Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Can't Catch Me ~ Gingerbread Men Tell Their Stories

I brace myself for a certain amount of chaos during the winter holiday season. As I walked up the stairs with my children, ages two and six, I expected to open the door onto a certain amount of flurry -- the flurry that looks like several dozen children and parents gathered in one place. I open the door onto calm and ease, and then I remember: Ah, yes, this is The Greenwood Tree.

Older children are busy in various rooms of our host's house, gathered in small groups, heads bowed over something of interest; or maybe they are leading their siblings (or friends' siblings) around by hand. Parents are busy readying the vast mounds of molasses-colored dough prepared the night before: ovens, baking sheets, cookie cutters, plus potluck food arriving as more families arrive.

Song calls us into community and we gather in one room, on chairs or the warm wood floor. Circle time, and the acknowledgemnt of everyone's presence with the naming of names in song. We are here.

Laurel uncovers wool-felted figurines and unravels a story on sky-blue silk. The story of the Gingerbread Man. Not read from a book but told from the heart, hands making the action. The children draw in closer to the sea of silk as the story unfolds. Quiet, captivated. Chins on knees, eyes on the moving figurines.

The story crescendos. Delighted children now rustling about, smiling. The silk and the figurines now unanimated and back in the basket. The energy in the room moves and the parents who keep Greenwood Tree running smoothly make smooth work once again -- a herd of children and parents in calm transition to the next room, to the unfathonably wide wooden table. Mounds of dark molasses dough for all. Cookie cutters, rolling sticks, and decoration in the form of red cranberries, light brown sunflower seeds, white slivered almonds. Let the baking begin!

Gingerbread Men and Women
Dough Recipe

(shared by gwt parent Shelley Olson -- her family recipe: "I believe it was my grandmother's and my mother has always used it, although she uses shortening and we used butter.")

1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. molasses
2 Tbs. vinegar
5 c. flour (we used a little over 5c. spelt)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. (1 Tbs.) ginger

1. Cream together the shortening and sugar.
2. Stir in egg, molasses and vinegar.
3. Add dry ingredients (sift together if you like).
4. Chill 1-3 hours.
5. Roll out to 1/4" and cut (obviously our children didn't follow this one) :)
6. Bake @ 375 for 5-6 minutes.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Martinmas Celebration

This week on November 11 we will celebrate Martinmas. This Festival honors the generosity of St. Martin of Tours (a patron Saint of France) and is also a harvest festival, when we ready ourselves, heads, hearts and hands, for the coming of winter.

Learn more here if you like: The Parenting Passageway

Greenwood Tree will celebrate the generosity of St Martin by conducting a food drive now until November 11. Please bring non-perishable food items to Greenwood Tree and the Saplings class will deliver them to our local Food Bank on Friday.

Also on Friday, November 11, we will gather as a community to share in a Lantern Walk, shining our own sparks of light into the dark world. All members of the community are welcome to join in this event – the more lights, the merrier!

Details for the Lantern Walk:


Hillcrest Park in Mt Vernon (1717 S 13th St).
Please park and meet near the gazebo on the left near the main entrance of the park.


4:30 pm: Everyone gathers
4:45 pm: Circle time/Importance of Martinmas
5:00 pm:-Lantern Walk with songs
*Popcorn and Tea to follow

Please Bring:

Lanterns: Enrolled children will make a lantern in class. Parents should bring these to the walk. Greenwood Tree will supply tea lights. If you are attending but your child is not enrolled, please bring your own lanterns.
Warm Clothes: It is said St Martin shared his cloak with a cold beggar, but just in case, please dress for the season.
Song Sheet: Enrolled children have been learning songs in class. The key songs to learn are “The Lantern Song” and “Jack-o-Lantern.” Songs have been emailed to enrolled families - please bring your song sheet on Friday.

The following site has some of these recorded so you could hear them before Friday. Songs

As with any festival one of the key aspects is the mood we create. Please help create this mood for this festival, a quieter one, by focusing on holding space for our children. This will help them (and us!) fully embrace the experience of the Lantern Walk – walking through the darkness, carefully holding our flames, and singing rhythmically together.

Please RSVP:

We will have popcorn and hot tea to share. Please RSVP to let us know if you will attend so we can properly prepare the snacks.

Also, if you have extra thermoses you could share for this event, please bring to Greenwood this week with your name on it. Please let Shelley or Britt know and leave them in the kitchen.

