January Taos Waldorf Newsletter

 

We will be sending out a monthly Newsletter — please let us know if there is any information that you want to see in next months!
 
Update on The Giving Letter and fundraising!We started the school year with a very conservative and tight budget.  This included specific fundraising goals throughout the year.  So far things have been going well and we are even a little ahead of schedule!  This is great news!   A huge thank you to everyone — folks recognize that we have something special and want to support it!
 
The Leadership Council met over the winter break.  Many things were discussed including redoing our school literature for next year, parent involvement and most importantly, where we see our school in three years.  The Leadership Council is a small group of parents and faculty who are in an advisory role — helping support the vision of Taos Waldorf School.
 
There will be several Coffee Lecturesover the next few months –please join us for these gatherings.  They are a great opportunity to learn more about Waldorf education and be part of our community.  There will also be tours of the classes which is a great way to see the curriculum in action and get a greater understanding of what your child will be learning in the next few years!

Water, water, water….cold, cold, cold….pipes, pipes, pipes….


After colder than usual temperatures, the pipes in our 8th/1st/2nd grade classrooms froze. Many plumbers and many hours later we finally have the pipes repaired. We are still waiting on the insurance to make additional repairs.  In the meantime, the classes have moved into temporary locations (1st/2nd is in the Golden Gallery and 8th grade is in the Music Room). We will keep everyone informed and updated.  A huge thank you to the many folks who have worked so hard on this — the Hammonds, Craig Simmons and others!

Library Display

There is a beautiful display at the Taos public library for the month of January. The display is of some of our students amazing lanterns and watercolors – joy, light and peace are being shared with our whole community.  We hope everyone can make it over to check it out! 

Santa Lucia

was celebrated before winter break.  The 8th graders made gingersnap cookies for everyone and went from classroom to classroom singing.
 

The Taos School District Spelling Bee
was on Friday, January 11th.  Congratulations to all of our spelltacular spellers who participated!  A special Congratulations to Aydin Gates, who won FIRST
place in the district spelling bee!   

 

Welcome

to Chrystie Richardson and family, Harmony and Serena in the Gnomies, Edan in 1st grade and Kai in 4th grade. They have just moved here from Arizona.  Welcome to MacClaren Scott and Randy Roch and their daughter, Isla in the Gnomies!   Please give them a warm welcome when you see them around the campus!    

 

Thank you! A special thank you to the Zamani family for all of their hard work and involvement over the past few months! We wish you the best in Oregon.

 

Festival of Lights was a beautiful gathering before the winter break.  It was a wonderful way to start our holiday break and a great reminder of why we choose to send our children to Taos Waldorf School -Thank you to our incredible Teachers!

  

 A Peek into our 4th/5th grade Curriculum:  

After studying ancient India we moved to North America with the focus of taking in a full sweep of the whole continent with the different biomes from tundra, to taiga, to arid deserts, to tropical coastlands and the grasslands in between. The children studied some of the specific plants in these areas as well as animals typical to them.  We worked through some of the US and Canada’s landscape and culture with the juxtaposition of Native American legends and the travels of John Muir. Similar to our ancient cultures and civilization blocks, in geography we work with the idea of how a place changes people and how people change a place.

 

Freehand Geometry was a first for this year and the children did very well with it; having a background of form drawing for the last couple of years served them well. Some of the goals of this block included identifying and drawing lines, angles and polygons with accuracy (without a straightedge); working with the circle and degrees within them; they have started a growing list of geometry vocabulary that they will continue to build on; they explored a historical context for geometry (which means “earth measure” in Greek) and thourghly enjoyed the stories about the rope stretchers of ancient Egypt and about Euclid from Athens.

 

There was a story about Euclid teaching a geometry class on parallel lines in Alexandria and how the then-ruler, Ptolemy the 1st, came to a beginning lesson and in frustration said, “A king doesn’t toil like an ordinary slave! Teach me a geometry lesson fit for a king!” And Euclid calmly replied, “There is no royal road to geometry; the lesson is the same for all — we all start at the beginning. Have patience.”  

It was beautiful to see how the children found ways to measure the freehand drawings we were doing to create not only beautiful geometrical drawings, but ones that they could accurately measure and check without outside measuring instruments. Our ladder broke on the play yard and they jumped into a rebuilding project with enthusiasm; there was a wonderful moment after we had a lesson on the 3, 4, 5 knotted rope that the rope stretchers of ancient used to find a perfect right angle: we were outside with pencils and papers to draw out and measure what we would need for the new ladder and I asked the children to find where the right angle would be and they were having a hard time at first. Then one child shouted out that there was an “invisible” angle formed from the ground and that the ladder was the hypotenuse; when they all noticed this they set into a flurry of work to draw out their ladder plans with vigor and excitement.

 

From Geometry we moved into ancient Persia and heard the stories about the god of light, beauty, and goodness — Ahura Mazda — and his follower Zarathustra who struggled against the evil forces of Ahriman. In these stories the children heard about the struggles, resistance and polarities the people found in their transition from a nomadic life into a settler’s life in a dry land that would only yield fruit through hard work and dedication. Irrigation, domestication of animals and transformation of the land only came through that hard work and devotion to their god.

We continued eastward into what was called Mesopotamia, “the cradle of civilization,” located in the fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. With this richness in land man shifted into a mercantile culture — a shift from the very spiritual world of ancient India into this world, still influenced by gods, but in a different and more material way. They heard about the strict and clear laws of Hammurabi, how scribes recorded the movement of the stars and planets to form the calendar, and then they heard one of the oldest written-down stories, The Epic of Gilgamesh. The children were drawn into this story of friendship and begged to have stories told into snack time. The whole class mourned when Enkidu died and later when Gilgamesh died of a broken heart in his search for the meaning of life after death.

 

Next month we will take a peek into the 1st/2nd grade curriculum!