Tuesday News - April 28, 2015

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Vote for Merriconeag Waldorf School as the "Best Private School" in Maine! Down East Magazine is about to publish it's "Best of Maine 2015" awards and one of the categories is "Best Private School." Show your love for Merriconeag and vote today by CLICKING HERE or on the icon to the left. You must submit your completed form by April 30th.


Upcoming Events

The Foundation Studies Program at Merriconeag presents
Living Thinking: The Foundation for Flexible, Creative, and Innovative Minds
A public talk by Michael D'Aleo
This Friday, May 1, 7:00 pm
57 Desert Rd, Freeport, ME
(Donations gratefully received at the door)

Every school wants to teach students how to think but drill down a bit and the process becomes less clear: what does it really mean to think? In an age when we have facts at our fingertips, we know that thinking is much more than remembering. How do we have an idea that no one has had before? What role does intuition play? How can we cultivate the potential for original and creative thought in the young child, the grade schooler, and the young adult?
Michael D'Aleo lectures nationally and internationally on science, education, and environmental issues and is a founding member of the Saratoga Experiential Natural Science Research Institute (SENSRI) in Keene Valley, New York, as the Director of Research. He was a co-founder of the high school at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, where he taught physical science and astronomy. D'Aleo also instructs Waldorf physical science teachers at The Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire, and is a guest teacher at various teacher training institutions and Waldorf Schools. He is the co-founder of, and leads the successful 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teacher training, Teaching Sensible Science. To learn more about Michael D'Aleo, click here.


The 8th Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival

This Sunday, May 3, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Community Hall, 57 Desert Rd, Freeport

(Free & open to the public)
      For the past eight years, Merriconeag Waldorf High School has been encouraging young people to express themselves through poetry. Each year, the school has asked acclaimed, Maine-connected judges to select twenty student-poets from regional high schools as finalists for their Merriconeag Poetry Festival, held the first Sunday in May. This year Jeffrey Harrison, winner of Tupelo’s Dorset Prize for his collection Into Daylight, has chosen the latest finalists for the Eighth Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival, which will be held this Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m. in the Community Hall of the school’s Desert Road campus.
      During the Festival, the 20 winning poets from 10 area high schools will meet Judge Harrison, hear him speak about the power of poetry and read some of his own work. They will read their winning poems, receive a booklet comprised of all the finalists’ pieces, and receive as well as a gift certificate provided by a local bookstore: Longfellow in Portland, Gulf of Maine in Brunswick, and Sherman’s in Freeport. The top three prize-winners will have their poems displayed on a large poster that will be distributed to the more than forty public and private high schools whose students were invited to submit work.

Senior Project Presentations
Thursday, May 7, 6:30 p.m.
Community Hall, 57 Desert Road, Freeport
Please come out to support our oldest students and also to catch another glimpse of some of the gold that awaits at the end of the Waldorf journey rainbow. Open to all!


Tea & Play
Friday, May 8, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m
Early Childhood Center, 60 Desert Road, Freeport
Share a cup of tea with us while your child plays nearby and learn more about our programs for young children. Storytime at 9:30.
Registration is appreciated but drops-ins are welcome. For more information and to register, please contact Heidi Drexel, 207.865.3900, Ext 163 or hdrexel@merriconeag.org.


May Celebration and Medieval Faire

Saturday, May 9, 10:00 - 1:00

57 Desert Road, Freeport

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Good folk of Merry Conneague!

The Faire doth fast approach and with it an eyeful of wonders from lands far and near. There will be food and drink of the sort only the cooks and brewers, huntsmen, and taverners of this fair kingdom do make. And when your hunger is satisfied and your thirst be slaked, there will be tables and booths with wares to tempt the jingle of coin in your purse. And many the wandering minstrel and jongleur to entertain you. Games there will be to test your skill and strength. And being the welcome of the May, there shall be dancing around the pole, as well as dancing with swords. It is sayed as well, that there may be a bit of the unforseen and unknown, so keep a sharp eye and ready ear throughout.

     And last of course is that ye are aware that to truly be a Faire of Medieval times, ye must also look the part. Search your closets, open your chests, borrow or beg, and if all else fails then do your festive best.

     Think not of snow or sleet or rain, but let the sun shine down upon this land on the Saturday of Maye the 9th day of the month. Come one and all and be Merrye! 

