Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Presents Annual Student Science Fair Feb 26

 

Waldorf Education in the Berkshires for over 40 years

Media Contact: Robyn Coe
c: 818.287.1237 marketing@gbrss.org

7th and 8th grade students deliver unique Chemistry, Biology and Physics Projects

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Annual Student Science Fair(Berkshires, MA) January 30, 2013—Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) welcomes the community to the 5th annual Student Science Fair and Open House, Wednesday, February 26 at 7pm in the school auditorium at 35 West Plain Road, Great Barrington. Independent science fair projects, in which students work with a mentor who has expertise in their area of interest, allow a student to choose their own topic from earth science, physics, chemistry or biology. Their project can be an experiment (How do different fertilizers affect plant growth?), an exploration (What are the therapeutic applications of hypnosis?) or a design project (constructing a robotic arm). This year, close to 50 GBRSS 7th and 8th graders will demonstrate projects on diverse topics, including many that concern conservation and “green” solutions to everyday problems, such as how pollution affects coral reefs, building an underwater house and creating a model ecosystem–providing a firsthand opportunity to explore how students learn science at GBRSS. To join the open house the same evening, contact Tracy Fernbacher at admissions@gbrss.org or 413-528-4015, x. 106.

In the GBRSS classroom, science is first and foremost observation—Leading the Science Fair this year is Waldorf teacher Rick Shrum, who studied Marine Biology at University of California at San Diego, and worked as a marine biologist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He received his MA in Neurobiology from University of California at Santa Cruz. Beginning his PhD, Shrum found out about Waldorf education by attending a Waldorf school fair, where he saw students’ main lesson books open on a table and thought, “Wow, this is a whole different way of looking at science!” He started his career as a science teacher in the Rudolf Steiner High School in Manhattan, and joined the faculty at Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School in 1996, where he specialized in middle school grades, as well as working in the Great Barrington Waldorf High School. Shrum says GBRSS teachers approach science in the classroom “by taking a phenomenological approach, starting an experiment—let’s say the production of hydrogen gas—with the experience of a phenomenon. Students make a detailed observation, and from there, draw conclusions, formulating a concept based on their experience rather than starting with a concept as a given, which keeps their sense of wonder and imagination active. I tell the students, ‘It all starts with a question, and your curiosity.’”

Authentic Learning in the Berkshires—Voted Best School in the Berkshires in 2013 by Berkshire Record Readers’ Choice, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School provides a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to learning for students from early childhood through early adolescence. Parent-Child, Nursery and Kindergarten classes take place in a specially designed early childhood building equipped with natural playthings and surrounded by gardens, fields and woods. On the other side of the 32-acre campus, the elementary school for first- through eighth-grade students (from the Berkshires, northern Connecticut and New York’s Columbia County) provides a balance of rigorous academics and the arts, preparing children for their choice of high school and college. One of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide and part of a movement of independent schools developed in the early twentieth century by Austrian scientist, educator and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School operates from the core understanding that engaging all aspects of the human being—intellectual, physical and spiritual—provides a truly well-rounded education.

GBRSS Winter 2014 Newsletter

The Infinite Classroom – Teaching to Multiple Intelligences

Chronogram’s January, 2014 issue features an article by Anne Pyburn Craig – The Infinite Classroom – Teaching to Multiple Intelligences in which GBRSS faculty administrator John Greene and teacher Nancy Franco are quoted.

The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School's projects knit together the multiple intelligences.Thirty years ago, developmental psychologist and Harvard education professor Howard Gardner published Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The book set off a depth charge underneath the comfortable Stanford-Binet IQ test-based academic world in which learning ability was widely regarded as binary—verbal and mathematical. Drawing on his research with both brain-damaged adults and “normal” child development, Gardner proposed that rather than two main areas of intelligence, there are eight: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

Gardner was careful to make the distinction that what he had developed was a theory of developmental psychology and not a theory of education per se. Nevertheless, his thinking offered a breath of fresh air to a great many educators, validating and organizing as it did something many of them had long intuited about the failures of cookie-cutter instruction.

Steiner Got There First

“In the Waldorf movement, the reaction was a big ‘Yay! Wonderful,'” says John Greene, head of faculty at Great Barrington Rudolph Steiner School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “It was a sense of recognition that what Rudolf Steiner [founder of Waldorf education] was trying to articulate has merit and was being more widely recognized. Any teacher worth their salt recognized learning differences and their importance, but what he did was break it down—very impressive.”

Though she’s also quick to point out that Waldorf educators have been working from a multiple intelligence point of view for almost a century now, veteran GBRSS teacher Nancy Franco can reel off multiple examples that dovetail nicely with Gardner’s work. “We work with all of these aspects every day, both individually and en masse—you could say that the Waldorf understanding of these concepts is very honed,” she says. “They’re important aspects of the human being that deserve to be experienced by all students. And since the Waldorf way involves working with the same group of students for eight or 12 years [students advance through the grades with the same teacher], we become very aware of how the individual modalities operate within the individual kids. We seek to utilize the strengths as learning tools, and to develop the areas that might need work.”

