Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Archive for March, 2011

The 8th Grade presents: As You Like It, by William Shakespeare

Friday, April 1 (no foolin’) & Saturday, April 2 at 7 pm

in the Auditorium

Come one, come all to the 8th grade presentation of As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Join us for this love story wrapped in comedy as two young women are banished from their courtly life to the Forest of Arden where their own clever plan and a cast of characters show them that country life can offer more joy than they have known.

The play features one of Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage,” and is the origin of the phrase “too much of a good thing.” The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre.

This play, running well over two hours and with a bawdy bent, is best for children sixth grade and up. Refreshments will be available during intermission. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated as they will make our foray to the Four Corners area on our 8th grade trip possible. We are looking forward to sharing our story with you and your friends!


Launch 100 Days to $100,000 and 100% Participation

March 23rd is the 1st day of our 100 day drive!

Today marks the launch of CWS Annual Fund’s 100 Days to $100,000 and 100% Participation Drive.

Click here for a previous profile of the drive. Your support of Annual Fund goes directly to support our teachers. You can submit checks to the Main Office, donate online or contact Jackie Johnson for more information.


Math Night: A Review of Waldorf Curriculum

Mathematics Unfolded

April 7, 2011 Refreshments at 6:30pm / Presentation at 7:00pm

CWS Lower Eurthymy Room

What does a child in a Waldorf School experience on his/her first day of the 1st grade? Why, the teacher presents the student with two lines: a curve and a straight. Are there any other kinds? Not really. And just think about it: all of our numbers and letters, the primary symbols that govern our lives and interactions, are formed out of these two fundamental types of lines. On the first day of elementary school the child is presented with an archetypal experience.

Now this experience will be revisited and expanded upon in a multitude of ways and contexts throughout the child’s education. One of the most obvious of these contexts is mathematics. How do we measure curved lines, or calculate the area bounded by such lines? This is a question first addressed in 7th grade geometry, and re-visited again in high school calculus. Are there, in fact, two archetypal lines, or is there only one? This is a question taken up in high school geometry, and it constitutes a culminating response to that seed experience planted back on the first day of grade school.

The teachers at the Chicago Waldorf School would like to share with you the nature in which important educational themes are introduced, explored and metamorphosed through the grades always, of course, in harmony with the developing child. Last year we presented the theme of fire as it is introduced in 1st grade, and developed in chemistry lessons in the middle and high schools. This year we invite you to attend an evening in which the theme of the curved and straight line is developed through the 12th grade curriculum. On Wednesday, April 7th, at 7 PM, this PTO-sponsored evening will feature presentations from Nancy Szymanski, John Trevillion and Brian Gleichauf, representing the early, middle, and high school grades, respectively. We look forward to seeing you.

Please RSVP to Lisa Rekstad, PTO Parent Education Lead at lrekstad@gmail.com


Looking for CWS Board Trustees

Chicago Waldorf School’s Committee on Trustees of the Board of Trustees is:

Actively seeking individuals who are interested in serving as a Trustee of the Board…

or as a member of a Board Committee. We are looking for talented people who are willing to take up the challenging and rewarding work of leading the school toward fulfilling its mission. These people can come from within our CWS community, or can be drawn from outside our current ranks.

Click here for more details (candidates must meet these requirements).

If you are interested, or you think someone you know might be just who we’re looking for, please email Cynthia Joho at cynthiajoho@gmail.com. We would like your suggestions by March 31st.


Books for Growing, Not Just Knowing…


Math Team earns high rankings from ICTM

CWS High School Math Team Headed for State Finals!

April 30th at the University of Illinois

The high school math team’s strong performance in the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) Regional Competition earned them the opportunity to advance to the State Finals. Both the Freshman/Sophomore 8 person team and Liam Lundy, as an individual, will be competing on April 30th at the University of Illinois. Students competing in the State Finals include Paco Alvarez, Alex Morson, Merci Randolph, Vlad Yourtchenko, Gabby Anspach, Liam Lundy, Rochelle Peterson and Maddie Lawson. Other math team members include Rosie Fitz, Quinn Kennelly, Jhanneau Roberts, Alice Blehart, Cameron Fife and Joanna Northage-Orr.