We look forward to celebrating with you and your families!

With Light and Love,

Your Greenwood Tree Board Members, Resource Council and Teacher
Laurel, MaryAnn, Britt, Shelley, Nancylee, Shanna, Lara, Jamie & Cassandra

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn's First Parent Educational Forum

Greetings to everyone on a beautiful Autumn day!

We are happy to announce our first Parent Educational Forum at Greenwood Tree this next Wednesday, October 5th from 6-8pm.  We will be congregating at the Unitarian Church in Mount Vernon where GWT classes are held. 

Our first forum is a parent panel that will focus on homeschooling and finding the balance in the home.  Amy Cocheba, Lisa Cooper, Carrie Wolcott and Sophie Dobra will be answering questions from the audience regarding their approach to homeschooling, curriculum, multi-age homes, nurturing their family and themselves and other questions related to their homeschooling experience.  Each has been homeschooling for a number of years and has a lot of experience and wisdom to share with our community. 

This is a family-friendly event as there will be childcare available.  We encourage all parents to attend and to invite other families who are homeschooling or who might be interested in homeschooling.  GWT members are free and we are asking for a $5 donation for non-members.

Attached is the flier to advertise this event.  There will be many posted around the community, but please feel free to print some off and spread the word.  If you attend GWT and will be there Thursday or Friday there is a stack of the fliers for you to take and hang around the community. 

Hope to see you all there,

Greenwood Tree Board 
Laurel, MaryAnn, Britt, Shelley, Nancylee, Kathryn, Shanna

& Resource Council
Lara & Jamie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumnal Equinox Celebration

Greetings to everyone,

As we welcome a new season and the many changes from summer to autumn, we would like to celebrate and welcome all of you to the new season at Greenwood Tree. 

Come and join Greenwood Tree at the home of Carl and Waverly Jaegel (parents of Jamie Jaegel) on Friday, September 23, 2011.  Everyone is welcome and please feel free to invite family and friends.  There will be crafts, apple cider pressing and a potluck to follow.  For those families who are currently not enrolled at Greenwood Tree we are asking for a suggested donation of $5.

Location: 15873 McLean Road, Mount Vernon 98273 (Carl and Waverly Jaegel)

Contact: Jamie Jaegel-360.336.9937

Date: Friday, September 23rd

Time: 4:30-7pm

The rhythm of the evening will look like this:

4:30pm Arrival
4:30-5:30pm Crafts/Apple Cider pressing
5:30-5:45pm Opening Circle/Muscial Procession
5:45-6:15pm Potluck
6:15-6:45 Storytelling
6:45-7pm Closing circle
7-7:30pm Clean-up

Please make sure that you bring:
A yummy potluck dish to celebrate in the harvest season
Picnic gear for your family (plates, utensils, glasses, etc.)
Weather appropriate clothing
Musical instruments for adults and children

We hope to celebrate the coming of autumn with you and your family.  Please RSVP (and also let us know if you have any questions) by responding to this email or by calling Jamie (360.336.9937) or Shelley (360.445.3178). 

Kind regards,

The Greenwood Tree Board and Resource Council
Laurel, MaryAnn, Britt, Nancylee, Shelley, Kathryn & Shanna, Lara & Jamie

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Latest Information about Autumn Offerings

Dear Greenwood Tree Community,

It's just three weeks until our Autumn Season begins! This Season brings new additions to our Cooperative, including our new teacher Cassanda Schuler, as well as a Spanish Enrichment Program. 

We look forward to seeing our enrolled families at our Open House & Orientation, which will take place on September 7 from 5 pm – 7:30 pm at the Skagit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, behind the Post Office in down town Mount Vernon.

Enrollment & Availability
We currently have a few spaces left in our programs. Please email greenwoodschool.info@gmail.com for more details on class availability. 
Rhythm for the Season

Seedlings 2:
            9:00 am - 12:00 pm (Spanish included) 
Seedlings 1 Enrichment:   
12:00 -1:00 pm (Spanish 12:00-12:30/Movement 12:30-1)
12:15 - 4:00 pm     

Saplings Spanish Enrichment:         
12:30 - 1:30 pm 
Seedlings 1:                      
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

Root Children
10:00 am - 12:00 pm      
Seedlings 2:
9:00 - 11:30 am

Root Children
9:30 - 11:30 am

12:30 - 4:00 pm

Program Fees & Tuition

Sibling Discount!
This year we are pleased to offer a 20% discount on tuition for additional children from a family enrolled at Greenwood Tree.
Invoicing: Enrolled families will receive an invoice prior to September 1st with their program costs. Tuition is due for Autumn season on September 7th.

