Waldorf Education in the Berkshires for over 40 years
Media Contact: Robyn Coe
c: 818.287.1237 firstname.lastname@example.org
(Great Barrington, MA) December 10, 2013— Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) have created an original story book, The Hollyhock Dream, about a girl and her little brother who venture through the forest in search of the flower their mother dreams will make her well. The fairy tale debuted as a puppet play at the school’s Holiday Handcraft Fair in November, and teachers will perform it again for the community at Mason Library in Great Barrington, Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11:15 a.m. The Hollyhock Dream storybook, created locally in the spirit of giving to the community, is available for holiday giving at Matrushka Toys & Gifts, 309 Main Street, Great Barrington. Autographed copies of the book are also available through the school at 35 West Plain Road, Great Barrington. For more information, visit gbrss.org or call (413) 528-4015.
The Hollyhock Dream was written by teachers Trice Atchison, Beth Oakley and Jo Valens. “We went to a workshop led by author and storyteller Nancy Mellon last spring and, as part of the evening, wove together a story on the spot,” says parent-child teacher Trice Atchison. “We were so inspired by the process, we decided to collaborate on a new fairy tale for our Holiday Handcraft fair’s puppet play.”
Writing a new story allowed the teachers to consider themes such as how there can be more than one right way to a destination—sometimes with the least likely person leading the way; how benevolent help can show up during moments of confusion; and how the natural world is full of wonders, including plants that heal. When they finished the tale, the group decided to publish it as a storybook, with nursery teachers Jo Valens and Beth Oakley together illustrating the book with color pencil drawings. Jo Valens has previously illustrated The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, The Waldorf Book of Bread, The Waldorf Book of Soups and Tell Me a Story, a collection of nursery and kindergarten tales from Waldorf teachers around the world, to which she also contributed several stories. Trice Atchison contributed to and co-edited A Warm and Gentle Welcome, a collection of articles about Waldorf early childhood education.
When it came time to adapt the story as a puppet play, kindergarten teachers Somer Serpe and Michelle Kuzia joined the collaboration, making silk marionette puppets to represent the mother and children, along with a grandfather rod puppet of felted wool that can move with expressive gestures. Teachers brought the story’s animal friends to life, too, and created a puppet stage for the characters’ adventures using silk cloths and simple props. Michelle Kuzia composed two songs to accompany the performance and Veronica Horowitz, nursery assistant, joined in as a puppeteer. Feedback has been positive, according to the teachers, with children re-enacting parts of the story in their free play and conversation, and parents mentioning that their children are asking for the story to be read again and again.
The Early Childhood program at GBRSS is based on the simple yet profound concept that young children learn most effectively through imitation, imagination and meaningful activity. Teachers strive to create a nurturing and rhythmical environment in which the young child’s senses, imagination, and awareness of self and others can flourish. This developmentally appropriate and secure beginning provides a strong foundation for later academic and artistic learning in the grades and beyond. Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School’s developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to education for students from preschool through early adolescence starts with a warm welcome to learning in parent-child classes for babies and toddlers with a caregiver, two nursery (pre-K) programs for young children and mixed-age kindergartens. Early childhood classrooms are situated in their own building, equipped with natural playthings and surrounded by gardens, fields and woods. Tuition for nursery and kindergarten programs is based on a sliding scale, and new early childhood openings are available starting January 2014. For more information, call Tracy Fernbacher at 413-528-4015, ext. 106, or visit gbrss.org.
Interviews and high-resolution images are available. To schedule an interview with Rhyme Time teacher Trice Atchison or GBRSS School Administrator John Greene, please contact Robyn Coe at (818) 287-1237 or email@example.com