PARENT INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Parent Involvement
 
Lakeside is a grassroots effort.  Parents are encouraged to volunteer and fill a much-needed role at the school ranging from cleaning to administrative tasks.  We require your help especially for large events that we host.  Like parent evenings, this is a great opportunity to gather as a community while supporting the school.
Other opportunities for parents to become more involved include:

Lakeside is Community

EDUCATION EVENINGS

Education Evenings are offered to support parents and to build the collaborative work of parents and teachers. Together, we will explore topics that support the development of the child as we foster relationships within the Lakeside parent body and the greater community. Early childhood (Sprouts and Kindergarten) and Elementary parent evenings will be scheduled separately this year. The classroom teachers will contact parents to set up these meetings.

 

CHILD DEVELOPMENT SERIES

This three-week child development series for parents explores early child development (birth to age nine) through Waldorf education and other compatible insights. Each week we cover a different stage of child development through discussion and experiential activities. The  course is offered every few years, and we ask that each parent take the course at some point during his or her child's "tenure" at Lakeside. The course will happen if there is a request from the parent body.

 

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION

Parents and other family member are encouraged to visit our classroom as observers or to share a musical talent, favorite recipe, story, etc. Please make arrangements with the teacher to visit after the first six weeks of school. There will be a Curriculum Day and Community Observation Days scheduled throughout the year. All community members are invited to attend.

 

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES

New families will have a meeting scheduled before school begins so that the teacher can come to know the family and best support the child’s transition to school life. Parent conferences are scheduled once in the fall and once in the spring to share observations about your child. In addition, conferences may be scheduled at any time throughout the year at the request of the teacher or parent.

 

PARENT/ COMMUNITY MEETINGS

There will be at least two community meetings scheduled throughout the school year. These meetings are an opportunity for our community to come together and discuss the state of the school and its future, and offer suggestions as a group.

 

VOLUNTEERISM

Lakeside is a grassroots effort. Parents are encouraged to fill a much-needed role at the school ranging from cleaning to administrative tasks. We require your help especially for  large events that we host. Like parent evenings, this is a great opportunity to gather as a community while supporting the school.

We ask each family to:

  • Attend at least one of two community workdays or pay a non-participation donation of $50.

  • Provide food dishes for events.

  • Provide volunteer efforts for at least two of the schools annual events, including:

    • Harvest Festival

    • Spring Fundraising Auction

    • May Day Festival

    • Barn Dance

  • Volunteer for committee work. Our committees and their roles are:

    • OUTREACH COMMITTEE: Work with the School Administrator at outreach booths  and activities at events, article writing, advertising, and other outreach elements.

    • FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE: Work on the annual appeal, grants, and oversight of fundraising events.

    • FARM COMMITTEE: Support the development, implementation  and  maintenance of the school garden, including planting, regular maintenance, and food storage.

    • CARE COMMITTEE: Coordinate support for families in need, faculty appreciations and hosting visitors and speakers.

    • BUILDINGS AND  GROUNDS  COMMITTEE:  Care  of  the  buildings  and  grounds.  (We need lots of volunteers!) Jobs range from small to large, skilled and non-skilled.

    • FESTIVALS COMMITTEE: Organize  and  support  the  school  festivals  –  Lantern Walk, Winter Spiral, May Day.

    • HOUSEKEEPING COMMITTEE: Organize and volunteer  to  maintain  the  cleaning  of the school house and trash/recycling.

We also welcome your time and skills with:

  • OUTREACH: Help plan events for prospective parents, community outreach, and education about Waldorf education and Lakeside.
  • DISTRIBUTING FLYERS: We need families from all  our  surrounding  areas  to  help  post flyers for our festival, fundraising, and educational events.

  • OCCASIONAL SKILLED WORK: Graphic design, photography, editing,  carpentry  or  other such expertise.

  • REGULAR FARM CHORES: sweeping, laundry, weeding, feeding, etc.

  • ATTENDING SPECIAL WORKDAYS: such as cleaning days, canning, snow removal, etc.

 
Festival Life

 

Our yearly rhythm acknowledges the cycle of the seasons and our connection to nature and each other. The children celebrate seasonal festivals throughout the year in the classroom or as larger community gatherings. The origin and meaning of the festivals are not discussed with the children; rather, the children participate in them through imitation and experience. They can be rich and meaningful celebrations for adults and children alike. The festivals we celebrate at Lakeside include the following:

WINTER SPIRAL—Our celebration of the winter spiral falls around the  winter  solstice,  just before Christmas vacation. Our elementary and kindergarten children take turns walking a spiral of boughs decorated with crystals, feathers, birds’ nests, stones, and shells, holding their candles on the way in and leaving them to decorate the spiral on the way out. Sprouts children and all Lakeside families are invited to be present at this quiet, contemplative festival as we acknowledge the return of the light at the darkest time of the year.

