Effortless Composting: Tips for the Busy (and Lazy) Parent

Effortless Composting: Tips for the Busy (and Lazy) Parent

by By Priyanka Rajan, WSP Parent

Have you ever wondered what happens to your kitchen scraps? Instead of ending up in a landfill, they could be transformed into rich, nourishing soil. This magical process is called composting, and it’s easier than you think!

Composting is crucial for reducing waste and enriching our soil. As parents of young children, we’ve found it’s also a fantastic way to teach them about the circle of life and our role in it. Every bit of organic waste we compost helps reduce our carbon footprint and supports a healthier planet for our kids. However, traditional composting methods can be messy and time-consuming. Regularly washing out bins with a hose and drying them in the sun can be a hassle, especially with a busy schedule and young children.

We used to follow the standard composting method with the city-provided countertop bin. While effective, it became challenging to maintain, especially with a newborn and sleepless nights. That’s when we discovered a simpler, more convenient way, using grocery store paper bags. By placing peels and compostable items in double-lined brown bags on a tray and sealing them with a rock, we found an effortless solution. Every 2-3 days, we simply toss the whole bag into the green bin. This method has been a game-changer, making composting hassle-free and manageable, even with an infant in tow. No more messy bins to wash and dry – just simple, effective composting.

Imagine this in your own home. Picture your kitchen with a neat, double-lined brown bag ready to catch all your peels and scraps. Visualize how easy it is to toss the scraps from your cutting board into the wide opening of the bag. Every few days, instead of dealing with a messy bin, you simply place the whole bag into your green bin. No extra cleaning, no hassle – just a simple, effective composting routine.
We invite you to try this method and see the difference it can make in your daily routine. Not only will you be reducing waste, but you’ll also be contributing to a healthier environment for your family. Let’s make composting a part of our lives, even amidst our busy schedules and parenting duties. Please give it a try and let us know how it works for you. Together, we can make a wonderful impact!


Priyanka has been connected to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in various roles for about four years now—first and foremost as a parent, then as a teacher, and now as a student in Teacher Jane and Teacher Denise’s Warm Beginnings Program. She is very grateful to be part of this wonderful community, which has provided her with the opportunity for lifelong learning, especially in navigating parenthood.

How Social Emotional Learning is Woven into our High School Curriculum

How Social Emotional Learning is Woven into our High School Curriculum

by Marina Budrys | High School Faculty Member

Behind S.E.L or Social Emotional Learning rests the idea that humans undergo a process of learning how to develop healthy social relationships from birth onward and that there are key elements that contribute to a meaningful life. When I was young, this program was called hanging out with the neighborhood kids, finding a compromise with my sister about the game we would play, or feeling guilty about something I said at school and vowing to be different. It was reading novels in school where “bad” characters got rejected and hearing stories where being kind and loving paid off. It was being called in during recess by my class teacher to have a conversation with someone whom I caused to feel bad. Social Emotional Learning was not a program but rather experiences in life that made someone, albeit slowly, a better person.

In this current moment, where humans ages 13-18 spend an average of seven hours a day on their devices, that natural time to learn how to be a socially responsible human has dwindled.[1] Young people just don’t spend that much time together anymore and the result is that they don’t build those skills of compromise, of self-awareness, of responsible decision-making. Was it easy for me to learn many of those things as a young person? Absolutely not. Those are hard lessons, but they are also some of the most important for a successful and fulfilling life.

While that social development time has dwindled for many, Waldorf School of the Peninsula’s philosophy has always, and will always, center around social development. At the core of our philosophy is the intention to educate social beings. What is now called “Social Emotional Learning” is embedded in our curriculum/approach from our nursery program all the way through high school.

While it may be tempting to associate S.E.L. solely with sessions in Bridget Kenevan, our school counselor’s office, WSP’’s approach extends far beyond that. From Eurythmy sessions to field trips, class meetings, games, and even Spanish classes, opportunities for S.E.L. abound throughout our curriculum. Allow me to provide some specific examples of how the core principles of Social Emotional Learning are integrated into our high school humanities program.

Empathy work is encountered in all novel-based classes. In 9th grade, students read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and take on the perspective of being a rejected outsider as well as the rejector. Jumping into the victim’s shoes as well as the perpetrator’s shoes is important for understanding the dimensions of being human.

In 10th grade Historical Fiction, students interview their family members to discover their story. By adding a historical perspective, they expand the world they originate from. Their presentations build confidence, selfexpression, and deepen relationships.

