Creating a Digital Road Map for Your Child’s Technology Road Trip by Liz Repking

How is it that kids know the exact worst time to ask parents for things like downloading the newest, greatest, and most popular social media app?

One of the most common woes I hear from parents is that they allowed their child to download an app that they did not know much about and now they wish they had not given their approval. I’ll ask them why they agreed to it. the is usually something like:

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Welcome to the Rudolf Steiner School Blog

Thanks for taking a look at our blog. We are planning to update this forum frequently with information about our Parent_Council-Apple-Picking-2013_LR_SQschool, as well as information about other schools – generally with a connection to Waldorf philosophy, but we may also use it if something made us think or laugh.

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The Art of Breaking a Bridge

Waldorf graduates understand that their personal experience, a sense experience, is a major piece to appreciating and tying together their education. It is periodically referred to as a three-dimensional kind of imagination.  It’s the experience of recognizing how to learn through observation.

Where it started

The evolution of the Bridge Project, an Upper School staple for the past ten years, is an ideal approach to how the sense experience, in each bridge, has developed and matured since its inception. When the project began, bridges could sustain five or six bricks, according to Marisha Plotnik, an esteemed Physics teacher with 19 years experience at Rudolf Steiner School. Today, the students are building bridges that are supporting weights of over 1,000 pounds.

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Buscemi and the art of Eurythmy

The art form of Eurythmy is blossoming and more people are appreciating this program of directed movement, periodically referred to as “speech made visible.” One such person is Steve Buscemi from Boardwalk Empire, Sopranos, Fargo and much more. He met Steiner Elementary School Eurythmy instructor and asked her to demonstrate this art on his AOL Park Bench web series. We are pleased to share this clip. http://youtu.be/wEK5dpXJXhk

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8th Grader Gives TEDx Talk

ashimashiraishiAshima Shiraishi, an 8th grade student at Steiner, is one of the strongest climbers in the world. Discovering climbing at the age of 6 while in Central Park in New York City, it only took Ashima a year to begin climbing at the professional level. She soon drew attention not only from the climbing community, but also publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and The Economist. Now, at age 13, Ashima continues to train at indoor gyms in New York City, and when her school schedule allows, travels the world in search of increasingly difficult climbs.

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teach the arts

This article from the Washington Post is very provocative and insightful. Waldorf schools deeply value the arts, and incorporate them in our teaching.

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How Exercise Can Boost Young Brains – NY Times

Exercise is essential to Waldorf education. Rudolf Steiner recognized this almost 100 years ago when he founded the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. Medical experts concur that young people who exercise learn more appropriately and have longer term retention than children who do not. Read this article for more details.

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College Early Decision and Early Action notifications

Early Decision and Early Action acceptances for the Class of 2015 have been trickling in since mid-December. We are pleased to announce several early results.

Of our 23 seniors, there have been 46 acceptances as of February 2. Nineteen students have been accepted to at least one school, and six of those students were accepted to their first choice college (75% of our Early Decision applicants were accepted).

We spoke with the students who received early notification, and are pleased to share a few quotes, in their words, why each school is the right fit.

Vassar College is a place where diversity across all areas of thought and background collide with rigorous academics and charged students. The result is a fiery, vibrant harmony. I am elated to attend Vassar in the fall.”

“I chose Smith College as my Early Decision for two reasons. The first is location—Smith College is three hours from NYC and is centered in Northhampton, MA, a quirky cool town. The second and most important reason is that I wish to be surrounded by fearlessly independent women who will help lead me in my destination to individuality.”

Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts is my first and only choice. I was attracted to Eugene Lang because I feel in that environment my individuality will be respected. The energy in this school resonates with my desire for an open-minded, culturally rich environment. The aesthetics of the school were also a contributing factor.

Read the February 2015 edition of the College Guidance Newsletter


Teaching Kids to Crochet and Knit: Why Waldorf Schools Incorporate Crafting into their Curriculum

teachkids-knitcrochet-600x554“The beautiful thing about teaching handwork, as part of the Waldorf program, is that it’s integrated into the curriculum. Unlike many other public schools, where “arts and crafts” are treated as a separate component (largely disconnected from the rest of the curriculum), Waldorf schools tie crafting in with everything else the kids are learning. For example, Kristen’s eighth graders are learning about the Industrial Revolution at the same time as they’re learning how to use a sewing machine.”