That being said...just what is the Medieval Faire, known also as the May Faire, and even the May Celebration? For those of you who are new to our community, the origins of this festival precede the school itself when hopeful, hardworking individuals began to gather in May to celebrate the certain arrival of spring. They carried a vision of the school that would one day be, and in its earliest days, moved their little celebration to the green in Brunswick, calling it The May Plant Sale. It was a fundraiser as well as a festival that included Morris dancers and a maypole. As the school grew, finding one new home and another, the festival grew more intimate. Yet who can contain such a mystery as that of the arrival of spring in Maine after a long hard winter. And so the festival, the dancing around the maypole moved to Saturday so that all families could attend. And they did! Though something was now apparently missing, which became clear when a few parents offered up that since we had all put aside other plans for the day in order to be there, would we not want to stay longer and do something productive?

     Productive was a wonderful idea, but we already had a school work day; so how about an even greater celebration? And the Medieval Faire was born out of the inspiration of the sixth grade curriculum that year. Thus, it so far remains; a celebration of the arrival of spring with wishes for the good growth and harvest from the earth ­ hence the stomping of the earth after the dancing. The sixth grade then focuses the rest of the fair with elements reminiscent of those that brought folk together to buy and sell and feast during the Middle Ages. For many of the older classes, the Faire became a way to raise funds for their imminent 8th grade trip and class gift. With the advent of the high school, we added the most humorous and slightly raucous skit about King Winter. The high school students and teachers also took up the second maypole, so that everyone in the community would have the opportunity to dance around the pole.

So, who is invited? ....students, parents, grandparents, distant relatives, and friends, All that we ask is that to keep the mood, every attendee try to dress in something close to the Medieval style. Any attempt is greatly appreciated.

Folks who are involved in the machinations of the day are asked to be at school by 8:30. Students must be present by 9:45. The bagpipes start their skirl at 10:00, and the procession begins. The Faire is from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine (Note: The event will be cancelled if there is severe weather, i.e. dangerous, not just uncomfortable.) Dancing and shenanigans around the pole come first. Then all are invited to eat, drink, play games, hear stories, listen to music, learn to juggle, and thoroughly enjoy a few hours of merriment. Clean­up begins at 1:00 when we wish all visitors a Happy May and many thanks for their part in Halantow.

(If you have questions about the event, please call Lisa in the Grade School Office, 865-3900.)


Honoring Childhood: A Blog for Merriconeag

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To sign up and to read the latest post, Elevating the Word: The Power of Poetry in the High School by David Sloan: High School Drama and Humanities Teacher, click here.

(You may also get to the blog by clicking on this icon  wherever you see it posted!)


From the Administrator

Gardening/Agricultural Arts Update: We are happy to announce that Kacie Breault has accepted the position of ½ time Agricultural Arts teacher for the 2015-16 school year. Kacie is a recent Masters graduate of the Antioch Waldorf Teacher Training program, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Sterling College in Vermont. She joined the school community this fall as an intern with Jen Chace and Jill Fox. Her love of gardening and food processing was immediately evident as the seventh grade harvested green tomatoes and learned to make tomato marmalade in the farmhouse kitchen! Following her internship, Kacie has stayed on as an apprentice, working in the lower grades as an assistant in a number of classes. Please join the faculty in welcoming Kacie to this new position at Merriconeag!
      This gardening position is being funded by a donor who has committed to a three year project at Merriconeag to build a full school gardening program that incorporates both permaculture design and biodynamic practices. It includes working with The Resilience Hub for permaculture design, consultation and workshops. It will also help us develop the infrastructure and program that will benefit our school and the wider community in the future.
      We are eager to build on the many years of work and support of the third grade farming block that has been developed and nurtured by Dave and Chris Colson and Steve Sinisi, at New Leaf Farm. We are so grateful for their work over the last 15 years, planting the seeds for a future, all-school gardening program.
      Steve has been instrumental in expanding beyond the third grade program to an 8 year program with Jen Chace’s class that will provide a template for the all-school program we are now planning. A gardening committee has been formed with two teachers, Jen Chace (Seventh Grade Teacher) and Lynn Wetterhorn (EC Nursery Teacher) and Lynne Espy, (Development.) We have already heard from a number of parents who would like to support this “growing” work. If you have an interest in helping with gardens, tools, fencing, animals etc. please e-mail Lynne at developmentcoordinator@merriconeag.org.
      We can’t realize all of our dreams in the first year, but we can begin creating an integrated garden program out of a participatory design process with the school community. We are so fortunate to have so many experienced gardeners and farmers in our school community, and the community building, permaculture design expertise of Lisa Fernandes at The Resilience Hub. Please look for more information at the May Fair, May 9, on how you can get involved. Christine Sloan, Administrator


From the Circus Coordinator


Monday, August 3 & Tuesday, August 4, 1:00 & 6:00 p.m.

