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Family Night Hike

Family Night Hike

Saturday • September 26 • 6:15–7:30 PM

Join us for an interactive evening hike for parents and children (grades 1–8). Evoke a sense of mystery and adventure as we explore the grounds on this guided evening walk. Led by our very own Coleen Ryan and Jessalyn Hall, you and your children will enjoy a variety of hands-on activities and learning opportunities.

As the sun begins to set, we’ll head into the woods and tune into the changes happening in and around us. What about our sense of sight, touch, and smell? Is it better in the dark? Together we will discover the answers to such questions. This guided walk begins at dusk and will end in the dark.

Please feel free to bring a flashlight, but we ask that you only use it for emergencies or when the hike is completed.

Each child must be accompanied by at least one guardian.

Tickets are $10 (+ processing fee) per participant.
CLICK HERE to buy tickets via Eventbrite.

We look forward to seeing you!

Family Night Hike

More Pictures from End-of-Year Parade!

Pop over to our Community Facebook page to view pictures from our end of school year Parade which took place on Wednesday, June 17th.

Family Night Hike

A Chat with Signe Motter

by Marshunda Smith

Signe Motter has been my mentor since the fall of 2017 and I have enjoyed every minute of it! Our mentor ‘sessions’ were always just a conversation between the two of us. Through these conversations, we got to know each other better, and through that, we could make suggestions to one another of different subject matter that pertained to school….. or did NOT pertain to school.

Marshunda: Thank you for agreeing to be ‘interviewed’ Signe. I know you don’t like to be made a big fuss over.
Signe: That’s alright Marshunda. Only because it’s you do I agree! (laughs)

Signe Motter was born in Tromsø, Norway (which is 217 miles north of the Polar Circle), and she attended the public-school system. In Norway, the public-school system was influenced by the Steiner School curriculum, even though there were official Waldorf Schools in the country. (The first Norwegian Waldorf school opened in 1926.) Signe reminisces about the many similarities of her public school and her cousin’s school in Oslo. The Oslo public school had more resources than the country schools, so they could offer more classes like Form Drawing and many other arts. It depended on each school on how they extrapolated from the Steiner curriculum.  To Signe’s surprise, later in life while training to become a Waldorf teacher, she realized that her training was very similar to the education that she had received as a young girl.

While in the early grades, Signe’s favorite subject was Geography. She LOVED it! She would pour over the entire atlas or globe and lose herself in the different places she found. She didn’t like writing, but she was completely fascinated by geography and history. Because of this love, she loved to read and research different places in the world. (In the graduation speeches this year, one eighth-grader mentioned Signe’s elation whenever she taught history or geography.)

In both grammar school and high school, Signed adored the English language.  Her school also had French and German language classes, but she loved the English class the most! She would read beyond what her teacher assigned. She would even read her older brother’s old English books! When Signe was about thirteen years of age, George M. Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip, featuring Charlie Brown, came to Norway and was translated into Norwegian and of course English. Signe purchased the English translation of Peanuts and read all the comics. Later, when she was about fifteen years old, she discovered John Steinbeck. To this day, she still has the first Steinbeck book that she purchased.

Signe attended the Gymnasium, which is equivalent to two to three years of American college. Signe chose to specialize in Liberal Arts, but Old Norse Mythology and Math were other disciplines offered. After attending the Gymnasium, Signe, about nineteen years old, began working with prisoners.

Why did Signe work with prisoners you ask? Signe did a practicum, which is the equivalent of an apprenticeship. Signe has always had an interest in handwork and woodwork, so her practicum work allowed her to work with drug addicts to bring focus back into their hands. She was able to give prisoners a re-introduction to life through the arts and crafts. All the while, Signe was still learning about textile arts: spinning, weaving, design, etc. Signe waxes on about how AMAZING her teachers were! She learned from Masters at the same time as she was building her life skill sets.


ALERT: Here is a random aside, but very important in showing how cool Signe is!


Signe’s family has a history of being fishermen and farmers. During the winter, her grandfathers and/or uncles would sail towards Greenland and Newfoundland to catch tons of fish. During World War II, she had uncles sailing ships for the Allied harbors. Her uncles rode convoys between the US and England. The convoys were transporting food, tanks, and other war materials from America. During these convoys, there were lots of submarine attacks from the Germans. Because of the fraught traveling, one uncle lost a leg and another uncle lost an arm. Losses were great for both the Germans and the convoys of Allied ships. But being on or near the water ran through Signe’s blood.