This is the first time that the Chicago Waldorf School has qualified as a team to attend the State Finals. As small as our school is, the Freshman/Sophomore 8 person team earned a score equal to or higher than many schools much larger in size, such as the University of Chicago Laboratory School, St. Ignatius, Lane Tech, Lake Forest, Highland Park and Glenbrook South.

Each year, the math team has grown in size and improved their performance in the ICTM Regional Competition. The team is currently coached by Katie Sullivan and Robert Wilson and was started and led by Brian Gleichauf for several years. Brian and Katie will be traveling with the team to the State Finals and are helping the team gear up for the competition in bi-weekly practices.

Submitted by Math Team faculty advisor, Katie Sullivan

Congratulations to our Math Team for their impressive performance
we wish them strong will and calm focus for their impending conference!


Recital of CWS Student Musicians

Sunday, March 27th at 4:00pm in Auditorium

Waldorf music teachers, Jon Feller and Brendan Finucane, teach violin and cello at the school and also instruct quite a few CWS students in private lessons after school. They’re holding a student recital in the auditorium this Sunday and all are invited to attend. The recital is free and open to the public. Come support our budding strings players!

on Violin/Viola:

On Cello:

Payton Hiertz

Olivia Chambers

Victoria Hopkins

Liam Gebert

Alex Motyka

Marcela Okeke

Lara Motyka

Eva Preus

Charlie Wilde


Charter Schools Move to Emulate Waldorf School Education


In the latest news of schools developing Waldorf-inspired programs
comes this report from Merced, California about public schools adopting aspects of Waldorf curriculum.

The article features “the Foundations Public Schools Initiative, which is creating two new charter schools: Green Valley Charter School in Los Banos and Creekside Charter School in Merced. Both schools will eventually house grades K-8, and will feature a Waldorf-inspired curriculum.”

“Our team is trying to bring about educational choices throughout the Valley, giving parents and students additional options for public education,” said the project’s lead organizer, Tisha Blackwood-Freitas.

Click here to read the full article at its source.


Avoid Waste: Block Your Junk Mail

Announcing Chicago Catalog Choice – A Free Mail Preference Service

The City of Chicago has joined forces with Catalog Choice to offer Chicagoans a free service to reduce unwanted mail. Any resident or business can create an account at https://chicago.catalogchoice.org to reduce unsolicited catalogs, phone books, credit card offers, coupons and other marketing material received at home and in the workplace. We encourage you to participate and ask for your help in spreading the word to friends and colleagues.

“We’ve identified waste reduction as a crucial strategy to meet the goals of our Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP),” says Chicago Department of Environment Commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna. “The mail preference service with Catalog Choice will cut paper waste at the source and offers an ease of use that we know Chicago citizens and businesses will appreciate.”

Annually, Chicagoans send more than 300,000 tons of paper to landfills; material that could be diverted instead. By eliminating or recycling this material, the City can make serious gains towards the CCAP goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through its waste management strategies.

This program is supported by the Chicago Department of the Environment. If you have any questions about the service, please call (312) 744-5702 or email Chicago’s Dept. of Environment.


Nancy Mellon presents The Healing Power of Stories

Teach Me Peace is hosting a 5-day intensive workshop with Nancy Mellon who will present

Body Eloquence: The Healing Power of Stories

July 25-29, 2011 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Whether a traditional or alternative healing professional, teacher, storyteller, clergy or parent, during this week long intensive course you will benefit from this training by:

  • Learning dynamic approaches to support diagnosis and healing through storytelling
  • Develop trust in your imaginative vision, intuition and capacity to be inspired
  • Explore story structures that correspond with specific energy and organic processes
  • Discover storytelling skills that are responsive to a broad range of health challenges
  • Learn methodology for experimenting with the healing power of stories

The training will be held in a private setting near beautiful Lake Geneva,Wisconsin– approximately one hour north of Chicago and one hour south of Milwaukee.

A brochure with information and registration materials is available here.


Waldorf Faculty & Staff Present on Gardening Curriculum at Family Farmed Expo/CFPAC Summit


Please come join Chicago Waldorf Teacher/Master Gardener, Patricia Holdrege and Communications Director, Jason Greenberg, as they present in this conference panel & discussion session at the Family Farmed Expo-

Teaching and Eating in the Garden:

Enabling educators to utilize the school garden in their curriculum and find new models for nutrition education.

