Tacoma Waldorf School Relocating to the Former Weyerhaeuser Estate in N Tacoma

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/2/2017
For further information please contact:
Chanin Escovedo – Dean of Administration   or
Chantal Hulet – Enrollment Coordinator
Office# 253-383-8711 M-F 8am to 4pm or
Chanin Escovedo cell: 253-970-1726
www.TacomaWaldorf.org

Tacoma Waldorf School is relocating to the educational building on the property formerly known as the Weyerhaeuser Estate in North Tacoma. The move enables the school to expand enrollment to more than double their current numbers, filling a long-awaited demand for this specialized education. Waldorf curriculum emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to holistically integrate the intellectual, practical and artistic development of their students.  

Tacoma Waldorf is one of nine in the State of Washington and the only one in Pierce County. They currently provide education for preschool through fifth grade and have plans to expand to eighth grade in the very near future. The new building and its’ beautiful landscape provide a perfect setting for a school that focuses on the use of natural resources and outdoor play.

Waldorf education was founded in 1919 in Germany by Rudolf Steiner. Today there are more than 1000 Waldorf schools in 90 countries. It is the largest and fastest growing pedagogical movement not run by church or state. Although no two schools are identical, there are certain commonalities across the globe. The typical furniture, décor, artistic supplies and play structures are only those that are from all natural resources such as wood, wool and silk. Classrooms are designed to provide a calm atmosphere that feels much like a home. Educators understand the learning processes of each of their students so that they are sure to meet their individual needs. For a deeper look at the positive changes Waldorf education is making across the globe, look for the “Waldorf 100 – The Film”, available on Youtube.

Tacoma Waldorf is now enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year. For more information please visit their website www.TacomaWaldorf.org or call 253-383-8711.

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Press Release

 

Winter Faire 2016, fun for the whole family

Join us for family fun and festivities at this year’s annual Winter Faire on December 3, 2016 from 11 am to 3 pm.

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People return year after year to this heartwarming event to shop for beautiful handmade gifts from local vendors and parents and natural toys and books from the school store.

Children enjoy a magical winter puppet play. They can make several crafts and shop at a store just for them. Don’t miss the enchanting Crystal Cave!

The whole family can enjoy a nutritious and affordable lunch followed by handmade treats at the Snow Angel Café, while enjoying musical entertainment by outstanding performers such as the Valhalla choir. Be sure to watch for St. Nicholas with his basket of oranges.

Admission is free with activities costing between $1-5.

This year’s memorable Winter Faire will be held at Mason Middle School 3901 N. 28th Street, Tacoma.

Come one, come all to TWS’s Oktoberfest Celebration!

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One of the things we all love the best about Tacoma Waldorf School is our sense of community. Festivals like Michaelmas and Lantern Walk are one way we build community, but that typically only reaches our current internal community of families. This year we’re starting something we hope will become a tradition: TWS Oktoberfest!

Join us Saturday, October 22 from 3-7 p.m. at the home of TWS family Karla and Johnny Blair in Puyallup (6017 144th St E, Puyallup 98375) for brats, pretzels, pie, and beer and cider brewed by TWS parent Jared Bonea (and some non-alcoholic cider for the little ones)! Tickets are $25 per adult in advance ($30 at the door), and children are free! There will be free children’s activities at this casual event where you can visit, eat, and enjoy the camaraderie of the Tacoma Waldorf community. The evening will be capped off by a seasonal bonfire to warm our toes.

Bonus: Alumni will get a chance to meet our new Dean of Administration Chanin Escovedo who will be in attendance!

Tacoma Waldorf welcomes Starforest Kindergarten!

Last year our Starlight kindergarten experimented with more outdoor time in the format of spending one day per week completely out-of-doors at Tacoma’s lovely little Adriana Hess Audubon Center. This year, we’ve expanded our early childhood offerings as demand increases to include a second kindergarten! While our Starlight kindergarten will continue to be held exclusively at our current Proctor-area campus, our new Starforest kindergarten will spend two days a week adventuring in nearby Puget Creek Gardens and Natural Area! This 66-acre natural area has one of only three salmon-bearing streams in the city, and includes a .75 mile trail that provides an excellent venue near the school for our little adventurers to have some guided exploration on their forest days.

img_3080Our teachers have observed that a natural environment offers the ideal setting wherein a child may grow and develop freely, with the sort of enthusiasm and excitement sought after inside classrooms. By emphasizing the development of self-regulation, self-direction, and self-reflection, Tacoma Waldorf School’s Kindergarten Forest Days will provide the children with the educational foundation that will support them for the rest of their lives.

