Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Community Profiles

Report From the Admissions Office

Welcome! New Families Join Chicago Waldorf School

We warmly welcome seven new students and their families to the Chicago Waldorf community: Nora Lubin in 11th grade, Robin Huff in 5th grade, Euphemia “Fay-mi” Rough and Adah Dupor in Ms. Culbert’s Blue Bells, Frida Bataller Bailey and Henning Reinprecht in Ms. Votanek’s Rose Garden, and Emory Grider in Ms. Donkel’s Sweet Peas.

Spread the Word! Invite More Families To Our School

Thank you for sharing the wonders of Waldorf education with others. Parents and students are our best ambassadors, and word of mouth is the most effective way to raise awareness about our school. We would greatly appreciate your continued support in expanding and strengthening the 2012-13 applicant pool by sharing your insights and experiences with others.

Please encourage prospective families to ‘experience’ Waldorf by inviting them to a play or community event, and by handing out at least five of our School Tour & Orientation postcards (Upcoming tours are: Jan. 12, Feb. 9, Mar. 15, May 3). We are also offering scholarships to ninth grade applicants. Postcards for the Tours & Orientations and the Class of 2016 Scholarships are available at the Main Office and in the Admissions Office. We are especially seeking applicants for early childhood, first and fifth grades.

With much appreciation,
Lisa Payton & Jennifer Zielinski
Admissions Department


A Letter of Thanks

As part of last year’s Year of the Teacher fundraising at the CWS Gala, new funds have been established to support CWS Faculty’s educational development.

Waldorf German Teacher, Ashley Gambill, reflects on the value of her recent Professional Development Course

“Leave the party while you’re still having fun,” was one of the most fruitful pieces of advice I took away from my Renewal Course about Teaching World Languages with game, song and story. For professional development I traveled this past summer with other language teachers to the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire.

My course was well attended by mostly Waldorf world language teachers encompassing Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Japanese who came from various Waldorf schools throughout the US. Our instructors were two language teachers who, together, had over 40 years of Waldorf education experience. Each day they provided new topics and materials they use in their classrooms, initiated discussion and welcomed our questions. Most importantly, we were all given the opportunity to practice these methods of play, of story-telling and of communication, as both teacher and student, in front of other participants. It was strange how we clung to our notebooks during these moments of free practice so as not to forget any of the new and inventive activities. One game in particular was memorable because of its simplicity (materials included just a chalkboard eraser and group of students) and because it was adaptable to various language levels. We practiced together, each teacher using his or her native language, so it would actually foster a challenge for a German teacher having to listen intently and feel a little pressure (as our students feel) to speak in a foreign language such as Chinese. As the game came to an end, we all were chiming in with ways to continue the game and helpful additions to create further play and learning for our students. Yet, in order to cover all their materials, the instructors had to, with much reluctance, halt our discussion and play by explaining why it is important to “leave the party while you’re still having fun”, as just exampled by our fervent comments, excitement for the game and our yearning for more.

[It challenged me] having to listen intently and feel a little pressure (as our students feel) to speak in a foreign language such as Chinese.

The experience was invaluable to my professional development as a Waldorf language teacher, and the new collegiality and connections will only strengthen my communicative abilities at a school where social interaction is paramount. I even showed-off some of the performance skills of our ever-popular CWS Circus club at the Renewal talent show. At the end of the five days, I felt renewed and rejuvenated, ready for a new school year. This opportunity was all provided for me thanks to the generosity of the parents, CWS staff and attendees at the Gala last March. Thank you all for your continuing support!

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

Rocket Club Alumnus: A Boy and His “Bottle Rocket”

Chicago Waldorf School alumni Jackson Lubin (grade school class of 2011) and current parent Judy Lubin were featured on the Science Channel in a show called Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships. Over Labor Day weekend, Jackson and Judy travelled to Kansas to take part in a national rocket launch and “odd rocket” competition. The challenge of the competition is to turn an ordinary object into a rocket.

Making an “odd rocket” is much more difficult than making a regular rocket; ordinary objects are not meant to fly!

As the main engineer and design expert on the team, Jackson put his skills to the test for this project. The team started with a 5 foot tall, 2 foot wide garbage can & recycling container shaped like a soda bottle. After 10 months of hard work, the finished rocket weighed over 100 pounds and was skillfully engineered to be aerodynamically stable. With the help of 10 pounds of solid rocket fuel, the soda bottle soared to over 4,000 feet and clinched second place in the competition. To learn more information about the project, visit Science Discovery and JLRockets.