In addition to the program offerings, tuition covers the costs of Parent Education Nights, which will be held monthly beginning in October, and seasonal Festivals.

Please contact Britt Shellenberger, Treasurer, at 360.510.9222 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            360.510.9222      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or britto222@yahoo.com, if you have questions or would like to set up a monthly payment plan. 

Annual Fees For Each Family
Yearly Greenwood Tree Registration Fee: $50
Yearly Co-op Membership Fee: $9.50 per child
Yearly Insurance Fee: $7 per child 

Yearly supporting adult insurance (1 per family): $7

Tuition for each 12-Week Season in the 2011-2012 Year
Root Children                                    
$135 per season

Seedlings 1                                        
 $225 per season 
*$285 with Spanish Enrichment

Seedlings 2                                        
$330 per season

Saplings (Friday only)                        
$260 per season 
*$320 with Spanish Enrichment on Wednesday

Saplings 2 days                                 
$380 per season
Note: Please remember that families will be billed $10 per hour for each of the three volunteer hours not completed per Season. There will be ample opportunity to achieve volunteer hours – sign up will take place at our Open House & Orientation on September 7th.

Spanish Enrichment Program
We are pleased to announce that Shelley Schoenberger, a certified Spanish teacher, will offer a Spanish enrichment program for the Seedlings and Saplings classes. The program will be offered for all students on Wednesdays. Please see the detailed schedules for times and information. 

We know that a language enrichment program is something that many members of the community were seeking and we are so pleased Shelley will be able to offer it this year.

More Details Regarding the Saplings Offerings
We are excited to offer a one or two day option for our Sapling students. The two-day program meets Wednesday and Friday from 12:15 – 4:00 pm. The one day program meets on Friday from 12:30 – 4:00 pm.
The program features in-depth study for the main lesson on Wednesday with experiential work on Friday. This allows for students who attend the one-day program to easily join the activities that began on Wednesday. Activities will follow the rhythms of the Seasons and include festivals traditionally recognized in Waldorf. Each Season focuses on a theme(s) that includes language arts and science. The topics are introduced and taught in a way that allows students of varying ages and abilities to learn and have fun, and include the creation of a main lesson book. 

Wednesday - The students meet with Cassandra for circle, story and sharing. Then they transition into a one-hour Spanish block with Shelley. This is an academic block, with the creation of a main lesson book, offering fun and learning for children of varying Spanish levels. Wednesday will also include a half hour movement session and the main lesson block.

Friday - Cassandra will be our main teacher for Friday. The day begins with circle, story, and sharing. The students will move into an experiential aspect of Wednesday's main lesson. Watercolor, form drawing, outdoor cooperative games and an ongoing lesson book will be the focus of the Friday class. Field trips and volunteer projects will also happen on Friday. 

Homeschooling Support Offered via Earthschooling Curriculum
In planning our curriculum offerings, Cassandra will use some of the resources provided by the Earthschooling-Waldorf website (http://thebearthinstitute.com/), which currently offers Waldorf curriculum, crafts, music and parent/teacher resources for ages 18 months - eighth grade.

In support of our families, the Greenwood Tree Board coordinated with Earthschooling to purchase cooperative group memberships that provide Lifetime access to all materials (current and any added) on the Earthschooling-Waldorf site.
We still have a few memberships available for purchase at a cost of $60. If you were to purchase the membership as an individual the current cost would be $525. If you are interested in purchasing a membership to support your home efforts, please contact the Greenwood Tree Board at greenwoodschool.info@gmail.com for information on how to purchase. 

In Closing
The Greenwood Tree Board and Teachers are so looking forward to sharing the upcoming school year with you and your families. We are excited about our offerings and are working hard to meet the needs of our community – thank you for your excitement and commitment to this Cooperative!

As always, please contact us with questions or for more information. 

The Greenwood Tree Board, Resource Council & Teacher

Laurel, MaryAnn, Nancylee, Shelley, Britt, Kathryn, Shanna, Lara & Cassandra

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Teacher is Hired!