In 11th grade, student’s follow Parzival’s journey by mirroring his questions with questions of their own through journaling. They self-reflect deeply through questions such as the following: Do you know of anything your parents experienced that have directly shaped the way they chose to raise you? What parts of your parents’ biographies appear to influence your identity? Who are you without your parents? Who are you when all of the material comforts are stripped away? Why does suffering seem necessary for growth? What teachings have you received from people in your life that you are ready to leave behind? What teachings or ideas are taking their place? What behaviors do you want to rid yourself of? The contemplation of these and more questions culminate in a week-long trip that countless graduates credit as having changed their life.

In 12th grade, students study a complex subject that many adults have a hard time talking about: Israel and Palestine. They develop their ability to really dive into each perspective. Instead of only critically thinking about the complex conflict, they engage in relational thinking, expanding their ability to hold two truths at once.

These tenets are encountered again and again, and by the time students graduate from 12th grade, their ability to articulate themselves, understand others, work with others, and be socially responsible is unparalleled. When S.E.L came out as a program to be added to schools, our teachers looked and saw what Waldorf had been working with for decades. I would go so far as to say that Waldorf education is the best social emotional education in the world. It just takes twelve years, give or take. If you don’t believe me, come and talk to our 12th grade class.


[1] Inc., C. T. (2024, February 24). Average screen time for teenagers in 2024. COSMO Technologies, Inc. https://cosmotogether.com/blogs/news/average-screen-time-for-teenagers-in-

Image: Student work from the the eleventh grade Parzival block.

Summer Activities for Younger Children

Summer Activities for Younger Children

by WSP Early Childhood Faculty Members

Summer is here, bringing with it the joy and peace of sunny days, warm earth, cool splashing water, smooth white sands, the blue ocean, and the vibrant growth of nature all around us. To help you make the most of this lively season, we have included suggestions for activities you can enjoy together with your children, age-appropriate chores, and a list of our favorite children’s authors.

Some summer activities:

  • Roll down hills
  • Go camping
  • Frequent beach trips to run, dig, and play in the sand
  • Fly a kite
  • Take bike rides
  • Build forts, inside and outside
  • Wheelbarrow game
  • Sack races
  • Balance games
  • Obstacle courses
  • Playdough
  • Burrito game
  • Draw shapes on child’s back and see if they can guess what you drew

a young child waters plants with a watering can three kindergarten children are kneading dough at a table while wearing aprons

Age-appropriate chores:

  • Feed the family pet
  • Put away toys
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Get dressed on their own
  • Help set the table
  • Mix, stir, chop – help with meal prep
  • Water plants
  • Clear dishes from the table
  • Help fold laundry
  • Sweep

Our favorite children’s authors and books:

  • Reg Down series
  • Sieglinde de Francesca’s Gnome series
  • Elsa Beskow series
  • Tell Me a Story/ Tell Me Another Story by Louise deForest
  • Corduroy stories by Don Freeman
  • Books by Sibylle von Olfers, Gerda Müller
  • Our Nest – Reeve Lindbergh & Jill McElmurry
  • The Blue Forest- Luke Fischer
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod
  • Barbara Helen Berger
  • Jan Brett
  • Eric Carle
  • Barbara Cooney
  • Tomie de Paola
  • Daniela Dresher
  • Lucia Grosse
  • Donald Hall
  • Linda Kroll
  • Sven Nordqvist
  • Audrey Wood
  • We Nurture Collective, and Sparkle Stories

And a fun recipe to make together, Mason Jar Vanilla Ice Cream:


  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Add cream, sugar and vanilla into a 16-ounce mason jar and secure tightly with lid. Shake the mason jar up and down until the cream thickens and almost doubles in size, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. It should be opaque and easily coat the back of a wooden spoon. Freeze for 3 hours, or until hardened. Scoop out ice cream with a spoon and serve with your favorite ice cream toppings.

The Role of Movement and Games in Grades 1 – 8

The Role of Movement and Games in Grades 1 – 8

by Meeta Panicker and Liam Metzger | WSP Movement Teachers, Grades 1 – 8

Movement and games are integral to Waldorf education, harmonizing body, soul, and spirit by fostering physical coordination, spatial awareness, and self-expression. The curriculum supports physical health, sensory development, and a sense of wonder while developing fine and gross motor skills, teamwork, and fair play. Through age-appropriate activities, students enhance their creativity, coordination, communication, cooperation, confidence, and competitive spirit, supporting their physical and emotional development at each stage:

  • Early Childhood (0-7 years): Emphasis on imitation and movement to develop foundational motor skills and spatial awareness.
  • Middle Childhood (7-14 years): Focus on imagination, play, and structured games to enhance creativity, social skills, and cognitive development.
  • Adolescence (14-21 years): Incorporation of more structured physical education, sports, and eurythmy to support self-discipline, teamwork, and personal growth.

first grade students sitting in a circle with a teacher while two students run around themIn first grade, we are focusing on the class as a whole. The games are circle-based with a focus on where we are in space. We incorporate hand clapping games, and running games such as tag, ball games, and bean bag games. The children learn how to jump rope and navigate simple obstacle courses. We work with fairy tales, imagination, rhythm, and repetition. With their imaginative abilities, the grade 1 children thrive on these games.