When Signe was younger, from about the age of twelve until about 16, she wanted to join the Merchant Marines and become a communications officer. Because of Signe’s love of geography and languages, her knowledge of the morse code alphabet, and her fam’s maritime history running through her veins, this dream, using all of the knowledge that she gobbled up in her youth, would have been right up her alley. She wasn’t only dreaming about the harbors of Norway, she was dreaming about crossing the water around the world. 


After her practicum, at about the age of 21 or 22, she applied to the ergotherapy school, which is equivalent to occupational therapy. Ergotherapy is the study of movement and motion and would allow her to work in any branch of social medicine. Ergotherapy was still fairly new and many of the textbooks were in English.  The school only accepted 18 students every 18 months. Signe was accepted but had to wait until the following year to begin. While Signe waited, she found herself in Long Island!

Signe’s mom had a friend who lived in Long Island, and they desperately wanted a Norwegian au pair. So, as Signe waited to begin the ergotherapy school, she spent that year as an au pair in Long Island. While she was there, her American boyfriend came to visit and proposed to her. Did I mention she had a significant other? They met while in England when she was 18 years old.

Signe married Andy Motter in Norway during the Vietnam War. Andy’s parents worked at The Newark Art Museum, but they retired to their second home in Keene, NH. Signe and Andy lived in Keene for a little while but then moved to Boston. Signe ended up NOT enrolling in the ergotherapy program.

When Signe moved to Boston, she didn’t know anyone. One day, she was out walking in Boston and happened upon a bookstore. In this bookstore, she found three books on Rudolf Steiner. She was so surprised that this little American bookstore had these three books on Steiner! She purchased them right away! Within weeks of purchasing these books, as Signe strolled about Boston, she happened upon the Boston Waldorf School! This school later became the Belmont Waldorf School, and is now the Lexington Waldorf School. Signe and Andy later moved back to Keene and they started the Monadnock Waldorf School in their home.

Signe was the Early Childhood teacher and her young children, along with other little people, gathered in her living room and formed the first class of the Monadnock Waldorf School. Andy was president of the board and Signe remained the E.C. teacher for about eight years. Then Antioch University had started a Waldorf teacher training program, of which she was in the third group to enter that new program. For her six week internship, she chose to intern at a public school so that she may obtain knowledge on the American school system. Signe pauses and tells me that it is hard to talk about that internship. All she can say is that she has such admiration for the teachers teaching in the American public school system. Period.

After her internship, she took a first-grade class at Monadnock. According to Signe, the first six weeks felt like ONE. LONG. DAY!!! She had twenty-four students: eighteen boys and six girls. Interestingly enough, no woman had taken a class all the way through to eighth grade. The woman would leave for some reason or another. So, Signe was DETERMINED to break this ‘curse’ and be the first woman to take a class all the way through to eighth-grade graduation. Signe eventually took three classes through to graduation. During the last class of fifth-graders at Monadnock, Andy (Signe’s husband) passed away. After Signe graduated this class, the Princeton Waldorf School called Signe seeking help.

The Princeton Waldorf School needed an eighth-grade teacher for one year. Signe’s daughters and grandchildren were there at the school, so she decided to move to Princeton. After this year, the fifth-grade teacher decided to leave, so Signe stayed another four years. The following year, Signe did a lot of traveling mentoring other Waldorf teachers, and she came to Moraine Farm to teach a block for Mr. Dorring’s class. After Mr. Dorring decided to leave, Signe was asked to take the rising sixth-grade class. (YAY FOR MORAINE FARM!)

One of her fondest memories of this graduating class was when they went spelunking. “I had said no to other classes, but I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d say yes this time,” Signe reminisces.  “We got to the cave and I went down this really dark hole! I knew this would be the last time I would have a chance to do something like this. There is just something about this class that I felt comfortable with. I was SOOO super aware of my body in that tight space that literally and physically touched me all around. I was slithering and snaking on my stomach! I was NOT afraid! I was calm and focused. I even checked in with myself…’Nope. I’m not afraid.”

According to Signe, she has always loved class trips, “especially the getting really dirty part” she laughs. “. I come home and I LOVE my bath! I’ve also always loved the plays and playing recorder with this class.”

I asked Signe what will she miss about teaching a grades class?

“Every school has a different smell. I get to school early and I putter around. I will miss that. I will also miss feeling the artistic, creative energy of the students…and the recall. The students give you the energy to keep going. I will miss the colleagueship with my peers. I can count on two hands when I’ve woken up and thought, ‘I don’t want to go to school.”