Merriconeag Waldorf School

57 Desert Road, Freeport

Dig into another serving of Circus Smirkus this summer in Freeport with ... Bon Appetit! ... a new recipe to whet your appetite!

     Make sure you mark your calenders and purchase your tickets early as Sarah Norden, a sophomore at Merriconeag is the first girl from Maine since 1999 to be part of the 30 performers aged 11-18 who make up the cast of Circus Smirkus and The Big Top Tour!For the first time a Merriconeag High School student has been chosen to participate in the Big Top Tour!Displaying ClownMoon_A_2014_CMYK.jpg

*VOLUNTEER TO WORK A SHOW: Find me at the May Fair on Saturday, May 9 to sign up for the highly coveted volunteer shifts before each performance.

*ACCOMMODATIONS FOR CAST MEMBERS: Become a “Homestay” family. If interested in hosting 2 cast members during their stay here in Freeport and receiving 2 complementary tickets to a show, please contact  Sarah Currie, Amy Eshoo, or myself for more information.

Mary Martin, Events Coordinator, events@merriconeag.org, 207.865.3900, Ext.113


School Community Updates

Merriconeag Waldorf School Wins Partners in Preservation Award 2015: I’m pleased to announce that this year’s Partners in Preservation Award – our 10th annual award – will go to Merriconeag Waldorf School for their ongoing efforts to restore the Stevens Barn, and for their continued commitment to integrating both the historic structures, and spirit of place, in their campus on Desert Road, which is the site of the former Stevens Farm.
      The Barn on Desert Road is the defining structure of the Stevens Farm which, along with the farmhouse, has been made a part of Merriconeag Waldorf School since the property was first donated in 1998. While it would have been easy to demolish the existing structures and start afresh with a clean slate, the School made the commendable commitment to preserve many elements which speak to the property’s historic purpose. The farmhouse has been renovated and is the School’s business offices. The orchards help anchor the Early Childhood program and inspire a love of the natural world and an understanding of the seasons in the students enrolled there.

     The Barn is a part of this work, and connects students and staff with history on only through its presence, but also through its purpose. Currently used primarily for storage, it houses salvaged wood from historic structures for use by the high school woodshop classes. The basement, with a new floor, is home to tools used by the high school’s blacksmithing class. Yes, blacksmithing! The School has plans to relocate the high school’s wood shop program to the barn’s basement, and use the first floor in a forthcoming permaculture gardening program for the lower grades.

     This is still a work in progress. Merriconeag Waldorf School is a non-profit organization, with a tight budget. We’re all familiar with that situation! Nonetheless, they have undertaken a commitment to repurpose this historic structure and already invested significant funds in a new roof and repairs to the basement. This award is given with thanks for their hard work and perseverance so far, and as an encouragement to continue that work into the future.
      Rose Mary Burwell accepted the award on behalf of Merriconeag. James Myall, Executive Director, Freeport Historical Society


Van Service Northbound from Cape Elizabeth to Merriconeag Has Begun! The gaggle of smiling lower and middle school students flowing out of a white Merriconeag van Monday morning marked the start of Merriconeag’s vanning/bussing proof of concept. What does that mean? You spoke, and we listened! For as long as anyone can remember, families have asked for help getting students to Merriconeag from outposts such as Cape and Brunswick. Some folks are riding the bus for environmental reasons—one van produces a lot fewer emissions than 13 cars. Some want to save more than an hour commuting back and forth from home. Some kids just want to spend a little more time with their friends. No matter the motivation, we hope to prove that this is an idea worth doing!

     If you live south of Freeport and you’d like to ride the van, please just drop us a note. We’d be glad to give you all of the details. Ride in the morning. Ride in the afternoon. Ride round trip. Just get on the bus!

