A Musical Celebration for the Solstice

This year’s Yuletide Revels performance, presented from the Meadowbrook Music Program, is a medieval mystery play celebrating the winter solstice. Renowned Rhode Island music teacher, Joe Smith, has drawn works from sacred and secular traditions that interweave the familiar and beloved with the rare and intriguing. With the collaboration of MWS Strings Director, Jeremy Fortier, Mr Smith has worked with the middle school students to create an evening of music perfect for the season. Bill Ouimette will conduct the Meadowbrook Recorder Ensemble in a medieval mystery play with a spoken narrative telling a tale of the moon pitted in jealous battle against the sun. The haunting Abbot’s Bromley, an ancient pagan piece that venerates the elk while poking fun at convention, will also be presented.

???????????????????????????????The performance takes place on the 245th anniversary of Ludwig von Beethoven’s birth and the Middle School Choir will sing Ode to Joy – Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee in his honor. Choral Director, Susan Bosworth, will also lead the choir in Lux Aeterna with text from the Requiem Mass that celebrates the divine eternal light.

This wonderful evening of music and community is open to all and admission is free. Please join us at the URI Performing Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston on Wednesday, December 16 at 7pm.

 

 

Exploring the Meaning of the Seasons

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Enlivening Our Thinking About the Earth – Friday, 7pm

*Encountering the Archangel Michael – Saturday, 4pm

Participating in the Cycle of the Year

These presentations are intended for adults and all are welcome, however the *4 pm Saturday talk presumes some knowledge of anthroposophy. These talks will take place at Meadowbrook Waldorf School. Suggested Donation: $10 for each talk of $25 for all three.

Anthroposophy, the basis of Waldorf Education, views the surrounding world as a macrocosmic panorama of human nature itself. In order to comprehend this grand vista, modern spiritual science offers a path of knowledge through a metamorphic thinking that can grasp living phenomena with the same precision as the natural scientific methods that it extends. On this weekend in Michaelmas, we will explore the implications of this new, pictorial thinking for our annual journey through the seasons.

Michael Ronall, a Waldorf School alumnus, received his MA in Philosophy. He has served on the Council of the New York Branch of the Anthroposophical Society and the Collegium of the Section for the Spiritual Striving of Youth, and he has taught in Society Branches and the anthroposophical adult-education institutions. He writes and edits for diverse publications.

This event is part of the Anthroposophical Society’s Visiting Speaker program and is co-sponsored by the Forming Heart Branch of the society and Meadowbrook Waldorf School.

Please RSVP to development@meadowbrookschool.com

 

A Different Approach to Financial Aid

This post is written by Tabitha Jorgensen, a current member of our Board of Trustees.  Tabitha previously served as our  Admissions Coordinator, welcoming new families to Meadowbrook for more than 14 years.

Part of the Mission Statement of the Meadowbrook Waldorf School reads, “We strive to offer this education to those who seek it here…” One of the ways MWS supports this part of the mission is through financial aid, and like many things at a Waldorf School, we do it a little differently. For one thing, we call it “adjustment” not “aid,” and this is quite purposeful.

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A more traditional financial aid system works something like this: The school has a line item in their budget designated for financial aid. This is a specific amount of money set aside and given out to families who qualify. Once the limit is met, the school generally won’t give out any more. The allocated amount can be adjusted during budget planning, but generally not during the school year.

At Meadowbrook we don’t have a budgeted line item for financial aid. So how do we responsibly budget this way? How do we meet the needs of our community members for whom full tuition is not possible? How do we work with a family facing a financial crisis?

First, we rely on our experience and make some educated estimates. Based on past experience, we are able to determine the percentage of students that will need adjustment with reliable accuracy. An “average” tuition amount is calculated per student and a budget is built around that number. In this way, any new family who applies to MWS late in the season adds to the bottom line of our budget, even if they are not able to pay full tuition.

