Tuesday News - September 17, 2013

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All submissions for the Tuesday News should be sent by Friday, 3:00 pm. to publicrelations@merriconeag.org

From the Administrator

     On August 29, 2013, CNN featured a look at Waldorf education, and how we engage the whole child in the process of learning through movement and hands on experiences. Sanjay Gupta’s report includes a look at Waldorf classroom activities from singing to knitting, from chopping vegetables to designing main lesson books on the circulation of the human heart. At the end of his report, he interviews a cognitive neuro-scientist who praises the use of movement and hands on activities for assisting learning and memory consolidation. With regard to standardized testing she states, “Reflective thinkers don’t always do so well in a testing environment.” Then she goes on to say that “touch screens” engage a spatial sense providing a multi-sense experience of new information for the child! (See last week’s TN for a link to the Waldorf story on CNN or click here.)

     This assumption triggered quite a response in our faculty meeting last Thursday! The idea that touching a screen as you “explored” the life cycle of a sea urchin, as opposed to digging in the sand at Hermit Island to directly experience the habitat, was disappointing to say the least. Immediately, a range of stories popped up from teachers finishing their first week of school. From early childhood to twelfth grade, we heard stories of students experiencing math, language arts, science and handcrafts through movement exercises, seasonal songs and beautiful drawings in their books. Our students were digging in gardens for carrots, moving to music in Eurythmy, juggling, clapping and stomping times tables! One story that delighted the faculty was from a teacher in the early grades. She described her class working on lower case and upper case letters. They were busily drawing pictures from the morning lesson in their book, when one child stood up by her desk and moved her arms and legs into the shape of the letter “K.” All of us in the circle pictured the beauty of this whole body experience.
      Touch screens have a place, but they don’t “replace” hands on learning. Christine Sloan


Fall Fair News

Fall Fair and Open House, November 9, 2013

What is it and why do I need to know?

     Many parents in our school were first introduced to Merriconeag, and to Waldorf Education, by attending our infamous Fall Fair. For the past twenty-nine years, this Fair has brought together our greater community for a daylong celebration of the season, with fine crafts, music, food, puppetry, outdoor games, and unique entertainment for the whole family. This is the day we also host an Admissions Open House, which is a wonderful way for parents in the community to see our community in action, peek into the classrooms, and talk with faculty and staff. This year, the Fall Fair and Open House is on Saturday, November 9th. This is a mandatory school day for all students – it is also one everyone looks forward to!

     Besides being a community-building and outreach event, the Fall Fair also raises money for the operating budget. Merriconeag, like most independent schools, cannot rely solely on revenue from tuition for our operating expenses. The cost of our education would be out of reach for many families if we did. The school, therefore, relies on a variety of fundraisers to supplement the operating budget, and we rely on your involvement to make this all happen.
      In the Development Office we strive to meet the school’s fundraising goals while maintaining realistic expectations of our parent’s time and energy. By sharing the Fair responsibilities across the whole school, and coordinating the efforts through the Class Coordinators with support from the Development Office, we hope that our volunteers will find their efforts deeply enriching and rewarding. Everyone takes up a piece of the work, and it all comes together!

     We encourage everyone to volunteer and get involved with the fair for the following reasons: the joy and excitement the children have for this event, the camaraderie of parents working side by side, the new faces you will see that are full of amazement and admiration for our community, the smiling alumni and their parents, the meeting and greeting of many friends, and the support for all that we value in choosing Waldorf education for our children.
      To find out which part of the Fall Fair you can help with, contact your class coordinator, check the weekly updates in the Tuesday News, or contact one of us in the Development Office:
Lynne Espy, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 116, in the farmhouse
Mary Martin, events@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 113, in the portable office

Fall Fair Meeting – come join us: Wednesday Sept. 25th at drop-off time in the farmhouse

     In a remarkable show of community spirit and generosity, each fall, Merriconeag parents and faculty pull off one of southern Maine’s most delightful fall fairs, right here on our campus. Children of all ages look forward to this wonderful tradition. We hold an Admissions Open House concurrently, so it is also a wonderful way to showcase the best of our school to the greater community. Everyone plays a role – whether you are co-chairing one of the committees, baking for the Café, or working a couple shifts on the day of the Fair, we all help make this day a success.

     Mark your calendars – and tell your friends from outside the school – it is one week later than in the past – on Saturday Nov. 9th. This is a long weekend (there is no school on Monday, Veterans Day) but please remember that the Fall Fair is considered a school day and an important part of your child’s and the whole family’s experience.

