Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Toy, Food and Craft Festival - Nice Work!

Care, artistry and community - the sign of things to come for visitors to this years Toy, Food and Craft Festival at Raphael House.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Sean, Rosie and Acacia have their audience transfixed with the quality of their musical expertise and sensitivity,

Music, delicious food and drinks, plays, fun activities and craft stalls are the hallmark of the Festival each year.

The display of student work included handcrafted wood, clay, stone and jewellery, as well as workbooks and posters from all age groups. A wooden canoe was one of the handcrafted objects.

Learning the alphabet artistically is one of the classic elements of the Waldorf (Steiner) curriculum for a Class 1, year 2 child.

Colourful stories enrich the creative imagination of children in Class 3.
High School art lessons explore the many directions taken in the History of Art
 Who is this? I forgot to ask. Clay modelling allows three dimensional expression to come to life.

These posters are the work of Class 8, Year 9 students.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Drawings with Pencils

Drawing with coloured pencils begins in classes 3 
and 4. 

In Class Four particularly the children are asked to pay careful attention to form, to look at the proportions of the human figure, to look at how our arms, legs, trunk and head are formed. They are encouraged to ‘grow’ the picture, finding the forms first and adding colour and details as they refine it further.

They have practiced using their pencils to create different lines, planes and gradations of colour, from pale shading to strong lines and forms. 

Topics from our Main Lesson stories, the Norse Myths, Local History lessons, festivals and much more has given us many different subjects to draw throughout the year as you can see from this small selection. 


Purdy Earl

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating the Spring

Kite Flying, beach cleaning, music, maypole dancing and tree planting were part of this year's Spring Festival at Raphael House. This is one of the traditional celebrations at our school that bring together our community, the seasons and a sense of connection with the environment. The planting of 33 trees also marked the 33rd anniversary of the school.

This link will take you to the article about the festival published in the Hutt News

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid Winter Darkness and Light

Here are some images of last months 2012 Mid Winter Festival at Raphael House.  As you can see, the whole school is involved and the atmosphere makes for a powerful impression of light radiating in the darkest time of the year.

The Class 12 students are the flame bearers who ignite the mid-winter bonfire.

The fire sends sparks up into a starry night sky.

Playing with fire: skill and care with fire poi spinning creates a spectacular display.

Look here to read our recent post about the lantern making tradition that is a big part of the preparation for the festival each year.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our Obsession with Celebrities

Jim Mora of Radio New Zealand's Afternoons programme interviewed Helen Wright today on the the effect of gender stereotyping on our children.

Dr Helen Wright - head of a private girls' school in the UK, believes our celebrity obsessed culture is ruining us and that the fuss over Kim Kardashian represents "almost everything that is wrong with Western society". Her remarks have hit a global nerve.

Click the play button below to hear the interview (22 mins):

Mid Winter Lanterns

Recently the school celebrated the Mid Winter festival with a roaring bonfire and soup and stories in the classrooms.

 As part of the build up to the festival all the children in Classes 1-8 created lanterns to light their way on the night. This is a tradition dating back many years at the school, and each year the younger classes eagerly admire the older children’s lanterns, looking forward to creating them in years to come.

Class Four created 4-sided cardboard lanterns and, for the first time, cut out designs which they backed with tissue paper. They needed to use their rulers accurately to create their lantern and designs; they needed to use a craft knife skillfully to cut their designs cleanly. Cutting out tissue to fit behind the windows posed another challenge, as did constructing them once the design was complete.

The class put in several lessons practicing their skills and creating different designs before approaching the ‘real thing’. As you can see the results are beautiful. They worked with care and focus, helping one another until all lanterns were complete.

Well done Class 4 and all the other classes for creating such beautiful lanterns to warm us and light our way on the longest night of the year!

Purdy Biddle- Class 4 teacher

Monday, June 25, 2012

Switch it Off

A Waldorf perspective on the effect on children of increased TV and computer use.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Computer games on the brain

Violent video games and other computer entertainment have long been criticised for damaging a youngsters’ brain.

But activists such as Oxford Professor Baroness Greenfield have often presented little science to back up their allegations. However, extensive research into the subject has now provided worrying results that support her claims.

‘Screen technologies cause high arousal which in turn activates the brain system’s underlying addiction,’ the neurologist said last month in an attack that accused games of causing ‘dementia’ in children. ‘This results in the attraction of yet more screen-based activity.’

