This was written as a parent resource at the request of Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner Preschool for their children at the time of the COVID -19 outbreak.
Once upon a time two keen children were standing on a step stool at the bathroom sink. When they turned on the tap the water came flowing out.
All the water droplets were rushed together. Those children were sure that they heard voices in the water calling ‘ I want to wash their hands,’ ,’ I do too’, ‘And me too ‘, and mee toooooo’. “Let’s do it together’ the voices said.
‘Swish, swish’ said the water drops, as they toppled down, down, down from the faucet above to the sink below. The children watched the water swirling and twirling down from the faucet to the white sink below. They put some slippery soap on their fingers and hands. Then they put their hands under the fast running water. It was a waterfall! The children sang while they rubbed their hands and fingers together:
‘Fish swim in the water Birds fly in the air.
Come and sparkle your hands here And dry them over there’.
‘Fish swim in the water Birds fly in the air,
Come and sparkle your hands here And dry them over there’.
The children turned the water tap off. They used a paper towel to dry their hands. They put the towel into the white plastic bucket and they covered it with its’ lid.
Later they carried the white plastic bucket out to the worm farm. There, there would be worms who would wriggle through the paper and turn it into the rich black soil for the garden.
Class 3 are seasoned gardeners, and returned from holidays to check and aerate the liquid fertiliser they prepared last Term. It is made from sorghum plants, which releases silica and other nutrients into the solution that is then sprinkled onto the plants. Here they are learning how to aerate the natural fertiliser in a hand-mixer that has been repurposed from the art and building department to the garden and will start a new life as a garden tool! Class 3 are also particularly fond of the chickens, and we are delighted to introduce the newest 3 hens Dot, Whitney and Olive. They get a LOT of cuddles when Class 3 are around!
What do you teach? I am the Playgroup Coordinator, and host three playgroups: one at the Preschool and two at Castlecrag. I am also a Gardening Teacher at the Preschool and Castlecrag campuses and I share the teaching role at Middle Ccove campus role with horticulturalist / teacher Kathy Thangathurai and we are assisted by Edgar Maier and Michelle Chambers. I therefore have the joy of bringing restorative agriculture practices to all three campuses!
How long have you been at Glenaeon and what is your background? I started teaching at Glenaeon at the beginning of 2018, coming from the north coast of NSW. I have taught biodynamic gardening extensively, and have also been an early childhood and gardening consultant for many years in Fiji, China, Vietnam and Canada. I have a Masters of Steiner Education from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Child Study Degree and I have my Biodynamic Farming gardening Certificate, having studied deeply with Gunther Hawk (a world leader of bee education with a Bee sanctuary in West Virginia). As an educator with commitment to community development, I have created and established relevant programs for children, teenagers and adults, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation and municipal government. Click to continue.
What is on the horizon for you this year? Being the Waldorf 100 year, I am focused also on supporting bees and the global movement towards protecting our species with bees – this is a world-wide initiative. I am also expanding our focus on SOIL – for example with the understanding that weeds can show there is a NEED in the soil that can be addressed through additions of elements to the compost such as calcium and lime etc. With Kathy, we share the vision that all classes can be exposed to natural science, having their hands in the earth, and to realise that they, too, are a part of the function of the garden itself. We support an unofficial ‘gardening club’ for the high school children who come to garden in their breaks and ‘optional or topic pertinent classes‘. High school use the garden for Agriculture and Food Technology, but gardening club is open to anyone, voluntary and in addition to anything they are learning in formal classes. Thirdly, I am passionate that the whole campus can compost a lot more (from all of our events as well as day-to day). I believe we as a school can help humanity to ‘save the world’ by a sharing the understanding that composting is for EVERYONE, not just gardeners and scientists. I want people to feel that the garden belongs to THEM – the planting and harvesting flowers and vegetables too!
What do you like about teaching at Glenaeon? I love welcoming the playgroup families, with their little children, eyes open wide – who are looking for communication, a safe, nurturing place to come with their family. With my colleagues, I am very enthusiastic about teaching children, and offering them an enlivened education. The families look around at our enchanted gardens, and see other parents engaging with their own children, seeking and building an extended family and community of people working together for healthy communal growth. They see the bush that holds and supports us in this urban life, and marvel at the beautiful interface between nature and the urban environments. Over time they realise that we are part of a small ‘hub’, which belongs to a greater one in Sydney and surrounds – and then Australia, and then the world. All over the world people can seek unique similarities in Steiner education, and experience the wondrous intensity of this inspired and dedicated, healthful, meaningful education.
What are your other interests? I love sourdough bread baking, sailing, skiing, (the YUKON Sandra comes out!) and exploring nature. I love teaching compost and celebrating life with children and all ages of family and friends.
Where is your favourite place on the campuses? I love all three gardens on all three campuses!
This year we felt very fortunate to have Sandra Frain, with her vast knowledge of Biodynamic gardening and composting, helping in the Kindy garden.
As we prepared for the fair this year the children, along with the help of Sandra and a number of parents and teachers, have been busy distributing rich sweet compost around our gardens so that our mighty compost pit was ready to receive and recycle all the food waste from the fair. Sandra has helped us all at Castlecrag to become more conscious of our daily responsibility to life a more sustainable life.