     We will have our organizational meeting on Wednesday Sept. 25th at drop-off, in the farmhouse. Anyone organizing a Fall Fair activity should come; anyone who is interested in learning how you can help should also come! The Fall Fair cannot happen without all of our wonderful volunteers! Treats and coffee provided.

Lynne Espy, developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 116, in the farmhouse
Mary Martin, events@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext. 113, in the portable office


Wednesday is Handcraft Day at Merriconeag!

     Handcrafts are integral to Waldorf education, and ever since Merriconeag began over 29 years ago, community handcrafts have been instrumental in binding our community together.

     Beginning THIS Wednesday, Sept. 18th, and every Wednesday afternoon (3:00 – 4:30) up until the Fall Fair (Nov. 9) our handwork teacher Julie Pennington will be offering free after school handcraft craft blitzes in our Handcraft Building on the main campus. Everyone is welcome - whether you are a novice or a very experienced handworker (knitting, sewing, felting, crocheting), a new parent or returning parent, this is a wonderful way to connect with other parents, deepen friendships, learn a new skill and get instructions and patterns for a new project. The items you make in this class will be sold at the Fall Fair, so on top of all these other reasons to come, you will feel good about supporting Merriconeag!

     Children in grades 4 and up are welcome to attend the sessions if they are able to participate. If you want to use the school’s aftercare instead, please call the Business Office ahead of time to arrange payment and ensure space is available.

     More details will be in next week's Tuesday News, but mark your calendars now and join in whenever you are able, starting this Wednesday!


Artisans at the Fall Fair – spread the word: We will once again host an Artisan Marketplace in the Community Hall at the Fall Fair. This year we will open it up to both families in our community as well as outside artisans. Please let me know if you, or someone you know, is interested in participating. This will be a juried show, to ensure that we have a variety of offerings and price points. Fees and specifics available upon request. Please express interest to Mary Martin, events@merriconeag.org, 865-3900 Ext 113, no later than Wednesday Sept. 25th.


Seeking Pocket Person Treasures: As you are cleaning out those stuffed drawers from the summer, please set aside any "treasures" for the Fall Fair to be used in the pockets of the Pocket Person. Some example items you might donate include: bells, crystals, sea glass, jacks, molding beeswax, coins, old keys, candles, buttons, marbles, wood figures and small boxes. Please drop items off in either of the offices that is labeled “Pocket Person Treasures”. Tami Goodrich


Athletic News

High School Cross Country

Meet with Freeport, York & Poland:  Friday the 13th proved to be a very auspicious day for the Merriconeag cross country teams. Despite the pouring rain, standing water and occasionally sloppy footing...oh wait, because of the pouring rain, standing water and occasionally sloppy footing, everyone had an excellent time at the race. The weather at the Freeport Community Fields ranged from light rain to torrential downpour, and there was no avoiding the puddles small lakes (including one with current!) that had formed on the trails. Instead of complaining about the conditions, our runners embraced them, resulting in some great performances and muddy, gritty shoes. Thank you to all our enthusiastic (and slightly damp) spectators, to Susan for having the foresight to bring the tents, and for the parents who contributed the tarps for our gear.

     Our girls' team had the distinction of having every single runner finish faster than she had run the week before at Twin Brook. This resulted in a number of PRs and happy runners. Sam Pierce again turned in a strong finish as Merriconeag's number one, finishing sixth overall after chasing down a number of competitors in the last mile. Carlin Tindall rebounded nicely from last week, demonstrating a strong final mile and the quick kick that we've come to know and love. She paced Fiona Ahearne through the first half of the race, helping Fiona to a new PR and a place on the all time top ten list. Also setting new personal bests were the pack of Lily Tupper, Sylvie Fenderson and Emma Goldberg-Courtney. They worked together for almost the entire race until Lily broke away with the fastest kick of the day in the final 200 meters. Sylvie and Emma G-C, separated by less than a second, finished close on her heels. Fiona Libby and Emma Dolan also did some great pack running, running almost exactly even splits to a new PR for Fiona and a much improved time for Emma. Phoebe Dolan ran a strong race, drafting and exhibiting a strong last half mile (although no dynamic breathing). And despite coming off a bad cold, Fiona Chace-Donahue managed to race remarkably well, setting a new PR by over a minute. The girls' team finished third overall, beating Poland.