Sumbitted by Judy Lubin, Chicago Waldorf School Parent/Rocket Club Advisor / Photo by Sather Ranum

CWS Parent is Protecting Public Transportation

Living in Chicago has many perks. One of our best treasures is the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). It not only provides an efficient mode of travel, it connects communities and enriches lives. Chicago Waldorf School parent and Director of CTA, Forrest Claypool, was recently featured in an article in Grid Chicago unveiling plans to rehab 100 CTA stations over the next year.

“While it’s not a library, a CTA station is an anchor in a community, [the Mayor] said. It touches a neighborhood like almost nothing else in that neighborhood.”

Working with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Claypool has worked hard to make city budget cuts and simultaneously support CTA station improvements because of the positive effects cleaner, brighter stations in good repair can have in the community. Grid Chicago highlights Claypool’s contributions throughout the article and describes how public transportation can equate to more employment, less crime and a cleaner environment. To read the full article and to see if your CTA station will be part of the clean up, please check out the source at Grid Chicago.

High School Beautifys the Rogers Park Neighborhood

During the last two Community Service Days in Spring and Summer, a group of CWS High School students worked on painting a mural at the CTA underpass on Albion and Lakewood. Most of our grade school children, and even some of the Early Childhood students, use this underpass on their way to Albion Beach. The project idea was to paint a mural recreating a forest path in the city. Work continued on the mural over the summer, and the completed portions are ready to be enjoyed by all who pass by.

Enjoy these student-made murals in our neighborhood.

Interested in the project? Contact CWS teacher, Sr. Alberto Correa at

Slide Show of CWS at Pride Parade

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Chicago Waldorf School celebrates at the 42nd Chicago Pride Parade on Sunday June 26th, 2011

CWS Marches in 2011 Chicago Pride Parade

This past Sunday, over 50 CWS parents, faculty, staff, alumni and students from 1st grade through High School donned rainbow capes, facepaint and waved flags and placards as they marched through the center of the city in the 2011 Pride Parade. The spectacular weather swelled spectators to well beyond the 450,000 that were counted at last year’s parade.

Our students enjoyed the enthusiastic support and admiring responses from the crowd that included high-fives and cheering as the students displayed their pride and demonstrated skills such as jumping rope (double-dutch no less), twirling streamers and cheering back to the crowd.

New Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel–who led this year’s parade–visited & chatted with the CWS students.

The CWS Bus (decorated with rainbow banners and signs) and parent marching band accompanied the CWS marchers and made quite an impression on the city of Chicago. The CWS contingent was covered by ABC 7 News, WXRT Radio, Windy City Times and mentioned in numerous other media reporting stories, perspectives and blogsites. As the Windy City Times reported, “PFLAG was as popular as ever, with parents and friends marching along with LGBTs. Nettlehorst and Chicago Waldorf School also marched to great response. Both are [local] schools, showing just how far Pride has come since the 1969 Stonewall protests in New York.”

CWS & Nettlehorst “are showing just how far Pride has come since the 1969 Stonewall protests in New York.”

Overall the students and families had a great experience and were glad to show their support for ALL kinds of families, regardless of their orientation or structural makeup. The LGBT community and the larger city of Chicago opened their arms and welcomed our schools participation in this energizing and historic event along with the CPS Nettlehorst School and Chicago Teachers Union.

Very Special Thanks to:
Jennifer Zielinski- the master event-coordinator and communicator for our parade participants.
Mark Miller, Heath Jansen and Donald McGhee- for creating our new Parent Marching Band.
Brett Johnson (our Development Director’s husband)- for rigging our bus with an excellent sound system to add music to our bus/float.
Carly Garcia & her dad, Carlo- for loaning a generator for powering the sound system.
The Muskovin Family (Naomi & Dru)- for sewing rainbow capes.
The Greenberg Family (Maci & Meka)- for dyeing and painting capes and banners.
Cathey Stamps & Laurie Oswald who travelled all the way from Denver, CO with family to march.
All the families, faculty and staff who participated in this year’s parade!