 

CANDLEMAS—Candlemas marks the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Traditionally, this was the time of year when people could spend longer time  working outdoors, and needed to rely less on candles for light. At Lakeside, the children— together with the teachers— melt down the candle nubbins they’ve gathered throughout the year and turn them into Valentine’s gifts.

 

MAPLE SUGARING—While many Waldorf school festivals are universal, we are one of the lucky few to celebrate sugaring season, which comes just before another occasion unique to the North Country - mud season. Together with their teachers, the children tap maple trees with  a hand drill, hammer in the spiles, and hang the buckets. They then spend the next few weeks gathering the maple sap and boiling it down over an open fire. They celebrate their hard work—40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!—with a pancake breakfast.

MAY DAY—Here in the North Country, our May Day celebration typically falls after May 1st!   The maypole goes up a few weeks before, and the older children practice dancing and singing around the maypole in preparation for a school-wide event. The children are dressed in their most festive outfits and wreathed in willow crowns as they sing, dance, and skip around the maypole in a brief ceremony. Parents and grandparents are invited to come and share in the celebration.

 
Home Environment

 

Waldorf Education is best experienced by the child when there is support from home. So much of Waldorf education in the early childhood and early elementary school years mirrors the home life. In part, this is because many parents need to work outside the home. Our homes may not—nor should they—look like Waldorf early childhood classrooms, but they can have a similar feel. It can be helpful not only for our children, but for us as adults, to have consistency between home and school.

 

There is a certain amount of predictability, comfort, and soul nourishment to be found in rhythms. It can be as simple as a bedtime ritual or a blessing before meals. Or it can mean putting your family’s own spin on the school’s festival celebrations or exploring your family’s roots through other festivals. Get outdoors and find a favorite place to walk or play.

 

You can also explore artistic activities or involve children in household tasks such as stacking firewood, farm chores, building, cooking, and cleaning. Many of us choose to live where we do because of the slower pace of life and the emphasis on community and time spent outdoors. It is simply a matter of bringing what we know intuitively into our consciousness and making it part of our habit.

 MEDIA While each family will find its own family culture, there is one area that we particularly ask for collaboration between home and school. Lakeside has a policy of controlled media involvement. We value the time in our early childhood programs as an opportunity for the children to develop their capacity for creativity, movement, imaginative play, and social skills and feel that screen time (television, videos, movies, games, cell phones and computers) does not support the development of the young child. We strongly encourage families to practice a minimal media experience at home, not only to support your own child, but also our community. We have found that children’s experiences of media often filter into their play at school. In this society overloaded with media, we appreciate that the parents of our students work hard to limit screen time based on their own values.

 

If you need some inspiration, try these books, which many parents have found helpful in supporting their home life. Many are available in our school library, and please let us know if you have other favorites to add to the list:

  • Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day by Shea Darian

  • Sanctuaries of Childhood: Nurturing a Child’s Spiritual Life by Shea Darian

  • Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer

  • You are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Even better, talk to other parents in the community!

Classroom Management

 

DISCIPLINE

We take a positive approach to discipline. It is our aim to increase each child’s self-respect and sense of caring for others. From the first day of school our goal is to build a classroom community where children feel safe, loved, and appreciated.

 

Children in the early years do not yet have the means for disciplining themselves. Discipline must be introduced from the outside in order to nurture the faculties that will enable the child to discipline himself later on. We intend to nurture this by having a strong and consistent sense of rhythm in our classroom, maintaining gentle, but firm, boundaries, and modeling appropriate behavior and gestures.

 

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Conflicts are a way of life. They come up in all classrooms and homes. We try to help children find a way to make amends or come to some positive resolution. Children generally act out for a reason. With care, we try to honor the impulse behind the behavior. Sometimes a child is hungry, thirsty, needs to use the bathroom, or needs redirection. If we can target the need, we can help the child in becoming more comfortable in the situation.

 


 

 

 

Play Yard & General Safety Guidelines

 

Please check with teachers if you wish to use property after hours. Here are some general guidelines for use of the space:

  • Please do not allow children to climb the lilacs in the side yard. Check with teachers  for parameters about tree climbing heights in the orchard. (These are the only trees  we allow the children to climb regularly.)

  • All play toys, shovels, and buckets need to be returned and stored in the shovel rack and/or under cover. Shovels are only to be used for specific farm projects and digging in the sandbox. Sand stays in the sandbox.

  • If children are collecting water from the ditch, an adult must stand by the gate.

  • Children may not cross the road without an adult.

  • The treehouse should be swept clean after use. Walnuts may be hauled in the basket only, not thrown over the side.

  • Children must wear shoes at all times.

  • Children may not climb on the woodpile.

  • Sprouts and Kindergarten may not enter the farmhouse or cottage without an adult; elementary school children may enter the farmhouse or cottage individually only with permission from an adult.

  • While you are welcome to enjoy the nature trails, please do not use the barn or pond.

 
 
 
 

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