Read More….


Welcome Back Monique Marshall ’86

We are thrilled to welcome back alumna Monique Marshall ’86 for three days: March 30-April 1, 2015.

During her visit, Ms. Marshall will meet with all of our students, Nursery through Grade 12, to discuss how we celebrate identity to positively highlight difference, how classmates are most effective when they are teammates, and getting to the heart of a multicultural curriculum in the classroom.

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Read a few articles from the Steiner Bulletin

The February/March 2015 edition of the Rudolf Steiner School Bulletin has been redesigned for this issue. Take a few minutes to read an article from Joe Robertson, who guides our Parent-Child Program, or maybe one about the 6th grade caving adventure during their farm trip; there are also some fun facts about Fall Fair and lastly, we hear from 8th grade rock-climbing sensation Ashima.

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Parent Testimonial

9th-grade-studentWe are looking forward to our Upper School Open House coming up on April 9 from 6:30 to 8:00pm. Many students and parents cross our threshold for the first time during a Steiner School Open House. We recently received a beautifully written letter from a parent describing her experiences, including her first encounter at an Open House.

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Spring Assembly Video

spring-assembly-2015Relive the memories of grades 1-12 during their spring assembly on Friday, March 13th at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

Guided by graceful eurythmy, singing and woodwind instruments, the children performed delightfully in anticipation of the spring break.

We wrapped up the assembly with an ensemble of students, parents and faculty singing the school song, The Light of Sun (the lyrics are included at the end of the video), so sit back and enjoy the memories of the 2015 spring assembly.


A Joyful Day in the 2nd Grade

_DSC0201It is the middle of January. It is grey and bitter cold, and the mood in the city is gloomy.

Not so on the 5th floor of the Rudolf Steiner School. There is an atmosphere of joyous anticipation and there are smiles on children’s faces as they patiently wait for their 2nd grade classroom door to open.

The big event is the once a year “Gnome Party” and the completion of their knitting project, which they so very much enjoyed.

Since September, the 2nd grade students have knitted a most delightful little gnome with a pointed hat and a long beard. Each child’s gnome had a very individual personality. Some had backpacks, some carried books, even a sword and shield. The love and care they put into their handwork creations was a joy to witness.

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VIDEO: The Dancing Duo You Won’t Forget

Time is running out! Purchase your Gala tickets before the registration deadline, which we’ve extended to next Tuesday, May 5th.

In anticipation of next Friday’s ballroom-dance-themed event, Dawn Trachtenberg, Board Chair, and Dr. Bill Macatee, Administrative Director, have been working on their routine.

Take a look at your competition by clicking the play button below. Make sure to turn up the volume.

Don’t let these two steal the show! Register for the Gala, today!

Macatee-Trachtenberg-JibJab

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Let the Kids Learn Through Play – NY Times

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By David Kohn

TWENTY years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the te

acher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up.

The idea seems obvious: Starting sooner means learning more; the early bird catches the worm.

But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn.

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NY Times: A Band’s Progress Through the Seasons

The New York Times published this blog post by Karen Binder-Brynes in fall 2014. We loved it. Now that it’s spring 2015, we thought it would be wonderful to show the progress of our middle and high school students through a few videos.

Read Karen’s blog post, and then watch the videos.

A Band’s Progress Through the Seasons, in The NY Times’ City Room.

(We hope Karen’s ears are buzzing with delight as we wrap up this school year).

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The High School Jazz Band – Spring Concert from Rudolf Steiner School, NYC on Vimeo.

The High School Orchestra – Spring Concert from Rudolf Steiner School, NYC on Vimeo.

The Middle School Strings – Spring Concert from Rudolf Steiner School, NYC on Vimeo.

The Middle School Winds – Spring Concert from Rudolf Steiner School, NYC on Vimeo.