We are excited to launch this new kindergarten option for those families seeking more outdoor adventure time, but for those who enjoy the wonderful traditional Waldorf kindergarten meeting indoors with regular time spent outdoors daily, our Starlight Kindergarten will continue to nurture young souls in the way it always has! We look forward to meeting the needs of all kinds of families with these expanded early childhood opportunities!

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Experience Waldorf Education at our Open House

Discover the beauty and spirit of Waldorf Education and the not-so-common core at Tacoma Waldorf School’s Waldorf Experience Open House. Join us August 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. (Not open hours. Please arrive on time to experience the event.) Enjoy a classroom experiences, meet the teachers and staff, ask questions, and establish if this is the right school for your child. Waldorf Education accommodates many learning styles and teaches based on children’s physical and cognitive developmental markers. Come and experience why Waldorf Education is one of the fastest growing educational movements in the world. Adults only please. RSVP to enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org.

Eurythmy Northwest Performance at Tacoma Waldorf School

Banyan and Branch, a Jataka Tale, Performed in the Movement Art of Eurythmy

Banyan1Eurythmy Northwest, pianist Marina Albero and student guest performers from the Tacoma Waldorf School will present the traditional Jataka tale  “Banyan and Branch” for familes and children (age 4 and up) on Thursday, March 24 2016 at 11:00 a.m., at Tacoma Waldorf School, 2710 N. Madison Street, Tacoma, WA 98407. Performance will be held in the Mason United Methodist Chapel.

In this Jataka tale (story of a life of the Buddha), a king’s heart is transformed by the selfless actions of a special golden deer.  The tale is paired with modern classical music and original compositions by Ms. Albero, and performed in the movement art of eurythmy, which transforms speech and music to movement and color.

The eurythmy troupe Eurythmy Northwest combines eurythmists from Washington and British Columbia and has been performing in the Pacific Northwest since 2004. They present a wide range of folk and fairy tales, poetry and musical pieces in schools, private institutions and public venues.

Banyan2Marina Albero comes from Barcelona with a wide perspective on music.  Marina plays piano, hammered dulcimer and vibes and has played with some of the most important artists of early, flamenco and latin music such as Chano Dominguez, l’Arpeggiata, Barbarito Torres (Grammy winner for Buenavista Social Club), Glen Velez, Pepe Habichuela, Carlos Saura, La Folata, Genara Cortés, Sara Flores, among others.

Performance is free, but a donation of $5-10 is suggested.

Contact: Chantal Hulet 253.383.8711 or enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org

The Importance of Warmth

This morning, each of the children in our mixed ages Starlight Kindergarten was given a blue silk scarf to tie around their neck to help hold in warmth in these cold days. As Miss Sara has been telling them the old story of “The Mitten,” she has taken liberty to add such an element to the tale. Working with this imagination, she longed for each Starlight child have a blue scarf with stars inside to wrap around their necks to keep warm. They spent time last week dyeing snow white silk scarves to sky blue, and choosing careful placement for each star.

Warmth is a popular topic in Waldorf early childhood classrooms during these winter months, as teachers impress upon children and their parents the importance of staying warm. A reading that is often handed out to parents on this topic is included below, to help remind us all of the importance of keeping warm as we enjoy the brisk weather outside.

The Importance of Warmth by Susan R. Johnson MD, FAAP

As a pediatrician, I actually was taught that you could tell if a child was warm enough by touching his or her skin. If the skin felt warm then the child was wearing enough clothes, and if the child’s skin felt cool or was mottled (bluish pink), then the child needed more clothing. It was simple! So I was the parent that had my 2 year-old child playing outside in the rain wearing only his diaper. I actually thought he was okay because his skin felt warm!