     On the boys' side, Zack Neveu and Tucker Pierce led the way for Merriconeag (as well as leading the race for most of the course). Zack was edged at the finish by his Freeport competition, however his second place overall is the highest place finish in his high school career. Tucker was not far behind, setting a new PR. Dylan Wu had another great race, picking it up after the first mile to finish in almost exactly the same time as last week. Lars Gundersen recovered from last week's illness to break 20 minutes for the first time, moving up nicely in the final mile. This week it was John Burgess' turn to capture the final scoring position, also running negative splits to come within seconds of his personal best. He ran with Lincoln Samuelson through the first mile, who turned in a solid effort. (Lincoln and Davis managed to displace the majority of the Poland boys' team). Davis Ritger also had a great day on the trails, running negative splits to a new PR by 30 seconds. The boys' team narrowly finished third (only two points behind Freeport!), beating Poland.

     Full results can be found on the results page of the blog. As always, any meet photos would be appreciated. This week we will not have a meet, but we'll be back at it on Friday the 27th at Libby Hill (Gray-New Gloucester's home course). Hope to see you there! Coach Morgan Lake Adams

Click here for the complete race schedule.


Middle School Cross Country

     The middle school cross-country season finally started Monday, September 16, after last week's rain cancellation. The venue was Durham under cloudy skies and chilly temperatures, where we met teams from Freeport, Durham, Poland, and St. Dom's.

     Our girls started out in the first run of the day, landing a third place team finish behind great performances by Olivia Skillings (1st overall), Louise Ahearne (5th overall and first team appearance), second-year veterans Wilson Haims, Jenny Bakewell, and Caroline Odlin-Brewer, and standout first-time performances by our new team members Brenna Moore, Emma Tieman, and Ava Teegarden.

     The boys were next, bringing home a second place team finish with a whole lot of fresh faces on the team. As in the girls's race, Nick Neveu came in 1st overall, and Eli Gundersen took 5th overall. Our sixth grade boys came calling and stole four more of the top twenty spots - Kipling Samuelson led the way, followed by Adriel Barham, Ethan Haag, Aiden Kusche, and Max Waldron, all in their debut performances.

     I think I speak for all three coaches when I say how proud we are of the first performance of our relatively young team. Great job, and thanks again to all of the parents that helped with transportation to the race. Our next race is Thursday, 9/19, at Cape Elizabeth. Girls at 4:00, boys at 4:30. Hope to see you all there! Asst. Coach John Olson


School Community Updates

Willow Pond Farm Apples are Back!

Starting this Friday, September 20, apples will again be delivered to Merriconeag's Early Childhood Center on Fridays before 11:30am. Orders must be placed with Willow Pond Farm (willowpf@aol.comby Thursday at 2:00 p.m.. Please leave payment in the envelope on the file cabinet in the Early Childhood Office PRIOR to delivery.

Macs are available now and Cortlands in 2 weeks. N.spy and red delicious in October.

McIntosh Fancy: peck $10, half bushel $18
McIntosh Utility: half bushel $10.50, bushel $18
Cider- no preservatives, not pasteurized - Gallon $5.95, half gallon $3.75

Jill Agnew, Willow Pond Farm, 395 Middle Road, Sabattus, Maine 04280, 207-375-6662

To learn more about the farm, click here.


Help with our Outreach Efforts: Please contact publicrelations@merriconeag.org, if you can help with the important job of postering this year. We have lists by town but you may always add your favorite spots to them!


Read (Listen to or Watch) This

The International List of Famous Waldorf Alumni

This Internet-based list contains the names of Waldorf and Steiner alumni, as well as parents, who are recognized in their home countries or internationally for positive contributions to the arts, science, politics, and other fields. The list, which was founded in 1997, is supposed to act against prejudices that are still present occasionally, which claim, for example, that Waldorf education would not sufficiently prepare its students for the “real challenges of life”.

The Erosion of Listening: A Contemporary Crisis of Childhood
by Sheila Phelps Johns who has worked with the lyre in the early grades for 14 years at the Washington Waldorf School, where she is also a member of the Care Group. She has completed anthroposophic trainings in both instrumental and singing therapy. She works with music therapeutically at the school and through her private practice in Silver Spring, MD.

Knitting Is More Important Than Homework

Two years ago on the front page of the New York Times Sunday Business section, an article ran entitled, "A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute" about the Waldorf School in Silicon Valley. I had already made the decision to enter my oldest son in a Waldorf school before the article came out, but I pathetically admit that this piece in the New York Times validated my intuition regarding a Waldorf education. (Click link above to read more.)
By Mara Menachem/Huff Post: PARENTS, Posted: 07/18/2013

(Click blue to link through)


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