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The Importance of Free Play

“As government education experts call for toddler literacy, and baby apps proliferate, are we losing sight of materials-based learning? Infant scientists and young explorers thrive in the open air and through free play, eager to grasp the world – literally,” says Nature.com, the international weekly journal of science, who published an article on free play in nature.

Click HERE to read this insightful article.

The philosophy of free play is fully ingrained in our Early Childhood curriculum.

For additional information, click HERE to read more.

Nature

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Simpsons Love Waldorf

The_Simpsons_Waldorf

The Simpsons gave a well-crafted, comic shout out to Waldorf Education during their 2015 season finale.
The Steiner School, AWSNA and Waldorf schools around the world were pleased with the level of in-depth knowledge the Simpsons writers clearly possessed about pedagogy and stereotypes (learning while doing) associated with Waldorf Education, which made this fun caricature both lighthearted and flattering.
The video was placed on our Facebook page, and more than 37,000 people watched the video, which has driven a lot of people to our website.
While Waldorf schools aren’t endorsing or suggesting that our students watch The Simpsons, we are honored that we were featured in such a positive light. In typical form, Waldorf schools are responding in kind with Waldorf inspired tributes to The Simpsons. A collective of handmade hats is being created to send to the Simpson writers, and the students at The Waldorf School of Philadelphia created beeswax figures of Simpsons characters to share online and with Simpsons executives.

We loved this episode so much, we created a hashtag! ‪#‎simpsonslovewaldorf‬

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Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

Fareed Zakaria wrote an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post, Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous. This article deeply resonates with a similar philosophy to #Waldorf #education. Teachers are Waldorf schools encourage their students to think differently, and to challenge conventional thought.

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Why Finland’s Schools are Top-Notch

CNN_Finland

Why Finland’s Schools are Top-Notch from @CNN was particularly interesting. It draws comparisons to the Finnish and American education systems, comparing and contrasting each system. However, what was even more fascinating was how closely tied the Finnish system is to Waldorf education and how we teach at the Rudolf Steiner School (@SteinerSchoolNY). Nurturing children brings out the best in them and is the approach for children learning who they are while developing academic excellence. Continue reading…


Jonathan Franzen Hits the Mark with Review of Sherry Turkle’s Book

Author Jonathan Franzen wrote a “spot-on” review of Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation for the NY Times Magazine Section.

Turkle’s new book, Reclaiming Conversation, is straightforwardly a call to arms. In it, she claims that our “rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-­reflection, and the time has come to reassert ourselves, behave like adults and put technology in its place.”

This reflection is a mirror image of Waldorf education. One of the primary tenets is connecting with each other, and Turkle argues that these values are being lost in technology – connections are being lost daily.

Read more of Franzen’s intriguing critique of Turkle’s book. Attend an open house or contact us for a tour and learn more about these premises.

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A Knitting Weekend Escape

We enjoyed reading A Knitting Weekend Escape at Mohonk Mountain House in the Sunday, November 1, 2015 New York Times because it reminds us of a gathering we would have at our school. In Waldorf circles, we love knitting. It relaxes the mind, the eyes, and balances the body. We encourage readers to take a look at this thoughtful article.

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Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology (The Guardian)

“Waldorf classrooms are designed to make students feel relaxed and comfortable, with natural wooden desks and plants. The idea is to remove the distraction of electronic media and encourage stronger engagement between teacher and pupil during lessons. One reasons parents working in the digital industry are choosing a lo-tech, no-tech education for their children is that it teaches students the innovative thinking skills many employers desire. Students weaned on technology often lack that ability to think outside the box and problem solve. That is not the case with students raised at a Waldorf school,” according to this well-written article for The Guardian.

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International Complementary Studies at neueKUNSTschule (newARTschool)

Plan to attend several upcoming lectures and workshops in January and February with the co-founder of the neuKUNSTschule (newARTschool) in and around New York City.

Visit newartschoolusa.org for locations and details.

