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Each spring, members of the Walden School community gather in the North Yard for an evening picnic with Walden storytellers and poets, before heading to the classrooms to celebrate student writing with publishing parties at the annual FEAST on Writing.

FEAST (Families Eating And Storytelling Together) highlights the value of sharing stories through the lens of diversity. The event began almost two decades ago and continues to honor the story that exists in every child, using story as a bridge to understanding and awareness.

WE Co-Chairs Linda Bortell and Olivia Brown welcome people to FEAST 2015

WE Co-Chairs Linda Bortell and Olivia Brown welcome people to FEAST 2015

Walden School’s Board of Trustees Walden Equity (WE) Committee is pleased to publish an annual anthology of stories from Walden School student writers around the theme of diversity. The anthologies contain student stories from the FEAST on Writing event each year as well as stories selected by the faculty.

This year, families were treated to stories from Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes, Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian, and poems from 4/5 Teacher Tiffanie Hoang.

Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes tells a two-minute story about her friend, a worm!

Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes tells a two-minute story about her friend, a worm!

 

Poet Tiffanie Hoang (4/5 Language Arts assistant teacher) shares some of her poems.

Poet Tiffanie Hoang (4/5 Language Arts assistant teacher) shares some of her poems.

Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian tells a story about the day he got into trouble - twice!

Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian tells a story about the day he got into trouble – twice!

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More than 500 people crowded into Lanterman Auditorium for Walden School’s annual Spring Sing. This year, the show’s theme “Everybody has an LA Story” highlighted Walden students from all grades Pre-Kindergarten through 6th Grade.

Pre-K students opened the show with their rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Los Angeles Blues.” Kindergarten/First Grade classes explored the history of Los Angeles starting with the traditional song “De Colores” sung on Olvera Street followed by a contemporary tribute to the LA Dodgers. A third K/1 class highlighted their favorite animals at the LA Zoo with Leslie Bricusse’s song “If I Could Talk To The Animals.”

2/3 students performed original choreography set to student ORFF compositions. Drawing inspiration from the conundrum of water usage in LA, the contributions of local industries like JPL and NASA, and public transportation in LA, these students captivated the audience with their interpretive dance and music compositions.

The students in 4/5 classes paid tribute to LA musicians Compay Segundo, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, and composer Danny Elfman. The sixth graders closed the show with their salute to Hollywood.

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Do you ever sit under a tree just listening to the sounds of nature around you? For how long? A few minutes? An hour? A whole afternoon?

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In 2005, author Richard Louv in his book “Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” hypothesized negative consequences to people and to society as we spend less time outdoors in the natural world. In 2007, the Society for Conservation Biology published research that draws a connection between children’s increasing consumption of electronic media and declining visits to National Parks.

Without romanticizing history, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “free and unstructured play is healthy and – in fact – essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.”

Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is recognized as a time of re-birth and new beginnings in many cultures. From Pesach and Easter to Nowruz and Higan, images in nature represent these holidays connected to the spring equinox.

Submit your photos of time in nature with your family on our FB page or write to us in the comments below!

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau

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