October 2020 E-News
A Message from the Faculty Chair
With 70+ years of history, The Waldorf School of Garden City has certainly had its share of unusual circumstances and challenging situations – but it is not an exaggeration to say that this year is unlike any other. The presence of children from Early Childhood through Grade 5 has brought joy and enthusiasm to our physical campus. But less visible are the students in Grades 6-12 who have classes online. The High School students have their weekly assembly virtually, while the faculty and staff gather for the all-school meeting on Zoom instead of sitting together in the Student Room. The medium of the screen – while supportive to continued learning – can also be exhausting. We all must work harder to engage with warmth and interest, to use senses beyond the visual. The antidote to this virtual experience is Nature, and in the case of The Waldorf School of Garden City, it is Glen Brook.
Two grades have already completed successful class trips to Glen Brook – with more waiting in the wings. While these pandemic times have required us to adapt our pre-arrival protocols, the effort has truly been worthwhile! Following their time at Glen Brook, students return to school grateful and happy to have been ‘freed from the screen”, to have gazed at the brilliantly colored new Hampshire landscape, and to have explored in Nature and spent time with friends. Faces are softened, the step is a little lighter, and eyes are brighter. At Glen Brook, Nature is the teacher. As a community, we are so thankful for Glen Brook and the Glen Brook staff. We have always loved you; but in these times, your gifts are appreciated even more deeply.
Join Us on Our Wellness Mission to Keep Our Community Healthy!
As you know, each of us has a personal and shared responsibility to create a safe and healthy environment to protect ourselves and those around us. At times, we understand that the required guidelines and expectations that we are now asked to adhere to may seem inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even like an overreaction—but they are necessary—to protect ourselves and each other. Together, we must commit to safety practices and behaviors that protect our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. For this reason, we would like to ask you to pledge to keep our community healthy by following the policies and protocols put forth by WSGC. In addition, when you are away from school, please remember to keep the health and safety of our community in mind by limiting your exposure to your family and school community as much as possible and wearing masks in public or other social situations.
Parent & Child Classes Return to Campus
Our Fall Parent & Child program is open for registration. We are excited to welcome parents and their little ones back to The Waldorf School!
Our fall program offerings include online Parent Classes and onsite Outdoor Playgroups for parents and their children. Sign-up is for ten online Parenting Classes (fixed-schedule) and ten Outdoor Playgroup days (any ten days of your choice). Registration is open:
Please share this exciting news with friends and family and encourage them to contact the Parent & Child program teachers for an introductory conversation, Stephanie Cleary firstname.lastname@example.org and Tatyana Kissin email@example.com.
The Winkler Center for Adult Learning is forming fall Foundation Studies Classes. To learn more visit www.winklercenter.org or call (516) 581-5696.
“Michaelmas falls near the autumn equinox, marking the quickly darkening days in the northern hemisphere. It marks the season when we feel the impulse to turn inward after the long, warm days of summer, and gather up strength and fortitude to face the colder days and long nights of the winter ahead.
This year the 1st – 5th grade will have their own Michaelmas celebration at school from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd. Festivities include class sharing of songs and verses, followed by artistic activities and a special baked treat by Aviva! Class teachers will contact parents about students wearing Michaelmas colors of red, orange, and yellow. Middle school students will participate in a virtual, artistic project with Ms. Gupta, and High school students will experience Michaelmas through their curriculum studies this year.” ~ Erin Fitzgerald, Movement Teacher
Students in grades 9 – 12 will also be working by class on artistic projects led by Ms. Gallo, Ms. Gupta, and Ms. Cavallero. In addition, the 11th grade will work with Mr. Kritas on a group poem with the theme of “what do I stand for?” and the 12th graders wrote letters to their first-grade buddies!
We look forward to sharing photos of the activities next week.
We are delighted to (virtually) welcome back alumni from many different fields and graduating classes for The Waldorf Symposium – What’s Next? Alumni will discuss navigating life in 2020, after Waldorf, and beyond on Friday, October 16, 2020.
Our goal in assembling this group is to provide an opportunity for alumni to share with students, current families, and prospective parents how The Waldorf School of Garden City helped make them into the people they are today. Together, they bring a broad spectrum of perspectives from different fields of study and practice.
