Re-Imagining Money

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What is money? What can our relationship with money teach us? How does money connect us to what we care most about, both personally, and as a community? Join us for an evening of conversation with John Bloom to explore these and other questions.

John Bloom is Vice President, Organizational Culture at RSF Social Finance in San Francisco. In his work at RSF he addresses the intersection of money and spirit by facilitating conversations and developing programs that support personal and social transformation. As part of this work he has also helped develop awareness of issues of land and biodynamic agriculture.

Bloom is the author of The Genius of Money and writes frequently for RSF’s Reimagine Money blog. In his latest book, Inhabiting Interdependence, he explores approaches toward transforming the conventional habits of mind and practice that have led to today’s economic imbalance in our own lives, and in society as a whole. Acknowledging that money has permeated almost every aspect of daily life, including our relationships to nature and to one another, Bloom suggests we reconsider our personal and cultural conditioning, and our systems of economic exchange. He asks us to imagine how, in the next economy, we might steward our natural resources, work, and forms of capital in a framework that supports and celebrates our humanity and our capacities as individual human beings.

John Bloom will visit Rhode Island to lead a conversation about money, values, and the need for a new understanding of our economic selves. At Meadowbrook Waldorf School on Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30 pm. Open to all, admission free. Join us, and please share this invitation to help bring voices from all walks of life into the evening’s conversation.

Holiday Faire at Meadowbrook: Nov 18 & 19

Come and experience the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, families are invited into a wonderland of activities, performances and plenty of holiday cheer. Meadowbrook’s Holiday Faire began as a fundraising market place, offering a wide range of high quality children’s items and unique gifts for all ages. It has since grown into a celebration of family that draws visitors from around the northeast region.

Friday evening is only for adults and offers an opportunity to shop out of sight of little eyes. Relax into the festive season and stroll a lantern path under the starry sky as you dip a candle. Enjoy live music from singer/ songwriter, Ray Jorgensen and a lively auction of items made by the students. Bring your friends, ‘BYOB’ and sample some warm Meadowbrook hospitality.

Saturday is a day full of activities that celebrate the joys of childhood. Bring your family and visit the magical Crystal Cave with its grottoes filled with gnomes and twinkling lights. In a quiet room, marionettes perform a traditional fairy tale. The school’s beautifully painted classrooms have tables of craft materials and volunteers to help you and your child create a treasure to take home. Refreshments are available and you are welcome to enjoy the forested campus as you picnic and explore.

Come and experience the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, families are invited into a wonderland of activities, performances and plenty of holiday cheer. Meadowbrook’s Holiday Faire began as a fundraising market place, offering a wide range of high quality children’s items and unique gifts for all ages. It has since grown into a celebration of family that draws visitors from around the northeast region.

Begin your festive season with Holiday Faire at Meadowbrook and start a new tradition for your family. Doors open Friday, November 18th, 7 – 10 p.m. and Saturday, November 19th, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

 

Third Grade Farm Trip

Contributor: Diana Carlson, Class Teacher of Grade 3 of 2015-16

I have just returned from spending a week with my third graders at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, New York.  We had a great time!  The students baked bread, made butter, and cooked supper for their classmates and teachers.  They planted seeds as the spring leaves popped around them in the April sunshine.  They woke in the chill dawn to feed and water the cows, chickens, pigs, and horses.  They also rode those horses, and cleaned those cows’ barn, and looked for eggs in the hen-house.  They skipped stones and waded in the river and ran and climbed trees, with old friends and new.  In the evenings they sang together, and practiced being quiet together so that everyone could settle down to sleep.Farm Trip 2016

Farm Trip 2016

The farm trip meets the developing nine-year old in many important ways.  For most of my students, this was their first extended time away from their family.  The nine-year old is developing an individual interior world; for the first time they realize that they can have thoughts and experiences that are theirs alone.  The experience of the farm trip, although shared with familiar classmates and teachers, is an individual, personal life experience outside of the family round.  Many of the students expressed surprise at how little they missed their families; they almost felt a little guilty at first, as if their self-sufficiency denied their affection for their families.  When the families arrived to pick up their dirty, happy children on Friday morning, the students were thrilled to reconnect and share their experiences with their parents and siblings.  They experienced that a separation is not a severing, and that they are able to have individual experiences and still remain connected, even over distance and time, to their loved ones.  This foundational experience gives the child the confidence to move out into the world in ever widening arcs as they mature.