Warmth is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Not only the warmth of our love but also keeping their physical bodies warm. Children are developing their bodies especially during the first 7 years of their lives. An infant and a young child will always feel warm unless they are on the verge of hypothermia because they have an accelerated metabolic rate. If we don’t provide them with the layers of cotton, silk, and wool to insulate their bodies, then they must use some of their potential “growth” energy to heat their bodies. This same energy would be better utilized to further develop their brains, hearts, livers, lungs etc. In addition, being cold decreases immunity. We are all more susceptible to the germs and viruses that are always around us when we are wet and cold. When our body has to expend extra energy to keep warm then less energy is available to “fight” off infections.

So the question becomes, how do we get our children to wear jackets? One can develop the habit of always having children put on a hat and coat when they go outside during cool weather. One can also try telling children that they will actually run faster and have much more energy to play if they wear a coat. If they don’t wear coats then their bodies have to expend a lot of energy just warming them up, and they will have less energy to build muscles and less energy for play.

Finally, the type of clothing our children wear also makes a big difference. Polyester pajamas don’t breathe and children will often wake up sweating. Even polyester jackets will not insulate a child from the cold as well as layers of cotton, silk, or wool. When children sweat while wearing polyester that sweat is trapped against their bodies and they eventually become chilled.

So why do children rarely complain that they are cold? Children often are not connected with their bodies before 7 years of age to even acknowledge or communicate that they are cold. They live in the moment and are so excited and stimulated by all that they see that they don’t have the capacity to sense the coldness of their bodies. This is why children often will play in a swimming pool or ocean until they are literally “blue”, denying that they are cold or that they need to come out of the water. So as parents, we have to keep our child’s body warm so our child can develop this sense of warmth. By helping our young child to protect and develop this sense of warmth, we are actually strengthening our child’s immunity and laying the foundation for a healthy body and healthy organs as our child develops into an adult.

Advent, advent, a candle burns

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Our Advent Spiral is a festival that is unique in our calendar of the year. We enter in silence in a darkened room, listening for a song as a candle is lit in the center of a spiral of evergreen boughs, a symbol of life amidst the dead of winter. Then, as quiet music plays, each child in turn takes a candle into the center of that spiral and lights it, then places the candle in an apple along the path. The lights brighten the path for those who come after. Each child walks alone, at his or her own pace, in his or her own way.

This is a celebration of quiet confidence, of carrying light in darkness, of sharing that light with others. We attend this festival, not only to watch our own children, but to watch how they are in the community of their peers. How does each child approach the candle at the center of the spiral? Are his footsteps halting or rapid? Does she stop along the way to consider each crystal and shining stone in the path before placing her candle near the way out of the spiral, or does she set it down right away and hurry on without looking back? Being a witness to this journey can be a moving experience, and adults and children alike carry away from the festival the feelings and meaning they found within it.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the darkest days of the year. The sun is down before dinner time, and even at noon the shadows are long and slanting. Holiday preparations are in full swing, and our minds swirl with plans for gifts, meals, treats, crafts, decorations, travel, cleaning. When we look out into the natural world, we see the opposite of this constant, harried motion. The earth is growing quiet. The plants and animals are storing away food for the cold months or preparing to sink into dormancy. When the snow comes, the quiet will be even deeper.

It is no accident that so many festivals are planned for these dark days. Celebrations of light, community, sharing — these remind us to carry the gifts of summer with us into the quiet of winter. At the time of the longest night, we find joyful celebrations of returning light. The Jewish celebration of Hannukah, the remembrance of the rededication of the Temple and of the miracle of lamps whose oil should have lasted one day and lasted for eight, falls at this time of year. The Hindu festival of lights, Divali, has just passed. Kawanzaa, although not a festival of light, chooses to celebrate the light and love of culture and family in the early days of Winter. Many earth-based traditions honor the winter Solstice with special joy, lighting fires and candles and exchanging gifts.

The word “Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” This seasonal observance has been kept by people around the world from all paths and beliefs; as autumn gives way to winter, we prepare for the return of the sun, the lengthening of days, and for the insights that we can gain from reflection on the year that has been and on what may be to come.
In Waldorf schools, for many years, children of all backgrounds have participated in the month-long observance of Advent through songs, stories, craft activities, and the Winter Spiral festival. It is a way to give them an experience of quiet beauty in a season of busyness. 

Each week of Advent honors one of the kingdoms of nature – the minerals, the plants, the animals, and humankind – and this is brought into classroom activities and decoration as well.

