As we come to the end of another year, it is time to be reminded of three golden rules of Waldorf Education, as follows:

“Receive the child in reverence.
Educate the child in love,

And let the child go forth in freedom.”

In the kindergarten it is time for us to say farewell to the preschool children who are in the process of making their transition to formal learning. We wish them well and look forward to watching their progress over the years and wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a high school for them when they have completed their next seven-year phase! This is a big step and would need to be spearheaded by a group of pioneering, willing parents.

For the first time in Gaia’s history, the capacity of Class 1 will comprise mainly of children from the kindergarten. There is always outside interest for Class 1 and in 2014 there will be just a few places available to make up the optimal class size of 24. From the kindergarten we are grateful to welcome our new teacher, Gabriella Feiter, who has a long history with Waldorf education. Gabriella has been involved with Gaia for many years and the children whom she has taught in the past, speak fondly of her.

This is also a time to express our gratitude. We would like to express our thanks to our eurythmists, Cobie Roelvert and Christiane Wigand. Cobie comes weekly for the class eurythmy and Christiane works with individual children on a therapeutic basis. Last year the Eurythmy movement celebrated its centenary around the world. It was Rudolf Steiner himself who said that a Waldorf school is only truly a Waldorf school where eurythmy is part of the curriculum.

We would also like to thank the parents who have made all their contributions. What the parents bring is a well-stream and this brings well-being to the school. A special thank you goes to our class reps whose sterling effort often goes unnoticed. Another thank you is to Alex, mother of Yva and Pia, who has offered a dolly group for the past three years. Do you wish to learn how to make a Waldorf doll? The Gaia dolly group welcomes you to join them!

This year we received a donation from De Freunde which enabled all three preschool classes to have their floors reconditioned. The previous year, we received funding from them for our play parks. We’d like to extend a big thank you to this organization who also offer support with sponsorship of children in Waldorf schools. Our thanks also goes to the Basil Gibaud Memorial Trust which has once again made funds available for books for the teachers’ resource library. In addition, I’d like to thank the parents in my class who generously donated new furniture.  The focus of the kindergarten this year has been reconditioning the interior of the three cabins.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in the team building events at school this year. Cass Collier took the Gaia staff for a surfing experience at Muizenberg beach. It was a highlight seeing Neo on a surfboard! Mel, our class 7 teacher organized the Heorikwagga Trail which was a Michaelmas challenge for those who participated. The night that we spent in the tented camp under the beaming light of the Slangkop lighthouse was a celebration. The other teambuilding event was when ten of the teachers set off up north to the annual teachers conference at the Max Stibbe Waldorf School, west of Pretoria. Besides having loads of fun staying in the hostel dorms and being enriched by the content of the conference, our highlight was writing and performing a play on the last evening. Gaia beamed bright at the conference. We’d like to extend our thanks to Keriesa Botha who introduced and then explored the Seven Conditions for Sustainable Inner Development, over the past year. One of the conditions is expressing gratitude and working in harmony so that we can achieve so much more.

There are so many people to thank in a school. We still wish to thank our administrative staff, who keep the admin machine running. Our thanks goes to the ground staff and cleaners for their essential, daily work. We wish to thank the College of Teachers who put in an immense effort to care for the pedagogical running of the school.  The Chairperson of CoT, Kristal Willemse, receives a special thank you for holding the position for the greater part of this year. Kelly and Matthew have also been active in this respect. Another thank you to all our colleagues who inspire me with their unceasing deed of teaching, plus all the other small and big tasks fulfilled. We also thank the Board of Trustee for their time and service. If there are any thank-yous that we have omitted, we thank you nevertheless!

At the end the year, the preschool will be having their own Advent Festival on Saturday afternoon on the 30 November. We warmly invite all the preschool parents to join their children for this occasion.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank the children for being there and therefore creating this vibrant Gaia community, for without them, none of this would exist. Aren’t the children our greatest teachers anyway?

To end and in keeping with the spirit of threefold education, here are three wonderful inspirations for all individuals of our community:

  • Take a walk on the wildflower side before the Spring-flush passes.
  • Bathe in the splendour of our refreshing oceans.
  • Grow something new in your garden as a Christmas present for Mother Earth.

Warm greetings from the kindergarten,

Rowena Bell
Kindergarten Teacher