     Merriconeag’s “rambling vans" will continue to roll for the remainder of this year. And we there are still a few open seats.

-Your friendly Vanning/Bussing committee

Michael Stefanakos, Mary Bloch, Alicia Heyburn, Barbara Guffin and your driver, John Baugher (Sociology Professor, parent to Lena in G1). For more info email: paulmary@maine.rr.com


¾ to Full Time High School Humanities Position: Merriconeag Waldorf High School is offering a 3/4-FT high school humanities position with a concentration in the history curriculum. This position would involve teaching a variety of morning lessons and skills classes to grades 9-12, and the possibility of teaching blocks in grades 7 and 8. Additional high school responsibilities include being a class advisor, mentoring individual students, chaperoning overnight field trips and other duties associated with a small, dynamic high school.

     The ideal candidate would have completed the Waldorf high school teacher training or similar Waldorf training, and would have had some experience teaching high school students. Candidates must hold a Bachelor's degree within the Humanities, and preferably pursued graduate work in history. Teaching experience and previous work with Waldorf high school curriculum is highly desirable.

To Apply: Please send a letter of introduction, your resume, a brief biography, and three letters of recommendation to the attention of Christine Sloan, administrator@merriconeag.org.


Summer Camps 2015: We are planning, you're planning - help us by signing up today! This year we are pleased to offer three summer camps - Circus Arts (ages 8 - 12), Nature Nurtures (ages 3-6) and Summer Adventure (ages 7-12). As you will see below, Nature Nurtures Camp offers the choice of 1 - 6 weeks and Summer Adventure Camp, 1 to 5 weeks. For details and registration information for each camp, please click on the name of the camp.

Circus Arts Camp 2015

For ages 8 - 12

June 22 - 26

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, $225/wk.

With afternoon: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - $325/wk.

Includes a fun and relaxed afternoon after the

morning Circus Arts Camp.


Nature Nurtures Summer Camp

For ages 3 to 6

Week 1: June 22 - 26

Week 2: June 29 - July 3

Week 3: July 6 - 10

Week 4: July 13 - 17

Week 5: July 20 - 24

Week 6: July 27 - 31

Half day option: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, $175/wk or $955 if you pre-register for all 6 weeks.

Full day option: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., $275/wk. or $1500 if you preregister for all 6 weeks.

Summer Adventure Camp

For ages 7 to 12

Week 1: June 29 - July 3

Week 2: July 6 - 10

Week 3: July 13 - 17

Week 4: July 20 - 24

Week 5: July 27 - 31

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. - $275/wk. or $1250 if you preregister for all 5 weeks.



News from the Grade School

The Eighth Graders presented their Play, You Can’t Take It with You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman, on April 15th & 16th. Here are some highlights captured by Tricia Toms.



News from the High School

On Thursday April 19, the 7th grade class joined the High School to participate in a Forum with Susan Goodwillie Stedman, who worked for many years in the civil rights movement and on international issues at the United Nations, with the Ford Foundation in West Africa and New York, and as Executive Director of Refugees International in Washington, D.C. Mrs Stedman, or Susie as she prefers, spoke with the group about her wide-ranging experience in national and international affairs and then stayed on for lunch with the Model UN Class.

     Susie holds a BA degree from Stanford University, and MAs from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She has written several books, including Voices From the Future—Children Speak Out about Violence in America; Now Hear This: The Life of Hugh S. Knowles, Acoustical Engineer and Entrepreneur; and she worked closely with Dorothy Height in creating Height’s memoir, Open Wide the Freedom Gates.

     In addition to regular involvement with MeMUNC (which her late husband Bruce, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, initiated 17 years ago) she has served on the boards of The Morris Farm and Mid-Coast Senior College and was the founding Board President of the Heartwood Regional Theatre Company.

     The students were inspired by Susie’s enthusiastic and humorous presentation of her career and what she has learned along the way: follow your passion, take risks, and don’t be afraid to take on challenges that seem beyond your grasp. David Whittlesey, Model UN Teacher


Read (Listen to or Watch) This

Hey, Kids, Look at Me When We’re Talking
BY BRUCE FEILER, The New York Times, April 17, 2015
The strain of getting young people to turn from their screens and look into other people’s eyes.

(I love the fact that the article starts with this idea of shaking hands like we start each day in the Waldorf classroom - David Barham)


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