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Rights of Passage

Rites of passage are an important way of marking milestones in a person’s life. In a Waldorf school, where our curriculum is so deeply tied to the developmental stages of a child’s life, we take these moments of transition seriously.  


Many of our families are familiar with the Rose Ceremony, marking the transition into grade school from kindergarten, or the more quiet rite of passage when a student is presented with their fountain pen after achieving consistently neat cursive writing, generally in fourth grade.


Less familiar are the rites of passage that mark the transition from Elementary School into Middle School.  Partially, for SSWS this is due to the novelty of our Middle School.  In a sense, we are all still transitioning into having middle school grades at our school.


The first rite of passage that begins to mark this transition is towards the end of fifth grade when Waldorf students train and compete in a Greek Olympiad.  Navigating our combined grade classes, we do this in the spring term with a 5-6 class.  After this experience, the students are eligible to join our track and field team, becoming ambassadors for our school.


The next rite of passage for nascent Middle Schoolers is the opportunity to have a school camping trip/overnight, often tied to their geology block.  


Last year, we hosted our first “school dance” as a surprise going away party for one of our grade 5-6 class students who had been a member of the class since Kindergarten.  This student was moving to another continent, and the entire grade 5-6 class was grieving.  The faculty felt that this needed to be marked for the class as a celebration of the friendships to help the transition into a new era.

This highlighted for us the importance of bringing new, fresh experiences that are exclusive for our Middle School-aged students.  

Some of these new experiences are going to be introduced this coming March.  The first is that we will be holding end-of-term school dances for our Middle School students.  We define our Middle School as grades 6-7 and 8-9, or 7-8 and 9.  Our first official School Dance will be the evening of March 7th, from 7:00-9:30 pm.  We will be sending home permission forms for students in these classes.  Included on the permission form are our expectations for both students and parents.

Another experience that will be introduced this spring is that once a week, middle school students will be eligible to leave school property during their lunch period to walk to Chicory Blue.  Again, permission forms will be sent home along with expectations.  


Finally, we began a process in 2019-2020 of developing Middle School-specific policies around behaviour that included the active participation of our students.  Last year, our grade 7-8 class students worked with their teacher to develop the Middle School dress code.  This year, Mme. Camille is working with her grade 6-7 class to develop our Middle School Honour Code as part of their study of the Middle Ages.  This Honour Code, along with our other Middle School policies will continue to be reviewed and revised with our grade 6-7 students every other year as part of their transition into adolescence.  


If you have any questions about the rites of passage that mark various transitions through childhood, I encourage you to attend parent evening hosted by our class teachers.  If you have any questions about these upcoming Middle School opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me or Camille.


Warmly,

Caitlin


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