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How We Ease Students Into 1st Grade

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

Meet our new 2019-20 1st Grade Teacher, Ms. Rachel Avena Brown. Learn more about her below.

First Grade is a time of beginnings and changes. It can be a magical time, but all the newness can be scary, too. That's why our teachers take so much time and care in preparing students well before the first day of school.

How Do We Prepare Students for the Newness of 1st Grade?

  1. Preparation for 1st Grade starts with the 1st Grade teacher visiting the Kindergarten classroom near the end of the school year to get to know her future students.

  2. Rising Kindergarteners also visit the 1st Grade classroom before the end of the school year, where they meet their new teacher and listen to a story that she tells them.

  3. The 1st Grade teacher is present at the Kindergarten graduation ceremony, also known as the Bridge Ceremony. She is stationed on the far side of the bridge, waiting to receive each child as they cross, celebrating the moment of transition from Kindergarten to 1st Grade with a welcoming hug.

  4. Before the first day of school, parents and students are invited to see and help set up their new classroom. This gathering gives the new 1st Grade community of students and parents a chance to get to know each other and become more comfortable.

Meet Our New 1st Grade Teacher

This year we are thrilled to welcome Ms. Rachel Avena Brown as our 1st Grade teacher for the 2019-20 school year. She first came to use at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year as a long-term substitute teacher for Ms. Flores' 3rd and 4th Graders while Ms. Flores was out on maternity leave. Ms. Brown created a seamless transition for the class, and has continued with them even after Ms. Flores' return. Ms Brown will guide the class through the afternoons for the remainder of the school year. She has fit in beautifully, as if she has always been a part of the WSNO family. Here's a little more about her background:

Rachel Avena Brown grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Academy of the Sacred Heart, and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.  Mrs. Brown studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the College of Santa Fe in 2004.  In 2007 she received a Masters of Fine Arts from New York University.  After graduate school, she became certified in the state of Louisiana to teach students with mild to moderate exceptionalities as well as English for secondary school.  Mrs. Brown worked as a special education teacher for two years in the Recovery School District, then for three years in the Talented Art Department.  She has also taught visual arts at Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, and Southeastern Louisiana University.  She was a member of the artist collective The Front, and had her first solo exhibition there in 2012.  She has exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally.  She has identified as an artist since a young age and has allowed her creative process to unfold, overlap, and envelop every aspect of her life.  She was also certified in 2012 to teach Bikram Yoga, and has taught weekly and holds a daily practice.  Mrs. Brown came to Waldorf education as a parent searching for something for her young son that would nurture his imagination, creativity, and reverence for learning and the natural world.  She welcomes each student into her classroom with awareness and respect, and believes in the empowerment of the young individual on their journey and search for the self.  She has completed the Foundations course for Waldorf Teacher Training.


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