Sunday, November 4, 2012

hurricane sandy clean-up

On Saturday afternoon Wooden Button students and their families met at the Wooden Button Meadow for clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The meadow was strewn with branches, leaves and other debris.

The turnout was impressive—around 24 sets of hands altogether, including children, friends and neighbors. Seven large bags of leaves were raked from the grass, dead branches were pulled from the trees, broken into smaller pieces, and tied into bundles. The children took turns wielding rakes and picked up twigs and branches. They also spent plenty of time jumping into the large pile of leaves. When we left the grounds nearly two hours later the yard was neat and clean, ready for the children to return to their meadow on Monday.

Our neighborhood is extremely fortunate to have faired so well during the hurricane—our teachers, who live across the Hudson, have been without power and heat for days. This little clean-up was a way to contribute to not only The Wooden Button and Mother Cabrini High School, but also to the general clean-up after Hurricane Sandy. A big thank-you to all the families and neighbors who came and lent a hand!

More photos here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ten logs in the wooden button meadow

The Wooden Button is settling into a familiar routine, in the lives of both our students and parents. Our children come home singing songs, with stones and sticks and leaves. We have celebrated the birthdays of two of our students, baked countless rolls, and chopped vegetables for soup. Our assistant teacher, who the children call Miss Cherish, brought in ten wooden logs for the Wooden Button Meadow. They are used as seats during circle time, but are also used in creative outdoor play.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Harvest Festival

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the Harvest Festival to say hello! What a beautiful day it was. We were thrilled about all the interest in our growing school and to meet each of you and your children. We hope you walked away with your very own handmade Wooden Button necklace! 

Seeing our children thrive in school at the Wooden Button is what inspires us. Talking to the scores of parents and children we met on Saturday motivates us even more!

Classes at Wooden Button have been underway for only a little over a month but we are already busy planning for the 2013-2014 school year. As we discussed with many of you, our plan is to run two classes next Fall, a 3-4 year old program and a 5-6 year old program. 

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Come see us at the Harvest Festival

We are pleased to announce our participation in the 2012 Harvest Festival in Fort Tryon Park. Come join us as part of this wonderful community event and celebrate the season's change. Stop by our booth and say hello! We will be offering free temporary tattoos and make-it-yourself button jewelry—for children as well as adults. We will have information about our school and our plans for the 2012-2013 school year, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

The Wooden Button Team
Alex, Amber and Kirsten

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the first day of school

It's amazing. Our little school has run two full days now, and our first week of classes is already complete. The teachers, Leigh and Maria, came early and set the classroom up to welcome the children. When the students arrived, basins of water were ready for washing hands and dishes. Millet was soaking. And baskets of twigs, rocks, pinecones—just to mention a few of the wonders the classroom held—called the children into play.

Our two first days were a great success. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

school starts tomorrow!

We cannot believe that tomorrow is the first day of school! 
We are so excited, and hope you are too! 

Please be sure to check over the list of supplies your child will need to leave at school: 

•  labelled bag with an extra set of clothes 
•  small labelled water bottle
•  labelled slippers or house shoes

And although the weather looks like it will be nice for our first day, please also have the following items labelled and ready for use:

•  rain boots
•  a raincoat with a hood or hat
•  rain/waterproof pants

On Thursday, Leigh will be making soup with the students. Please remember to send a whole, washed vegetable with your child to add to the soup.

Also, please remember to send along your permission slips and signed tuition agreement, if you haven't already.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

summer picnic

A few Wooden Button students and parents had a small cookout (and planning meeting) yesterday at the home of our teacher, Leigh, in Chestnut Ridge. The children jumped on the trampoline, explored the garden, played in the sprinkler, and swung on the swing. We parents discussed the upcoming school year, grilled hamburgers, and generally enjoyed being out of the city.

Accept the children with reverence, 
educate them with love, 
send them forth in freedom.
– Rudolf Steiner

Sunday, August 5, 2012

now online: tuition agreement &
2012-2013 school year calendar

The summer is in full swing. And while lounging on the beach it's difficult to remember that school days and closed-toed shoes are just around the corner. We took a moment out of our summer holidays to post the 2012-2013 school year calendar:

C A L E N D A R   2 0 1 2 — 2 0 1 3

School starts:  Wednesday, September 12
School closed: September 17, Rosh Hashanah
School closed: September 26, Yom Kippur
School closed: October 8, Columbus Day
School closed: November 22, Thanksgiving
School closed: December 24—January 4, Winter Vacation
School closed: January 21, Martin Luther King
School closed: March 29, Good Friday
School closed: April 8—12, Spring Break
School closed: May 27, Memorial Day
Last day of school: June 13

Enjoy the rest of your summer! We'll be seeing you soon!

