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RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOL

BULLETIN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2012

THE FIRST WALDORF SCHOOL IN NORTH AMERICA

THREE YEARS OF WHAT?

Not MY child! “Your son might stay for a third year of kindergarten.” These are not the words you expect to hear as a parent of a child in the second year of kindergarten. “What– my child is doing another year of kindergarten, really!?” Questions come fast and furious, laced with surprise, denial, fear and other assorted emotions. And these emotions may cloud what is being discussed: Your child and their readiness for first grade. My wife and I can only speak for our situation with our son. His older brother sailed on to the first grade after two years in the Downstairs Kindergarten. We expected the same trajectory for Leland so when the idea of a third year was mentioned during his first year of kindergarten we were, to put it mildly, a bit surprised. “How can you know so early? What if we work with him over the summer? We discussed it with his previous teacher, our older son’s teacher, our friends and professionals in the field. We gathered as much information as we could about the idea of red-shirting-- holding a child back early to better prepare him or her for the more regimented grade-years.

IN THIS ISSUE

Parent Letter

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And we also spoke to parents (mostly fathers) who had been pushed ahead as children and who even now, as adults, wished they had not been.

Therapeutic Eurythmy

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We talked with other parents who wished they had held their child back as they watch their child struggle to keep up in classes. We wanted what was best for our son. And what was evident from the beginning – though at times hard to see -- was that our child’s best-interests were to have him stay a third year in kindergarten.

Sports at Steiner Alumna Returns to Teach Committee Updates Community Marketplace

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We had him evaluated by an outside professional to judge his first grade readiness. What we learned was that he was ahead in some areas, needed work in other areas, and, like all children he had his own pace for development. Within the school, the visiting Waldorf professional also saw this pace. One advisor thought Leland was on the cusp, and either decision would be fine. In evaluating the whole child there was no question about his cognitive readiness for first grade but there were questions about whether he was emotionally ready for the leap—something his previous teachers had also seen. And this was readily seen in his social interactions and the way he handled conflicts and frustrations. I came around to the idea sooner than Lisa did. She was concerned that after two years of kindergarten, Leland would be bored by a third year of the same. And a bored child can be a disruptive force, which she feared would lead to disciplinary issues in the class. Once again we discussed this with many parties many times. We still resisted the idea. But when I asked about the children Leland played with the most I learned that almost all of them were in their first year of kindergarten. That said to me that Leland was progressing at his own deliberate pace.

“...by giving Leland another year in kindergarten we allowed him to gather the tools he needs be successful in the next phase of his education.”

And so Leland stayed a third year and during that time he developed more friendships and became a more confident, more robust child. At home he was a younger brother, but in his third year of kindergarten he was given the gift to being the oldest–to gain confidence, to be a leader, to experience something that was not his, due to birth order. As Leland begins the second half of First Grade we look back in gratitude that he was able to have the gift of a third year of kindergarten. We see maturity in his interactions with friends, his brother, with his teachers and with us, his parents. He has come into his own. The thought and care with which the decision was made to have Leland undergo a third year was remarkable. And the collective effort to gather information about our child and his development enhanced our understanding of him and what he needs to succeed at school. The process, though difficult at times, has made us better parents and his teachers better teachers. We thank them all for their guidance and patience as we accompany Leland on his educational journey. And for those of you just now starting this journey we are here to share our experience. As Ms. Friedman, his nursery teacher, said to us last year that when we gave Leland another year in kindergarten, we allowed him to gather the tools he needs be successful in the next phase of his education. And, as we watch him start up the stairs to his First Grade class eager to start his day, we find ourselves in complete agreement. James Salser & Lisa Greissinger 2

RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOL


JANUARY 2012

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Therapeutic Eurythmy: Developing capacities for life

