2016–17 PCA Lectures & Special Events

The Parent Education Committee of WSL's Parent Community Association (PCA) invites speakers to share their expertise in support of child development, parenting, and family life for parents and educators. Topics often include intellectual, emotional, and physical development as well as current trends in media, education, and parenting. The school also hosts distinguished musical groups and events.

All talks and performances are open to the public and held in the auditorium at the Waldorf School of Lexington unless noted otherwise. Tickets will be sold at the door space permitting; however, advance purchase is strongly recommended. Seating is general admission.

Ramzi Aburedwan & Dal’ouna Ensemble in Concert

Ramzi Aburedwan, leader of the Palestinian musical group Dal'ouna Ensemble and founder of the Al Kamandjâti Association, whose mission is to bring music education to Palestinian children, in particular those who are most vulnerable — the children of the refugee camps.

Ramzi Aburedwan, leader of the Palestinian musical group Dal'ouna Ensemble and founder of the Al Kamandjâti Association, whose mission is to bring music education to Palestinian children, in particular those who are most vulnerable — the children of the refugee camps.

Featuring: Ramzi Aburedwan and the Dal’ouna Ensemble, joined by Sandy Tolan, author of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land
Date: Monday, September 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $10, tickets available at the door
Sponsored by: Lexington Community Education

Part of a national tour, this evening celebrates Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression. Corresponding with the paperback release of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land by Sandy Tolan, the concert features the music of Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal'Ouna Ensemble—a dynamic fusion of Palestinian folk, classical, jazz and world music—intertwined with excerpts from the book, read by the author.

"In a world where so much popular fiction depicts life in a dystopian world, it is refreshing to have this non-fiction account that reflects one individual's belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives." — Yo-Yo Ma

Ramzi Aburedwan grew up in the Al Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, where his family took refuge after being driven out of their home in Palestine in 1948. At age 16, Ramzi participated in a musical workshop that changed his life. He went on to study viola through a scholarship at the National Regional Conservatory of Angers in France, where he and other students created the Dal'Ouna Ensemble. In 2005, Ramzi realized a lifelong dream and created the Al Kamandjati Association, an organization that today teaches music to more than 500 children per year from villages, cities, and refugee camps in Palestine and Lebanon.

Sandy Tolan is the author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, which has sold more than 250,000 copies in six languages, and his new book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land. He has reported from more than 35 countries, mostly in Latin America and the Middle East, written for over 40 newspapers and magazines, and produced hundreds of documentaries and features for NPR and Public Radio International. His work has focused on the intersection of land conflicts, racial and ethnic identity, natural resources, and the global economy. Currently he is Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

The Importance of Being Little: An Evening with Erika Christakis

“A playful childhood is worth more than the accumulation of every conceivable standard. Even if we rounded them up and assigned them an amassed value, that value x wouldn’t come close to the infinite value of play to a young child’s development.”  —Erika Christakis

“A playful childhood is worth more than the accumulation of every conceivable standard. Even if we rounded them up and assigned them an amassed value, that value x wouldn’t come close to the infinite value of play to a young child’s development.”  —Erika Christakis

Featuring: Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups, and lecturer at Yale University's Child Study Center
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $10
Co-sponsored by: Waldorf PCA and Lexington Community Education

In today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms, learning has been reduced to scripted lessons and suspect metrics that too often undervalue a child’s intelligence while overtaxing the child’s growing brain. These mismatched expectations wreak havoc on the family: parents fear that if they choose the “wrong” preschool program, their child won’t get into the “right” college. But Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis says our fears are wildly misplaced.

In this talk based on her new book, Christakis looks at children’s use of language, their artistic expressions, the way their imaginations grow, and how they build deep emotional bonds to stretch the boundaries of their small worlds. Rather than clutter their worlds with more and more stuff, sometimes the wisest course for us is to learn how to get out of their way. Christakis’s message is energizing and reassuring: young children are inherently powerful, and they (and their parents) will flourish when we learn new ways of restoring the vital early learning environment to one that is best suited to the littlest learners.