The parade, now in its 42nd year, celebrates the diversity of Chicago’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender individuals and families. It supports the notion of family in all forms including the significance of LGBT community family members. Chicago Waldorf School is proud to support our LGBT members both within our school community and within the City of Chicago at large.

Take another opportunity to show your school pride in this weekend’s July 4th Parade in Evanston!

Invididuals interested in marching in the July 4th parade should contact Jennifer Zielinski at 773-392-1496.

-submitted by Jason Greenberg
CWS parent & Pride Event Participant

CWS & McGregor Waldorf School, South Africa

When We Care to Share, Wonderful Things Happen

The Care to Share Committee brings this report of a recent collaborative outreach between Waldorf schools. This year the CWS 3rd and 4th graders have been writing notes and sharing photos with their contemporaries in the McGregor Waldorf School in South Africa.

Our students took photos of themselves, their classroom and the Winter’s big snow and sent them with cards and messages to McGregor Waldorf School. Grethe, the teacher of the combined 3rd and 4th grade at McGregor has created a “Chicago Corner” in the classroom for learning and keeping in touch. Simultaneously, our 3rd and 4th grade have created a McGregor School corner filled with photos and cards.

These children are building a bridge across thousands of miles and learning there are differences in their lives but maybe they are not so different in their activities.

Drawings of swimming, soccer and bicycles came from McGregor. Photos of class house building, rondavels, with homemade clay and gardening at school are all familiar. The McGregor Waldorf School created a town parade with giant puppets built from recyclable materials. But, of course, no snow at McGregor; some things are not the same! These four grades will continue to correspond as they grow. Think of the possibilities, maybe an exchange when they are in High School?

Following the Care To Share committee’s successful fund raising at the Holiday Fair, we were able to send $2,000.00 to Grethe. She has used the funds to buy Stockmar paints—which are very expensive there—organize and help with supplies for their pottery class and the class camp, pay for the assessment of four students by an educational psychologist and they have some funds left over for a future project.

Additionally, at the request of Carol Triggiano, we were able to send funds to Pennies for Peace. Check out the information in the front hallway. As well, with the encouragement of Ileana Valencia, we sent funds to Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano, a project of the Highland Support Project.

During the school year the Care to Share Committee has met with teachers, staff, parents as well as the Festivals committee and the Diversity committee, laying groundwork, sharing ideas and brainstorming ideas. Be looking for fun projects next school year as we Care to Share and reach out to build a thriving international Waldorf school.

Questions or ideas, please contact; Laura Donkel,, Margaret McGuire,, or Dru Muskovin,

CWS Parent/Artist Installs Collaborative Art Project

THE WORLD AS TEXT: A Summer Reading Room

A process documented installation directed by John Preus
at Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts / 1104 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite 200

“writerly text is ourselves writing, before the infinite play of the world is traversed, intersected, stopped, plasticized by some singular system (Ideology, Genus, Criticism) which reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages” -Roland Barthes

The Installation will unfold as a process piece. John explains the activity in his own words:

Beginning with 2nd-hand desks, office chairs, and other implements of reading and writing, the Reading Room will be built and designed by a team of students responding to literary terminology, theory and history as a point of departure for building discreet physical objects and environments.

All speech can be considered a form of quotation, more or less successful attempts to authentically inhabit an existing collection of terms, clichés, and ready-to-hand expressions. Imagining the built environment as a set of inscriptions upon an inherited landscape, the Reading Room explores the complex interdependencies of language and form. -John Preus

Click Here to visit the World As Text blogsite

All members of the CWS community are invited to attend the opening and collateral programming:

Thursday, June 16: 5-8PM- Opening Reception

Tuesday, June 21: 6-8PM- Panel Discussion / On Furniture
Is the relationship between art and craft a collusion, a collision, a collaboration or a constellation? Depends on who you ask. For the panelists in On Furniture, unpacking the well-crafted object is at once an intellectual, conceptual and formal project.

With a focus on productive dialogue that addresses this subject from multiple angles, panelists will
address furniture, artists’ books, contemporary craft, designed objects and architecture. Panelists: John Preus, Shannon Stratton, Lane Relyea, others TBA

Saturday, July 16: 3-5- Music
Hear music by John Preus, Matthew Joynt, Theaster Gates, Sarah Lawrence, special guests TBA.