“An experience with Zvi is guaranteed to transform the way that one thinks about art and the artist’s relationship to consciousness and society.”
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  • Art and the Future of the Threefold Social Order – Sunday, January 24 at 7:30pm
  • The Mission of Art in a Time of Crisis – Monday, January 25 at 9:45am
  • Color and the Human Soul – Tuesday, January 26 at 10:00am

Several More Recommended lectures and classes can be found at the website. Continue reading…


Explore the Rudolf Steiner High School

There is a place where artistic exploration awakens scientific inquiry. Where physical education informs critical thinking. And where our fully integrated Waldorf curriculum is the key to higher levels of achievement.

The result?

Creators, researchers, executives and entrepreneurs. Young men and women well prepared to utilize their intellectual, physical, artistic and civic-minded abilities to succeed at all they do, and by any measure.

Spend a few minutes exploring the Rudolf Steiner High School.

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The Beauty of the Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Program

There is a place where nature cultivates imagination. Where structured play leads to playful thinkers. And where our fully integrated Waldorf curriculum inspires discovery.

The result?

Observers. Writers. Creators. Thinkers. Inspired children who love to learn.

We invite you to spend a few minutes inside the Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood program…Get to know Steiner.

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Be Inspired by the Rudolf Steiner Elementary School

There is a place where science, music and math are intertwined. Where nimble fingers lead to nimble minds. And where our Waldorf curriculum integrates the arts and academics for deeper understanding of both.

The result?

Students that are critical thinkers. And a curriculum that evolves along with them. Step into the Rudolf Steiner Elementary School and get to know Steiner.

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Build a Frame Saw Pt. 1: Design and Stock Preparation

Step into the woodworking shop and enjoy part one of the article from Popular Woodworking, authored by Yoav Liberman, one of our woodworking teachers. Mr. Liberman is guiding the 7th grade project that he designed and built during their time at Hawthorne Valley Farm this past fall. In the article, he discusses the farm and HVF, and the reason to choose such a project for the 7th grade class.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/build-a-frame-saw-part-1-design-and-stock-preparation

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Author Kim John Payne visits Steiner

“Raising Waldorf Children in a Smart Phone World”

A Lecture by Renowned Author

KIM JOHN PAYNE

Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30pm
in the Lower School Assembly Room
(Food & Beverages at 6:30; Talk Begins at 7:00)

RSVP Required: communications@steiner.edu

In recent years, alarm has spiked among parents and educators about how children of all ages cope with the tsunami of information and distraction digital devices offer. In Waldorf communities, this concern has been even more pronounced. In this lecture, Kim will use his best selling books, SIMPLICITY PARENTING and BEYOND WINNING: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment as a basis for approaching screen-time issues with consciousness and courage.

The Rudolf Steiner School has a thoughtful but rigorous screen-time policy, but how can parents apply this policy to their own screen-filled world? Kim will give practical advice on how to step in firmly and take careful control of our children’s screen exposure, without ignoring the importance and prevalence of technology in our modern world. Kim believes that strong Waldorf-inspired family bonds take time to build and nurture, and he will help us come up with strategies we can use to meet the challenges of digital distractions.

Kim_John_Payne.jpgAbout Kim John Payne
Kim John Payne, M.ED, is the author of the #1 Best Selling book, Simplicity Parenting. A consultant and trainer to over 200 North American independent and public schools, Kim has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for 27 years. Continue reading…


VIDEO: Kim John Payne at Steiner

Kim John Payne gave a well received talk to an at-capacity audience for just under two hours, including a Q&A, on March 1, 2016. He began his talk by clarifying that he is not anti-technology, but rather pro-family. However, he cited several statistics that the use of excessive technology in children can cause addictive tendencies and impulse control issues. We recommend watching and discussing this insightful video – even as a family.

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A Discussion on Gender – Tues 3/8

Ackerman-Families-forwardPNG1.png

Understanding Gender, Gender Expansiveness, and Gender Diversity


The Ackerman Institute’s Gender and Family Project

Tuesday, March 8th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm
15 East 78th Street, 2nd floor

RSVP: Communications@steiner.edu

Please RSVP and join us for this important conversation about gender diversity and how understanding will benefit all families in our communities.

