Leaflet 31   8 October 2021
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Class 11s went to the Yarrows' house in the holidays to make literally hundreds of dumplings as a fundraising effort towards their Orange River trip.


 

See the poster at left for ordering details
Semester Courses in the High School
We are pioneering our Semester Courses in the High School this year, in the second and fourth terms.  With these courses, we hope to bring topics and experiences that broaden our students' perspective, and challenge them to consider other points of view.  These topics are not part of the traditional Waldorf Curriculum. 

Class 8 Life Skills, Practical Tasks, plus fun.

The class 8's will be doing a semester course this term run by various teachers and service providers that we see fit to bring in. They will be doing various life skills and learning practical tasks. These will include topics like bullying, debating, budgeting/saving and starting a bank account. We'll get them to change a car tyre, a light bulb, a plug, etc. Between some of these sessions we'll also have a bit of fun learning traditional games, doing treasure hunts, going through some easy cooking/baking recipes and learning some computer/programming basics.

This week the Class 8’s started their Semester Course with a brief introduction to various traditional games – morabaraba, diketo, lintonga, jukskei, dibeke….to name a few! They were then given coloured chalk and invited to create games of their own. These Waldorf minds continue to do great things!  (see photos)

Class 9 Meditation with Nicola Wong

The benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation are widely known these days. Can we, in eight sessions, experience some of these ourselves? Using Headspace's wonderful programme, we will learn about the science behind these practices, while also having the opportunity to practise the techniques first hand.

Class 10 Artificial Intelligence with Rob McLeod

AI is defined as "a way of making a computer, robot or software think and act like a human". How useful and convenient: we use AI when we access social media, spell check an email/text, Google search, use digital voice assistants, travel directions or bank online on our mobile.

It's said that fish don't see water ... but might we be blindly using AI daily? In this seminar series we ask "what are the possibilities, perils and responsibilities of AI?"

Class 11 Film Analysis and Production with Emma van der Vliet

This semester course will be an introduction to the basics of film analysis and production. We will start with looking at how we ‘read’ movies and how the main elements of film communicate. We will then look at the main phases of film production and what they entail. After some practical exercises, students will then get an opportunity to make their own short films.











In case you missed it ... the complete videos of the Presentations
are available at the links below. 
Thanks to Ruben Pieters for the videos
Gr. 12 Project Presentations Night 1
Gr. 12 Project Presentations Night 2
Class 6 Physics

The introduction of Physics to the class six child should be seen as the beginning of a three-fold process: the class 6 pupil is presented with the phenomena they experience in everyday life, in class 7 they are presented with the interactions of these physical forces and in the eighth class, their application.  From Kindergarten the Waldorf pupil is exposed to the natural world through story and play, their growing forces are healthily intertwined with the elements around them – they live in the world of heat, sound and light and accept these physical phenomena without judgement as Dylan Thomas describes it; they are ‘prince(s) of the apple towns’ and play in the ‘pebbles of the holy streams.’ In Class Six the child begins to turn towards a new world. Away from being ‘young and easy under the apple boughs’, to one where the developing child begins calling on a new faculty – the ability to objectify experience, to awaken anew to phenomena they have experienced all their lives.  The fundamental questions in class six physics are WHEN and WHAT?  What did you see?  When have you heard this?  What did we do to bring this about in our demonstration?    Closed concepts and conclusions are best left to class seven and eight; for the 12 year old, the variety, the beauty, and the inner meaning of their experience which have been brought to consciousness in the Main Lesson, is the critical learning area.  The ‘scientific’ facts will come in the higher grades, the introduction of Physics in the sixth grade should be interesting, it should be exciting, and most of all, it should be fun.
Vincent Message.
National Teachers' Conference

These last two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we did not gather for our usual National Teachers’ Conference around Easter. This year (28-30 September) the Southern African Federation of Waldorf Schools decided instead to host an online conference over Michaelmas. Around 100 participants signed up each evening and attended creative ‘openings’ presented by members of the Federation. This was then followed by workshop style talks by Sven Saar, an experienced Waldorf Teacher, who works from England and now mainly does teacher training and gives lectures worldwide.

I will briefly outline a few of the areas that Sven shared his thoughts on, based on my notes during one of his lectures.

Waldorf Schools often state that we stand for ‘Education Towards Freedom’, but do we share freely that ‘the destination is the path’?

Sven mentioned that education is a relatively recent invention. Why did people decide to formalise education - and not just continue to freely pass insight and information down from generation to generation? He thought that there were two main reasons for this:

  • In order to create subjects - people who don’t ask, but are willing to do as they are told.

