Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What If Kids Didn't Have to Wear Shoes at School? -- A Barefoot Mom's Point of View

by Susan Milton, Clearwater parent
Barefoot Zoe with Jackie and Johnna

One thing that makes me feel happy every time I arrive at The Clearwater School is that I don't have to put on shoes to go and find my kids, and that I often see at least one or two barefoot kids right away as I walk through the parking lot. 
Maddy's walking feet

Shoes are required at most schools, because many people believe that bad things would happen if students didn't wear them.

  • They could  be injured by broken glass or other sharp items.
  • Germs could spread.
  • People would sue each other.
  • It must be a violation of health codes.
  • Kids who are allowed to go barefoot at school won't be successful in the real world, where shoes are required.
  • Bare feet are a distraction in class.
  • Bare feet are indecent.
  • Chaos would break out without a rule requiring shoes.
I didn't make any of these up, and have heard or read all of them.

Jacy in the office

On the other hand, there is a small but growing number of people, myself included, who are convinced that none of these fears are based on reality, and instead believe that going barefoot as much as possible is actually much healthier and safer than wearing shoes. If you are interested in learning more, this website is a great place to start. And here's one specifically for parents which mentions Sudbury schools.

Reading the information about the many joys and benefits of bare feet, I would be tempted to think that if kids weren't required to wear shoes at school, none of them would. And they would all grow up happier, healthier, stronger, and safer as a result. Pretty soon the whole world would be better place.


Since shoes are not required at Clearwater, I have had the chance to find out what actually happens if kids don't have to wear shoes at school. The truth is that nothing very dramatic happens at all. In fact, most of the people choose to wear shoes most of time. I guess they want to keep their feet warm or to avoid stepping on sharp things. But I always see a few barefoot kids indoors and out, and if you see a barefoot mom walking around Clearwater, that's probably me.

Sometimes people are mildly curious, but mostly no one really cares. I've never witnessed or heard about anyone with a foot injury at Clearwater, but if someone did hurt their foot, I imagine that they would sit down for while and put a bandage or ice pack on it, just like with a scraped knee or hurt finger.

Lily rehearsing barefoot

I am always impressed by how fair and sensible the rules are at this school where kids vote on the rules. There are many rules at Clearwater, but the rules are almost never based on knee-jerk reactions to things or fear about extremely unlikely occurrences. The fact that there is no rule against bare feet is a great example of that.

The best thing about all of this, in my opinion, is that individuals are accepted and respected whether they are choosing to wear shoes at the moment or not.  And we all get to see that just because something is a little bit unusual doesn't mean that it's a problem.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clearwater Mounts Its First Full-Length Play

Scene from an early rehearsal

For the first time in The Clearwater School's 17-year history, a group of Clearwater students is producing and offering public performances of a full-length play. You are cordially invited to attend a performance, scheduled between Thursday, May 30 and Sunday, June 2.

 Screenwriter (Jesse) and supporting actress (Lily) interact while the cinematographer (Gregory) sets up the shot

The play is Attack of the Killer Murder...of Death, by Wayne Rawley, a local playwright, whose work has been produced at the Empty Space Theatre and Seattle Public Theatre, among others. To date over 20 of Rawley's plays have been produced in Seattle, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.

Supporting actress (Lily) and movie star (Benji)

There will be three evening performances at 7:00 PM and two matinees at 2:00 PM Saturday, June 1 and 11:00 AM, Sunday, June 2. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday matinee performances are already sold out, but seats are still available for the 7:00 PM Saturday and 11:00 AM Sunday performances. Running time is one and a half hours, plus intermission.

 The actors listen to the director (Matt)

Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $10 per person. There is one intermission, when audience members can purchase homemade baked goods and beverages. Reserve your seats today by calling The Clearwater School at (425) 489-2050 or sending an email request.

 Play producer and assistant director (Gabriel) and director (Matt)

In preparation for this production, students involved in the production founded the TCS Acting Society, which has worked for the past several weeks to  renovate an unused storage area at school into a performance space. They cleared out the rooms, repainted and added lighting and curtains.

 Cop (Aidan), producer (Maddy) and crew member (Tommie)

Rehearsals started March 18, and two weeks ago, actors began rehearsing off book. Actors and the technical crew are working on costumes and props.

 Crew member (Tommie) and costumer (Mara)

During the past three years, several of the people involved in this performance took acting classes at school with Clearwater parent, Pearl Klein, and developed three improv performances. Three of the actors have performed scenes at Clearwater events. Four members of the cast have acted in public performances at local theatres, but no one else has ever been in a full-length play before.
 Cast minus one

Crew and cast for this performance are:

Gabriel Klein, producer, assistant director and actor
Matt Garrity, director and staff member
Meghan Conken, stage manager
Mat Riggle, technical director and staff member

Actors (in order of appearance): 
Lily Garrity
Leo Campbell-Klein
Jacy Rain Scott-Laakso
Benji Janapol
Mara Campbell-Klein
Gabriel Klein
Jesse Linder
Tommie Sterling
Gregory Brewer
Aidan Linder
Maddy Linder

Friday, May 3, 2013

Whistlepig! This Weekend! Be There!!

It's time again for Whistlepig, The Clearwater School's fundraising festival of music, food and games. And this weekend...there WILL be sun and heat!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo or the fact that it's a gorgeous day and join us on Sunday, May 5, 1:00-5:00 pm. There will be wonderful performances by students and staff, homemade carnival games, great food and the most delicious baked good you can imagine. We suggest a donation of $10.

We are grateful to our food sponsor, Von Trapp's, one of Seattle's hottest new restaurants. They donated their house-made bratwurst and frankfurter sausages for your eating pleasure. In addition, there will be delicious side dishes, salad and drinks to round out a meal.

We also thank Clearwater parent, Elrond Sheppard, for creating this year's lovely Whistlepig design, now available on a variety of apparel and gifts in Clearwater's Cafe Press shop.

Expert bakers in the Clearwater community will supply a plethora of luscious pastries and other goodies for dessert. Plus, three students will mix delicious mocktails on demand.

There will be lots of opportunities to watch and participate in music throughout the day, too. 

Music and performance schedule
1:30-3:00 pm Open Jam (bring instruments and enthusiasm)
3:00-3:15 pm Recitation and original story reading
3:15-4:00 pm Music performances by Clearwater students and staff
4:00-5:00 pm Karaoke (sing your heart out!)

This year, there will also be several great carnival games, made by Clearwater students and staff. Try your hand at skee ball, a nerf shooting gallery, 5-hole mini golf,a  pachinko-style game, football toss and spin the wheel. Have fun and win prizes!

Get your face or arm painted by an extraordinary artist, relax with a short massage or energy work, and make your own button.

Whistlepig is perfect for the whole family. Bring your friends and enjoy a fun and beautiful day!