Ms. Moskowitz’s Welcome to the Third Grade
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Dear Third Grade Parents,
I hope this letter finds you enjoying these wonderful late summer breezes. With the first day of school right around the corner, I wanted to remind you of a few important dates for the 3rd grade:
First Day of School & Rose Ceremony
Wednesday, September 4th 8:30AM–
Students will be dropped off at the Main Entrance and walk to their new classroom. The Rose Ceremony will be held in the Auditorium. As you know, the Rose Ceremony is a lovely school tradition in which the 1st graders are greeted by the 12th Grade and formally welcomed into the school community. You are warmly invited and encouraged to attend this assembly. As the entire student body will be in attendance, parents are asked to please find seating towards the back of the auditorium.
Waldorf Curriculum Night
Thursday, September 19th 7:00PM–
This is a chance to meet and hear from all your child’s teachers. Special Subject teachers will present and talk about the curriculum and how it supports the blocks of the Morning Lessons and the themes of the year.
3rd Grade Parent Evening
Thursday, October 3rd 7:00PM –
We will go over the schedule for the year including upcoming field trips, projects and festivals.
Some things to expect this year:
In 3rd grade the child experiences a new outlook towards the self. The question arises within the child’s consciousness, ‘Who am I?’ In Waldorf education we recognize this realization of selfhood as the 9-year change. New capacities for thinking and judgment are emerging. The ‘unity of all things’ experienced in earlier years gives way to an inner/outer dichotomy. ‘I am here, and the world is there’. This brings self-consciousness and a critical view of oneself and others. Strong opinions and strong likes and dislikes are emerging. A new realistic view of the world is beginning to manifest.
The 3rd grade curriculum helps the child move through this developmental stage by studying the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures, the practical arts of Farming, House-Building & Fibers, the mathematical skills of Measurement, Currency, Long Multiplication & Division and Time-telling.
The hands-on experience of this year’s curriculum has the students cooking, building, working with fibers, working with money, telling time, preparing soil, planting, tending and harvesting. Each activity has the purpose of connecting the child in a very concrete way to the material world. In a sense, the world is ‘demystified’ with a growing knowledge of the ‘how-to’s’ of life–a perfect antidote to the challenges of the ‘9-Year Change’.
Celebrating Shabbat (the Sabbath):
It’s been said that Shabbat is the most important Jewish holiday because of its weekly rhythm and its emphasis on resting!!! This also ties in with the story of the Seven Days of Creation from the Hebrew Scriptures and it ties in the idea of rhythm and time.
Every Friday at 2:40PM, the class will go wash their hands and re-enter the room in silence. I will lead them through the three Hebrew blessings over the candles, the wine (grape juice) and the challah bread. I have done with for many years with other 3rd grades, and the reverence and peace it brings to the children is very precious. We adults have all kinds of religious, agnostic or atheist beliefs but children need to experience devotion and reverence. I will teach the class these blessings and once they have mastered them, we will open up our classroom for you to join us. Again, this will take place every Friday at 2:40PM; I will send out a schedule of when each child will lead the blessings. This is a wonderful way to end the work week and begin the weekend.
To pull this off, I will require help from all of you to provide us with Challah bread and grape juice once a week. My room parents are working on a sign-up sheet for this.
Shabbat – its true meaning is not what you thought.
Are you stressed, rushed and driven by the pressures and demands of other people and modern society generally? Would you like to take time out but don’t see a way to do it? Shabbat gives you this time of rest from the world.
Shabbat offers you a gateway to peace and family strength. You do not have to observe the rituals unless you want to and you do not need to be burdened by legalistic restrictions. Nevertheless, should you wish to enjoy the traditional rituals and perhaps adapt them to your own personal or family circumstances, they offer many blessings to those who partake of them.
Birthdays/Half Birthdays & Birthday Verses:
Rudolf Steiner said in many different lectures and books that above all else, the education of children needs to work therapeutically. Beyond all the work that goes into enlivening the subjects of reading, writing, arithmetic and the social sciences, Steiner said that teachers must draw attention to the artistic and therefore healing qualities of speech and language. One recommendation he gave for this was for teachers to make personal verses for their students. These verses aim to work with the child’s temperament while also subtly addressing any difficulties a student might be working on. I thought this would be the perfect year to create these verses for my class.
On the day of your child’s birthday celebration in school, he or she will receive his or her verse. Once the children have their verses, they will recite them on the day of the week on which they were born. So by the end of the school year, our mornings will begin with a poetic recitation from several students each day. These verses are different than those the students received during St. Nicholas’ visit; these are meant to be shared with family–if your child is willing to do so!
We will still celebrate birthdays in the classroom, but with the students and me only. On the day of the celebration you may drop off treats at the Main Office. Please remember to bring a (nut-free) treat to share with the class. If plates and utensils will be necessary please provide those as well. Please feel free to contact me via email with any questions.
Students should have both a healthy snack and lunch with them daily when they arrive at school in the morning. All students should have a water bottle. Please make sure that your student comes dressed to move both indoors and out, rain, snow or shine.
I am really looking forward to beginning this incredibly rich 3rd grade curriculum.The Block Rotation and descriptions are on their way. I have much more to say, but I will save it for later.