To learn more about our panelists visit our website:
We invite current and prospective parents to join. Stay tuned for more information on how to attend!
The Fall Fair is just over 2 weeks away and the PTA is gearing up for an exciting day! Keep an eye out for an e-mail with a schedule and description of what they have planned. In addition to the Fall Fair, we hope you will support the annual Raffle with the opportunity to win a grand prize of $2,000! Purchase tickets online now at the link below ($21 each or 6 entries for $100) or in-person at from the PTA during dismissal at 12 noon and 3:30 pm starting Friday, October 9th. All raffle purchases will close at 12:00 pm on Friday, October 16th. No entries will be sold during the Fall Fair.
A Note from the Music Department
Dear Waldorf Community,
I am writing to you today with an announcement regarding the annual High School Musical production for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and the implications for public gatherings and musical performances, there will not be a staged musical production for the current school year. Current guidelines on limiting crowd sizes as well as research on the spread of aerosols in a performance setting make a large scale theatrical performance involving students and adults from outside of our community on stage, backstage, in the pit and managing lights and sound impractical and ill-advised. While circumstances around the pandemic are constantly changing, the reality of the situation is that conditions will most likely not improve significantly enough to allow for sustained rehearsal and performance over the course of our normal production timetable.
I understand the disappointment that such an announcement brings, especially after canceling last year’s production. Above all else, we have to ensure the health and safety of every one of our student performers, audience members, and the Waldorf community at large. Once the conditions are right, I know these amazing students will set foot on that stage once again and come together to create something truly remarkable. Until that day comes, please stay healthy and safe!
The first few weeks of school were a great success! The children enjoyed their first day of school and quickly acclimated to the school’s new routines and rhythm. Thank you, Iwonka Piotrowska, for capturing the joy of the first day of school.
The following day our Early Childhood students experienced a magical first day of school.
Senior, Jadyn Mardy, Longs to Stand “Shoulder to Shoulder” With Her Class
Inspired by the closing speech of the 2020 Rose Ceremony made by Senior Class Co-Advisor, Deirdre Somers, Jadyn Mardy penned a poignant and honest poem about her experience as a student and teenager during a global pandemic. “Shoulder to Shoulder” touches on her isolation and desire to push and test the boundaries of social distancing, to feel once again close to those she loves but who are not in her immediate family. Her poetry, a glimpse into the teenage experience of simply existing in these times, reminds us of this generation’s resilience, adaptability, and hopefulness.
Jadyn explained what specifically about Mrs. Somers’ speech sparked her inspiration for her poem, “I was expecting a wish involving building character, or the hope and strength to change the world. However, her one wish for the senior class was for us to have the end of year Rose Ceremony in the gymnasium surrounded by the whole school. She wanted us to stand shoulder to shoulder. This seemed like such a small thing to ask, however under present circumstances, it seemed far from possible.”
The fall colors are ablaze here at Camp Glen Brook, and how grateful we are that the students will continue to enjoy them on their trips here this fall! We are excitedly preparing for the 4th-8th grades in the coming weeks.
A full week of sun-warmed the 10th grade while paddling the windy Lake Nubanuset, and while pushing themselves into their “challenge zone” on the high ropes course. With our new health protocols in place, we have seen just how resilient the core of the Glen Brook experience is, and have even had some fun with the changes. All our are meals outside, enjoying the crisp autumn breeze, bright sun, and delicious farm-fresh food. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Summer Camp 2021:
- We are making summer camp even more intentional and impactful, and are excited to bring these changes in 2021. Among them:
- We will be offering a new age group, the Bears, between the Lynx and Falcon years—expect more details about that program soon.
- Those who planned to be Falcons in 2020 will have the chance to experience the Falcon program in 2021.
- We’ve begun researching our beloved songbook to reassemble and contextualize the content to be more reflective of our values.
- Watch your inbox for more information about supporting this project.
Glen Brook Director
What’s Happening in Athletics?
Waldorf fall athletics is unfortunately still on hold, but our students have been practicing their soccer skills in PE class. They have been given soccer challenges focused on touches, turns, and close control of the ball. We hope that once we are back in school, we will be able to practice these skills on the main soccer field and apply them to more realistic soccer scenarios in order to prepare for a potential abbreviated “Fall” season this March and April. We are still hopeful that our seniors in particular will have the opportunity to play their final year of WSGC soccer and/or Cross Country.