Second, we have cash reserves for a rainy day. If a particular year turns out to be financially challenging for our families and more requests for adjustment are made than anticipated, or emergency situations arise during the school year (job loss, unexpected medical conditions etc.), we are generally able to meet those needs. If a trend begins, as it did when the recession hit, future budgets are adjusted accordingly.

Third, we are committed to working this way. It is a time consuming process to manage every case through our tuition-adjustment committee, but every family and every circumstance is unique. This work provides an opportunity for MWS to show that we honor and value all our families, and it is also a time when our families can see Meadowbrook principles in action.

It is through working with families, and not merely formulaic calculations, that we strive to reach a tuition level that is acceptable to both the family and the school. As with any agreement between two parties, there are expectations. Families can expect a confidential, fair, thorough process from MWS, a process in which they are active participants. In turn, MWS expects that our families will make choices to demonstrate they consider this education is a priority.

Part of managing a thorough process means a family must provide financial documents, honor deadlines, and present a complete picture of their circumstances.  Part of creating a fair process means MWS cannot support certain “lifestyle” choices through the tuition adjustment program. For example, our policy statement indicates both parents should be employed once all children are of school age. MWS cannot subsidize a choice to be unemployed at the expense of our other families or our faculty. Of course there are exceptional circumstances and times where employment is not about choice – illnesses, job changes, divorce, etc. Exceptional circumstances will always be considered.

The tuition adjustment program is designed to meet as many families as possible, sustainably and fairly. The tuition adjustment committee works to balance the needs of our families with the needs of faculty, staff, programming, and facilities. The tuition adjustment program is an area where we express our belief that those in a Waldorf community carry one another’s destiny. Meadowbrook is entrusted with supporting the destiny of a child and that child’s family. The family, in turn, supports MWS through tuition, and by participating in the vibrant community life of the school.

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Sustainable Beekeeping: October 3 & 4, 2014

Everyone should have an interest in beekeeping since our very lives depend on it. ~ Rudolf Steiner
43-150x150Bees are essential to our food supply, pollinating 40 – 70% of our diet including apples, peaches, strawberries, nuts, avocados, broccoli as well as many important medicinal plants. In a series of lectures given in 1923 Rudolf Steiner predicted the dire state of today’s honeybee. He stated that within 50 to 80 years we would see the consequences of practices such as breeding queen bees artificially and mechanizing the naturally organic forces of the beehive.
Last summer Time magazine published an article to highlight The Plight of the Honeybee
and Wholefoods in Garden City, RI removed all of its pollination dependent produce illustrating This is what your supermarket looks like without bees. Since then the USDA Agricultural Research Service which has been monitoring Colony Collapse Disorder since 2006, is reporting that “Despite a number of claims in the general and scientific media, a cause or causes of CCD have not been identified by researchers.”

14_young_unfertilized_queen-150x150Gunther Hauk has long been a beekeeper and advocate. In his book Toward Saving the Honeybee he finds that over the last 150 years beekeeping has fallen prey to the same misguided approaches as conventional agriculture. Featured in the internationally acclaimed documentary, Queen of the Sun Hauk examines how respect for the wisdom inherent in the natural laws of life, such as diversity and limits of growth have given way to the laws of industry that demand millions of acres of mono-cultures to meet the needs of large, powerful corporations.
In his article, The Honeybee Crisis: A Curse or a Blessing? Hauk recoginzes the current bee crisis as a call to action. He began the nonprofit Spikenard Farm as a honeybee sanctuary in 2006 and he is committed to ensuring that the knowledge and practice of sustainable, biodynamic beekeeping continues to grow. In his lectures Steiner spoke of the unconscious wisdom contained in the beehive and how this relates to the human experiences of health, civilization, and the cosmos. (His collected lectures are available in the volume Bees from SteinerBooks with an introduction written by Hauk.) The riddles of how bees democratically achieve consensus or understand the highly complicated dances that guide them to nectar and pollen supply are just part of what Goethe called nature’s open mystery.

Join us at Meadowbrook to learn more about conscious, sustainable beekeeping with Gunther Hauk in October on Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th. For more information and to reserve your place contact AdultEd@meadowbrookschool.com

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