In second grade, the games of call and response like Walk the Plank and Join the Crew, Fire in the Forest, and The Sea Is Stormy are introduced. The students learn to concentrate on a given task for longer periods. They are more independent and better oriented. We work on their motor skills and spatial awareness. Free imaginative play also continues.

In third grade, the children are curious and ready to play all the games we can bring to them. This is the year they are more coordinated in their bodies. We continue to run, hop, skip, jump; and work on static and dynamic balance. Catching, throwing, kicking a ball, working in teams, and presenting their fair teams are the themes in grade 3. Games like kickball, dodgeball, capture the flag, and relays are introduced this year as well.

In fourth grade, the children are learning about their boundaries and seeing how they can challenge themselves. This is the year we introduce the circus arts: unicycle, stilts, juggling, gymnastics, and hula hoops. The students continue to play team games such as dodgeball, kickball, capture the flag, and Chicken in the Coop.They present their fair teams to the class. They are introduced to sports lead-up games and games of “vigorous deeds,” and continue to develop team-building.

In fifth grade, we are working on grace and beauty. We focus more on the form and techniques. The Pentathlon is a big part of grade five. The fifth grade child is in perfect harmony and balance, poised between early childhood and oncoming adolescence. The students learn and display their abilities in the javelin, discus, chariot running, wrestling, and long jump. Apart from this, we continue on sports lead-up games like basketball, pillow polo, dodgeball, kickball, and capture the flag. They also continue to hone their skills in circus arts.a middle school student sitting cross legged on the ground while juggling

The middle school curriculum is pretty consistent throughout all three of the grades, with the biggest difference being the competitions each grade has at the end of the year. The year begins with Pillow Polo, which is an easy game both to learn and to play and doesn’t require much strategy. The blocks become more complex as the year progresses, with the next two blocks being Volleyball and Football. Both of these sports require strategy and teamwork along with good communication. These help the students learn how to work together to achieve a common goal and how to strategize their approach. Team captains are introduced with the objective of giving each student a leadership role which helps to aid their development in Middle School. After the New Year, the sixth grade will have a wrestling block which helps them get a feel for their individual strength as they enter puberty. Different from this, the seventh and eighth grade students will have a running block, with the goal of them learning how to push and motivate themselves to achieve the objectives they set.

Soccer is the next block and requires students to use the teamwork and strategizing skills they learned earlier in the year. This is a sport in which individual brilliance and excellent teamwork shine all in one place, allowing for each student to decide what role they want to play. Badminton follows Soccer and requires both teamwork middle school student shooting a basketball at a hoopand precision, yet on a much smaller scale. In Badminton the students are paired up into groups of two or four and have to learn how to communicate effectively and be precise with their hits. This allows for students who don’t normally work together to learn how to work in close proximity with each other. Ultimate Frisbee follows Soccer which helps the students to learn how to respect the personal space of others. When a player has the frisbee, their opponent must stand back an arm’s length. Ultimate Frisbee also requires clear and concise communication amongst teammates which helps the students learn how to speak up and work together. The year finishes off with Street Hockey, and in this block students learn the importance of safe play. Since wooden sticks are being used, the risk for injury is higher than it is for other blocks, and the students learn how to mitigate this risk to play safely. Teamwork is crucial in Street Hockey and the students learn how to work together and support one another along with playing safely and responsibly.

Second in our series on movement at WSP. Read our first post, Shaping Success: Exploring High School Physical Education, here.

Sunflower Kindergarten Recipes

Sunflower Kindergarten Recipes

Teacher Meeta has been our Sunflower Kindergarten Assistant for several years. Though she is now teaching the grades 1-5 movement classes (also known as “games”) , she generously shared her treasure trove of tried-and-true kindergarten recipes for us to try at home this summer! While some of our youngest students enjoy these recipes, many of us can attest that adults and those in-between will also enjoy them.

Here is a printable pdf version.

Sunflower Kindergarten Recipes

Monday: Rice with Gomasio

  • 4 cups brown rice (may soak for 24 hours in advance)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil or 1 stick butter
  • optional:
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • sesame seeds
  • salt
  • (optionally add: carrot, peas, corn)

Boil water, add rice and after it comes to a boil, turn down to medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes. Add salt (can add the veggies as well if needed.) Cover and cook on low heat for another 30 minutes, or until desired texture. Drizzle olive oil before serving.