Founded in 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is one of the premier institutions for family therapy and one of the best-known and most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. The Institute serves families from all walks of life at all stages of family life.

The Rudolf Steiner School proudly welcomes students, faculty and staff of all ethnicities and gender preferences, and of all faiths and creeds. We respect and support individual’s spiritual beliefs and practices. Continue reading…


VIDEO: Ackerman Institute Talk

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The Rudolf Steiner School welcomed representatives from the Ackerman Institute into our community on March 8 for an evening of learning and understanding about gender diversity and best practice guidelines for transgender and gender-expansive students. Click HERE or on the photo to watch the video.

This conversation was an opportunity to learn more about gender diversity, and understand how it benefits families and our community at large.

Founded in 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is one of the premier institutions for family therapy and one of the best-known and most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. The Institute serves families from all walks of life at all stages of family life. More more information, visit ackerman.org.

The Rudolf Steiner School proudly welcomes students, families, and faculty and staff of all ethnicities, race, gender preferences, sexual orientation and of all faiths and creeds. We are an open and affirming community. We respect all spiritual beliefs and practices, and support all family structures. Continue reading…


Biodynamics

I was just reading about K.K. Haspel, a pioneer in the use of Biodynamic Farming, a philosophy set in motion by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Take a look at the video below. One source referred to Biodynamics as a “holistic approach to organic farming.”

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Counterpoint: Why High-Tech Parenting Won’t Destroy Your Kids

While aspects of the Huffington Post article, “Why High-Tech Parenting Won’t Destroy Your Kids,” is interesting and thoughtful, there are many difficult and frightening quotes and sources. For starters, parents should worry about the effects these devices are having on our children. The average amount of time that a child uses a device is SEVEN hours per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That is 1/2 of their awake time (non-sleep). The increased amount of ADD and ADHD is tremendously apparent in children today. Far too many children look spaced out, removed and uninterested. The slightest bit of boredom leads them back to the device of their choice, and they frequently, sit in a poorly lit room with the singular look of captivity on the iPad.

huffpost

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Happy Earth Day

earth-day.jpgToday is #EarthDay, and it is exciting to read many beautiful posts from schools, businesses and individuals. At the Rudolf Steiner School, members from our High School Green Club enlightened and WOWed! our younger students in grades 1-5.

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OPEN HOUSE at the Steiner High School – Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 PM

Join us for our Grades 7-12 Open House on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 PM.

[Watch our High School video below]

Waldorf education produces well-prepared, critical thinkers, who are artistic and civic-minded global citizens.

Visit a place where artistic exploration awakens scientific inquiry. Where physical education informs critical thinking. And where our fully integrated Waldorf curriculum is the key to higher levels of achievement (2016 college acceptances).

The result?

Creators, researchers, executives and entrepreneurs. Young men and women well prepared to utilize their intellectual, physical, artistic and civic-minded abilities to succeed at all they do, and by any measure.

Spend a few minutes exploring the Rudolf Steiner High School at our open house (15 East 78th Street, NYC).

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Fly Me To The Steiner Casino Fundraiser Night

STEINER_GALA2016_POSTER4.jpgWell, fly me to the Steiner Casino Night! Spring Gala is two-weeks from today! Buy tickets before the prices go up on Sunday, May 1.

Visit http://gala.steiner.edu to check out ourlive and silent auction items, including a VIP package to Sleep No More with dinner, a trip to Paris, sport fishing trip in Montauk, or spin the wheel for a chance to win the Live Auction Raffle Ticket, which entitles the recipient for ANY Live Auction item.

Plan to attend the hottest event being held on Friday the 13th (that’s right!)…we’ll turn the tables and have a blast on May 13. 

Enjoy music from special guest Kurt Elling and the Rat Pack Retro All Stars!

Buy tickets TODAY before the prices go up on Sunday, May 1.

https://steiner.ejoinme.org/tickets.

Landmark on the Park
160 Central Park West

6:30pm – 11:00pm Continue reading…


Woodworking After School

Tool-Tote-drawing-1024x846.jpgStep inside Steiner’s after-school woodworking studio for a step-by-step lesson on how a few of our Middle School students built a tool tote for holding hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and much more.