For example, Franco says, a Waldorf school day begins with a musical interlude. “We sing, play instruments, recite rhythmic verse, do clapping games. Those activities touch on and elicit linguistic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic and interpersonal intelligence—so in that 15 minute opener, you’re looking at four or five of the intelligences right there.”

Read more at Chronogram…

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play, The Hollyhock Dream


Waldorf Education in the Berkshires for over 40 years

Media Contact: Robyn Coe
c: 818.287.1237 marketing@gbrss.org

Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS)  create an original story book, The Hollyhock Dream(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.”

Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) create an original story book, The Hollyhock DreamWriting 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.

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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 marketing@gbrss.org

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Invites Families To 41st Annual Holiday Handcraft Fair November 9


Waldorf Education in the Berkshires for over 40 years

Media Contact: Robyn Coe
c: 818.287.1237 marketing@gbrss.org

(Berkshires, MA) October 25, 2013 – Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) invites the community to the 41st annual Holiday Handcraft Fair Saturday, November 9, from 10am to 4pm at the school, 35 West Plain Road, Great Barrington. A creative welcome to the holiday season with family fun including puppet shows, hayrides, candle dipping and gifts to make and give, the GBRSS Holiday Handcraft Fair celebrates the joys of a handmade holiday. The event is held rain or shine; free parking and admission. For more information, call 413-528-4015, or visit gbrss.org.

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Holiday Handcraft Fair 2013 - Students and Maple Sugar Cotton CandySharing Delights of the Season – Every family in the GBRSS community comes together to create this festive winter village, from knitting quilt squares to form the Community Quilt–one of many unique items available in the Fair’s Silent Auction–to crafting small gifts for the Little People’s Shop, where children third grade and younger can choose gifts for friends and family. The Handcraft Room, the centerpiece of the Fair, offers a large selection of warm, soft handmade items, including baby booties, winter accessories, soft toys and classic Waldorf dolls. The Country Store also stocks one-of-a-kind gifts and gourmet treats (with Italian specialities this year), and the cafe serves lunch, warm drinks and desserts. Other highlights include carnival games, maple sugar cotton candy, a photo booth with dress-up costumes, the children’s craft room where youngsters can make presents themselves, and the Pocket Lord and Lady, whose many pockets are filled with small gifts.

Playtime at the Fair – GBRSS Early Childhood faculty will perform an original puppet play, “The Hollyhock Dream,” with multiple performances throughout the day. And Misfit Farms, the rescue petting zoo, will bring their family farm to the Fair this year, with piglets, goats, rabbits, a calf and turkey chicks to pet, feed and hold.

Authentic Learning in the Berkshires — Voted Best School in the Berkshires in 2013 by the Berkshire Record Readers’ Choice, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School provides a developmentally
appropriate, experiential approach to education for students from early childhood through early adolescence. Parent-Child, Nursery and Kindergarten classes take place in a specially designed early childhood building equipped with natural playthings and surrounded by gardens, fields and woods. On the other side of the 32-acre campus, the elementary school for first- through eighth-grade students (from the Berkshires, northern Connecticut and New York’s Columbia County) provides a balance of rigorous academics and the arts, preparing children for their choice of high school and college. One of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide and part of a movement of independent schools developed in the early twentieth century by Austrian educator, scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School operates from the core understanding that engaging all aspects of the human being—intellectual, physical and spiritual—provides a truly well-rounded education.

###

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 marketing@gbrss.org

Saturday, December 7, 6:45PM: GBRSS Carolers at the Great Barrington Holiday Stroll

Come join us for caroling at the Great Barrington Holiday Stroll. Everyone is invited! Meet at Matrushka at 6:45, sing and stroll to City Hall by 7:00 for the lighting of the trees. Sheet music will be provided. See you there!

GB Holiday Stroll

Thursday, November 14, 7:30 PM: Rudolf Steiner Study Group

Rudolf Steiner Study Group Tuesday, September 18, 7:30pm -GBRSS Library
The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner Study Group continues to meet monthly and all are welcome.

This group was founded by Paul Marguilies, and Kathy Bradley and Davina Muse have written a quick history of the group and Paul’s leadership to honor him and his work:

Gratitude to Paul Margulies, Steiner Study Group Leader

Paul, a parent of a Steiner School alumnae, has led the Study Group in the Great Barrington School library for many years. He is retiring to help look after his beautiful wife, Vicky.

When I called Paul to set up a conversation, he said, “Sorry, can’t talk now, I’m busy preparing for the Sixth Epoch”…. We both laughed: he was actually reading those lectures by Steiner when he picked up the phone; and “Preparing for the Sixth Epoch” is indeed what he has been doing as a student of Steiner and as a Study Group Leader, for more than 50 years.

Those of us lucky enough to have been in a group led by Paul will remember with a chuckle his sense of humor, his jokes and anecdotes, his magic tricks (to illustrate a point from the Philosophy of Freedom) and most of all the extraordinary devotion and humility he brought to the leadership of the group. He would write out by hand each chapter in his own words, in order to review it with the group, adding whiteboard drawings and summaries for clarity. Occasionally we would glimpse the inner work, prayer, and personal support – in other words, the LOVE – that he offered to the life of the group.