Can serve with tamari/soy sauce, and sesame seeds gomasio – 

To prepare Gomasio – in a mortar pestle – crush sesame seeds with a little salt. 

In the Instant Pot:

  • Put all ingredients into the instant pot. Make sure the steam release valve is at seal position and use the Porridge setting. Preset Porridge setting: 20 minutes cooking time, low pressure and normal setting.
  • Turn the instant pot off after 20 minutes to stop the cooking.
  • Rice will keep warm in the instant pot until ready to serve.

Tuesday: Oatmeal

  • 4 cups oats 
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk (can substitute this for a cup of water)
  • pinch of salt
  • Vanilla 
  • Cinnamon
  • butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

Boil water (can add coconut cream or milk if preferred.) Add oats and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat. Add salt. Cover and cook on low heat for another 30 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency. Add honey or syrup and serve.

(Raisins on the side, crushed almonds on the side)

In the Instant Pot:

  • Pour all ingredients except raisins and maple syrup into the instant pot. Make sure the steam release valve is at seal position and use the Porridge setting. Preset Porridge setting: 20 minutes cooking time, low pressure and normal setting.
  • Turn off the instant pot when it goes to keep warm setting or when you come back to the classroom.
  • Open the instant pot when it opens naturally, don’t try to force open it. Add maple syrup and mix well with a whisk to remove lumps. Let it sit for 5-10 mins ( can close the lid if you wish).
  • Oatmeal will keep warm in the instant pot until ready to serve.

Wednesday: Bread with honey-butter or sunflower seed butter

  • 2 cups warm water 
  • 1/2 tablespoon yeast 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups wheat flour 
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour 

Mix flour, salt, put aside. Add warm water to a large mixing bowl. Dissolve honey in it. Sprinkle the yeast. Let it rest to bubble and ferment for 10-15 minutes in a warm spot. Add the flour mixture to the bubbling water. Mix, then knead until the dough comes together and is not sticky anymore. Let rest and rise for 30 minutes – 1 hour. Portion the dough. Knead and shape into fist-sized rolls. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Can be served with butter, honey, nut or seed butter.

Honey butter per table

  • 2 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup of honey. (adjust per taste)

Mix room temperature butter with honey and serve with warm bread. I prefer to melt butter in the microwave and then add honey to it and let it sit. Mix well before serving

Sunflower butter

  • 1/4 cup of sunflower seed butter per table

Thursday: Vegetable soup

  • Olive oil to coat the pan or stick of butter
  • 1 large onion optional
  • Garlic and ginger minced optional
  • assorted vegetables and herbs
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • salt


On the stovetop:

  1. Chop all veggies and herbs (some with the children in the morning). 
  2. Coat a heavy pot with olive oil and heat it on medium heat. Add chopped onions (and garlic)
  3. Add all vegetables as and when it is chopped
  4. Add water, salt , and marinara sauce.  Let it come to a boil on high heat, then turn the heat down, cover and let it simmer for 30 minutes. 
  5. Add any chopped greens, herbs and chopped tomatoes. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes. 


In the Instant Pot:

  • Chop all the vegetables into bite size pieces (some with the children).
  • Pour oil on the bottom of the pot and use the Saute function on the instant pot to saute onion and carrots.
  • Saute the chopped vegetables in the oil for a couple of minutes.
  • Add water to cover vegetables.
  • Make sure the steam release valve is at seal position. Use the Soup/Broth function on the instant pot. Preset Soup/Broth setting: 30 minutes cooking time, high pressure, and normal setting.
  • Soup will keep warm in the instant pot until ready to serve.

Friday: Muffins


  • 3 c spelt flour or whole wheat flour or half and half with whole wheat and white flour
  • 3 cups millet flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 27 oz almond milk or coconut milk  about 4 cups
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla 
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup of olive oil


  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. Mix wet ingredients
  3. Mix together
  4. Grease tins with oil
  5. Spoon into tins, bake 15 mins for small, 25 for big at 350F
  6. Once out of the oven, leave them for a bit before removing from the pan 

Birthday Cake 

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp of cinnamon 
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup melted butter or 1.5 stick butter
  • 1 ½ cup of milk
  • 3 eggs 
  • Vanilla 2 TBSP
  • Salt

Mix all ingredients and pour in well oiled pan

For children to bake the cake:

  • 1 big bowl with – flour, baking powder and cinnamon 
  • In separate bowls keep – eggs, milk, butter and maple syrup+ vanilla
  • Have children mix this at the table. 

When thoroughly mixed, make sure to not overbeat it but if there are no lumps, pour it in the prepared tin to bake. 

55 mins at 350 F on the lower rack.