Parent's Blog

Sanderling Waldorf School Web Site

1578 S. El Camino Real,
Encinitas, CA 92024

t: 760.635.3747
f: 760.635.1037

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We, in modern society, are far removed from the origin of our food. We overlook the work & process of cultivation and the celebration of harvest. We take our good fortune for granted, and in most circumstances, fail to honor the journey.

Planting the seed within our children to be cognizant and mindful is an underlying principle within our school. The little ones are taught not the superfluous, but the root of a concept. Food included. The nursery/kindergarten class bakes bread each morning for snack. The grades children visit a farm and harvest vegetables to be prepared for their Sukkot festival.

This autumn, the younger children experienced an interactive Harvest Festival on October 11th. Colonial blacksmiths, weavers & spinners showed their processes, while hand-pressed apple cider was prepared and shared. Imagination ran abound as "horses were shod for the upcoming winter, " wool was spun for knitting warm clothing fireside" & "apples were harvested and pressed for nourishment and celebration." The autumn light cast it's sidelong rays and one could almost smell the apple pie baking.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What I Like Most About My School

"I love school.

I wake up everyday excited and ready to be with my teacher and friends for a fun learning day!

What I love most about school is that I go to a wonderful school that makes me happy.

My teacher is great because she cares for you like one of her children…."

Vivian Drewelow, a 6th grader in Mrs. Duckstad's 5th/6th grade class, recently authored an essay entitled "What I Like Most About My School" for a school-contest sponsored by Albertson's and Sea World.

The US Mail on September 1st delivered a letter announcing Vivian as the winner! While we're excited about her breakfast with Shamu & two new computers, we're even more thrilled that, to quote Viviane, "I am happy kid because I just love going to school."

What could be a better prize than that?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Didn't we all have a lemonade stand growing up? At least, I did. I remember the process .... drawing posters to advertise my wares; collecting coins from my piggy bank for change & making the watery brew I would pass off as refreshing. So many little lessons learned in one productive afternoon.

This past month, Ms. Melanie's 2nd/3rd grade applied their currency prowess hosting their 1st annual bake sale. A cloudy, misty Saturday morning on Neptune in Leucadia provided the proving ground for their newly acquired skill-set. A successful exercise with a little fun mixed in for good measure.


Have you ever laid in the grass & woven a crown of flowers? Selecting each bloom for its beauty & simple perfection ... crowning yourself queen and your sweet little one, princess ... finding yourself walking with your head held high, while your feet skip & dance in the frivolity of the moment. Cloudless blue sky, radiant warm sunshine ... you play among nature's gifts ever thankful for the simple joy of life.

On May 6th, Sanderling celebrated the rite of spring with its annual May Faire celebration. Enjoy Embry Rucker's time capsule of the moment.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Biology, Astronomy, Geography & Geology

The Waldorf approach to science is to cultivate an attitude of awe, allowing children to experience the marvels of science around them. Additionally, reverence and a training of the senses is considered vitally important to opening the way for scientific experiences. Furthering the belief, that humans can in fact be participatory observers of life, not merely outside observers.

Ms. Duckstad’s 4th/5th grade spent a 3-day excursion on Catalina Island submersing their senses in the natural world. On snorkel dives, the students explored the island’s kelp forest, rocky crags and experienced bio-luminescence firsthand as they witnessed plankton “light up” after dark. Studies of astronomy, geography and geology were conducted as they hiked the surrounding area - our beautiful planet providing the laboratory, classroom and textbook for this miracle we call life.


Fairy tales have enormous value in the life of a child. They educate, support and liberate their emotions, providing a bridge for children to come to terms with their own inner dilemmas. Steiner said, “The human soul has an inextinguishable need to have the substance of fairy tales flow through its veins, just as the body needs to have nourishing substances circulate through it.”

Storytelling is a key tool in the Waldorf education. As the children progress through the grades, storytelling expands into performance. Short plays becoming a fixture of the curriculum. Mr. Gerbeau’s 1st Grade recently performed Grimm’s Rose Red & Snow White. Two casts, three performances, beautiful costumes and amazing light … bravo, bravo!

Passing the Torch

The Ancient Greeks invented athletic contests and held them in honor of their Gods. History credits the commencement of the Olympic Games to 700BC in honor of Zeus. Following a long line of athletes before them, Ms. Duckstad’s 4th/5th grade participated in the Waldorf Schools of Southern California's Olympic Pentathlon. Fittingly held during the student’s Greek curriculum block, the event represented a day to bring forth the good and beautiful housed within.

