In a March-end issue of “Window into Waldorf”, our School Director, Ms Grogan shared a poignant example of the interdependency of learning and the desire to inspire change in the world. It’s not unusual to find many examples of this in our school and daily lives. Still, we were particularly proud of Ms. Carrady’s Grades 3/4 class for showing us the power of learning and collaboration to inspire change – and maybe even make an impact!
So how does a group of 8, 9 and 10 year olds come to write letters to our city’s Mayor and our local Councillor, in support of providing safe shelter for Toronto’s homeless?
When asked what we could do concretely during his raising-awareness talk with our school last week, author, journalist, black activist Desmond Cole suggested we write letters of protest and support to government officials regarding the tearing down of temporary homes intended to shelter the increasing number of homeless during the pandemic.
The children agreed unanimously that this was the right and necessary thing to do to ‘uplift’ the situation and hold our government accountable and our fellow citizens in our hearts.
The content of the letter was in support of Khaleel Seivwright, a Toronto carpenter and resident who’s been building portable homes for homeless encampments in Toronto parks and ravines.
Letters were mailed to: Mayor John Tory and City Councillor Ward 9, Ana Balbāo.
Straight from their letter-writing, the group then spent two recesses building their own shelter out of the Side-yard logs!
Their work on the letter inspired the class so much, their energy transferred from classroom into play!
And how does a Waldorf teacher go about this lesson ‘the Waldorf way’?
Excerpted from Ms. Carrady’s weekly email to her class parents:
“Once upon a time, when the children were in Junior Kindergarten, I introduced small puppet-like fairies to govern the rhythms and expectations of the school day. We had Fairy Everest of Good Manners; Fairy Sunshine of Joyful Play and Work; Fairy Gentlelina for Kindness and Good Deeds; Fairy Sparkle Bell for tidiness, and finally, Fairy Dreamella for rest.
I recently acquired a new, more sophisticated set of beautiful handmade fairies, but hesitated to bring these to the class for fear the children may have just outgrown their charm and ‘effectiveness’.
To my delight, the contrary has proven to be true. The children adore the fairies and, contrary to the Kindergarten years, took an active role in attributing a moral value to each one. As a result, we have the following fairies to represent and remind us of five essential individual and class values: Fairies Peace, Earth, Respect, Friendship, and Uplift. (One child joked that we should have a separate fairy for Ms. Carrady — Fairy Grammar!)
It was Fairy Uplift the children called upon to inspire their letter to our government officials.
Gr 3/4 class takes up Desmond Cole’s call to action, in support of Khaleel Seivright (pg 1 of 2)
Glossary of Terms