Debut of the Bread Oven

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If you had your parent conference on Tuesday, November 20, you might have been lucky enough to see the debut firing of the new CAWS bread oven.  Peter Rudd (facilities manager) and Kristen Fehlhaber (business manager) built this dry stack brick oven.  The plan is to use it over the winter and build the school a more permanent, clay oven in the spring.

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After getting the oven to 500+ degrees, we reheated a pizza — it took about 2 minutes for the cheese to bubble.

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Next up were pita breads — they puffed up nicely and were devoured by young and old alike.

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Finally, as the oven cooled, we made a batch of cornbread; 1st grade assistant, Daniel Masi, stopped by to have some.

We hope to have some bread baking classes in the future and would welcome help when the permanent oven is built.  If you’d like to be involved with the wood-fired oven at CAWS, please contact Peter  or Kristen.

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Natural Dye Workshop

Our fabulous handwork teacher, Heather Collis Puro, led a fascinating workshop on natural dyes on a recent Saturday morning.  Lindsay Miles, one of our equally fabulous kindergarten teachers and also a very experienced dyer, co-led the workshop. About 20 people from the community attended.

Heather started by describing various materials that make up natural dyes.  Here, she’s holding a jar of cochineal (bugs!), famous for the crimson-colored dye they make.

Heather and Lindsay straining the sandalwood dye.

The dye pots

Stirring the osage orange (left), black walnut (center), and cochineal (right).

Stirring the alkanet (left) and sandalwood (right).

Lindsay and Heather holding the various shades of yellow that have been made recently at school.  The silk capes are made every fall for the kindergartners.

A detail of the yarns and silks that Lindsay Miles has dyed.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Pulling the yarn from the cochineal pot.

Amazing that these little critters produces such a beautiful color.

The finished silks.

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Prescription for Play

A great little film on  the importance of free play in children’s lives.

Dr. Ken Ginsburg, pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings, and Dr. Marilyn Benoit, Chief Clinical Officer at Devereux Behavioral Health and former president of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, address critical issues facing children and families today — rising levels of stress and anxiety, obesity-related health problems, dramatically reduced time for free play and play outdoors, hectic and overscheduled family life — and offer solutions to addressing these problems.

 

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Creativity on the Decline in American Schoolchildren

Waldorf Education encourages the type of critical thinking too-often being neglected  in other schools today.  This article tells how education – and creative thinking – have changed in the last few decades.  

From the author: “Creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today. In the real world few questions have one right answer, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to success in the real world. But more and more we are subjecting children to an educational system that assumes one right answer to every question and one correct solution to every problem, a system that punishes children (and their teachers too) for daring to try different routes.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201209/children-s-freedom-has-declined-so-has-their-creativity

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Why Does Arts Integration Work?

Arts integration has been shown in brain-based research to improve comprehension and  long-term retention; something Waldorf students and alums can attest to! – Kelly Hiselman

A Research-Based Approach to Arts Integration

At Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland, arts integration has helped raise student achievement. Job-embedded professional development, differentiated arts instruction, and critical-thinking skills integrated into the curricula have been key to their success.

http://www.edutopia.org/stw-arts-integration-research#memory

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Scientific Inquiry Among the Preschool Set

By SINDYA N. BHANOO

When engaged in what looks like child’s play, preschoolers are actually behaving like scientists, according to a new report in the journal Science: forming hypotheses, running experiments, calculating probabilities and deciphering causal relationships about the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/science/scientific-inquiry-among-the-preschool-set.html?smid=pl-share

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The Class of 2012

The Eighth Grade and their class teacher, Sabrina Babcock, at their June 8 graduation ceremony at the First Parish Church in Beverly.

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May Fair and Field Day, 2012

Fourth and fifth graders dance around the May Pole.

Students enter the school's field under a canopy.

Henrietta the chicken chooses the May Day Queen. Girls from the lower grades held food and whoever Henrietta went to first became queen. Loretta chose the King.

The weather was perfect for May Fair.

 

The school also held their field day with teams of mixed grades competing in competition from a three-legged race to a sack race.

The eight grade got into the spirit of competition in find your shoe in the pile game.

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Spring Concert

The Cape Ann Waldorf School Middle School Orchestra gave their annual spring concert in the school’s Great Hall Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Students performed pieces ranging from the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean” to “Allegro” from the Spring of the Four Seasons.

Stephen Smith, director of the CAW orchestra, has the school's musicians stand for applause for a great concert.

 

 

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The bees are here!

3rd grader Jami Wrinn carrying the bees to their new hive

Post by Bill Wrinn, guest blogger

Last Monday evening saw the arrival of over 5,000 honey bees to the new CAWS bee sanctuary at Moraine Farm. Currently located in the far fields behind the main barn, the new hive is in a cozy spot next to some shade trees with plenty of space for takeoffs, landings and all the things bees need to do. They had spent the previous few days making their way from Tennessee via U.S. postal mail and now join four other hives that were recently placed there by our own bee folk, Mary and Dave Mansur.

It was a delicate, yet simple process. The cool weather caused the bees to move slower, which made for an easy transition. Inside the small cluster of bees was a box about five inches long that contained the queen and her two attendant bees. The queen box was removed and the remaining bees brushed off. Once the queen box was placed in the hive and set, next came the job of emptying the remaining bees. To do that, the screened box they arrived in was simply turned upside down and the rest of the bees were shaken out and literally dumped into the hive. The stubborn bees remaining in the package were placed at the doorway so they could walk in at their own pace. Before the hive top was shut, a jar containing a sweet mixture of honey and chamomile tea was placed inside so the bees would have nourishment before exploring and finding their way to the nectar around them.

Over the past school week, the worker bees ate their way through the candy plug in the queen box so that she could emerge and begin her lifelong task of mating and laying eggs inside the main hive. Over the following weeks, the bees will be left alone and their activity observed to ensure the queen’s “acceptance” took place and the colony is establishing itself without any issues. If all goes well, the bees will be able to put up ample stores of honey to make it through the winter. The Mansurs, who have coordinated this entire effort, and their Bee Team, will be looking after our new hives and making sure the farm’s new bee residents are healthy, happy and thriving.

Funding for the hive came from the proceeds from the recent showing of the movie Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?  The movie is about the collapse of honeybee colonies around the world, human beings, and our joint struggle for health and sustenance. The school owns the DVD, so if you missed the showing, please contact Mary Mansur to find out about borrowing it.

Mary Mansur holding worker bees surrounding the box that contains the new queen bee and her attendants. The bees gradually eat through a candy plug which frees the queen into the hive.

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