Let your light shine

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All cultures throughout history have engaged in rituals that reflect the rhythms of nature marking significant transitions for individuals or groups. In Waldorf schools around the world, rhythm – daily, weekly, yearly – permeates school life. The purpose of the school´s `festival life´ is to nourish the soul of the individual and bring the community together. Some of our festivals are small events — the teacher and their class alone. Others festivals are for our school families, while others still are meant to include our broader community and neighbors.

As the daylight begins to wane and we prepare for the long winter nights ahead, we look inward for light and purpose. Each November we celebrate Martinmas, a festival of inner light in the outer darkness of the approaching winter. St Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says that one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half-naked and freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders and, drawing his sword, cut it in two, and gave half to the beggar. Martin saw in the eyes of this man, the light of the Divine which we each carry within us. Celebrating Martinmas serves as a reminder that each of us has a divine spark that we must ferry out into the world and share with others. According to old customs at this time, as the days become shorter and the stars appear earlier, children would walk with lanterns through the streets singing.

On November 6th , the children and parents of Tacoma Waldorf will participate in a Lantern Walk. The older children prepare for Lantern Walk with legends of St. Martin. The young children focus on kindness, as it is the heart of this festival. We all greatly anticipate the making of the lanterns, the learning of the lanterns songs, and being under the stars together.

You can extend the beauty of this festival into your home by choosing this time of year to gather warm items to give to those in need. You may also prepare a simple meal on Martinmas Eve of baked potato, or any food that can be cut in half. At the start of the meal, divide your food and pass half to your neighbor. This sharing allows us to savor the kindness in us all.

Slow Parenting: Caring for Children with Intention

Join us on November 17 for a free lecture from internationally-known educator and author Helle Heckmann.

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An excerpt from the Preface of Heckmann’s book Slow Parenting:

It is now commonly known that the ability to bond is established during the first years of life, which is why early childhood is of paramount importance. It has an enormous impact on the development of potential later on in life. Childhood cannot be rushed through or taken lightly, nor can it be postponed to the weekend or the next holiday when we feel we have the time for it. Childhood is short, and we only have a limited time to be there with and for our children. This time is precious and never returns. Children need their parents–for longer periods of time. Quality in the world of children is also quantity, buckets of time, peace and the opportunity to experience those rare quiet moments that allow for something else to happen, if only the adults are capable of waiting and listening.

The lives and well-being of our children are in our hands. As adults we carry the full responsibility for our children. As parents, grandparents, educators and politicians, we must learn to stop and listen with a greater sensitivity to their needs.

Do politicians propose longer days in institutions and fewer closing days to enable active citizens to take on more work, to win votes in the name of women’s liberation? Should we accept financially stretched nurseries and kindergartens, where the educators have a hard time creating a cohesive day for the children when they are delivered and picked up at different times, some children being there for 8-10 hours, getting tired and distressed? No we should not! The children need us. They need to know that we are there for them, whether we are their parents, educators, or caregivers. They need security and attention rather than an unpredictable environment.

Today I am convinced that we need to re-learn the basics in being with children. Just as our children need repetition to learn, we adults sometimes need it, too. We need to learn how to stay in the background and be the “solid rock” that the children can lean upon rather than the fast “curler” who paves the way ahead. We need to re-learn not to demand fast results from our children or stress them with reasoning and logic before they are able to comprehend reason and logic. We need to ask ourselves: why do we think that if only they learn to think like us, then everything will be all right!

Children are not small adults and their needs are different from ours. The world is overwhelming and big and it is our responsibility to make it safe, recognizable and good. Then children will be able to reach out for the world in their own time, in trust and with natural confidence. We need to be there for them and see that when they do reach out we take their hands. It’s no use stressing and rushing around and then compensating with anesthetizing entertainment, toys, and television to make the world interesting for them. The world is breathtaking and beautiful, and we would be able to rediscover this ourselves if we could learn to see the world through the eyes of our children instead of expecting them to see the world through our eyes. Children experience the world with their senses, not with their intellect. They can’t understand why there isn’t the time to stop up and observe a little beetle and absorb the experience with all of their senses, or why both mom and dad need to work so much. Decide for yourself whether it is worth it.