4th Grade Local Geography Block

From Ms. Saltet, our current 4th Grade Teacher:

On a recent sunny Wednesday the Fourth grade took a field trip to the top of Mt.Tamalpais as part of our local geography block. After mapping our classroom, school building and wider campus, the children suggested climbing to the top of the ridge in Wildcat Canyon to get a view of El Sobrante and the land beyond. We drew what we saw and turned it into a map.
What next?
Go higher! So we did. From the top of Mt. Tamalpais we could look down on our Bay Area and see that water, not land, is the center of where we live. We then came back and turned our sketches into a south-facing map.

5th Grade Competes in the Pentathlon!

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Mr. Loubet’s 5th grade class, along with Mr. Jorgensen, recently competed in the annual Pentathlon with other local Waldorf schools. This year’s participants included Marin Waldorf, San Francisco Waldorf, Waldorf School of the Peninsula, Santa Cruz Waldorf, Monterrey Bay Waldorf & Greenwood School.

 

The Pentathlon ties in with the 5th grade’s study of ancient civilizations, including an in-depth study on ancient Greece. The Pentathlon includes the traditional Greek games competitions such as Wrestling, Javelin, Discus, Long Jump & Relay/Running Races.

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Congratulations on a successful Pentathlon, Class 5! Read more on why Waldorf Schools participate in the Pentathlon here. 

Second Grade Builds A Labyrinth!

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The 11-acre campus at East Bay Waldorf School has undergone some dramatic and exciting changes this year. The removal of many dead and dying Monterrey Pine trees, though, sprouted some exciting new additions to our grounds – including the proposed Adventure Playground to be developed in the now called “Stumpland” or “Grove With A View.”

 

Second Grade also created a permanent Labyrinth structure on the Upper Field, utilizing the knowledge of some Labyrinth-savvy parents, ancient methods of mapping and the stumps from the felled Monterrey Pines.

 

Here is how the process unfolded:

 

Second Grade teacher Elana Margolis and Labyrinth-enthusiast and current first-grade parent Adam Boring gave class two some instructions on the formation of a traditional Labyrinths and instructed the students to draw their own using chalk on the pavement. Ms. Margolis was surprised at how adept the Second Grade students were to drawing these complex forms, but attributed it to the fact that formal Form Drawing instruction has been ongoing in Second Grade for the entire year.

Parent Adam Boring leads the Labyrinth project.

Parent Adam Boring leads the Labyrinth project.

 

Once the drawn form was practiced, the formation of the structure began. Here is a letter from Adam describing his process:

 

So, to create what we currently have up on the meadow, I used 400 landscape flags, and the yarn.

In order to know where to place the flags, or where the lines were, I used an ancient method passed down for generations. 

I started with what is referred to as the “Geomantic Act“. The Geomantic Act is used to determine the center of the Labyrinth. I did this using the ancient art of Dowsing. Using my L-rods, I asked permission of the land and all beings residing there both corporal and energetic. It is rare that permission is denied as a Labyrinth has a way of drawing life to it. 

After I was given permission to proceed, both from the school officials, and from the land itself I simply asked to be taken to the center of the Labyrinth, then my dowsing tools showed me the way. 

Once the center of the Labyrinth was located I set an anchor and attached my rope with path markings every 4 feet. At this point I used a little more dowsing to determine the exact orientation of the labyrinth. After the anchor was set and I knew my orientation, I proceeded to place the four stakes that outline a box, or essentially establishing the “seed pattern“.

Here is an image showing the use of the rope to build a labyrinth:

 

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Once Adam had the Labyrinth mapped out, the students could begin the fun part: hauling stumps to create the structure! Our own Alvin Lopez was on site during the 3 weeks of log hauling and arranging to capture this amazing process through the lens:

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Second Graders remove the marking flags to make way for the stumps.

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Hauling logs is hard work!

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Kindergarten pitches in…

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…and so does First Grade.

...and some parents.

…and some parents.

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The Labyrinth is complete!

The Labyrinth is complete!

The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, and all community members are invited to walk the East Bay Waldorf School Labyrinth on the Upper Field. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. Some people like to bring a gift to leave in the center of the Labyrinth – a symbol of their question or contemplation.

 

In between the Reverse Rose Ceremony and the 8th Grade vs. Faculty Kickball game on the last day of school for Grades 1-8, June 8th, we invite you to experience the Labyrinth.  Adam will be on site that morning to answer questions and guide visitors through the Labyrinth experience.