I have been an adjunct employee of Antioch and Center for Anthroposophy for more than 25 years. It is true that I have been the instructor, but the dozens of students whom I have been instructing have also been MY teachers. It has been an ongoing learning experience for me and will continue to be an ongoing experience.”

I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we will miss seeing Signe around the school on a daily basis, as well as her insights to life that she sometimes unknowingly offers.

Respectfully submitted,
Marshunda Smith
June 2020

Family Night Hike

WCA Update: Week of June 8, 2020

Family Update 

The Spodick Family: A New Rhythm

Our minds search to find a new rhythm as our lives have ground to a halt and we find ourselves in lockdown with our families, faced both with one another and the question of what to do.  Being blessed with time at home together, we have found ourselves doing more cooking, creating, cleaning, and connecting.

Etta has always enjoyed baking, so with her newfound time she has been keeping us fat with what she calls ‘The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever’ recipe. It has been wonderful to have a sweet treat to add a little sunshine to our day. Happy to share the recipe.

In the creative realm, Etta has been refurbishing old discarded skateboards. With the help of her father, she has learned to disassemble the boards and replace/restore the hardware. Then, she designs her own graphics and paints them on herself. She has been up to this for a while and has done several as gifts for friends and one which she is currently working on as a commission!

Spring and cleaning always seem to go hand in hand. We have been taking this time to clear out closets, drawers, and that box that has been sitting in the corner all year. It makes our space feel good, fresh, and lighter. Surprisingly, Etta has cleaned her room a record amount of times since the lockdown. Her parents have never been so impressed! Of course, it looks like a cyclone hit it by the next day, but it’s the effort that counts.

One of our newfound favorite things to do is connecting on Zoom with our family and friends. Who knew video chat could be so much fun? Though as the days in lockdown turn into months we are reminded that nothing really replaces human contact and seeing our loved ones in person. But, since that isn’t allowed at this time Zoom will have to do, and we are thankful for it.

In addition to connecting with others, we have been connecting with nature. Most days in which weather allows we find ourselves on another trail along the Ipswich River. This is one of our favorite places to hike. The abundant wildlife and lush forestry is both relaxing and grounding for our family. Even on days in which our situation seems impossible, being in nature helps to melt our stress away as we wander the paths deeper and deeper into the forest. I highly recommend time in the woods to cure just about anything that ails you.

We really miss our Waldorf family! Until we can be together again, remember the words a very wise man once said:

Happiness can be found in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light.




Teacher Appreciation 

We hope you had a chance to pick up packets of wish flags and safety pins at school over the weekend. Many thanks to Gretchen MacKilligan for cutting the fabric for us. 

Please use these flags to write a sentiment of gratitude for your child’s teacher/s. Fill out an extra flag for the eighth grade as we usher them onward to high school. When you have completed your flags you may return them to school and hang them up on the first and second-grade playground. These flags act as our cards to our teachers for a year of loving and challenging work. If we all fill them out they will also act as our reminder of the strength of community acting together. Come visit the flags over the summer to enjoy this gift. 



Supporting Each Other

There is still time left in this school year to contribute a gesture of giving towards a fellow Waldorf family. Many have lost income. If you and your family are in the fortunate position of financial stability please consider donating a grocery gift card. These are being distributed with discretion and dignity to families who have given so much for our school over the years. If you are aware of anyone in the community who would benefit from this gift we are committed to standing beside them and reminding them that they are worth every kindness. Let us know. 

Contact WCA@waldorfmoraine.org and we will be happy to assist this heartfelt gesture.



Family Freecycle

Along the lines of families boosting families (and Mother Nature at the same time) we have enjoyed a couple of instances of organized clothing giving in the past. All of our students are outgrowing clothing. We could all benefit from sharing items in good condition for re-use. Let’s take care with this gorgeous planet and each other at the same time! 

Would anyone like to help organize a Family Freecycle for the upcoming summer season? Let us know! WCA@waldorfmoraine.org 



Send us your updates and your photos!

There is still time to tell us about your family’s newfound patterns of life. Send a couple of paragraphs to us and tell us what you have been doing to pass the time. What has surprised you and what has challenged you. And include photos. We miss you and would love to hear what you’ve been up to. 

Send entries to wca@waldorfmoraine.org and we will share them here. 