Held in Los Angeles, each student was grouped into one of four city-states: Athens, Thebes, Corinth or Sparta. Participating in games within their city-state group, the students competed throughout the day in discus, javelin, wrestling, long jump and running. Each individual offering their energy, challenge and triumph to their chosen God or Goddess, and even more importantly, to themselves.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Give Me Shelter

Shelter can be defined as a basic structure providing cover. Such a simple definition for one of life's three basic necessities. Ms. Melanie's 2nd/3rd grade completed their shelter block study with the hands-on creation of a log cabin. Measuring, sawing, assembling, hammering & painting. The shelter came together as much more than the practical application of their schoolwork. More so, a building in confidence & ability - a symbol within the children that they are learning to care for themselves.

If you haven't taken a moment, please stop by and check out the new fixture on the grade school play yard. Each child has left their mark, not only in their presence, but visually as a hand-print on the structure's facade.


Mother Theresa once said, "we can do no great things, only small things with great love." Fittingly, Rose Nursery/Kindergarten sponsored the Rhythm of Love fundraiser benefiting the Sanderling School. The evening featured silent & live auctions, raffles, a tapas spread and a groovy performance by Quinoa & The Millets. None other than a pop-up band comprised of parents, board members and Sanderling's 1st grade teacher, Jason Gerbeau.

Sanderling School depends strongly on the fund-raising efforts of its parental community. This past year, we have experienced many events - some large, some small and not one in itself overly significant. But in total, these "small things" - fueled by the love parents have for their children and the strong belief they have in their future - have become monumental.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Dear friends and family:
Our school is having their annual fund-raising campaign. This holiday, while thinking about Christmas gifts, we’d like to ask you to consider a donation to our school. We hope you can help contribute. It’s truly a special place.
With love...

Santa Lucia

In Sweden, the Christmas celebrations begin with Santa Lucia. According to legend, Saint Lucia appeared during a great famine delivering food to the starving, her head encircled with light.

Traditionally, the daughter of the house wakes early and brings everyone a special breakfast in bed: sweet saffron buns, coffee and cookies. She is dressed in white, with a long red sash and a wreath with lighted candles on her head. She sings "Santa Lucia" as she makes her rounds.

Ms. Melanie's 2nd/3rd grade illuminated the halls with candle light and song on Monday, December 13th. The children passed out buns to their schoolmates, lending a sweet beginning to the last week of school before the holiday break.


We experience light during its transformations. Most poignantly, during the dying light of late November and its rebirth in early May. This observation is not merely external, but rather founded deep in our souls. We feel the warmth of the sun in our hearts, in the same way, we feel love in our lives. Our modern day separation from nature feels sometimes like exile. Our festivals strive to reconnect us. They become habit, tradition and if nothing more ... they are sentimental.

Winter Spiral is celebrated each December. A quiet, introspective ceremony centering around the confined light of our days. Each child walks the evergreen spiral, lighting a candle from the central flame, placing his illumination along the pathway as he exits. Amid the bustle of this joyous season, we find a softness, a calm in this night. Even if only for a few moments. We stop and reconnect.


Events color our lives, brightening the mundane, adding texture to the smooth flow of our daily routine. A time when everything seems more alive, with greater detail and intensity. As a community, occasions force us to pull together and give from ourselves beyond what we would normally consider. While to the outside, these celebrations portray a rainbow-hued sense of reality.... one full of invitation, energy and pure joy.

Sanderling hosted its 2nd annual Craft Fair on November 13th. Through hand-selected vendors, puppet shows, crafts, games, hand-pressed cider and savory baked goods, we showed the greater community who we are and what we stand for. Delivering not only a magical autumn day for our children and their families, but a colorful glimpse into our amazing little world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lanterns Shining

Light illuminates our world. We guide our daily rhythm by its warm, nourishing glow. The first rays of the day evoke an internal energy, while the soft tones of the setting sun call for a sense of closure. Our lives are more active and energized in the long summer days, while autumn's ambiance creates a gateway to another time. We are creatures of light.

Sanderling's beloved Lantern Festival was celebrated on Friday, November 5th. Folk songs pierced the rhythmic background of surf crashing. Soft, glimmering orbs sparkled on the beach. We gathered ... held together in the warm glow.

Clear and dark the night ... children of the light are we.


The young child lives in a dream-like consciousness where the outer world and inner experiences flow seamlessly together. Where life is discovered - sweet and pure. Embracing the season of Halloween from a place of wonder, Nursery/Kindergarten enjoyed a magical enchanted walk on Friday, October 29th.

