Partnering with Teachers in Distance Learning
Waldorf education’s lasting beauty and value grow from a deep emphasis on human connection. Every day, Berkshire Waldorf School teachers ensure they are making a “living” connection between students and curriculum by starting with the question, What is the right method of teaching for this lesson, and what are the best tools to connect with our students?
Now, we face the challenge of nurturing our human connection in spite of physical separation. As a community, we have worked together this year to establish collaborative connections within each class, and between parents and teachers, to support the healthy growth of our children. And now is the moment we can rely on those strong bonds.
The BWS Distance Learning Program creates a new framework to meet the challenges of the moment and embrace opportunity. Our whole school has collaborated with courage, a sense of exploration and warmth to bring Berkshire Waldorf School’s core values and colorful, heartfelt and meaningful curriculum to students learning in place—and you are an essential part of that circle.
Please find important information below to stay connected with your teachers and your child’s class.
Lynn Arches, School Director
Early Childhood – Second Grade
Each phase of our children’s life asks for a specific approach to learning. In early childhood through second grade, you will notice a focus on meaningful content and support for the rhythms and habits which provide crucial support in these young years. We invite you to partner with your teachers as they describe in their individual communications, to explore those rhythms and materials with your child/ren.
Third Grade – Eighth Grade
Looking at the schedules for grades three through eight, you will see that our teachers have balanced the learning day with content to stretch minds and skills, feed imaginations and souls, and keep the students busy and in practice. We invite you to support your child/ren in the instructions of individual teachers, and to use the materials and new communication tools that your child’s teacher may be using. Importantly, stay connected with your child’s teacher as you would during on-campus schooling.
Resources for You
Here is a reminder of our weekly schedule of communications with you:
- Weekly Class Letters: Teachers will send weekly email letters to class parents on Mondays.
- Weekly Distance Learning Packet from the Early Childhood Department: An offering of activities to do with your children (this is what you are reading now)
- Resources for Parenting
- Office Hours from 1:30pm – 3:00 pm and/or 7:00pm – 8:30 pm:
- Sign up for these sessions can be requested by emailing your teacher.
- Weekly zoom meeting for parents/caregivers 7:30pm – 8:30pm will be announced by your teacher in your Monday letter.
MONDAY – FRIDAY
- Teachers will check emails morning and evening every weekday. Emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Early Childhood Teacher Contacts
- Christi Nordoff, Rainbow Room Kindergarten
- Kirsten Hascup, Sun Room Kindergarten
- Elizabeth Oakley, Rose Room Nursery
- Christianna Riley, Farm and Forest Kindergarten
- 1st Grade, Anna Taiga | Parent Zoom Meetings Monday at 8:30p | email@example.com
- 2nd Grade, Victoria Cartier | Parent Zoom Meetings Thursday at 7:30p | firstname.lastname@example.org
- 3rd Grade, Tracy Fernbacher | Parent Zoom Meetings Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. email@example.com
Student Zoom Main Lesson Monday – Friday
- 4th Grade, Julie Ludvigsen | Parent Meeting | call or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Student Zoom Main Lesson, Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
- 5th Grade, Safina Allesandra | Parent Zoom Meeting, June 2nd at 7 pm | call or email@example.com
Student Zoom Main Lesson, Tuesday – Friday at 10:00 a.m. Student conferences: Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
- 6th Grade, Mark Eurich | Parent Meeting |call or firstname.lastname@example.org
Student/Parent email Letter in BigSis, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings
- 7th Grade, Krista Palmer | Parent Zoom Meeting, Thursday at 6:30 p.m; Student Lessons on Zoom and Google Classroom
- 8th Grade, Jennifer Green | Parent Zoom Meeting, Thursday at 8:30 p.m; Student Lessons on Zoom and Google Classroom
Zoom Teaching and Individual Student Time
10 Tips for Distance Learning
- Keep a sense of the rhythm of the school day, based on Steiner’s concept of weekly/daily rhythm. Change out of pjs and dress for the day, to begin main lesson in the morning. Progress to downtime, reading or quiet time at midday, then outside time, games and projects in the afternoon. Focus on keeping bedtime and meal times consistent. This reliable rhythm is very important for children (and their families), to help them feel held and supported.
- Set up a dedicated work space. Structure—via your child’s own desk (for grade schoolers) or table and chair—is grounding, along with a place for their materials.
- Give yourself and your child recess times.
- Include special set up and clean up chores for each child, so they have the empowerment of real work to help their family.
- If you have little ones who still nap, what a wonderful time to do “grown up” activities with older students, such as painting, cutting paper, building, knitting, reading a chapter book together or even baking or starting dinner.
- Appeal to the senses. Let them help you knead bread or make soup, take a “listening” walk or a bird watching hike, play a guessing game by touch only.
- Take time for feelings and sharing.
- Music is important—singing, whistling, playing music, dancing, jump rope rhymes help children move through transitions and bring a comforting feeling of calm.
- The snow drops are “up,” and the red wing blackbirds are back, so this is a wonderful time to learn something new: hopscotch, skate, ride a bike, scooter, plan and prepare your garden, build a bat house or a bird house together, teach old dogs new tricks. (Your children might be amazed to know you can ride a unicycle or juggle balls!)
- Let your child teach you what they know. They will enjoy teaching you how to knit, how to play a pentatonic flute or recorder, put on a puppet show, do Eurythmy or plant onions. They know lots of songs and stories, the blessing before meals and morning verse. Children love to share what they’ve learned.
- NEW! Lunch with Lynn “office hours” Tuesday and Wednesday 12:30 -2:30p connect via email@example.com
- NEW! Wednesday Parent Coffee becomes Wednesday Parent Community (adult gathering) starting Wednesday, March 25, 8:15p (Look for a Zoom meeting login in your email inbox.)
- Music Director Eileen Markland will tune instruments on Mondays. Please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parents struggling with Zoom or need a computer, please contact facilities manager Jim Stockfisch at email@example.com for help.
- If you would like a bag of food and have not yet let us know please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kathy Sullivan at 413-644-2325. If you have any questions please email or call Kathy at the contact information above.
List of Community Support Providers:
- Brien Center 24 hours crisis hotline: 1-800-252-0227
- The Brien Center: 413-499-0412
- BMC Crisis Unit: 413-499-0412 or 1-800-252-0227
- Elizabeth Freeman Center: 413-429-8190
- BHRSD COVID-19 Community Hotline: 1-855-BMC-LINK (1-855-262-5465)
- Berkshire County Regional Housing: 413-499-1630
- Department of Children and Families: 413-236-1800
- Mass211 has set up a line to support residents throughout the ongoing response to COVID-19. Massachusetts residents can call 2-1-1 at any time for real-time COVID-19 information, resources and referrals in multiple languages. Massachusetts Department of Public Health: http://bit.ly/COVID211
- Great Barrington Police: 413-528-0306
- South Egremont Police:413-528-0891
- Stockbridge Police: 413-298-4179
- West Stockbridge Police: 413-232-8500
Helpful Information and Links
Resources to help Families in need
Here is a link to a list of resources that is a minimal way to help families in need.
Child Mind Institute
Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults in the Coronavirus Crisis
Kim John Payne’s tips to help parents:
Simplicity Parenting Covid 19 response
If you need help providing meals for your family:
If you need help getting online:
Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start