Paul began attending Study Groups in New York City in his twenties, in a group led by the remarkable Beredine Jocelyn, then in her eighties. His next experience, in an argumentative group without leadership, led him to a “real Study Group”, with George and Gisela O’Neill in Spring Valley, NY. This monthly all-day group was attended by 30 people, who were expected to analyze the thinking and structure in the texts they studied, in order to wring out “the juice of the meaning”.

Paul missed the depth and breadth of this experience when he moved to England, continuing his studies by correspondence, and then attending a group studying economics, and finally beginning a group studying basic Anthroposophy, which he led himself.

Back in New York, he began a new group, then when he moved to the Berkshires in the 1980’s, Paul was able to expand his work on behalf of anthroposophy. He initiated, with others, the Anthroposophy Working lecture series, bringing well-known speakers to gatherings of 70 – 120 people, and led a study group in Connecticut for many years, as well as the group in his hometown, Great Barrington. All students were given assignments to prepare presentations of their own understanding of the text.

Paul says that his hope for the study group in Great Barrington is that it will move forward, continuing the work together; that students will take assignments and “do it!” developing the will in the body by writing summaries of the text, as he has done for so many years.

Perhaps the most powerful form our gratitude to Paul can take, is to make this hope a reality.

Wednesday, November 27, 11 AM: Thanksgiving Assembly

Our students will be participating in our annual Thanksgiving Assembly, which is traditionally exceptional! Each of the grades presents work they are doing in class.

Prospective families are invited, the assembly is a lively and informative introduction to Waldorf education. We suggest you arrive at 10:45 a.m. for the assembly, which begins at 11:00 a.m.

Reminder to current parents: Students are required to wear assembly dress. Students are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item to contribute to the Great Barrington Food Pantry.

Pumpkin PI at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School

Order GBRSS Hoodies Online

hoodie with order online
All sizes available online in both EcoSmart cotton blend and UnderArmour styles–even Adult!

To order your hoodies online, please visit the private group page at Stadium System and choose Rudolf Steiner. Enter the access code: RS75

This site will close on November 22nd, 2013 at midnight. All orders will be processed after that date and given to Bob Posey for distribution at GBRSS.

Please note: When ordering online you will need to enter your address as the shipping address, even though the items will be delivered in bulk to the school.

Thursday, December 12, 7:30 PM: Rudolf Steiner Study Group

Rudolf Steiner Study Group Tuesday, September 18, 7:30pm -GBRSS Library
The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner Study Group continues to meet monthly and all are welcome.

This group was founded by Paul Marguilies, and Kathy Bradley and Davina Muse have written a quick history of the group and Paul’s leadership to honor him and his work:

Gratitude to Paul Margulies, Steiner Study Group Leader

Paul, a parent of a Steiner School alumnae, has led the Study Group in the Great Barrington School library for many years. He is retiring to help look after his beautiful wife, Vicky.

When I called Paul to set up a conversation, he said, “Sorry, can’t talk now, I’m busy preparing for the Sixth Epoch”…. We both laughed: he was actually reading those lectures by Steiner when he picked up the phone; and “Preparing for the Sixth Epoch” is indeed what he has been doing as a student of Steiner and as a Study Group Leader, for more than 50 years.

Those of us lucky enough to have been in a group led by Paul will remember with a chuckle his sense of humor, his jokes and anecdotes, his magic tricks (to illustrate a point from the Philosophy of Freedom) and most of all the extraordinary devotion and humility he brought to the leadership of the group. He would write out by hand each chapter in his own words, in order to review it with the group, adding whiteboard drawings and summaries for clarity. Occasionally we would glimpse the inner work, prayer, and personal support – in other words, the LOVE – that he offered to the life of the group.

Paul began attending Study Groups in New York City in his twenties, in a group led by the remarkable Beredine Jocelyn, then in her eighties. His next experience, in an argumentative group without leadership, led him to a “real Study Group”, with George and Gisela O’Neill in Spring Valley, NY. This monthly all-day group was attended by 30 people, who were expected to analyze the thinking and structure in the texts they studied, in order to wring out “the juice of the meaning”.

Paul missed the depth and breadth of this experience when he moved to England, continuing his studies by correspondence, and then attending a group studying economics, and finally beginning a group studying basic Anthroposophy, which he led himself.

Back in New York, he began a new group, then when he moved to the Berkshires in the 1980’s, Paul was able to expand his work on behalf of anthroposophy. He initiated, with others, the Anthroposophy Working lecture series, bringing well-known speakers to gatherings of 70 – 120 people, and led a study group in Connecticut for many years, as well as the group in his hometown, Great Barrington. All students were given assignments to prepare presentations of their own understanding of the text.

Paul says that his hope for the study group in Great Barrington is that it will move forward, continuing the work together; that students will take assignments and “do it!” developing the will in the body by writing summaries of the text, as he has done for so many years.

Perhaps the most powerful form our gratitude to Paul can take, is to make this hope a reality.