Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Archive for December, 2011

Using The Influence of Social Networks

If the video doesn’t show properly in your browser, click here to view its source.

What the CWS Community Offers Us…

The Increasing influence and benefit of social networks manifest in both social & digital realms.

Click Here to visit the NEW CWS Facebook Page

Once there click on the “Like” button to the right of the title.

Dear CWS Friends, Families, and Community Members-

As this thought-provoking lecture by Nicholas Christakas shows, inter-connectivity has a value in empowering individuals and strengthening their ability to assimilate information, aid their health and even create new social experiences.

In a very literal way, our community can strengthen our psychological well-being and our lived experience. Just see the other articles in this week’s bulletin about the Holiday Fair and the Festival of Lights Season to get a sense of the value of our school’s families and friends as a deep resource for enhancing your life. And to support and strengthen our community we are asking that you stay connected to CWS via our Facebook page and other online forums.

As we all head off to far-flung places, or stay here at home for the Winter break,

If you are already a member of Facebook, the like button will connect some of our posts with your network. If you are not yet a member, please use this opportunity to sign-up for Facebook and join the CWS Facebook page, so you can receive our stream of activities information.

And we appreciate any help that you can give us by simply suggesting to your Facebook community to find and “Like” us on Facebook as well. We will update the Facebook site as frequently as possible. As a newly active social media resource, please feel free to leave comments or CWS related activities postings on the new CWS Facebook page.

Finally thanks for “Liking” us, promoting us to your online community networks and being a part of our networked community both online and off!

-Jason Greenberg
CWS Marketing & Communications Director


Holiday Fair: Feel the Warmth of Our Community…

Join us for a wonderful holiday celebration that is sure to be a favorite with your family.

Chicago Waldorf School’s 2011 Holiday Fair features unique vendors, fabulous food, candle dipping, crafts & activities, handmade holiday greenery for sale, a raffle (with a ticket included with each paid admission), puppet plays, a chess & game room, an alumni room for our CWS graduates. Look for old favorites including the Care to Share room, Waldorf Recycled (for gently used natural toys and items) and the always-popular Children’s House special treasures just for the little ones.

Holiday Fair Entertainment

11:00am Capoeira Performance with Rhea Yap

CWS students Eli Miller, Noah Teague and Morgan Reesh will be among the performers in this energetic mix of dance, performance and martial arts that is guaranteed to get you excited if not downright dizzy. Audience members will be invited onstage to try capoeira afterwards.

12:00pm African Drumming Class w/ Instructor Ernest Kinnison

High school students Gabrielle, Jenna, Quin, Claudia, Nora, Natalie, Jimmy, Mataline and Caroline
will be performing traditional African drumming. Wait til you feel the rhythms through your body. The huge sound of the drums will infiltrate your limbs, heart, and mind until you can’t sit still!

1:00pm Bass Clef Bandits w/Brendan Finucane

Six CWS strings students Olivia, Liam, Marci, Leo, Zane and Jessica are the Bass Clef Bandits with their CWS music instructor, Brendan Finucane. See what the mighty musical lessons have wrought from these enterprising and talented young musicians.

2:00pm The CWS All Dads Band

A “rock star” group of Waldorf Dads (Adam King, Heath Jansen, Joe Dennis, Matthew Zumann, Mike Rowe, Mark Miller & Tom McCarthy) take the stage to share pop & rock tunes, seasonal favorites and who knows what they surprise us with next? Spontaneous dancing has been known to break out amongst the crowd.

3:00pm Miss Aimee Leigh

CWS auntie, Aimee Cousineau will grace our stage and share her repertoire of quirky, caring and fun original kids favorites songs including Be True to You Teeth, My Brother the Pirate and Hey, Lunch Lady! and more. Especially great for the Early Childhood crowd; dancing will likely be involved.

4:00pm Holiday Fair Raffle

Come find out if you are the one who wins a week-long stay at a beautiful 40 acre brick farmhouse, tickets to a Cubs Game, YOGA lessons, Tea for Two at the Drake Hotel and more!

Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition!
Chicago Waldorf School is located at 1300 W Loyola Ave in Rogers Park just a block west of the Loyola Red Line L stop

Technology: Hinderance or Help to Creative Learning?

Waldorf Schools are getting a lot of national media attention these days as the leaders in a growing trend in education for a sensible approach to limiting technology exposure to younger children. A recent Sunday New York Times front-page article profiling a Waldorf school in the heart of Silicon Valley promoting this perspective has sparked a nation-wide debate over the role of technology and its value in educational institutions. (Note: links require you register–for free–with the New York Times for e-reading their articles.)

Since their founding over 90 years ago, Waldorf Schools have always subscribed to a “limited and developmentally-ready” approach to using technological tools–and now digital media–in the school environment. This means in more recent years a “restricted media” policy for the pre-K, kindergarten and early grades and an absence of computers, laptops, smart media devices, pop-culture media imagery, videos and other digital media in classrooms (until computers are introduced in age-appropriate High School classes).

Studies of technology in the classroom have not produced compelling evidence of it being an enhancement to learning, and many schools relying on media and technology aids have show a stagnation of test scores and other performance metrics. The Waldorf approach to restricting media and technology is based on many research supported studies that show that physical movement, social interactions and activities of independent self-authorship with manual, artisanal, and traditional forms of communication, creative expression and interaction provide the most invigorating and engaging learning environments and have distinct benefits on child development and learning.

Finally, Greg Simon, a Waldorf parent, succinctly expressed this view in a letter to the New York Times saying:

As one of my favorite Waldorf teachers has written, “Waldorf is a choice that earnest parents have made, parents who have confidence in technology, who see it as part of their children’s future, but who feel that the natural creative and imaginative capacities of children can best be developed through an immediate connection with nature, art, storytelling, movement, music and drama.” Case in point: My own Waldorf-educated son is graduating with a degree in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania this year…There will be plenty of technology later in children’s lives. Why not let them begin life experiencing the magic of the world and their own imagination rather than holding a mouse and watching electronic magic unfold before them?

– Letter to the Editor, NYT, Oct 27, 2011

See this latest coverage of this debate from NBC Nightly News. You can either click on the image to the right or follow this link to view the MSNBC news broadcast.

The networks are clamoring to cover the Waldorf School in this ongoing news story.

(Monday Dec 5th)…and now this just added: CBS News has also profiled Waldorf Schools and their “news-making” approach to technology. See the CBS2 News broadcast at this link or click on the video image below.

In it Waldorf English teacher, Deborah Newlen–reflecting on the Waldorf human interaction-centered perspective–says, “A computer is a good tool, its a fun toy, it can even be a tutor, but its NOT a teacher.” Interestingly, the news anchors at the start of the piece are calling this a movement that has “gone retro,” not realizing that this has been a consistent core value of the Waldorf education for nearly the last 100 years. This model has withstood the test of time because it works.

And here is another NBC News profile that has interviews with Waldorf students and teachers talking about their views on the value of technology and its place outside of the classroom.

It matters not if the debate of the value of computers and hi-tech in education is unresolved as long as the desired learning outcomes are clear, and as these students demonstrate, they are confident in their education. The interview ends with a student making a compelling point that “Waldorf is the future for education. Because Waldorf really focuses on skills that we’re going to need for the 21st century, skills like analytical thinking, creative thinking, and having imagination…” – Jack Pelose, Waldorf student