{ tuition agreement has been removed }

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do all children thrive in a Waldorf school?

“I look into the
world to discover myself;
I look into myself and find the world.”

                                                                                        —Rudolf Steiner 

Q U E S T I O N: When does a child not thrive in a Waldorf school? 

The beauty of the Waldorf method is how the curriculum meets the child at each stage of development, which is reflected in the historical development of consciousness of humanity. It is a rich education, based on the liberal arts that educate the whole person in intellectual, physical, and moral development. The child learns from the world of literature, myths, fables, and legends, before lessons turn to  history; the child learns by experiencing numbers and processes qualitatively before learning to compute; and the child learns by speaking, moving, and writing, before learning the more abstract task of reading. Each child is allowed to blossom in his or her own time, with all the encouragement and support from parents and teachers, who together hold the long-range objective of educating free-thinking independent individuals.

The philosophy behind Waldorf is based on the wisdom of the human being, with capacities of thinking, feeling, and willing. Thus we educate head, heart, and hands! The young child learns through doing; experiential learning continues during elementary school, as art, music, movement imbue every subject and good study habits are cultivated; this is the groundwork that becomes the foundation for higher learning, abstract thinking and reasoning to be developed at the high school level.

In my experience of Waldorf education, I have observed that Waldorf teachers are dedicated, idealistic people. When a difficult stumbling block become evident, parents and teachers work together to best serve the child. If the parents feel confident in the teacher and the methodology, it will usually be a good experience for all. This is a group effort between parents and teachers, with the child in the center. The child best thrives when there is a harmonious transition from home to school and when the school experience comes home! Parent education is essential, perhaps as often as every six weeks. It is a commitment.

—Maria Ver Eecke

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

how the wooden button got its name

Many thanks for all who joined Tuesday evening for inspiring stories and perfect sangria. Our teachers Leigh and Maria presented their vision for The Wooden Button and spoke both broadly and specifically about the many benefits of a Waldorf education.

 Leigh also told the story of how The Wooden Button got its name:
When Leigh taught as a Handwork teacher at a Waldorf-modeled charter school in the Bronx, she worked with a troubled 6-year-old boy. The student was surprisingly large for his age and was often in trouble for fighting, however with Leigh's attention he soon became a speedy and skilled knitter. He was so speedy he would finish his knitting before the other students and Leigh would give him extra projects to keep him occupied. One of these projects was a felted pencil case. But while the student was a speedy knitter, he was often impatient and rushed ahead without listening to the instructions. When it came time to add a buttonhole to the closing flap of his pencil case, he grabbed the scissors and cut a 3-inch diagonal slit. The slit was so large that no ordinary button would work to keep the flap closed. When Leigh looked at the wide-cut buttonhole a moment she turned to the boy and asked, "You know what I'm going to have to do this weekend, don't you?" He thought a second, "Um, I don't know, call my grandparents and tell them I'm in trouble?" Leigh smiled, "No, I'm going to have to look far and wide to find a button big enough to fit the hole you cut!"

And that was indeed what she did that weekend. With some perseverance, she found an enormous wooden button that would fit the boy's buttonhole, and she brought it to class the next week. When she showed the large wooden button to her student, his eyes lit up and a broad smile spread across his face. He sewed the wooden button onto his pencil holder, and it worked perfectly—despite the fact that the button was, well, over sized for the relatively small pencil case onto which it was sewn.
This story stayed in Leigh's mind. It seemed a metaphor for the ways in which a Waldorf education meets its students where they are, instead of expecting them conform to an external measure of success. It accommodates a 3-inch buttonhole and the mischievous boy who cut it, without shaming or sidelining him. It doesn't attempt to make all children, or their schoolwork, identical. The large six-year-old boy and his large wooden button is one of the reasons Leigh believes the Waldorf method worked.

When Leigh and Alex first met to talk about starting a school, Leigh told Alex the story. Alex too immediately loved the story. They decided the wooden button would give its name of the school they started together. And so it is.

Friday, May 25, 2012

join us!

An informational meeting will be held at 6:00-7:30 in the evening of Tuesday, June 5th, 2012. Our teachers, Leigh and Maria, will give an introduction to Waldorf education. We will also discuss our plans for the 2012-2013 school year. Please join us for snacks and sangria!

Applications for the coming school year will be available at the meeting.

Please contact us here for directions.