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Early Childhood Advent Garden Sunday, November 20 at 4 pm

It is the time of year where we feel that our days growing shorter and the darkness of night coming more into our waking hours. As we move closer to the Winter solstice and the Christmas season, we must remember that the light shines in us always.

In Waldorf schools across the world, Advent Gardens are created by the teachers and communities for the children. Each garden is unique as is each community, but common threads run through them all. A sacred space is created by forming a large spiral of evergreen bows which frame a path into the center where one bright candle light stands alone. Children, one by one, walk the path with an unlit candle until they come to the center where they light their own candle from the glowing flame in the darkness. As they move back out of the spiral path they find a place for their own light to shine and leave it there to add to the light of the world. When all the children have placed their candles along the spiral path they stand together and marvel at the beauty and brightness of many small lights united together.

At our school we are blessed with a glorious abundance of nature forces surrounding us. For the Early Childhood families, we create our spiral pathway outside to experience both the darkness and light.*  As children in the early years experience themselves as part of whole world around them and as part of the family who loves them dearly, we let each child take their own special light to lead their family through the dark path. With joy the child receives the passing of the flame in the center of the spiral. Then the child looks for a special place, all of his or her own, to place their little light into the garden. With reverence each person watches as the Advent Garden becomes brighter and brighter until the whole spiral is glowing with warmth and light.

In our busy world it is not often that any of us can experience true peace, reverent quiet and inner joy. The Advent Garden celebration is an outward expression of our individual selves gifting and sharing a small part of us to make the world brighter.  All early childhood families are invited to join us for this magical celebration of light.
 
Join us for the beauty.
~Submitted by Beth Krause, Thimbleberry Teacher

*Note: The Grades have a similar ceremony, the Advent Spiral, which takes place indoors on Monday, November 28. There will be information about that in next week’s Trellis about that event.

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Eurythmy Performance set for November 3

Dear Parents,

What inspiring children we have here in Sandpoint. It's so good to be back! This fall gave us much fruit in our work in Eurythmy and though this year was shorter, the students in the third through eighth grades have some excellent pieces to share with you. Thank you all for your wonderful presence in years' past, holding a reverent atmosphere to inspire our children to rise to their best. This holding will be helpful as we stretch into a new venue - The Panida Theater. This is a wonderful community event so feel free to invite family and friends. The children look forward every year to this performance and this year the new venue will be a special experience for them. 

Third through Eighth Grade: Dress Rehearsal: Drop off at 8:10 am Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Panida Theater

Performance: Drop off at 6:00 pm Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Panida Theater

*What to Wear? We all have silks this year! Underneath: Girls: skirt, slip or dress under the silk (as it is see-through and clingy), solid light color shirt, hair back. Boys: solid light color shirt, nice pants, hair back with headband if it's in eyes.  

*This is a cell phone free event; an opportunity to be together, present with our children and each other. Please turn off phones if you have them with you before entering the theater. There will be a designated photographer to share pictures with those who would like.

*Our choreography takes much concentration. Please have little ones seated with you.  

Thank you all so much we look forward to seeing you there!

~Submitted by Shannon Weiler

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Recommended Resources for Meeting the Millennium Child

We had a great turnout for Connie Helms's talk on Tuesday evening on How to Meet the Millennium Child. Connie presented some wonderful information on meeting the basic needs of children that allow them to thrive and find the most success in their learning and social environments. Along with that, Connie asked to have the following information passed along.  

Here is a link to the Simplicity Parenting 2 hour interactive tele-seminar coming up on November 1st at 6 pm titled, 'Digital Devices and Parenting Decisions: How Soon - How Much?". This is sure to be a great resource for all parents; cost is $69.  http://davidlevin.com/simplicity-parenting-workshop/


Connie also spoke about an article on her website addressing issues some children have with the sense of touch. Here is the link for that: http://www.conniehelms.com/sense-of-touch-issues-especially-for-caesarian-fast-birth-or-low-weight-babies/

Along with that, the Simplicity Parenting website (http://www.simplicityparenting.com/) is an excellent resource for parents, they offer classes, articles, videos, etc on a number of parenting topics.  It is a gem of information and support!
~Submitted by Erin McNamara, Education Support

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A Home Away from Home for Our littlest Ones in the Berry Blossom Nursery

On Thursdays we bake. This is a favorite day of the children. After putting their slippers on, they quickly skip to the table in anticipation of helping prepare the day's snack. The table is covered with white floury dust as the children squish the dough through their fingers and form it into buns. Sweet, lilting voices sing along to the baking song as they place each bun carefully on the baking tray. When they're done baking, the warm, fragrant buns are brought to our table wrapped carefully in a tea towel like a treasure. We spread sunflower seed butter on them, sing our snack blessing, and enjoy our meal together.

We all agree that, as parents and teachers, it is our main goal to raise and educate children in a healthy way. We wish to see our young people grow up resilient and active, confident in themselves and their place in the world. We like to see children who demonstrate a love of learning and who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually able to do so. The Early Childhood program at our school plays a foundational part in the children's schooling, and the Nursery is at the very start of this journey!

The Berry Blossom Nursery has grown into a full day program this year, and much of the inspiration for its inception has come from a movement called LifeWays. I would like to give a brief overview of this model of child care, as well as give you a glimpse into life at the end of the hallway!

The LifeWays model was pioneered by Cynthia Aldinger out of an impulse to serve the young child in a nurturing, holistic way. It is built upon the philosophy and principles of Waldorf Education and has translated and expanded these to include the very young child. In their book "Home Away from Home", Aldinger and her colleague explain that "LifeWays practices are based upon the fundamental need for relationship-based care (bonding and continuity), neurological research, and recognition of the living arts (domestic, nurturing, creative and social arts), as central to the advancement of the children's social, emotional and intellectual skills."

A LifeWays setting aims to be a "home away from home," an environment where everyday life happens. Life itself is the curriculum. Nursery life is busy with chopping, baking, polishing, folding laundry, etc., all of which are part of the domestic arts that the children witness being taken up around them. The children are always welcome to participate. Washing the dishes is a particular favorite! These daily activities give rhythm to the day and to the week, and help the child feel secure and part of the important tasks that have to be done to make the "house" run smoothly.

As Waldorf/LifeWays teachers, we recognize that human relationships form the backbone of healthy development. Children in the Nursery span a wide age range, especially this year with all of our beloved babies. A child who becomes a part of our Berry Blossom family at eighteen months stays with us for at least two years before joining one of the Kindergarten classes. This truly is a gift as it enables the children to learn from one another and to form a close bond with their "siblings" and caregivers. It enables trust to grow, and the child's awareness that she is seen and recognized. It is amazing to see the older ones engage with the little ones - how carefully they will help spoon-feed a baby, help each other with getting outside gear on, or "read" to each other.

The LifeWays experience is such a wholesome beginning to their educational journey, and I am truly delighted to be a part of their lives in this way.

~Submitted by Miriam Greiser, Berry Blossom teacher

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