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Making the Magic Happen (takes training)

There are many ingredients that make the magic happen for a successful program and sometime we forget that although that magic recipe calls for a cup of love, a tablespoon of TLC and a pinch of discipline, it also calls for a heaping helping of teacher training.

Teacher training for all programs and all schools is of the utmost importance. Training provides the tools, child development knowledge and practicums to design rich environments and engaging learning opportunities for all children. Training directly benefits the children in our care and provides opportunities for teachers to continue to grow deep roots and stronger boughs to provide shade and shelter for your children.

The wonderful world of LifeWays and Waldorf education dives so much deeper and the training provided helps to create the loving environment that we share. At The Playgarden, our teachers receive LifeWays Certification. To be a most effective care giver, a LifeWays Certified teacher learns how to care for herself in a deep and meaningful way so that she can best tend to the wee ones in her care. A calm, collected, and relaxed teacher who can model the behavior he would like to see is better equipped to handle the ups and downs of early childhood. LifeWays training introduces the work of Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy, diving into the connection that all humans have with one another, our natural environment and the spiritual world. While becoming submerged in child development, appropriate practices, discipline techniques and research support for play based learning, teachers also learn to sing, knit, crochet, tie dye, make felt puppets and sew Waldorf baby dolls. Sounds relaxing right? The training is designed to do just that. It brings back the importance of handwork as an outlet for energy, a relaxing meditative moment and a beautiful result of a doll or puppet made with love and care. The teachers’ handwork is then shared with the children and that same love and care are poured into the children that play with them (unlike plastic toys that get thrown about, crashed and when broken are thrown away). Children often treat these handmade treasures with gentle joy because they are natural and made with reverence. When they get too loved, they go in a “Fix it Fairy” basket and teachers can restore them with TLC so that they have more love to give.

We are so blessed to share that three of our Playgarden teachers will be taking the year-long LifeWays Certification training. We are hosting the training right here at The Playgarden beginning July 26th, 2019. This four-week training, spread out over the 4 seasons of the 2019-2020 school year, will welcome wonderful gifts to the teachers who pour their warmth and love into the children in our care.

We are also proud to share several more trainings that have taken place this summer.

Miss Adana attended a Waldorf Renewals course: Art as a Bridge over Troubled Waters: Pastel and Watercolor program at The Center of Anthroposophy.

The mighty Spring River will also be enhancing their grades and homeschool programming and dedication to serve by sending 3 teachers to continue their training through Renewal courses from The Center of Anthroposophy.

Sierra Humphreys is taking Teaching Grade One: Once Upon a Time…the Journey Begins. Jackie Stetson is taking a course called Roadmap to Literacy: Creating an Artistic and Effective Language Arts Curriculum. As well as supporting Julia Hassler with her Masters of Waldorf Education at Antioch University.

On the administrative front, Miss Carol dove into the world of Waldorf administration with the Renewal course: The Human Encounter and Community Building: Waldorf School Administration and Governance. Our Executive Director, Laura Cruz, will be taking the plunge with a two-part, year long program, Waldorf Administration and Leadership Development, to better serve our school, families and community.

None of these training opportunities would be possible without the outstanding assistance of our community members finding funding sources, researching and writing grants and careful budgeting. It is our great pleasure to recognize several funding sources including a generous grant from The Schwartz Foundation whose mission is to support education, art, and healthcare projects among others. Artist, Author and philanthropist, Brette Petway shared a monetary gift to support our mission as well. Her mission aligns with ours to “Embrace the simple idea of slowing down enough to enjoy your life.” Brette also just happens to be one of the very first families that helped create what is now our Waldorf inspired school. She is an original alumnus. Our school would not be here if it was not for her and the fellow mamas and families that made the dream come true. As a LifeWays Representative Site, the LifeWays of North America organization provided a 25% tuition discount for our teachers. Dr. Torin Finser’s support was instrumental in securing an AWSNA scholarship for Spring River teacher, Julia Hassler. The Bank of America donation matching program also recognizes another original Alumni, Theresa Nichols.

Thank you so much for your support of our endeavors to offer the very best training for our teachers which directly and positively affect your children and community. With these funding sources we have raised nearly $15,000 for teacher education and training. That’s nearly half of the approximate $34,300 total investment. Thank you to all of our families for joining our school and for believing that children deserve to have a play-based and nature-centric education where children are at the heart of all we do. Thank you for your support. The Waldorf/LifeWays tradition of using head, heart and hands to do meaningful work is alive and well.

Once again thank you supporters and Playgarden and Spring River families for helping guiding our mission “To support, strengthen and inspire the growing child, family and community.”

Please visit our donor and supporter’ websites AWSNA: The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America

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