March 18, 2011 from 11:30am-1:00pm

6th Annual CFPAC Summit Food Policy Breakout Session, part of the Family Farmed Expo
At the UIC Forum — University of Illinois at Chicago
725 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60607. Click for directions/map.
Purchase tickets (for single event, full day, or 3-day pass) at the Family Farmed Box Office.

Breakout Session Goals:
Establishing and incorporating gardens into schools’ curriculum is a priority. Nutrition education must embrace a broader understanding of the ecological, personal and social impact of the foods we eat. School gardens provide an unparalleled opportunity for engaging in the food system and illustrating its complexity.

  • Participants will come away with: Motivation and inspiration to begin growing edible plants as educational tools in a way that can scale to their needs, be that small herb plants in the classroom or a larger in situ garden.
  • Recognition of the school garden as an opportunity to teach a wide variety of subjects and skills including: biology, history, team work, math, writing…
  • Strategies to encourage student, parent, community and teacher involvement in the school garden.
  • Ability to instruct students in Taste Education.
  • Session goals, discussion issues & possible policy changes: Funding allocated for establishing school gardens.
  • Healthful cooking instruction included in curriculum.
  • Professional development for teachers to learn gardening skills, garden based curriculum and cooking curriculum.
  • Require nutrition education to include instruction on of food systems (where food comes from, environmental impact, social impact, etc.) in addition to personal health issues.

By presenting this session, we hope to establish a community of people with a
commitment to school gardening and nutrition education who can share contact
information (on a voluntary basis). Creating this access to each other’s passion and skills will bolster success in projects inspired by this session. The hope is that this group will then
begin their own educational gardening and cooking projects and share their
experiences and discoveries with each other.

Panelists/Discussion Guiders:

Megan Larmer is a board member with Slow Food Chicago and the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project. In 2010 she was selected as a delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference. Currently, Megan is training as a Master Gardener. Megan is the facilitator & organizer for this CFPAC breakout session.

Lynn Hyndman on retiring from teaching took on the challenge of starting an edible school garden at her former school. The Dawes Garden of Eatin’ begins its eighth year of operation this spring. At the heart of the program is Taste Education along with helping children understand that their food choices effect not only their health but that of the planet.

Patricia Holdredge is a special subject handwork teacher at the Chicago Waldorf School. She is also the master gardener for the school who was instrumental in developing the Sophia Garden for over 10 years and now maintains the school’s beehives and plots in the Ruby Garden in Schreiber Park. In 1999 and 2000 Mayor Daley presented the Sophia Garden with 1st place awards in the City of Chicago’s Landscape Competition.

Jason Greenberg is parent and staff at the Chicago Waldorf School. He teaches sustainable design. As an activist educator he founded the Empirical Opera, the Spring Green Bike Tour, and has collaborated with Angelic Organics Learning Center, Heifer International, Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP) and other locavoure and slow food advocacy organizations.

Jennifer Sandy became involved with Slow Food Chicago through the preSERVE project, a community garden in North Lawndale.


Reflecting on Senior Project Presentations

Imagination. Community. Independence.

These are all aspects of the Waldorf senior curriculum that were effectively demonstrated during this year’s Senior Project Presentation Week. Students each wrote a research paper, developed an artistic/technical project and gave half-hour public presentations on topics ranging from Australian Aboriginal Art to 3-Dimensional Printing. This integration of both academic learning and practical work allowed them to think imaginatively and to see information in both historical and contemporary aspects.

The auditorium acted as a showcase of creative thinking as attendees could travel back to the summer of 1968 and return to contemporary motorcycles all while listening to the calming drops of water echoing from a green flow form. Meanwhile, the seniors demonstrated confidence while presenting their projects and entertaining questions from the audience.

On a daily basis, students, teachers, families and community members were in attendance, all dedicated to supporting the development of these seniors. It was great to see that the seniors did not shy away from their peers, yet asked them for help in the development of their presentations. They used their families for support in their yearlong endeavors. And, they formed strong relationships with their faculty advisors, the mentors that led them along the way.

Apart from strong support, these students were also able to develop themselves as independent beings that are now ready to be active members of society. They have become experts on food and culture, hypnosis, and the Beatles; and the depth of their knowledge was shared with the community in their presentations. Through research, writing, art and participation, these students were able to develop on their own and guide their way through this process. Some seniors have even developed goals to continue future work according to the topics of their presentations.

