off our exciting annual program: “Week of Giving.”
As many of you may know, Tuesday the 28th is the nationally celebrated “Giving Tuesday.” This special day is designed to support and shed light on all the great charities in our communities. As opposed to the consumerism of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” this is a day to celebrate nonprofit organizations by donating to your favorite charities. During this season of gratitude, it's important to remember what is truly important and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating that theme during our “Week of Giving.”
We may be biased, but our favorite nonprofit charity is Golden Valley Educational Foundation (GVEF) and all gifts to GVEF are fully tax deductible and go directly to our schools, supporting the programs that make our schools a unique Waldorf experience.
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