The Greenwood Tree Board is excited to announce that Greenwood Tree Cooperative has hired Cassandra Schuler to lead our 2011-2012 school year! 

Cassandra offers Greenwood Tree the unique perspective of being a mother of a former Waldorf-schooled child and is now a homeschooling mother, who was very active in her support of the Saplings program last year. 

Cassandra has extensive experience working with children, birth to 18, and their families in a variety of settings. These experiences allowed her to gain a skill set to be a nurturing, productive and competent teacher for the children at our school. She has a clear vision for how she will lead the Seedlings (ages 3-6) and Saplings (ages 7-14), as well as, provide support to the parents in the parent-led Root Children (ages 18 mo - 3 years) program.

Cassandra has facilitated groups with parents and toddlers as well as guided individual sessions. She has experience in program development, has taught school age children in a nature based setting, created curriculum, and led preschool classes. 

Cassandra will draw on her interests in the natural world, yoga and her perspectives on Waldorf-inspired classes to lead our programs. Enrolled families will have the opportunity to meet Cassandra at our Open House & Orientation on Wednesday, September 7th. Doors open at 5 pm. 

Cassandra brings a great understanding of our community of families and the needs we have and we are honored that she accepted this opportunity!

The Greenwood Tree Board & Resource Council 
Laurel, MaryAnn Nancylee, Shelley, Britt, Kathryn, Shanna & Lara

Friday, August 12, 2011

Phone conversation?

If you'd like to chat with a board member to have any questions answered, here are two options. 
Laurel 333-8922
Nancylee 416-0200

I'll add more later!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Nondiscrimination Policy: we welcome all!

Greenwood Tree welcomes individuals of all races, religions and national origins in its admissions and education programs (without regard to race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability, and/or status as a veteran).

Enrollment Form for Autumn 2011-2012

Click here to view/print the 
enrollment form- on google docs.

You can then mail it, along with your registration costs to us at
Greenwood Tree
PO Box 412
Conway, WA 98238

Autumn Season Info and more!

The Autumn Season is right around the corner and we look forward to sharing another wonderful year with you and your children. Currently, we are firming up our Autumn schedule and have narrowed our teacher applicants down to three very talented and qualified candidates.   

Autumn Offerings

            Root Children: (18 months up to 3 years, Special requests considered): This group will meet one day a week for 2 hours.  The program includes morning circle, fingerplays, storytelling, baking, an optional craft, snacktime, and closing circle with freeplay interspersed.  The environment embraces the young child with warmth and wonder and introduces them to the idea of transitioning from moments of "breathing out" in movement and exuberance to moments of "breathing in" with peacefulness and observation.

            Seedlings 1: (3 years up to 7 years): This group will meet one day a week for 2-1/2 hours. The program follows a similar rhythm to the Root Children and includes a more involved craft and wet-on-wet watercolor painting.  The seasonally appropriate stories and songs, and baking projects are selected to fit the developmental unfolding of the early childhood years. 

            Seedlings 2: (4 years up to 7 years): This group will meet two days a week for 2-1/2 hours per day. This program is designed for children who are ready for more time each week and a curriculum that takes the stories and discussions of Wednesday and delves deeper into the material on Friday.  The art projects and activities will be tailored to suit the varied needs of this age span.  

            Saplings: (7 years up to 14 years): The Sapling program is designed for the homeschooling family in which the children experience a weekly rhythm that includes morning circle, eurythmy, seasonal activities, math, foreign language, building, handwork, painting, cooking and outdoor play. This year the class will have an opportunity to be divided as to age during certain activities to receive individual help. This is a nurturing environment in which the children learn to work with one another, build confidence and friendships. Because of the nature of the rhythm of the class the two day program is recommended. However, if that is not possible, there is a one day offering on Friday in which Saplings 1 and Saplings 2 are combined.