This is part one of our two-part blog post, which was also written for Popular Woodworking.com.

Check back later this week for part two of this blog post.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/build-a-tool-tote-with-your-kids-part-1

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Is she the best rock climber ever?

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Congratulations to our “rock star” climber Ashima Shiraishi, who was named by Time Magazine as a next generation leader, with the question: Could the best female rock climber in the world become the best rock climber ever?

Ashima has been a student at the Steiner School since she was three-years old. She began climbing outdoors in Central Park when she was seven-years old. Today, she is a talented, intelligent, kind and empathetic 9th grader, who happens to be one of the best rock climbers in the world. She travels a great deal to compete worldwide, but it is a testament to Ashima, her parents, her teachers, Waldorf education and her friends for keeping her so grounded. She never misses assignments, even when she travels, and she thrives in school. The Rudolf Steiner School conratulates Ashima for being a Waldorf school ambassador, and as always, we share with the world how proud of her we for so many reasons.

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College Acceptances & Matriculations for the Class of 2016

The Rudolf Steiner School is proud to announce that the Class of 2016 had an extraordinary college acceptance season this year. The focus of our college guidance program is to guide and support students in finding colleges and universities that are the right fit for each student.

The Class of 2016 is truly the product of the rich, liberal arts curriculum that is the core of Waldorf pedagogy, and we are particularly pleased with the number of students who will consider college coursework in business, math and science at top universities, including Duke, Stanford, Brown and American University.

Two students received full four-year scholarships for college tuition, room, board and other fees. Many students will also focus their studies at top universities for ecology, technology, art and design at top colleges and universities.

Below is a creative painting of the college and university acceptances and matriculations (bottom line) as designed by members of the senior class for their Economic Main Lesson.

Please join our community in expressing great joy for the Class of 2016 and their wonderful accomplishments. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at the school’s Commencement Exercises on Thursday, June 16.

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Typewriter (by Henry P – 8th grade)

Henry2.jpg[After reading Henry’s story, read the preview article from The Bulletin Magazine about the making of “Typewriter,” written by Language Arts teacher Rosemary Hester]