Seniors, we thank you for a year of hard work and dedication. Everyone in the audience picked up some unique insights and information thanks to you!

Submitted by Brittany Aller


The Spirit of Support…

This story was just reported from the front office on Wednesday…

Youngest benefactors show their support for faculty.

Yesterday, CWS 1st graders, Madeline Wild & Ella Majeski, found $5.00 on the beach during park time. After consulting with each other and considering all their options, they mutually decided that they wanted to contribute their new found wealth to the Teachers, so they approached Maureen Flannery in the Main Office and asked to donate their money to the Year of the Teacher effort.

We wanted to thank our newest benefactors to the school for their gift and for the smile that their gesture has brought to our lips as we reflect on their generous act of giving.


Building Intentional Community (BIC)

All for One & One for All

“The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of the human soul lives the whole community,
and in the community the strength of the individual human soul is living.” ~Rudolf Steiner

For the last four years BIC (Building Intentional Community) has looked deeply into the social dynamic of bullying, teasing & exclusion to implement practical social inclusion strategies, for building agreement, & furthering communication.

With the guidance of Kim John Payne’s Justice without Blame strategies we have experienced these intense social encounters as a rite of passage – not the absence of peace, but the beginning of it.

Therefore it becomes crucial that conflict is not avoided but channeled. Putting our training into action we recognize that the nature of these encounters can be guided with consciousness & wisdom to bring healing & wholeness.

  • Human beings need a healthy social environment in which to grow and develop.
  • Human beings need to take increasing responsibility for their actions as they grow from childhood into adulthood.

Goals & Actions

  • Provide structure and support for individuals seeking resolution of a conflict.
  • Cultivate the development and practice of conscious, shared agreements that will establish healthy relationships between students, teachers, staff and parents.
  • We are working with the PTO to bring BIC to the ‘Commons on the Corner’ and we hope set up possible outside speakers on topics of Restorative Justice & Social Intelligence;
  • We’ve added a BIC parent member to the Welcoming and Circle of Friends Committee
  • We hope to create an informational DVD on social inclusion with the communications dept.
    Sharing Tips and updates about social inclusion strategies:

  • Announcements will be presented in the school bulletin
  • Faculty members of BIC have presented BIC initiatives at full faculty meetings, and will continue with monthly check-ins
  • We are implementing community surveys to make sure your voice is heard

PACT (Peaceful Action for a Community of Tolerance)
We must strive for a positive learning environment in our school, and as students in the school we will follow this PACT. We want a community where each person is:

  • Listening with acceptance and striving for understanding without judgment.
  • Being interested in each other’s opinions and celebrating the diversity in our school.
  • Taking action and speaking out whenever there is exclusion, gossip, or ridicule.
  • Keeping each other’s confidences.
  • Viewing the teachers as allies, and seeking their help in difficult situations.
  • Practicing forgiveness, and making apologies.
  • Being kind.
  • Speaking our minds while respecting the boundaries, thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Being responsible for the consequences of our speech and actions.

In this environment, we hope everyone will feel free to be themselves and speak their opinions,
honestly, respectfully and with conviction.

Our Indicators of Progress/Success

  • Conflicts are resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner
  • Members of the community feel safe in raising an issue, concern or question. They are willing to ask for help and choose to participate in the social inclusion process.
  • Parents, teachers and staff utilize BIC and PACT for support with social inclusion issues.
  • Members of the community are confident that CWS provides a healthy environment for learning and social development.

In reflecting back on all the work we’ve done over the past three years, our foundation is strong, our purpose clear and in alignment with the mission of CWS, our resolve is engaged as we continue, with your help, to Build Intentional Community.

Rudolf Steiner’s words are especially relevant to this issue of building intentional community with the developing child contributing to and learning in a healthy and happy environment:

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives” —Rudolf Steiner

Submitted by Hazel Lucchesi Ginsberg


Thunder Athletics

From Coach Robb Gill—

Soccer and Track & Field Season Begins

The girls’ soccer team will be playing their first game today at St. Scholastica at 4:30pm Come on out and cheer on the team; 7416 Ridge Blvd. (Map) The girls are looking very good and they are anticipating a solid season.

The boys’ track and field team has started their training. This is the first year for the team, and they are looking forward to the joys and tribulations of being involved in such a physically demanding sport. Look to the bulletin for more reports as their first events approach.