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lease join us for this evening with Anthroposophical psyichian, Dr. Gerald Karnow, and Therapeutic Eurythmist, Linda Larson, where we will learn how Therapeutic Eurythmy can be used as a tool in helping those students who are in need of additional support, that they may apply themselves more fully within the Waldorf setting and curriculum. There will be an introduction to Therapeutic Eurythmy and Anthroposophical Medicine, demonstrations of exercises and the opportunity for participation, with time for discussion and Q. & A., all with the aim to deepen our understanding of this therapeutic approach and its transformative possibilities. Dr. Gerald Karnow, school physician at the Rudolf Steiner School from 1978 to 2010, has been practicing anthroposophic medicine for over 35 years. He is currently the physician and co-worker at the Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, New York, a residential community for older individuals, and the medical advisor and woodshop teacher for the Otto Specht School for children with special needs and learning differences in Chestnut Ridge. Dr. Karnow arrived in the U.S. from Germany in 1957, received his undergraduate and MD degrees from the University of Chicago, and completed post-graduate medical training in internal medicine at Harlem Hospital in Manhattan. He has been closely involved with the anthroposophical movement and Society in this country for several years, and has guiding responsibilities for translation and publishing at Mercury Press in Chestnut Ridge. Linda Larson, in her fifth year as therapeutic eurythmist at the Rudolf Steiner School, has practiced Therapeutic Eurythmy since 1987, in Switzerland, England, and the U.S. She also facilitates workshops and seminars in various settings, including adult education courses, Anthroposophical Society branch groups, and has developed the “Picture Your Life� Biography/Eurythmy course with Art Therapist and Biography Counsellor, Regine Kurek of Arscura Art for Life, Toronto, Canada. A former National Board member of the Eurythmy Association of North America and a member of ATHENA, Ms. Larson earned her eurythmy diplomas from the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland and from the London School of Therapeutic Eurythmy in England. She holds an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

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RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOL


Sports at Steiner

by Ging Vann, Athletic Director

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he Winter Sports Season is well underway! We proudly report that all three Steiner Basketball teams are working incredibly hard throughout their practices and games. Following a two-year absence, the Boys Middle School Basketball team has returned. Their progress has been both encouraging and exciting to witness, as the team and coaches continue to display an incredible sense of energy and school pride. We are very proud of this team for their commitment! The Girls Middle School Basketball has gotten off to an excellent start, with two wins and one loss in League play. This season, our high school boys have faced an enormous challenge. After several years playing at the Junior Varsity Level, our boys have been move up to Varsity. Though the Boys Varsity Basketball team has struggled a bit, facing stronger and more skillful opposition, they have been extremely dedicated and passionate towards their commitment to succeed. We wish the team the best of luck as they compete to achieve a place in the I.S.A.L playoffs. We congratulate all of our teams on their achievements thus far and continue to cheer on their efforts throughout the rest of their seasons. We invite our parents to come out and support the Steiner Dragons in action at any time during the rest of the basketball season.

Go Dragons!!!

Fight With Fire Power!!!

JANUARY 2012

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RSS Alumna Shares Her Approach to “The Art of Intuitive Photography”

Rudolf Steiner School alums often stop by to visit the school; wondering if the building has changed in any way or if teachers from their past are still around. Every now and then, we welcome back graduates to share experiences with current students, whether they be personal or professional. For two days in December, alumna Mindy Veissid ’89 shared her philosophy on “The Art of Intuitive Photography” with the Upper School photography class. Using her intuition to dictate the shot, Veissid’s philosophy calls for the photographer to be focused not on the constant changing of manual camera settings, but rather the sights, sounds, and smells that may lead them to a great shot. Mindy first shared the principles of her her craft with Steiner students, then took them outside to put the lesson into practice. The day’s assignment: to look at the world as if they were an alien or newborn infant experiencing it for the first time. Of the experience, Mindy shares: “It was such a privilege to give a little something back to the school after all these years. Being at Steiner from the age of 3-18 affected me in ways that I’m still seeing now with my art. Having been nurtured and nourished in the arts at such a young age has given me the confidence to know when I’m done with a piece, or when to continue on.

From the following comments and photographs, it’s clear to see Mindy’s approach made an impact on our students as well. “I liked her photos, simple yet profound.” “I related to loving a sky with clouds.” “I liked the presentation because I dislike set up images, this was more open, more imaginative.” “I was not worried about focus, I was freed up from that. I worked more with light and frame.” “I liked the creativity that came out in embracing a different perspective, imagining what a newborn or an alien might notice just coming to this world.” “I followed my instincts, followed my voice, in the rain. I found beauty in the droplets.”

