Parent's Blog

Sanderling Waldorf School Web Site

1578 S. El Camino Real,
Encinitas, CA 92024

t: 760.635.3747
f: 760.635.1037

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.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Night Everything But Silent

Under the stars on May 15th, Sanderling came together for its annual Silent Auction. Soft music played background to Emcee, Jon Cofinas, as parents & friends bid on beautiful items from the surrounding community and beyond. Generous monies were raised in support of our growing school. A warm thank you to everyone who donated items, time & effort - every moment shared was for the enrichment of a child's life. How truly precious.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sugar Sweet

Do you remember your first farm visit? The amazing animals who seemed larger than life with mannerisms not too far off from your family pet. The vegetables & fruit growing in abundance around every corner. The sweet smell of hay... and the not so sweet smell of manure.

I remember my first outing, almost like yesterday. The opportunity to interact with creatures I had only seen in picture books was life-altering. I found a new appreciation for my morning milk and a saddened heart for my evening dinner. I understood vegetables were plants growing in dirt, much like my beloved trees and flowers. Most importantly, I realized life is precious and nothing, not even dinner, comes without hard work.

Ms. Maxine's Nursery/Kindergarten class explored Sugar Sweet Farm in Olivenhain this month. Perhaps it was an eye-opening experience...maybe not. Nonetheless, it looked like a wonderful day in the sun.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Bloom

Flowers dot the canvas of our lives. We celebrate among them, mourn with them & hopefully, somewhere along the way, run amidst fields of their beauty.

We explore them, count love upon them & scent our world in their fragrance. Each & every bloom embodies innocence.

Nursery/Kindergarden concludes each Wednesday with a nature hike. Coveting our innate connection to nature, this stroll is childhood personified.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On a Fair May Day

May Day's origin dates back to before the birth of Christ. Like many ancient festivals it has a Pagan connection. The may pole, per se, was used in Briton to usher in spring and ensure fecundity in crops and livestock. Villagers would go into the forest, cut down an appropriately sized tree, and decorate it in the town square with ribbons and flowers. The English may have inherited this festival from the Romans, who threw some legendary spring bashes of their own.

Sanderling looked to the Romans for inspiration on May 1st. Ringing in the rite of spring with true European fanfare. Traditional singing & dancing commenced the ceremony with dining and games following. For us veterans, the festival’s energy creates an aura lasting through the end of the school year. While those witnessing it for the first time found themselves lost in the gaiety. All in all, a legendary party in its own rite.

Embry Rucker captured some endearing shots, check out his slideshow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Last month the Nursery/Kindergarten play-yard received a whimsical makeover. Mom, Amy Hite designed & implemented a beautiful gnome garden for the children to explore. Centered around the existing playhouse, the interactive space now includes a river rock stream, hand-tied log bridge and plenty of drought-tolerant flora. An assembly of teachers, parents and tots turned the idea to reality on Saturday, March 28th - thank you to everyone who lent a helping hand.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Spring field trips provided outings to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve & the Batiquitos Lagoon.

1st/2nd grade hiked Torrey Pine's Guy Fleming trail and visited the historic Nature Center. Known as an "usual landscape" since the 1500's, Spanish sailors noted the landmark as Punta de los Arboles or Wooded Point.

The following week the children enjoyed 6 miles of trails surrounding the Batiquitos Lagoon. Nestled between Carlsbad and Encinitas, the lagoon is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast. Dotted with mature groves of eucalyptus trees, the young explorers found a rope swing providing a spectacular coastal view and the opportunity to soar.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Serious Work of a Child

Creative play is the central activity in the life of a healthy young child. It allows him or her to weave together and digest life experiences and make them their own. A child’s love of learning is intimately linked with a zest for play.

Many school children no longer have the freedom to explore nature. Physical education and recess are often eliminated; informal games are an activity of a by-gone era as children are herded into organized sports.

Sanderling respects, promotes and encourages creative play - it a central component of the curriculum. Additionally, at home play-dates are a cherished after school activity. The children explore, create, interact and learn beyond the walls of the physical school. While we, enjoying their innocence, watch them blossom and flourish.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

East Meets West

Ms. Maxine's Rose Nursery/Kindergarten class celebrated China's most important traditional holiday, the Chinese New Year, on February 23rd with a joyful school-wide procession. The children donned red clothing to ward off bad fortune, while a fierce dragon danced through the halls evicting evil spirits. Post-fanfare, it was back to class for won ton soup-making.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dale, dale, dale - No pierdas el tino!

Most associate piñatas as a Latin party activity. However, piñatas actually originated in China. Marco Polo discovered the Chinese fashioning animal figurines & covering them with brightly colored paper. The figures were then clubbed with sticks and seeds spilled forth. The remains were burned & the ashes gathered as a good luck omen for the coming year.

Our grades students learned not only the historical facts of this tradition, but also, the craft itself this past month. Led by their Spanish teacher, Senora Vanessa, the children molded & pasted several piñatas for silent auction at Sanderling's first annual Latin Night. The event raised monies for materials and costumes for the Spanish program.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Form Drawing

Form drawing, the freehand drawing of geometric shapes, is a subject taught in Waldorf schools. The technique was created by Rudolf Steiner to help develop a young child's handwriting, hand-eye coordination, ability to concentrate and other capacities. Children learn that every shape in the world consists of either straight or curved lines, or some combination of the straight and the curved.

Ms. Melanie's 1st & 2nd grade practice form drawing every Friday afternoon at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. The tide provides a natural canvas for the children to hone their techniques, while the surf & sun foster an environment one could only dream of learning within.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


One of the most endearing aspects of our school is its ease of transition. The slow movement from imaginative play, the soft graduation into the grades, and on a smaller level the sweet ending to each school week.

The grades children bid farewell to their peers each Friday afternoon at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. For Ms. Melanie's 1st/2nd grade class, the last lesson of the week is form drawing followed by free play - parents and friends gather & the afternoon slowly melts away into early evening.

Sanderling Waldorf School: Moonlight Beach from Embry Rucker on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

May Light Arise in our Garden

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, we treasure the gifts of light and community. The Winter Spiral Celebration took place on Saturday, December 12th.

Every child enters this beautiful festival with a mood of wonder and quiet anticipation. Walking along the scented evergreen path, all is quiet except for the soft notes of the lyre. Ambient light reflects from the children’s faces as they place their candle along the spiral & return to their seats – the room illuminates brighter and brighter, until the light of the community glows strong.

Season’s Greenings

Sanderling participated in the 2009 Encinitas Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 5th.
In keeping with this year's parade theme, Season's Greenings - Celebrating All Things Environmental, the children created a float entitled A Walk in the Woods.

Twinkle-lit canopies of trees hosted fairies, plants & animals – a magical vision, whether sipping hot cocoa from the sidelines or walking the 101. Thank you to Rose Kindergarten mom, Amy Ruecker, for leading the effort.