And now the first genuinely scientific attempt to analyse the emotive subject has thrown up astonishing results that suggest she is right....

For the rest of this article by Rob Waugh, originally published in the UK Mail have a look at this link

Monday, May 21, 2012

Finding the Leonardo in ourselves

The Class Seven year brings a study of the Renaissance in Europe – the flourishing of the arts, a rediscovery of the cultural treasures of Ancient Greece and Rome and an awakening to the wider world – geographically, scientifically and artistically. 

This year the theme has brought studies in and experiences of perspective drawing, Renaissance biographies, the use of mathematical tools developed in the Renaissance (Napier’s Bones), the various guilds that developed during the Renaissance and the artistic works, methods and motivations of Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci.
Later in the year the same theme will lead us into Astronomy, the Geography of Africa and the Americas, Mechanics and other learning areas, as the children experience the discoveries and developments that bloomed during this time.

Class 7 have been creating lots of drawings to connect with our renaissance theme. Shown here are some for you to enjoy.

Robin Hinkley

Starting school later is best, research says

New Research Evidence: The Longevity Project

The new evidence comes from an unlikely source – an extraordinary longitudinal research study based on a group of over 1,000 Californian children born early last century, and whose development was tracked from early childhood throughout their lives, until they died. More specifically, the Terman Life Cycle Study was initiated in 1922 by Lewis M. Terman as a study of gifted children in California. Participants were followed throughout their lives, with evaluations occurring every five to ten years. The research team of the resultant Longevity Project, led by Professor Howard S. Friedman of University of California in Riverside, supplemented this information with the collection of death certificates and the construction and validation of new psychosocial indices, including measures of personality, alcohol use and mental adjustment. The Terman data therefore offer a unique opportunity to look at the possible lifelong consequences of early educational milestones. Professor Friedman and his researchers used data from this sample to examine lifelong outcomes associated with ages at first reading and school entry.
Keep on playing kids!

Based on a review of the literature, the researchers hypothesised that entering school at a relatively early age would be associated with lower academic performance and worse psychosocial adjustment across the lifespan, including increased mortality risk. They also examined educational achievement, midlife health and mental adjustment, and alcohol use as potential mediators of these relations. 

The lead researcher of the Longevity Project, Dr Howard S. Friedman, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California in Riverside, said:

“In our work on The Longevity Project, an 8-decade study of healthy aging, we were amazed to discover that starting formal schooling too early often led to problems throughout life, and shockingly was a predictor of dying at a younger age. This was true even though the children in The Longevity Project were intelligent and good learners. I'm very glad that I did not push to have my own children start formal schooling at too young an age, even though they were early readers. Most children under age six need lots of time to play, and to develop social skills, and to learn to control their impulses. An over-emphasis on formal classroom instruction-- that is, studies instead of buddies, or ‘staying in’ instead of ‘playing out’ -- can have serious effects that might not be apparent until years later.”

Their findings, then, are unambiguous and dramatic: to quote the researchers’ 2009 paper from the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, “Early school entry was associated with less educational attainment, worse midlife adjustment, and most importantly, increased mortality risk”.
Commentary on the Findings
These research findings are somewhat counter-intuitive, in that the sampled children were actually of above-average intelligence. This has considerable implications for how we, as a society, respond educationally to bright children. The conventional wisdom is that naturally intelligent children should have their intellect “fed” and “stimulated” at a young age, so they are not “held back”, as conventional thinking has it. Yet these new empirical findings strongly suggest that exactly the opposite may well be the case, and that young children’s “run-away” intellect actually needs to be slowed down in the early years, if they are not to risk growing up in an intellectually unbalanced way, with possible life-long negative health effects.

Whilst it is always important to treat “positivistic” research of this kind with caution and not generalise uncritically or recklessly from it, what is so compelling about these new research findings is that they add robust empirical corroboration to the arguments that have been made by a host of authorities from education and psychology over many decades – including Donald Winnicott, Maria Montesssori, Rudolf Steiner, Professors David Elkind, Lilian Katz and Neil Postman, and the Ypsilanti High/Scope Project – that an introduction to early, overly formal  institutional schooling has negative health effects on young children that can be life-long in impact.  

Download the full media release  here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lower School Hands On

Outdoor activites in the Lower School to start the year of 2012 include:

Felt making,
a Hangi,
mud murals,
soap making,
bush cooking,
trail blazing,,
creek boat building
mat making and....

 constructing a labyrinth out of wood.