Applied Anthroposophy Course — Now Online
For those looking to garner a deeper understanding of the underlying current of the Waldorf program and its Anthroposophical roots, you’ll be pleased to know that the course “Applied Anthroposophy” — a transformative immersion in the core wisdom of anthroposophy and its application in the world today — is available online with a registration deadline of September 8, 2020.
Over the past decades, there have been several ‘Foundation Study’ programs held at our school that were organized by the Center for Anthroposophy, connected to Antioch University in New Hampshire. These were year-long, in-person, study programs that introduced participants to foundations of Anthroposophy.
Applied Anthroposophy is an online course meeting weekly on Zoom. All are welcome to participate from the comfort of your own home.
Much gratitude to Vanya Yoors (8th-Grade teacher) for sharing this update with us!
A Note from Our New School Director
Dear WSMF Community,
July 20 marks my official first day as School Director at Waldorf School at Moraine Farm. Thank you sincerely for the warm welcome; it has already been such a pleasure getting to know many of you, and I cannot wait to both meet and get to know all of you in the weeks and months to come.
I’d like to share the story with you about how I arrived at the school. In May of 2019, my husband Wil and I were visiting Massachusetts from D.C. over Memorial Day weekend. While driving through Beverly, we passed a sign reading “Waldorf School at Moraine Farm.” The school grounds looked unlike anything I had ever seen, so, characteristically, I asked Wil to pull into the driveway. We finally emerged upon the school only to find a teacher, on a weekend, planting flowers in the front garden beds. Wil and I were both in awe of the property, the natural state of the campus, and the dedication of a teacher planting flowers on a weekend. Since that weekend, the School’s name was ingrained in my mind, and I periodically checked the school’s website for updates. That same summer, I spoke to a recruiting firm and shared with them that I hoped to find my next professional-adventure as a principal of a small, spiritual, nature-focused school in Massachusetts. I never thought that WSMF would actually have an opening but promised myself to keep a close eye on the School’s website.
Fast forward fourteen months, and here I am today, starting on this journey, shared by all of you. I cannot begin to explain how this transpired from a seemingly random happenstance so many months ago. All I can say is that I am honored and humbled by your confidence in me to lead your school; I am truly grateful. I am sincerely grateful for the immense work that the search committee undertook leading to a selection for this position.
Last week, I had the privilege to attend training through the Center of Anthroposophy. This week-long program provided me with a foundational cornerstone for Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. The class explored Waldorf-inspired eurhythmy, art, and singing in addition to exploring the philosophy of our founder Rudolf Steiner. I am eager to continue digging deeper into these topics with this community.
Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to witness the groundbreaking of our new quad, a vision and a generous gift from alumni parent Ms. Anita Brewer-Siljeholm. This quad is symbolic of how our school honors its traditions, the Waldorf philosophy, and continues to grow in innovative ways. To me, this celebratory gathering represented the strength and love within our community. I aim to continue to build and support our families, alumni, students, and faculty as we grow.
During my first few months at the school, my initial goals are threefold: 1) to learn about our beautiful school, community, and Waldorf philosophy 2) to work with the faculty, staff, and community to confidently and safely reopen for the 2020-2021 school year, and 3) to find ways to innovate towards an increasingly vibrant future.
In the coming weeks, I will be reaching out to each of you to set up a time to allow us to get to know one another. I want to know about your family, your children, and the many special reasons why you chose WSMF to care for your children. The stories I have already heard speak of the depth of connection between our teachers and your children. I cannot wait to know each of you and learn from you how best I can support your family’s educational journey!
I will also be following up with a future note to describe my goals for the 2020-2021 school year. In the meantime, I hope to see you at the All Community Meeting on July 22nd.
With much love and gratitude,
Summer Camp Openings
For children between the ages of 7–12, we have three exciting weeks of camp planned for the month of August. Sessions are filling up quickly with only a handful of spots available — CLICK HERE to learn more. Come join us!
Theatre Camp • August 3–7 (3 SPOTS LEFT)
Fine Art & Nature Camp • August 10–14 (3 SPOTS LEFT)
Nature Camp • August 17–21 (FULL)
Quad Project Update & Ceremony
As we look to the upcoming school year, we are re-imagining our campus to make increased use of our beautiful outdoor space. The final phase of our multi-year Quad project, led with love by Anita Brewer-Siljeholm, has commenced with a commemorative ceremony and ribbon cutting (see photos below).
Our front entrance will become more functional and an even more beautiful: bluestone patios, cozy sitting spaces, solar-panel-lit canopies, outdoor ovens, nooks for covered outdoor classes, picnic tables, and lush four-season gardens. We are forever grateful to Anita for her vision and leadership to bring such natural beauty — and usefulness — right up to our front steps. What an incredible benefit for our returning students, faculty, and staff.
A few additional things to note are that the project:
- will benefit the school, the faculty/staff, and our community as a great addition to our beautiful campus
- will help with outdoor learning/classrooms, which will be vital in the coming school year
- will increase EC play areas and facilitate the grades’ outdoor learning blocks
- has the potential to serve as cafe and hangout area for parents after drop off (seasonal)
In an effort to help educate local families and bring them into the fold of our incredible school community, Coleen Ryan is offering virtual school tours, as well as, in-person tours of our campus. Several dates have been posted on our website making it easy for guests to reserve their spots online.
CLICK HERE to view the page with the registration links. We encourage you to share this page with your friends, especially those that are exploring options for their children this fall. Many thanks!
Faculty Professional Development
Our faculty are using the summer to dig deeper in their educational pursuits with Waldorf-based professional development classes. We celebrate their devotion to their work and their commitment to continual learning.