Autumn rhythm
Wednesday: Seedlings 2: 9:00am - 11:30am
                    Saplings: 12:15pm - 3:45pm

Thursday:    Seedlings 1: 9:30am - 12:00pm
                    Root Children
: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Friday:        Seedlings 2: 9:00am - 11:30am
                   Root Children: 9:30am - 11:30am
: 12:15pm - 3:45pm

Tuition & Registration Costs
        The way we have decided to organize our finances is on an at-cost basis, meaning that we look at our projected costs for the year, including rent, teacher salary, parent education nights, etc. and we divide it among the students based on the percentage of use. These numbers are intimately tied to our enrollment numbers. We have done this in order to keep costs as low as possible. Due to this we are offering a tuition range at this time. We are continually moving and shaping to meet our community’s needs; this is just another example of how we are doing this. We will be announcing the final tuition for the year by August 25th. Please, if there are ever any comments or questions about finances please don't hesitate to contact us.
For Each Family
- Yearly Greenwood Tree Registration Fee: $50
- Yearly PCPO Membership Fee: $9.50 per child
- Yearly Insurance Fee:$7 per participating child and supporting adult

Root Children: $129 - $144 per 12 week season              
Seedlings 1: $213 - $249 per 12 week season
Seedlings 2: $315 - $364 per 12 week season
Saplings 1: $246 - $285 per 12 week season
Saplings 2: $363 - $420 per 12 week season

We are happy to announce that this year we are able to offer a 20% discount on tuition for the second child from a family that is enrolled at Greenwood Tree.
This year because we plan to pay a teacher's salary, we are asking families to register for the 2011-2012 school year, with annual fees due August 10 to hold your space. Tuition can be paid for each season two weeks prior to the beginning of the season or we can work with your family to establish a monthly payment plan.

Full tuition will be due for Autumn season on September 1st. Our first day of class will be September 14th. Please contact, Britt Shellenberger (360) 510-9222 or britto222@yahoo.com, Treasurer, if you need to set up a specific payment plan that suits your family.

Parent Volunteer Responsibilities
In the spirit of becoming a true Cooperative, this year each enrolled Greenwood Tree family will be have the opportunity to volunteer their time and energy for the benefit of our children and the Greenwood Tree Cooperative. The Greenwood Tree Board will work jointly with the Teacher and the Resource Council to determine the jobs that need to be done to ensure the program days, festivals, education nights and all other aspects of the Cooperative run smoothly. Each family will be assigned a specific task and will hold the responsibility of completing the work or finding another family or individual to complete it if needed.

What this means for you: Once you have enrolled in Greenwood Tree for the 2011-2012 school year, you will receive an Orientation Package containing the information on your family's Work. We encourage you to involve your children in the Work and/or to allow them to see you doing it. What a wonderful gift we give ourselves, our children and our Cooperative by working together to create this community!  

We would like to know if your family is joining us for the upcoming year, so please submit the yearly registration fees and the registration for by August 20th to hold your space. If you are new to the school, we are opening up 10 more slots this year, so please don't hesitate to contact us with your interest. You can send your registration fees and form to: Greenwood Tree School, P.O. Box 412, Conway, WA  98238. If you have any questions about how to calculate your individual rate please contact us. We will post when classes are full on our blog, yahoo group, & through the Greenwood Tree family's group emails. We will be hosting an orientation and open house on September 8th from 4-7pm. For general question about Greenwood Tree please contact Laurel (360) 333-8922 or MaryAnn (360) 708-4276.

We look forward to spending the next year with you.

The Greenwood Tree Board
Laurel, MaryAnn, Shelley, Britt, Nancylee, Kathryn & Shanna

The Greenwood Tree Resource Council
Lara & Cassandra

Some upcoming dates for this Autumn:
August 10-13: Skagit County Fair (Craft with MV Library) 12-4pm

August 20: Registration Fees due for Autumn Season 2011 to hold your space.
August 19: Summer Gathering at Maria’s home 10am-2pm
August 23:Board Meeting 9-12pm

August 29-30: Greenwood Tree Work Party at Unitarian Church

August 31: Summer Gathering at Washington Park 10:30am-4pm

September 1: Autumn Tuition Due     

September 7: Open House 4-7pm     

September 14-16: First day of Autumn Sessions

September 23:Autumn Harvest Festival

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teacher Search Deadline!

Oh- the words deadline- how intimidating they sound.  In any case, we do have one in regards to receiving all requested materials from folks interested in applying for our teaching position.  And that date is August 5th.  Questions?  Just give a call or email us.