Erika Christakis is an early childhood educator at the Yale Child Study Center and has focused her career on the wellbeing of children and families. She is an honors graduate of Harvard College and holds master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. She is a Massachusetts-certified teacher (preK through 2nd grade) as well as a licensed preschool director. For two years, she wrote a TIME.com Ideas column, and her work has been featured in a number of other venues, including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, CNN.com, Nightline, and the Financial Times. A mother of three grown children, she lives with her husband in New Haven, Connecticut.

46th Annual Holiday Fair

Beautiful handmade items can be found everywhere at the Waldorf School of Lexington's beloved annual holiday fair.

Beautiful handmade items can be found everywhere at the Waldorf School of Lexington's beloved annual holiday fair.

Featuring: Crafts, activities, music & entertainment, home-cooked lunch & treats, and the popular PCA Boutique
Date: Saturday, December 3, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Admission is free
Brought to you by: The Waldorf School of Lexington, the PCA, faculty & staff, and countless parent volunteers!

The Holiday Fair takes place the first Saturday of December, as it has since the Waldorf School of Lexington was founded. WSL transforms the historic Adams School Building to host this delightful and magical event, which offers fun for the whole family. Events and activities include a marionette show, crafts for young children, live music, and dozens of artisan vendors who sell unique hand-made items for holiday gift shopping. Our own Homespun store is also open featuring beautiful toys, games, books, and holiday gifts. A home-cooked hot lunch is served and holiday treats are available. Come and take part in the holiday spirit!

Past Events

Waldorf Family Concert

The acclaimed Pedroia Quartet

The acclaimed Pedroia Quartet

Featuring: The Pedroia Quartet
Date: Sunday, April 3, 2016
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Price: Adults $20; under 17 free

The Pedroia String Quartet is one of the most exciting new groups to appear on the New England chamber music stage. Combining youthful energy with deep experience, they play with force, nuance, and mastery.

This family-friendly concert features the sparkling humor of Haydn, the strange and wonderful sonorities of Stravinsky, and the intense romanticism of Mendelssohn.

Quartet players include:

  • First violinist Jae Cosmos Lee, who founded the nationally acclaimed chamber orchestra A Far Cry
  • Second violinist Rohan Gregory, who has travelled the world playing from Brazil to India to Russia
  • Violist Peter Sulski, who played with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for seven years and is the founder of the Worcester Chamber Society
  • Cellist Jaques Wood, a recent graduate of Yale’s Doctoral Program and international soloist

Anthroposophic Medicine and Child Health

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Featuring: Dan Einstein, M.D.
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Price: Free and open to the public

Dr. Einstein is an anthroposophic physician, family physician, herbalist, and Waldorf parent with practices in Maine and Massachusetts. He will describe anthroposophic medicine and how it differs from other holistic medical forms, as well as provide an overview of what treatments are used. He will also describe the anthroposophic view of child development, including major milestones that manifest as disease. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer period.

You can learn more about Dan and his work here.

The Soul of Discipline

Featuring: Kim John Payne, M.Ed.
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2016
Time: 7:00–9:00 PM
Price: $10

A parent’s journey is filled with both precious moments and difficult situations. Our sense of how we are doing is often determined by the way in which we respond to the flashpoints of parenting. These moments will either define or consume us.

Kim John Payne, M.Ed. and author of the international bestseller, Simplicity Parenting, has a fresh perspective to help parents and educators navigate these moments with children of all ages. His approach provides a developmental roadmap, looking at the unique needs and challenges at each phase of child development, including:

• Training and creative compliance for the young child
• Building emotional skills for the elementary age
• Managing critical choices for the teenager

Kim Payne has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and private family counselor for over 27 years. He works to help children, adolescents and families explore issues such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and at school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem, as well as promoting a balanced and simple family life.

Too Safe to Succeed

Featuring: Lenore Skenazy
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Time: 7:00–9:00 PM
Price: $10

The Waldorf School of Lexington and Lexington Community Education welcome author, humorist, keynote speaker, popular blogger, and TV host Lenore Skenazy as she presents her thoughts on why our children might just be too safe to succeed.