Among our faculty members, courses range from multiple days to multiple weeks and span interests and needs, including:
- Renewal/Sunbridge Grades Training for the upcoming grade – Ana Coffey, Danielle Harrington, Rebecca Rugo, Jessalyn Hall, and Branigan Reed
- Early Childhood certification training at Sophia’s Hearth (3 weeks) – Caroline Mercier and Stephanie Irvine
- Renewal Curative Education – Cristan Vineis, Heather Collis-Puro, Branigan Reed
- Renewal Anthroposophy 101 – Urvi Morrison
- Living Thinking – Marshunda Smith
- 8 week series Parenting in Place from AISNE – Stephanie Irvine and Heather Collis-Puro
- Waldorf Math Curriculum in Early Grades – Deann Reyes Wangh
- AISNE Workshop “Deliver the best Curriculum Online” – Amanda Wiederhold
- Antiracist Pedagogy in the Waldorf Classroom – Deann Reyes Wangh and Vanya Yoors
- Learning in Nature: Establishing Outdoor Care and Education – Kate Hill
Thank You and Farewell to Ms. Michaelann Murphy
I write to share the news with you that Ms. Michaelann Murphy has accepted a new position at Pine Hill Waldorf School starting this fall and will not be returning to our school.
Michaelann has brought joy, determination, and passion for Waldorf education to everything she does. We are grateful for her two years of service as the Buttercup Nursery teacher and her in-depth knowledge of Waldorf education as our Pedagogical Chair for the last year. We sincerely thank Michaelann for her work and dedication to our school and wish her the very best in her next adventure!
In light of Michaelann’s departure, we would like to invite the rising Kindergarten class to a parent welcome meeting in-person on Thursday, July 23rd at 5:30 pm at school. In this meeting, we will share our plans about our kindergarten classes with you for the fall and give you an opportunity to ask questions or share your thoughts. We will host the meeting outside in the grade 1/2 playground so that we can maintain social distancing. If you plan to attend in-person, we ask that you please wear a mask. Please also feel free to attend via Zoom using this link.
We look forward to seeing you soon! In the meantime, be well, stay safe, and have a great beginning to your week!
Waldorf School at Moraine Farm
Help Moving School Furniture
Jack Hogan, Facility Manager, is looking for up to 6 people to help move furniture out of the classrooms and back in again (on separate days) on Thursday, July 23rd and Friday, July 24th.
The hours are from 9 AM to 3 PM, and the school will pay workers $12.75/hour, or the hours worked could go towards any community service requirements for students. All this moving is to facilitate the stripping and cleaning of the classroom and hallway floors. Masks and adherence to social distancing rules are both required.
If you are interested, please email Jack Hogan at email@example.com ASAP.
WSMF Class of 2016 Graduate High School
Nathaniel Hacker graduated from Beverly High School and will be pursuing a degree in computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall.
Reopening Task Force Update • June 22
As the school year closes, and the summer opens, we are continuing to work through the logistics of reopening our campus – for both our summer camps and for our 2020/21 academic year.
As we wait for the state guidelines for schools to be made available, we are proactively working with the Association for Independent Schools of New England and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America to prepare the school for all possible learning scenarios for the upcoming year, including on-campus, off-campus, and a hybrid blend.
Jack Hogan is securing necessary supplies, including cleaning agents, cleaning machines, hand sanitizer, and gloves. He has also mapped out how to reconfigure our physical space (classrooms, offices, common areas) to meet social distancing guidelines.
We are lucky to have 200 acres of nature at our front door. Our faculty and staff are reimagining how we will be taking advantage of our campus, including outdoor classrooms and learning spaces.
While we decided to cancel summer camp for our nursery and kindergarten students, feeling that it would be very hard to enforce the recommendations with our youngest campers, we are moving forward in planning a robust schedule of summer camps for children 7-12 years of age, including theater, fine arts, and nature-focused camps. Our summer camps will be almost entirely hosted outside.
There is much more work to be done, but know that we are actively working through many aspects of reopening and will be sharing information with you as it becomes available.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please reach out! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and your question will be directed to the right person.
Reopening Task Force Chair
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.
WSMF Class of 2016 Graduate High School
Katherine Hill graduated from Rockport High and will attend The New School in New York City.
Gavin Dowley graduated from Marblehead High School on June 7. He will be attending Connecticut College in the fall – go Camels! When asked for his favorite memories at Waldorf he said kindergarten naps, eurythmy, cross-country skiing, and friends.
Sarah Durkee just graduated from Newburyport High School, and will be attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in the fall. She plans on going into computer science and engineering. Her favorite memories from Waldorf are of all her classmates having fun on all the class trips.
Delilah Meyer graduated from Rockport High School, and will be attending Bates College in the fall.
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.
For Parents, Teachers & Students — An Educator’s Guide to this Moment
Article from Spark.Adobe.com
In our EquityMatters! newsletter last August 2019 we wrote “many of us feel overwhelmed by the racial, cultural, and socio-political issues in our country and all over the world. We want to escape the news and focus on our classrooms and worksites. Our students, however, will be walking into school looking to us to teach them, make them feel safe, and help them make sense of the world. Are we ready?”
That was seven months before the COVID-19 pandemic, nine months before the video showing the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, and 10 months before the world watched the heinous murder of George Floyd. The issues our students face now are having a profound emotional impact and many of our students are facing them alone.
Read more and find resources at An Educator’s Guide to this Moment
WSMF STANDS group
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has created a group in WhatsApp geared towards sharing events, marches, protests, etc, in your area so that we can be in the know about where our voices can be heard. Join the WSMF STANDS group here. (you must have WhatsApp to join)