Tuesday, July 19: 6PM- Curator Tour
Led by Jessica Cochran, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs

Readings, performances and panels on topics related to the art and craft of books, the interpretive act of reading and the world as text.

Thursday, June 30: 6-8PM- Panel Discussion
Re-Reading the Artist’s Book, an artists’ book show and tell featuring guest curators.

Birth Announcement

Waldorf Alumnus Adds A New Family Member

We are pleased to announce the birth of Leo Carlos Jacob Chavez, the newborn son of Lara Fickes and Carlos Chavez. Lara was in the third class to graduate from the 8th Grade in the early days of the Chicago Waldorf School. Her mother Liesbeth Fickes taught woodworking to the Chicago Waldorf School children for many years. Leo was born Monday, May 30, at Evanston Hospital. Current CWS parent, Yndri Flannery, was Lara’s doula.

Leo is over 8 pounds and he and mom are doing well. We wish the growing family all the best and welcome Leo to the world.

Attend CWS Parent/Staff Member’s Book Signing

Tunnel into Morning, a Newly Published Poetry Book
Release Party- Wednesday, June 8th at 7:00pm

In the Chicago Waldorf School Lower Eurythmy Room

Join award winning poet Maureen Flannery for a poetry reading, book signing and celebration of her new book, Tunnel into Morning.

This latest book pulls together decades of her work on such diverse topics as child-rearing, love, aging, Ireland, farm life, western land, art, humus, and, of course, death. (Billy Collins says death is what inspires poets to get out of bed in the morning)

Maureen is one of Chicago’s most widely published poets, having had over five hundred poems accepted in several hundred literary publications and anthologies. Her other books include Destiny Whispers to the Beloved, Ancestors in the Landscape (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize), A Fine Line, Remembered into Life, and the anthology Knowing Stones.

Come hear the acclaimed singer and conductor of The Lakeside Singers perform Maureen’s poems (which he has set to music). Enjoy refreshments (chocolate is promised), and hear our own office manager transform into the poet that she is. Children welcome. Inspire the budding writers composers, and singers in your family.

Congratulations to the Snyder Family

Announcement: Welcome Their Newest Addition

Congratulations to Ava Snyder (EC5) and her parents, Marne and Jeremy on the arrival of Owen Blake Snyder. Their beautiful baby boy was born on May 20th at 5:59am weighing 8lbs, 15 oz. Marne and Owen (and the whole family) are doing fine.

Wish them well and ask Ava about her new experiences as a big sister…

Submitted by EC5 Room Parent, Gail Jarrett

CWS Honors Marilyn Keane in Memoriam

Our Heartfelt Sympathies go out to her family, including daughter (& New Leaf owner), Karen Keane

Marilyn a. Keane of Chicago Heights passed away on May 11th, 2011 at St. James Hospital. She was 83 years old, born in Chicago and resided in Hyde Park and South Shore. She was the eldest of seven beloved children of Albert and Harriet Doherty. Marilyn is survived by her three sisters: Jean (Bill) Taaffe, Alice (Jim) Rooney and Eileen Doherty, and her three brothers: Dan, Tim (Barb), and Jim (Cathy) Doherty. She is the beloved mother of Karen, Kevin (Geri) and Brian (Kerry) Kean and the adored grandmother of Michael (Whitney), Jason, Alexandra, and Kaitlyn, as well as great-grandmother to Cole and Brooklyn.

She will be loved and missed by numerous relatives, life-long friends and neighbors. Marilyn’s funeral was held in a Catholic Mass in Chicago Heights on Monday May 16th. Her body will be interred at Assumption Cemetery, Glenwood, IL. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Catholic Charities (info at (708) 754-0016.

We send our support and condolences to her daughter, Karen, who is an important member of the CWS community, the Rogers Park neighborhood, and a good friend to the school.

Congratulations! A Community Profile

James Beard Award for CWS Parent Michael Gebert

CWS parent, Michael Gebert, recently won a James Beard Foundation Award. The Beard Foundation is a highly respected not for profit that recognizes excellence in the culinary arts. Michael’s award is one of the top national awards in the food journalism category. He received this award for his participation in the Chicago Reader’s Key Ingredient chef challenge series. Michael does the video and Julia Thiel writes the pieces in the Chicago Reader. Click here to see the series.

You can read more about the award ceremony at Michael’s blog, Sky Full of Bacon.