Thanks!  We are getting very excited for Fall!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

and the singing

another thought on last day at padilla bay.

the interpretive center was  packed with end of the year field trips.  at one point a chaperon from another school poked her head into the small classroom area where children worked on drawing and playing with puppets to holler, and i mean holler, for a child engaged in an activity to the point that the world outside of her head was dulled and slightly forgotten.

which is a good thing, right?

the woman growled the girls name.  it's the impatient tone of an adult on a schedule.  i've growled like that before.

when it was time to gather up the greenwood tree kiddos a few of the adults decided to do so by singing the "follow me" song.  as our voice lifted up, so did the heads of the adults and children looking at star fish and listening to eagle calls.

it was a beautiful sight.  a beautiful sound.  and another reminder for me that there is always time to add some more beauty into this world.

i want to sing more.  growl less.  i appreciate being around other folks who inspire me to do just that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

what a caring community looks like

today was the final day of our spring season.  the group was gathered at padilla bay where the eel grass grows and the mud can suck off your boots faster than a crab can scurry.  the sun peeked out now and then, but mostly the rain showered us with various size of drops.  not that the kids minded- most seemed to ditch the rain gear after the potluck anyway to run on the grass and into the sand with slick skin.

yes, it was a sweet gathering complete with thoughtful gifts for the board members and facilitators.  it was another lovely opportunity to chat with friendly folks and my boys were blissed out on being in nature with their best buds.

until seren fell.

one minute he is running on the beach, a member of a swirling pack.  the next his soft face is hitting a hard rock.  right on his eye.   i heard his wail and went running toward him.

seren is very expressive about his pain.  and about his joy.  so it's a good balance.  but it can be hard to know exactly how badly he is injured because any injury elicits a BIG reaction.  sure, it's the pain of it.  it is also the injustice of it- how one minute is so much fun and then suddenly a slight shift takes all that away.

immediately, there were mamas swarming.  one mama went to get my younger son from the beach.  several mamas rushed to their cars for their first aid kits.  a mama and papa soothed seren and peered at his injuries.  even the kiddos stood by to offer love- and to see how much blood there was.

if you kid has to get hurt- and as i explained to seren everyone does get hurt in life and most of the time we don't know when it will happen- it's much more pleasant to have an injury happen in a supportive community.  if i had been alone with my boys when that accident happened i...well, i don't even want to think about that.

we made it home quickly and seren settled into a comfy chair with his softest stuffed animals.  the body starts to repair itself immediately but seren was still shaky, still worried, still hurting. 

on top of that was the disappointment that such a great day ended so abruptly with serious pain.  we nursed his wounds, made soup, snuggled deeper.  and one of the things that helped him to feel much better was the folks who called to check in on seren as the day went on.   and that made me feel better too.

if you're kid has to get hurt- it's nice to know he's got friends that will check up on him, send him love, wish him well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This week!

Parent Education Night

Greenwood Tree is a Waldorf-inspired cooperative in Skagit. We offer weekly programs and parent education nights.

Our next Parent Education Night will be Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30 at the Burlington Senior Center (1211 E. Greenleaf Ave Burlington WA).

Adrienne Doucette from Whatcom Waldorf School will present a talk titled, “Protecting the Young Child - a Waldorf Perspective' and will address the following questions: What does the young child really need to be healthy and happy? How can we support and encourage the child's natural development, accept him in each phase he goes through, and meet him there? What does a child need to be protected from out in the world, at home, and with others? This talk will look at these questions in regard to children from birth to seven years

The event is open to all and is free to GWT families with a suggested donation of $5 from the greater community. Children are welcome to attend but there will not be childcare provided in a separate space, so please bring a quiet activity for your children.

Friday, April 8, 2011

One of our new families shares...

Last Friday, April 1, was our first day at Greenwood Tree. Natalie (5.5) is in the Seedlings Group and Laurel (1.5) is in the Root Children Group. The girls and I both enjoyed our Friday experience - from the songs and stories to the baking, crafting and playtime in the rain. But it wasn't just the things we were doing, it was who we were doing them with: each other, other families seeking to nurture their children, loving adults and friendly children - a community.
Several days later, at dinner, as I sat at the table holding Laurel I was feeling thankful for being able to hold my warm, nourished child and for being relaxed and in a peaceful place. With that in mind, I asked Natalie if she knew what gratitude was, what it meant to be thankful. "Oh yes, Mama," she quickly replied. "I am thankful for Greenwood Tree, because it's a place that we can go and still be together but do all sorts of fun things with other people!" Oh yes, me too, Natalie, me too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

spring love

I picked up my oldest son today from GWT.  He was flushed with a day of friends and activity.  I could smell the light scent of sweat in his hair as I snuggled him welcome.  As we settled in the van, little brother asleep in the back- worn out from a morning of songs and baking with the seedling group, Seren said in a contented voice, "I love greenwood tree."