Lenore’s presentation has been characterized as “laugh-till-it-hurts hilarious straight talk about all the fears that have parents so scared” — and she reminds audiences that our kids are much more capable than they are often given credit for. Lenore explains why parents are consumed with worry and offers advice and practical strategies to help us “lean out” (of our children’s lives) and let go just a little.

Lenore Skenazy is the author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) and the creator of freerangekids.com. She also has her own reality TV show, "World's Worst Mom," in which she helps parents who are "too terrified to let their kids go."

Neuroscience and the Developing Brain

Featuring: Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D.
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 7:00–9:00 PM
Price: $10

For example, the idea that free play is essential to healthy child development is one of the cornerstones of Waldorf early childhood education. In a recent article, Gerwin explains how brain imaging has given this pedagogical approach a scientific underpinning. “Play activates the entire brain, including the frontal lobes, and also results in the building of new neural pathways. Play stimulates myelination of the neural pathways in the brain…an important process in brain maturation.”

Douglas Gerwin is the Director of the Center for Anthroposophy and Chair of its High School Teacher Education Program. He also serves as Co-Director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education. He is a Waldorf graduate and has taught for more than 30 years at the university and high school levels. He has written numerous articles and edited or written nine books related to Waldorf education.

Past Speakers

Keys to Discipline

Featuring: Ronald Morrish
Date: September 18, 2014

Real discipline isn’t some new theory. It simply refers to all the techniques that great parents and teachers use to teach children to be respectful, responsible, and cooperative. It ensures that children are well-prepared for the choices that they are given. It gives adults the authority to make choices until their children are ready to make them on their own. Join Ronald Morrish as he shares tips and strategies focusing on respect, cooperation, and prevention.

Ronald Morrish is an educator, behavior specialist, and independent consultant who has written and published three books, Secrets of Discipline, With All Due Respect, and Flip Tips. These books focus on helping parents to raise responsible children and improving schools’ and teachers’ disciplinary skills.

Wonders of Science: the Waldorf approach

Featuring: Michael Pewtherer
Date: October 22, 2014

“No one reads a mystery where the outcome is known at the beginning. The mystery draws us in, piques our curiosity, and ultimately drives us to seek answers.”

When science is presented in a way that excites students on many levels, they readily learn the material and are encouraged to actively take interest in the subject matter. Michael Pewtherer shares how a Waldorf teacher excites and motivates students to discover scientific principles for themselves, to ask questions, and to develop their own reasoning.

Michael Pewtherer, grade 8 class teacher at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, is Director at Woodland Ways, a Wilderness First Responder, and author of Wilderness Survival Handbook: Primitive Skills for Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Comfort. He studied Adventure Education at Prescott College, Biology at SUNY Columbia-Greene and received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Wilderness Education from SUNY Empire State.

Best Friends/Worst Enemies

Featuring: Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Date: October 17, 2013

An exploration of friendship, popularity and social cruelty in childhood with bestselling author Michael Thompson.

Thompson draws on research to highlight the differences between friendship and popularity. He makes suggestions about the management of social problems in schools and makes the case that while all children yearn for popularity, it is friendship that helps children survive and thrive.

Dr. Thompson, co-author of NY Times bestseller, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys and other books regarding child development, is a consultant and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than five hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America,Europe, Africa and Asia. His latest book, Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow, was released by Ballantine Books in May 2012. As well as appearing on numerous news and daytime shows, he wrote, narrated and hosted a two-hour PBS documentary entitled “Raising Cain,” broadcast nationally in 2006.

The New Nature Movement and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder

Featuring: Richard Louv
Date: November 15, 2014
Co-sponsored by Lexington Community Education

In his bestselling book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv sparked a national debate that spawned an international movement to reconnect kids and nature. He coined the term nature-deficit disorder; influenced national policy; and helped inspire campaigns in over eighty cities, states, and provinces throughout North America. In The Nature Principle, Louv delivers another powerful call to action—this time for adults. Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv identifies seven basic concepts that can help us reshape our lives. By tapping into the restorative powers of nature, we can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. Louv makes a convincing case that we are entering the most creative period in history, that in fact the twenty-first century will be the era of human restoration in the natural world. This encouraging and influential work offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, and other major publications. He has appeared on many national TV shows, including NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC’s Good Morning America, and NPR’s Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter.

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