The journey began with a greeting from a handsome woodsman inviting the children to enter under an arbor of fall leaves scented with fragrant spices. Exploration unveiled a garden princess bestowing wool felted balls; red riding hood presenting red, crab apples; a butterfly fairy with gossamer-winged friends; a beautiful maiden serenading the air with soft flute music; a good witch granting each child a story wrapped in a magical wand and the path concluded with a teddy bear picnic complete with home-made muffins.

As if stepping into a fairy tale...even if only for a day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Día de los Muertos

Ms. Duckstad's 4th/5th Grade continued their immersion into global cultures this week, while paying homage to their ancestors, as they celebrated The Day of the Dead. Celebrations in Mexico have been traced back to indigenous peoples with rituals observed by these civilizations for over 2,000 years. The holiday occurs on November 2nd in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). The celebration focuses on family & friends as they remember those who have passed on.

Led by Spanish Teacher, Senora Vanessa, the children studied traditions connected with the holiday including creating an alter and honoring the deceased with sugar skulls, marigolds & favorite foods. It looks as if the spirits were called to return & enjoy the day in grand fanfare ... the children, meanwhile, enjoyed the beauty of life itself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Carving Jack

Remember carving your first Halloween pumpkin? Wielding an over-sized knife, you struggled to pierce the hard, seeming impenetrable rind. Cut after cut, concentrating with the sincerest dedication to ensure your lines were straight. Plunging your hand into the cold, slimy innards only to feel the hard, wet seeds among the gourd’s dark, meaty interior cavity. Then...the tell-tale itch as the juice began to penetrate your skin.

It almost seems morbid doesn't it - and some say hauntings aren't suitable for children!!!

Making festive use of our rainy weather, Ms. Melanie's 2nd/3rd Grade created jack-o-lanterns Stingy Jack, himself, would have been proud of. For it's that time of the year, when the sun sets early, fog descends and we watch with careful eyes for ghosts, goblins, ghouls....and even gourds!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Strength Through Struggle

Finding strength in the face of adversity - almost a mantra for the age we live within. Our world celebrated the autumnal equinox on September 22nd. For the first time since 1981, we welcomed the new season with a full harvest moon. This is a pivotal time when day & night fall into balance - for after the equinox the days become noticeably shorter. Diminishing daylight brings a dark side to our mindset - one we may wish to banish from our lives. It is in overcoming this obstacle; we embrace the work of the Michaelmas season. We help our children to let go of issues by encouraging them to look introspectively at the light of Michael.

Speaking of obstacles….the key players seem a little confusing don’t they? So, who is Michael??? None other than the archangel responsible for hurling Lucifer from Heaven. How are Michael and George intertwined? Theories claim Saint George was an earthly representative of Michael in his deeds. It helps that he was known to have slain a dragon or two in his time.

The Legend lives on in the hearts of our children and the strength of our community. We gathered at Oakcrest Park on Friday, October 1st to relive the noble knight's bravery as Ms. Melanie's 2nd & 3rd grade performed St. George and the Dragon. Dragon bread, games and feats of strength & courage were enjoyed by all...perhaps invoking the inner strength to shine amid the darkness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On a Race for Funds

Fund-raising is a vital part of our school. Not only does it raise monies for supplies and enhancements, it serves as a bridge to bring us closer together as a community. Our philanthropy was overhauled this year by creating a modest financial goal for each class. How each sector chooses to raise their assigned funds is optional – creativity encouraged.

Miss Megumi’s Sweet Pea class pioneered the initiative on September 10th hosting Vicki Abeles’ ground-breaking documentary, Race to Nowhere. The LA Times noted “Once upon a time kids got to hang out, play, do nothing in particular. Increasingly there's been an outcry against how structured — and future-focused — the lives of America's college-bound students have become. As "Race to Nowhere" demonstrates, the intense pressures they face, sometimes before they've reached the double-digit age bracket, continue to take their toll: rampant cheating, sleep deprivation, anorexia, depression, anxiety, self-mutilation, suicide.”

If you haven’t seen the film - it’s worth an hour and a half of your time. It may just change the way you see your children and their future.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


fall is here, hear the yell
back to school, ring the bell
brand new shoes, walking blues
climb the fence, book and pens
i can tell that we are gonna be friends

-jack white

The gray, crisp morning of September 7th commenced the first day of school for Sanderling's grades. Our annual Flower Ceremony was held on a lawn of dewy, green grass under an umbrella of leafy trees. We joyously welcomed six new families to the 2nd-5th grades & ten children to the first grade.

As Ms. Melanie’s 2nd-graders presented sunflowers to the new students - calm descended. The children found each other no longer separate, but part of a group...a community. As they held hands & walked to the door of their classroom under a canopy of loving arms - some smiled, some looked around and some thought....yes, we are going to be friends.