We had the opportunity to share our farm experience with students from the Primrose Hill School in Reinbeck, New York.  The children enjoyed getting to know one another and see how another Waldorf third grade can be similar and yet different.  We knew many of the same songs and poems, we were following the same curriculum as outlined by Rudolf Steiner, we were the same ages.  And yet we had different class cultures, different personalities.  By the end of the week however, the farm teachers commented that the groups had integrated so harmoniously that they couldn’t tell which students were from Meadowbrook and which were from Primrose Hill.

The farm experience deeply connects the child to the third grade science and geography curriculum.  Now these students really “know” cows – their size, their smell, their slick noses and rough tongues, their beautiful eyes and placid natures.  To know a cow in this way is to have a deeper connection to all that comes from the cow – butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, leather, hamburgers.  The students also gain an understanding of the amount of work that creates their daily meals.  One student commented on how difficult it was to clean out the barn – how strenuous, how smelly, how relieved he was to never have to do that again.  And one of the farm teachers remarked, “Yes, and think – somebody has to do that every day or you would never be able to have ice cream!”  The realization that all we enjoy is derived from the work of others cultivates gratitude and a true understanding of the interconnectedness of our world.

Farm Trip 2016 IIThe experience of being at the farm planted seeds of understanding in the hearts and minds of my students.  I look forward to watching these seeds sprout and blossom in the years ahead.  I am grateful to Meadowbrook and to the parents of the third grade class for making this trip possible.

Advent Spiral – A Community Gathering

What is Advent? What is an Advent Spiral?

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We have just entered into the season of Advent.  Traditionally celebrated the four Sundays before the winter solstice, it marks a time of introspection as we all await the return of the sun and lengthening days.  This seasonal remembrance of light takes place in many cultures across the globe.  At our Waldorf school, we mark this season with weekly Advent spiral walks.

Our local community is invited to participate in this weekly moment of reflection. Please park in the visitor lot and follow the candle-lit path into the forest where you can walk the Advent spiral and place your offering along the path. You may bring something from home or pick a natural trinket from the start of the path to add to the spiral. In this way our community comes together co-creating the garden spiral.

Examples of items are:
The first light of Advent honors the mineral world.  Small shells, gems or rocks are appropriate for this week.

The second light of Advent honors the plant world. Acorns, pine cones, a dried flower or holly sprig would be wonderful additions to the path this week.

The third light of Advent honors the animal world. Perhaps you might add a small feather you have found or a piece of beeswax in the shape of a favorite animal this week.

The fourth light of Advent honors the light of man. During this final week we are in the darkest days of our year and we bring the light within ourselves to the spiral. You are invited to carry a candle through the spiral and then leave your candle along the path. In this way, we are leaving our light to illuminate the path for all of us. Candles are provided at the start of the path on this evening.

advent_spiral_dusk_mwsAfter walking the path, families often take a short time to sit together quietly. Participating in our Advent spiral is a lovely way to model a quiet reverence of nature to our little ones. Often the youngest of our visitors take many turns walking the spiral, first holding a parent’s hand and then becoming brave enough to test their independence and walk the path alone.

By marking our seasonal journey out of darkness with the quiet contemplation of Advent, we make space in this hectic time of celebration and busyness to remember our connection to the earth and each other.

Advent Spiral Dates for 2015

The local community is invited to join us in this small act of contemplation that we hold each Sunday of Advent from 4-5 pm.

November 29th (Minerals)
December 6th (Plants)
December 13th (Animals)
December 20th   (Humans)

Advent Spiral Verse

The first light of Advent is the light of the stones that sparkle through seashells, crystals and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of the plants that reach to the sun and in the breeze dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of the beasts that swim, crawl or fly, be they great, be they least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of man, in love and in thought, to give and understand.