Meg Foster ‘95
Meg Foster ‘95 recently accepted the position of Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Michigan. She is so excited to be in Ann Arbor with her family and especially excited to report that her four children (Jack, Ruthie, Bridie Rose, and Bobby) will be attending the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor.
Carole Davenport ‘60
Welcome to the online viewing of highlights from Carole Davenport’s March 2020 Asia Week show which focused on the arts of SHINTO, rare and seldom seen sculptures and paintings of the native Japanese belief system that revered nature and the spirits, or KAMI, in trees, forests, waterfalls, mountains, bodies of water and specific natural sites, animals. The wooden sculptures of gods, SHINZO, and those of protective guardian figures, SHISHI/KOMA INU, date from the 9th century onward. Paintings of deities and sacred sites developed in the Kamakura period, around 1300 CE. Treasured objects, SHIMPO, such as mirrors, became part and parcel of SHINTO tradition, along with NOH masks since performances were held within shrine and temple precincts. Discover more at caroledavenport.com
Joseph Yuan ’09
Current Parents who have come Full Circle:
Kristin Schaefer Schiumo ‘89
Kristin Schaefer Schiumo ‘89, Ph.D., tells us about her experience as a High School parent. “As an alum of The Waldorf School of Garden City, a proud member of the Class of 1989, I am absolutely thrilled to say our son Michael is now a student. I can vividly remember going to the tour in January 2020. Each classroom I passed was filled with wonderful memories of knitting, singing, learning, and gathering with childhood friends. Michael began his journey at The Waldorf School as a high school Freshman, arriving just eight weeks prior to our lockdown here in New York. It was amazing to watch him instantly exhale, to come home talkative about Art Through History, and to see him immediately connect with kind and open classmates and peers. We could not be more thankful to give Michael this gift of a wonderful home away from home, and we look forward to joining the community in person once again as soon as is possible.” Kristin will be joining us on our Alumni Panel for The Waldorf Symposium on Friday, October 16th. We look forward to welcoming Kristin back as both a parent and alum. Thank you, Kristin!
David Chauvin ‘97
David Chauvin ’97 wears many hats at The Waldorf School of Garden City, including alumni, a board of trustees member, and current parent to two students in our Early Childhood program.
David tells us about his experience so far during the first few weeks of school. “When I asked our older son Jack how his first day of school went, his reply was: “on a scale of 1 to 10, it was 100.” Both our boys are so excited to be back. Every morning they are up before us and the first out the door. The teachers and the staff have been so enthusiastic and match my children’s energy as they greet them in the morning. The world is facing scary and uncertain times, but with the start of school, we are blessed that our children now have a greater sense of certainty in their lives now. There are differences, but as Ms. Helwig said, it is all in how you approach these changes. Masks are not awkward or strange. They help keep your face warm in the mornings and can be part of a costume at recess.”
Hollie Seidel ’87
Hollie Seidel ’87 attended Waldorf from 9th to 12 grade and her son, Hero, joined our School this year. Hollie says “I loved my time at Waldorf, and am so happy that my son, Hero, is now part of such a wonderful community. He is already thriving in Mr. Yaeger’s 7th grade class. It has been lovely to see all the ways that Waldorf has remained true to itself. Hero’s first day of school, he was drawing a copy of “The Birth of Venus” from Botticelli, for his Renaissance Main Lesson cover, and taking breaks to practice his juggling. I’m happy to see that it is still a special place in just the ways I remember, and I know it will be a wonderful education for Hero.”
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Friday, October 2nd
5th Grade at Glen Brook
Monday, October 5th – Friday, October 9th
Thursday, October 8th at 7:00 pm
Indigenous People’s Day: SCHOOL CLOSED
Monday, October 12th
4th Grade at Glen Brook
Tuesday, October 13th – Friday, October 16th
Virtual Waldorf Symposium
Friday, October 16th
FALL FAIR: Virtual Day of Activities
Saturday, October 17th
Thursday, October 29th
Parent-Teacher Conferences for Grades EC – Grade 12: SCHOOL CLOSED
Friday, October 30th
Saturday, October 31st
Don’t Forget you can Shop and Support The Waldorf School of Garden City with the following organizations!