The Otto Specht School Blog

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Dropping Stitches: Why We Do Handwork

Dropping Stitches: Why We Do Handwork

Handwork has a specific task within the curriculum. It awakens the creative powers which will be useful in as many ways as possible in later life and work. It helps the young child to develop a healthy imagination and helps to unfold his/her will and feeling life. What’s almost more important than the child learning to use his/her hands in a practical way is that in adult life, it will help form good judgement and balanced thinking.

In Handwork, we use mainly the right side of the brain (creativity, intuition), which helps the students crossing the “mid-line.” It requires the involvement of many skills including: body awareness, hand-eye coordination and possibly most importantly, brain communication.

Going With the Grain: Why We Work With Wood

Going With the Grain: Why We Work With Wood

When a student enters the wood shop, she is welcomed into a space where she can use her hands, mind, imagination, senses of beauty and proportion, will power, and simple tools to create something beautiful.  She is invited to look forward to the pride and satisfaction that her completed project will eventually bring. She is looking forward to success.

Woodworking requires that the maker engage all of his faculties in an integrated manner to transform organic material into something beautiful and useful.  It requires purpose, patience, concentration, and commitment. Woodworking can also be fun! Social interaction is common and welcome, as long as it is not distracting or disruptive.  Tools, especially ones that are cared for and well-maintained such as the ones we use, can be both highly satisfying and dangerous, and we work within clear safety guidelines, conscious of protecting ourselves and the others around us.

Farm and Garden: Spring Update

Farm and Garden: Spring Update

Although there is still a nip in the air and snow on the ground, the classes working in our greenhouses are anticipating spring! Several of our plants have been left to set seed for next year, including radishes and lettuce. Even in the depths of winter we were able to sell some of our beautiful rainbow chard at the Hand and Hoe, bringing in $50 to support our farm and garden programming.

In Our Words

In Our Words

When our students discover that they are writers, a whole world is unlocked within them. Our work as educators is to give them the keys. The main lesson teachers and our reading and writing specialist, Elizabeth Harriman, work to remove obstacles and anxieties and provide students with tools and guidance along the way.

Farm and Garden: Winter Update

Farm and Garden: Winter Update

Fall harvest is winding down in the fields of Duryea Farm at the Fellowship Community. Otto Specht third graders along with farm educator, Jose Romero Bosch, finished bringing in the last of the lettuce they planted earlier this fall before winter snows set in. As the weather outside turns cold, however, and the ground begins to freeze, inside the greenhouses warm temperatures and healthy soil allow us to continue growing and providing fresh produce to the members of the Fellowship Community. This fall, students threshed seeds they had saved from last year’s crops. Now, Greenhouse 2 is filled with vibrant beds of rainbow chard, radishes, and a variety of lettuces grown from these seeds. Just last week, high school and middle school students planted over 300 more radishes and 125 more lettuces, which will be greatly enjoyed at midwinter meals.

The Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom

Outdoors, in forests and fields, our lessons are ever-present. They do not dwell in the realm of theory and abstraction. The children remain awake to each other and to their surroundings. They problem solve, help each other, and follow along – not simply because the teacher has created a set of instructions, but because the group is moving, because the water below is wet, because something else is around the next bend.

Of Horses and Waldorf Education by Jose Bosch

Of Horses and Waldorf Education by Jose Bosch

As horses, they also don't pretend at anything else - they behave however they are feeling - anxious, bold, relaxed, confused, and so forth. In working with horses, we need to be for them exactly who we need to be for ourselves when we struggle with feelings such as anxiety, fear, or confusion. This process - the process of finding a way to be for the horse what we need to be for ourselves, is the most powerful benefit of working with horses.

#Giving Tuesday OSS

#Giving Tuesday OSS

Otto Specht School has joined #GivingTuesday, a pioneering effort to harness the collective power of partners charities, families, businesses, and individuals. The movement is transforming how people think, talk about, and participate in the giving season. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have become recognized days of holiday shopping. #GivingTuesday brings attention to philanthropy, donations, and kind actions - a movement we can really get behind!