Book Group

Our next book is called Cutting Stone by Abraham Verghese. Next Zoom gathering TBA. Let us know you want to join the discussion by writing to Deann Reyes-Wangh at dreyeswangh@waldorfmoraine.org 


Family Night Hike

8th Grade Presentations • Watch Live!

Please join us on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:30 PM for the 8th-grade project presentations.

Students will individually present projects which they have been working on since September. Students have been working with mentors from our community, supported by their teachers to plan, design, undertake and present these unique and self-directed projects.

This is a first-ever virtual webinar event for our graduating 8th-grade class. All are welcome to watch! Each presentation is about 10 minutes, with the entire event running between 1½ to 2 hours.

This year’s program includes:

  • ADELAINE AKERS – Aerial Silks
  • ATTICUS ANDERSON – Cooking: Specializing in Sauces
  • ABRAHAM ANDREWS – Creating & Illustrating a Comic Book
  • CONNOR CARRINGTON-HOUSE – Rock Climbing & Bouldering
  • SIENNA CULLEM – Jewelry Making
  • ZOE HORNER – Photography
  • ALEXANDRIA KENNEDY – Improving Baking Skills
  • LEO MANTENUTO – Restoring a Boat
  • SIERRA RULLMAN – Song Writing
  • OLIVER ZOHN – Photography

8th-Grade Project Presentation • LIVE Event!

Add Date & Time to Calendar — June 2, 2020 @ 6:30 PM (EST)
LinkLive Zoom Event (click to open Zoom)

Note: Please be sure to have the latest version of Zoom installed. Please do so well prior to the event, as the software update can take up to 30 minutes or more.

Family Night Hike

First Day of School 2020–2021

Mark your calendars! The first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 2020 — BEFORE LABOR DAY.

Please know that this date is subject to change depending on state and local authorities.

The last day of school for 2019–2020 is June 17th.


Family Night Hike

Current Student Materials – Pickup & Drop Off

For current students and families, the last day for material pickup will be Saturday, June 6th. The last day to return material will be Saturday, June 20th. Please check with your class teachers for specifics.


Family Night Hike

A Tale of Two Clefs • No. 4

Head over to our Community Facebook page to view another precious video of 1st grader, Jack, performing his very own story. Ms. Smith has asked 1st and 2nd-grade students to select an instrument and create a story involving the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef, along with various elements of nature. What a creative assignment!

Well done, Jack. Encore!

Family Night Hike

A Tale of Two Clefs • No. 3

View Video

Here’s another precious video of 2nd grader, Juliannah, performing her very own story. Ms. Smith has asked 1st and 2nd-grade students to select an instrument and create a story involving the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef, along with various elements of nature. What a creative assignment provided by Ms. Smith!

Well done Juliannah! Encore!


Family Night Hike

Waldorf Student a Finalist in Local Poetry Contest

In January, during their Creative Writing block, the 8th graders studied short stories and sonnets. “They despaired gleefully at the challenge of writing a sonnet…” wrote Mrs. Motter. “So much of the students’ inner self was revealed in what they wrote during this block; what they think, feel, or wonder about.” One student, Sienna Cullem, wrote a particularly beautiful poem, “A Winter Sonnet” (below). In March, Ms. Weiderhold told the class that Beverly Public Library was holding a Middle School Division Poetry Contest and Sienna decided to enter her sonnet. Last week she received this news:

“Congratulations! Your poem, “A Winter Sonnet”, has been chosen as a finalist in the middle school division of the Beverly Public Library’s Poetry Contest! Thank you for submitting your poetry to the Contest. Our judges, three respected local poets, truly enjoyed reading your work, and have selected this poem as a finalist out of over 500 entries.”

Beverly Public Library went on to say that they will be collecting recordings of each finalist reading their own poem aloud and then choosing the winner by May 15. We are looking forward to sharing her reading with you when the link is available online.

A Winter Sonnet
by Sienna Cullem

It hurts to look up at the sun-bright sky,
As the cold winds turn your face to ice.
To the ardent colors of autumn ~ goodbye
Snug in my house, I share my space with mice.
As hats, snowshoes, sleds and shovels come out,
All the warm weather animals must hide,
While lucky pets may lazily lay about,
Like many of us who at our homes may bide.
Yet I adore this incredible time,
Little white flowers fall from the heavens,
Each one with its own intricate design,
Even the sun might reveal its pleasance.
As the air grows cold our hearts will grow warm,
Laughs shared with family, a new closeness forms.