I have also received many comments from my adult students who state that I have a very soft and easy yet forceful way of teaching. As that is how I received my education, it’s the only way I know to teach. Thank you, Rudolf Steiner, for having me come back to my educational roots and to share my joy and knowledge of the art of photography with some of your Upper School Students.”

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RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOL


JANUARY 2012

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Committee Updates

Parent Council

Social Inclusion

Parent Council is currently hard at work planning the Annual Community Association Gathering. The event will be held at the Rudolf Steiner Lower School on Thursday, February 2nd from 6-9pm. The night promises to be both a fun-filled celebration of the Lunar New Year of the Water Dragon and an opportunity to hear updates on what the future holds for the Rudolf Steiner School.

The Social Inclusion Core Group (SICG) is focusing this year on the creation of our “Code of Compassion,� which will be added to our Social Approach/Policy. With the help of the Student Action Committee (SAC) and the input of our student body it will be presented to the community later this year. The SAC began this semester working with students, visiting grades 4 - 8 and rehearsing role plays and skits to perform for the younger grades. Stay tuned for further developments!

Our Annual Fall Apple Picking Trip was a great success! The children who attended were predominantly from Early Childhood and Grades 1-4. During our last few meetings we have been researching the details of an additional PC sponsored school adventure that will take place in the Spring. Stay tuned for details!

Linda Ogden & Leslie Li Co-Chairs SICG

We hope everyone had a restful Winter Break and look forward to seeing all of you at the upcoming Community Association Gathering! Diana Mahiques Parent Council President

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RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOL


Marketplace

Service

the process. Lessons can be held either at The Rudolf Steiner School, Aaron’s guitar studio at 111 East 87th Street, or in your home! Rates: $30/half hour, $50/hour. Lessons at Home: $45/half hour, $60/hour. Contact Aaron at aaronrochemusic@gmail.com

Robert Elliott III, ’07 I’m offering private reading and writing tutoring, K-12. I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in May, having studied English and Writing there for three years and having spent my junior year at Oxford University. I have had extensive experience working closely with youth, including tutoring while a student at Steiner, working for the Boys Club of New York, assistant teaching, and teaching my own writing workshops through the O’Keeffe Education Department. Contact Robert at relliott@gm.slc.edu.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano ’07 Steiner graduate and brother of Luna Garzón-Montano, offers private music lessons, language tutoring, and babysitting services. Areas of expertise include: Piano, Bass, Drums, Gruitar, Theory, Composition, French, and Spanish. To contact him, call 646-852-7489 or email him at gabriel.garzonmontano@gmail.com

Guitar Lessons with Artist/ Producer/Educator Aaron Roche Aaron Roche is now offering guitar lessons to students of any level and style. Having toured the world and produced albums for many diverse artists in the studio, Aaron has developed a method of teaching that allows kids to become technically proficient on their instrument while having fun in T

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Announcements

Continued Education The Brooklyn Waldorf school will offer a Craft Certificate program at the end of January. The program starts with a two week handcraft workshop. For more information, visit www.brooklynwaldorf.org/ programs/adult-enrichment or contact Sono Kuwayama at sono@brooklynwaldorf.org

Jennifer Lyons’ ’79 client, Jesmyn Ward, was recently honored with the 2011 National Book Award for fiction, for her book SALVAGE THE BONES. Via The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, Jennifer represents such writers as Oscar o

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32 N Moore St. NY NY 10013

JANUARY 2012

Hijuelos, the winner of the Pulitzer Price for MAMBO KINGS, Martin Luther King’s sister Christine King Farris, the Estates of Isaac Babel, Frank O’Connor, Heinrich Boell and many other distinguished writers. A Fullbright recipient, Jennifer is married to the actor/ author, Stephen Brennan, and has two children.

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(646) 484-6845 www.playing-mantis.com

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with 10% discount to Steiner School Parents.

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January-February2012 Bulletin