  • In order to create believers - people you don’t have to force to do certain things, but will do so out of choice.

As a rule we no longer believe in education for the above two reasons. Now, instead we tend to educate to create winners. We want to produce outstanding human beings. We believe in excellence. Even in Waldorf Schools. ‘Excellent’ and ‘outstanding’ are words that both indicate surpassing everyone else. This, Sven thought, was not really a recipe for a happy, harmonious society.

The overall aim of a Waldorf School is, or should be, to create an environment. Education Towards Freedom does not mean that we develop free human beings. The only thing that we can truly do is to create an environment in which human beings can develop freely.

Sven Saar touched on many other elements over the three workshop sessions but maybe an overarching theme of his was to ask ourselves questions. Even a question like, ‘Are we asking ourselves the right questions?’

He spoke at length about the fact that how we answer the questions and initiatives from the children and students in our care will teach them something. Often more is learnt implicitly than explicitly.

According to Gert Biesta, a Dutch professor of educational theory and pedagogy, there are only three things that education needs to do, but it needs to do these things in absolutely all areas and on all levels from Kindergarten to Class 12, namely:

  • Individuation - Learning to become oneself, to connect at one’s own level

  • Qualification - Learning skills

  • Socialisation - Learning to be a part of society, to be part of the context

Sven drew our attention to the fact that we aim to create learning situations, rather than delivering content. If we are aware of the social opportunities that we need to present the children and students with, is it still relevant for us as teachers to act as the ‘Sage on the Stage’? Or is it perhaps more relevant to become the ‘Guide on the Side’? 

To take this a step further, is the common layout of our classrooms the best design for learning? Or does it actually look rather like a stage faced by an audience? If we think further on this, do we really want to have a front row and a back row? Is it conceivable to create flexible classrooms that are better suited to our purposes? Sven had a few ideas here, and I know that both in Denmark and Germany there have been experiments in this area for perhaps decades already. 

It is easy to become complacent, to do what is convenient. During this time of Michaelmas, we celebrate our festival of courage and self-awareness with the children, and therefore we also need to look inwards and enquire about our own practices. What do the children and students need from us during this time? Are we asking the right questions?

With warm greetings

Tine Bohm

First Aid Course for Michael Oak Staff

       

Several Michael Oak teachers and support staff attended a one-day First Aid Course during the first week of the holidays. On completion all participants received a certificate (valid for 3 years), a detailed handbook and a First Aid kit.

   

        


For the latest updates to the school calendar please check the website regularly HERE


    CASSETTE TAPE RECORDER WANTED   
I'm looking for an old-fashioned cassette tape recorder in working condition, preferably with some cassettes too. If you're willing to part with yours please contact Jeannine Twine on 083 993 2439.

    LIFT WANTED DAILY  to Paarden Eiland   
Our Maintenance Manager Rob Howe is looking for a lift for his son from school to Paarden Eiland, Monday to Friday.  Do you perhaps head off to Paarden Eiland after dropping your own child at school?  If so please contact Rob on 082 871 7443.

    PIANO FOR SALE   
KNIGHT UPRIGHT PIANO FOR SALE  -- R9500.  Please contact Annette van Zyl for more details 072 455 8842.


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   HOUSE FOR SALE  
WALK TO MICHAEL OAK!  13 Bray Rd, Kenilworth.  R3,25m.  Semi-detached house:  3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, off street parking for 2 cars.   Contact Linda Harris on 072 608 1449 to view.
 
    SILKWORMS WANTED!   
We're seeking silkworms, please!  084 605 2022

    AU PAIR WANTED   
Looking for an au pair with own car to fetch and ferry a 6 year old and 10 year to and from various activities 2-3 afternoons a week. Please contact me via whatsapp 084 605 2022. Must have first aid training, valid driver's license. Background check part of the hiring process.
 
    LIFT SHARING REQUESTED  from Woodstock to School   

Lift sharing from Woodstock to school. Is there a family in Woodstock/University Estate area who would be interesting in sharing lifts to and from school in the 4th term? I have 2 children in high school. I have a 7 seater car so could lift at least 2 -4 more children. Contact Clare 076 306 2831


    ROOM SHARING in a PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE   
Hi, I am looking for someone  to share the premises with me where I work from at the moment. It is a beautiful room in a professional practice in the heart of Plumstead. I practice massage and a form of body work called B3 (Brain Body Balance). The room will be available from the end of October, although there is some flexibility.  If interested please Whatsapp Laura on 072 342 0233 or e-mail:  fernanlaura76@yahoo.es


  
            
 
 
  
 



        

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