When he entered the room, he tripped over an overturned lamp and fell face first onto the carpet. The first thing he noticed wasn’t that his money and his TV had been taken, no, he was looking at the empty spot on his desk where his typewriter used to be. He was midway through a sentence — he knew how hard it would be to pick up that train of thought again. At least they hadn’t taken his manuscripts. Probably because his handwriting was so indiscernible that on the surface, it just looked like a bunch of gibberish. If they knew who he was, they probably would have left the TV alone and just taken the typewriter and the manuscripts.
The next morning, he bought himself a new typewriter. He had to pick his typewriters carefully, because this was the thing that he would be spending a good portion of the next few months with.
He had already looked at a couple, but one particular one, painted blood red, caught his eye. The second he felt its keys under his fingers, ideas began flowing. He knew this was the one. He shoved it across the counter and forked over the money to the cashier.
He ran as fast as he could back to his hotel, and he was out of breath when he finally made it to his door.
He put the typewriter down on the desk, with care. He grabbed a piece of paper off the floor and shoved it into the typewriter. His hands fell into their comfortable position and he began typing.
He sat there from 1:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. When he finally he stopped, he realized he could barely move and had to do stretches to walk. From 1:30 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. he walked around the hotel, brainstorming. When he got back into the room at 2:20 a.m., he tripped over the lamp again and hit the carpet. This time when he hit the carpet, he was out for the night.
That night he had a bizarre dream. He was sitting at the desk, typing. He had just finished Chapter One, and he felt he deserved a break, but when he tried to pull away from the typewriter, he realized he couldn’t. His fingers were glued to the keys. He tried to rip his fingers off the typewriter, but all he did was make the hold on his fingertips even tighter. A cold sweat broke out on his brow. His fingers began to type for themselves: CHAPTER TWO….
His fingers began to bleed over the keys. His face got as red as a beet and he felt as if his brain could explode at any second. Blood began to drip over the sides of the typewriter, disappearing into the red paint.
CHAPTER THREE….
He screamed as the skin on his fingers began to rip and…
He woke up, breathing in the hotel carpet stench. He was sweating. He went down to the nearest diner and ate a stack of pancakes drowned in artificial maple syrup. He kept on looking at his fingers, thinking of the skin being ripped off of them. When he got back to the room, he was hesitant to touch those keys again. Like a kid afraid of the dark, he just wanted to crawl under the covers. Eventually he coaxed himself back to adulthood.
“You’re a writer, this is what you do.”
When his fingers finally felt those keys again, he felt instantly ashamed of wasting so much time with his childish fears, he immediately picked up his groove again.
By 3:00 a.m., his eyes had become useless and his fingers had taken over, but he actually made it to Chapter Four. When his fingers had become as useless as his eyes, he finally decided to call it a day and he fell asleep in his chair, drooling like a baby.
That night he had another dream; in this one his fingers weren’t stuck to the typewriter. He was lying in a cramped little cage, like a dog in a carrier. On the table across from him the typewriter sat, facing him. It seemed to be sneering.
He was crying, yelling at the typewriter.
“Please, just let me out.”
The typewriter sat there for a second, then the N key moved down, then the O key moved down.
Once he saw this little word, he wailed in despair, rattling the cage, screaming at the top of his lungs.
He woke up, spittle on his mouth, hovering over the typewriter. His eyes slowly flickered open, and once they adjusted, the first thing he saw was the blood red typewriter.
He leaped back and his chair fell against the floor, knocking his head back onto the carpet. He rolled onto his side, wincing and cupping his head in his hands.
That morning he took the typewriter back to the shop. The cashier gave him a knowing look. He found another typewriter, a bland looking one, the blandest he could find in fact, and took it back with him. He didn’t feel the excitement or the pure creative rush the red typewriter had given him, and once he touched the keys he immediately felt a sense of disappointment.
That night he only wrote thirteen pages, and went to sleep at 10:50 p.m. His sleep was uneventful, and when he woke up, it was in the bed for a change. Despite these perks, he just didn’t feel himself being drawn to this bland little typewriter, he didn’t feel the urgency of the blood red typewriter. In fact, when he looked at the typewriter that morning, the first words that popped into his heads were: “I wonder if Denny’s is packed today.”
It was a weekday, so it wasn’t packed. He ate his usual, a stack of pancakes drowned in fake maple syrup. The syrupy mess tasted like trash, as per-usual, but as he knew all too well, old habits die hard.
While he was sitting there, eating his pancakes, he thought long and hard. He thought about the sentimental garbage he had written last night. He thought about the way that bland typewriter made him feel, like a hack. Then he thought about how the blood red typewriter made him feel. Maybe like Anthony Burgess writing “A Clockwork Orange,” thinking he was going to die from a brain tumor, putting his all on the page.
He went to the shop that morning, looking for the blood red typewriter. He couldn’t find it and he asked the cashier where it was.
“Threw it away. Seems like a perfectly fine typewriter to me, but every person I’ve seen buy it, has returned it, like the Devil’s trapped inside of it or something.”
“Do you have any idea where you threw it out?”
“Dumpster out back”.
He ran to the back and hopped into the dumpster. He rummaged through soda cans and magazines until he found it, lying there. The one beautiful thing in a mound of rubbish. He pulled a banana peel out of its machinery and jumped out of the dumpster.
He raced back to the hotel room, feeling that rush again. He took the bland typewriter and threw it unceremoniously into the waste bin. He cleared the space where the almighty blood red typewriter would sit, and placed it down with the upmost care.
He sat there typing from 11:25 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., a record for him. Eventually, his fingers felt about as inanimate as the typewriter, and his eyes slowly melted and closed. Suddenly, he felt a rush of pain through his fingers and he jolted and his eyes burst open.
Just another dream, he thought. It just one of the side effects of creativity. Deal with it. His fingers began to type.
“It’s not a dream,” his fingers typed out.
His fingers started to type again.
“And it’s not your creativity…”
He began to feel a little uneasy.
“It’s mine.”
He was reminded of the cashier’s comment: “Like the Devil’s trapped inside of it.”
Then he thought of his dreams. If he could slap himself in the face, he would. Those dreams weren’t nightmares, they were signs.
His fingers, now bleeding, began to type again.
“Now you’re getting the gist of it.”
Signs of his future.
“Hotter, hotter.”
A slave.
“Burning, burning.”
A slave to an inanimate object.
“Scorching.”
A slave like so many writers before him, whether it was a pencil, a pen, or even a typewriter with the Devil’s soul trapped inside of it, a slave.
He began laughing out loud, almost choking as he was laughing so hard. He laughed until snot came running out of his nose. Then he began crying. Weeping. When he had finally calmed down, his face was wet with tears. He sniffled a little, then moved forward in his chair.
He began typing, the words flowing:
CHAPTER ONE
“…When he entered the room, he tripped over an overturned lamp and fell face first onto the carpet. The first thing he noticed wasn’t that his money and his TV had been taken, no….
THE END