Me too, I thought as my throat constricted a bit.  I'm easily moved to tears these days- especially when this blessed feeling lands on my shoulders, lightening my burden, clearing my eyes.  I have sought a community for my children, our family since the July day Seren was born almost nine years back.  What a joy-filled relief to know that for a few hours each week my children are held in a community that accepts them, encourages them, loves them.

And that they love this community back with equal sincerity- another blessing!

As King Winter's reign melts away we are looking forward toward Spring Season at Greenwood Tree.  This season will begin with April and end with May- a bit shorter than winter season as the board feels the strong need to focus on the infrastructure and fundraising during the summer months.

We are now accepting enrollment and tuition deposits for continuing families.  Open enrollment for both groups- the seedlings and saplings- begins on Friday, March 18th.  As we count the interested families it seems that the seedling group may be busting at the seams which is delightful and challenging.  The love is growing!  The board will be discussing solutions so that we can include as many families as possible.  In the mean time, please express your intention and ideas freely.  We can be easily reached through email at greenwoodschool.info@gmail.com.

Spring blessings to you and your families!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dragons, candles and heart cookies

I have the 60 second intro to Greenwood Tree down.  I recite it to folks in the Co-op, the park, where ever.  I have been known to approach families I do not know simply because they have "that look" and ask them if they know about us.  I can give them the gist of us pretty quickly.

What I can't describe, though, is the sense of magic that my two sons experience each Friday.  I probably could tell them the details about how my oldest made a paper dragon to honor the Chinese New Year (welcome year of the metal rabbit!) and brought it home.  But, like most magic, it needs to be experienced hands-on to truly know it.

There are small moments in our life as parents where we are awestruck with the beauty of our children, the innocence of their mind, the courage of their spirit.  These fuel us through the days when there is too much laundry and not enough quiet spaces between the chaos. 

For me, Greenwood Tree has made more of those magical moments happen for my children- with me watching.  When my two year-old made beeswax candles for the first time- his chubby fist gripping the bamboo twig and his eyes intent on the sinking candle- with the smell of honey and wax all around us- it was a gift. 

Yes, I know I could, in theory, create these moments at home.  But honestly- I don't always seem to get to baking fresh bread or felting wool.  Each Friday I bring my boys to this blooming community and they get to the baking fresh bread and felting wool along with some great kids.  I didn't have to do the planning or the shopping.  I do get to sit beside them and help or just take in how they focus on pushing a needle in and out of a brown groundhog puppet, how they hand a heart cookie to their grandma with pride because they helped to make it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Building Community- a bit differently

Today the blog goes out to the world!  A fascinating new tool to reach out and spread the word about what Greenwood Tree does...and hopes to do.

We hope to have two new board members soon.  Maybe it's you or someone you know?!  Our board meets monthly- usually during a weekday morning- a great group of mamas and babes.  The only board meeting I have ever been to where there's typically at least one child nursing, and now and then something unexpected happens like a disheveled girl runs into the house and announces "The dog is eating one of the chickens!"  And yet, this board has accomplished amazing things.

In a few months we have gone from being an idea around a farmhouse kitchen table to having inspiring weekly programs, festive seasonal celebrations and establishing a solid community of families.

In the coming months we will work on becoming a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, fundraising and expanding our programs to help serve the needs of the families in our cooperative.  We hope that you'll be part of our growth!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What is Candlemas?

The families of Greenwood Tree (GWT) represent the full spectrum of Waldorf-knowledge- and I am on the far end of the "very new to it" side.  I have an emotional draw to it but not much actual experience with it or information about it- yet.  However, I am learning.  Each time I go to a program with my sons I witness something new -either from the facilitator or another parent- and I try to read up on it during spare moments.

One question I've been wondering about lately is "What is Candlemas?"

Here is a link to another blog that gives a great explanation of Candlemas.  The blog, called The Parenting Passageway, looks like a great resource of information also.

As I read this I was struck how many different cultures have a seasonal celebration around this time of year, and the many different ways families make this a special day.  I think a candlelit honey-pancake dinner sounds good!

Take Care,