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  • Writer's pictureKarima Hastings

Ms. Monika's Magic

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Somehow I lucked out and I am teaching with a superhero. Ms. Monika comes from a Waldorf teaching background and has been an educator since she was in her 20's. She's now 80, but you'd never guess it. She is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom and brings the most beautiful blend of academics and whimsy to her students. She uses the world around her to open their eyes to nature's wonder. Instead of growing seeds using artificial light in the classroom for science class, she takes the children outside on nature walks to explore the germinating seed on the hillside by the hundreds. Instead of just studying the moon in a book, she asks the children to go outside at night with their parents to take a look. She is all about hands-on learning and says often that she could care less about academics, however she does teach them and well. She teaches to the children's emotions by telling stories, and sings songs, letting the children play instruments and dance. They easily feel supported and guided by her kind yet firm boundaries. She's not a fan of "militaristic" teaching practices like gem jars, star charts or point systems. Instead she crafts her words in such a way to guide the children. Some people think she's strict but I think she's misunderstood. I've never heard her raise her voice in anger, but she will use a "dramatic" voice and will tell the children why, "I am not mad at you, but I'm using a dramatic voice to get your attention!" Then she might smile at you with a twinkle in her eye and say with a childlike quality, "That was a big voice, wasn't it?"

Monika works harder than any teacher I know and is more dedicated to the children than I will ever be. I'm soaking up her wisdom and greatness every chance I get. Now you can learn from her too. I'll post photos and words of wisdom from Monika here. She said I could! She said, "I don't mind if you put me on the same site as that horse is. You just choose (what to post) and if you don't let me know, that's even better." Love her.

Monika blew my mind this summer when she brought in some beeswax and said she wanted to try making Wikki Stix by hand because we were running low on supplies and the kids loved them. So, what did she do? She heated up some sweet smelling beeswax right then and there in a pot on a little science burner. Then she cut some brown yarn, because that's what we had, and she dipped each piece into the molten wax, and let them cool on a piece of plastic to protect the cabinet. I could not believe what I was witnessing. I had intended to pull out my phone when I had a free minute to order a new box or two from Amazon and here she was making Wikki Stix by hand in a pot. It was incredibly simple and powerful.

Voila! Handmade Wikki Stix!

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