Behind Typewriter by Rosemarie Hester / Middle School Language Arts
For the second time in the last three years, a Rudolf Steiner student has won the Middle School Fiction Writing Award, sponsored annually by the New York Society Library. This year’s winner was Henry Platt, an eighth grade student in Ms. Schneider’s class. His story, “Typewriter,” about an author’s compulsion to write, begins, “When he entered the room, he tripped over an overturned lamp and fell face first onto the carpet. The first thing he noticed wasn’t that his money and his TV had been taken; no, he was looking at the empty spot on his desk where his typewriter used to be.”

Henry’s process toward the award began years ago in Ms. Schneider’s classroom where the love of language was nurtured in many ways, including the important practices of reading logs, composition writing and the spoken word. Building on that solid foundation, the class began to enjoy a steady diet of classic short stories in the sixth grade. The following year, they began to analyze and recreate the short story form itself, experimenting with the elements of description, dialogue, action and inner voice in a gentle—if more systematic—way.

As a seventh grader, Henry wrote an extended story called, “Oldie,” which delighted the class.  “It was about a guy who owned a jelly donut shop,” remembered Elham Taher. “Oldie was a young man, who was old beyond his years,” added Sam McCarthy. “He got up every morning to make donuts and went to bed only to wake and do the same thing the next day. His life was monotonous. He was not a complete human being.”

Henry lists Anthony Burgess, Hunter S. Thompson, Cormac McCarthy and Piri Thomas as some of his favorite writers. The inspiration for “Typewriter” came from the novel “Misery” in which an enslaved man was forced to write. Blending the narrator’s dream world with his waking world, Henry walked the line between close satire and Edgar Allen Poe-like horror.

There are many strong writers in Ms. Schneider’s class, writers who have opened themselves to disciplining their talents, following forms, accepting feedback and developing inner guides. The balance between self-expression and self-critique is delicate, but Henry and others are learning it.

Congratulations to the entire community of eighth grade writers who grew together, and special congratulations to Henry for winning the New York Society Library Middle School Fiction Award. Continue reading…


Could Steiner schools have a point on children, tablets and tech?

Interesting article about technology in schools. This article from The Guardian (UK) focuses on a Waldorf school in Nottingham, UK. While this school, Iona, does not allow its students to use technology in the school and discourages its use at home, it is important to point out that many Waldorf schools, including Rudolf Steiner School NYC, prescribes to a “thoughtful” media policy beginning in 7th grade and continuing through 12th grade.

By building an inspiring foundation in Early Childhood and Elementary School, Waldorf students learn how to maturely use technology. And the proof is undeniably strong. Our Class of 2016 will attend top universities, including Duke, Stanford, Brown and American University (on a full four-year scholarship).

Our high school students talk about building bridges from balsa wood that can sustain hundreds of pounds of weight, and then using Auto-Cad architectural software to compare methods. THIS is critical thinking! And, THIS is a good use of technology, and one that develops habits of hearts and minds.

Continue reading…