Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Faculty Development/Professionalism

Attend the AWSNA Great Lakes Conference

Thursday-Saturday, February 23-25th, 2012

The Minnesota Waldorf School is hosting the 2012 AWSNA Great Lakes Conference. The theme is Building Regenerative Communities and Michael D’Aleo will be returning as the keynote speaker.

The conference is co-sponsored by AWSNA, the Central Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society and the Mid-States Shared Gifting Group of RSF Social Finance. We’ve arranged some very exciting workshops that will be led by John Bloom (RSF Social Finance), Albert Linderman (Theory U), Kathleen Bowen and Leah Walker (Center for Biography and Social Art), Ken Patel (Ecology Democracy Network) as well as Practicing a Holistic/Artistic Approach to the Works of Rudolf
Steiner by CWS’s very own Frances Vig and Michael Holdrege!

See the link below for the brochure for the conference which is also posted on the Minnesota Waldorf School’s website: www.mnwaldorf.org This conference is open to all members of our CWS communities: faculty, staff, board members, parents and friends.

This promises to be a very exciting weekend which we’re hoping will bear much fruit for the future! I hope you’ll be able to attend.

Reduced Registration Fee before January 30th

You can find out more information about the conference by clicking here for the event brochure.

Warmly,

Colleen

Colleen Everhart
Chicago Waldorf School
AWSNA Leadership Council

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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!


Holiday Festivals Schedule

In this active time of the year, there are many opportunities to join with the children, faculty and staff in community and ritual events and celebrations. Please note that you can check the school’s web-based calendar for the most up-to-date information about these festivals.

We invite you to join in this season by celebrating with us to appreciate the values that we hold dear as a community. Here is a brief overview of upcoming events:

Festival of Lights Season

These festivals, presented in series, remind us of the light shining within each individual in the midst of the encroaching darkness of the season. School begins each Monday morning with a silent assembly that honors the power of light and community. These assemblies are not appropriate for children younger than 1st grade. All those attending are asked to enter in silence.

1st Festival of Light

Monday, Nov. 28, 8:15am, Auditorium
A peaceful, candle-lit celebration, for ages 3 & up. Parents are welcome to attend.

Winter Spiral

Tuesday, Nov. 29, Auditorium Stage
EC, 1st, 2nd, 8th & 12th grades – classes take turns throughout the day journeying through the spiral. Evening spiral will be open to the community, for ages 3 and up.

A Waldorf tradition made up of a simple pathway of pine boughs leading to a candle in the center. This is a way of experiencing the time of year through movement and reflection. As students take individual turns walking a path into and out of the center of the spiral a candle apple is placed on a star to illuminate the new pathway. Teachers tell stories, and quiet music is played.

Chicago Waldorf School Holiday Fair

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10:00am-5:00pm, throughout the school
This school fair is open to the entire community, friends and neighbors, for all ages.

Join in a day-long festival including:
Live Music & Entertainment • Candle Dipping • Unique Artisan Vendors • Jump Rope Making • Crafts for All Ages • Games & Raffle Prizes • Handmade Holiday Greenery • Photo Portraits • Mouthwatering Food & Fresh Baked Goods • Children’s House & Puppet Show (for wee ones)

2nd Festival of Light

Monday, Dec. 5, 8:15am, Auditorium
11th grade eurythmy, for ages 3 & up. Parents are welcome to attend.

A Visit from Saint Nicholas & Rupert

Tuesday, Dec. 6 – to the 1st & 2nd grade classrooms
In Early Childhood, Saint Nicholas & Rupert leave treats in the children’s shoes but do not go into the classrooms to visit. But the 1st and 2nd graders not only get treats but also get a visit from these moral arbiters. This intentional focus is because children of this age do not have a well developed ability to self-reflect. It is the outside conscience that helps makes clear what is right and wrong. In this ritual, Saint Nicholas reads from his “Golden Book” and proffers sage admonitions to the children on how to act kindly and positively. As a model of the id and superego, in this tradition Saint Nicholas is the embodiment of the higher well developed self, whereas Rupert is a non-human, undeveloped, lower self who is very mischievous, offensive, and self-absorbed when left on his own.

Santa Lucia– 3rd Festival of Light

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 8:15am, Auditorium
2nd grade will be offering their Santa Lucia processional at the Festival of Light, for ages 3 & older. Parents are welcome to attend.

Based on the Swedish tradition honoring Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) this candle-lit processional celebrates the gift of light in the time of darkness. Lucia’s name is derived from lux, lucis “light,” as she is the patron saint of those who are blind. The Second Graders will bring a beautiful gift of song and candlelight to the community. We have sometimes shared our Lucia celebration with community organizations like the Swedish American Museum. This integrates with the 2nd grade curriculum which usually includes stories of the saints.

Winter Music Festival

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7:00pm, in the CWS Auditorium
Musical offerings from students and faculty to the community, for 1st grade and older. Parents are welcome to attend.

As a gift from our students, to our community, this song-filled event is a fun and beautiful evening of music and choral entertainment. The music program builds toward this opportunity for the students to sing en masse in varied groups, rounds and other choral arrangements. Traditional and holiday-themed songs are presented to paint the spirit of the season.

Chanukah

Wednesday, Dec. 21, studied/celebrated in the CWS classrooms.
Chanukah is also a festival of light and many classes observe the event, its ritual and its history with story, song, and the lighting of the menorah. The Jewish festivals are especially celebrated in the grade school along with studies of the Hebrew Bible in the 3rd grade class curriculum.

4th Festival of Light

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 8:15am, Auditorium
As a culmination of the season allowing community reflection upon returning from Winter break, the 11th grade presents a eurythmy performance for ages 3 & older. Parents are welcome to attend.


The Gift of Teacher Development

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.

High School Art Teacher, David Dozier, reflects on the value of his recent Professional Development Workshops

“Since I teach full time for CWS, and also teach on Saturdays for Arcturus half the year, I don’t have much down time for my own artwork (except during faculty meetings when as a habit I’ll admit that I sometimes draw ‘stealth portraits’ of my colleagues). I rely mostly on the summer months for my artistic development, usually working outdoors on landscapes in oil and pastel.

Landscapes are wonderful, but working from the human form is the cornerstone of drawing, painting and sculpture. It’s been over two years since I was able to work from the human model on a regular basis. Through the gift of the Teacher Development funds, I attended an eight-week workshop at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio in Chicago over the summer. It allowed me to reconnect to the special and sustained process of working on drawing of a live professional model, who held the same pose for a total of 24 hours! Thanks to this fund, I will be able to take more workshops this year to develop my teaching experience and hone my artistic skills.

As a teacher it’s essential not only that I grow, and that I am developing my own skills, but that I can work in a situation where I can feel as challenged as the high school students must feel when I set an assignment before them.

< One of David’s portrait drawings from the workshop

Portrait drawing is taught in the ninth grade during the Black & White drawing block. Since art isn’t an elective at CWS–but a core block–I need to remember what a challenge it can be for our students to draw. Some of them come to me convinced that, ‘…they could never draw like that!’ or, ‘…I’m the worst artist in my class.’ I’m happy to report that when someone learns to do something they previously believed to be unobtainable, it builds self-confidence in a unique way.

I want to thank the many parents in our school community who made this summer workshop possible for me through their generous contributions to Teacher Development funds in last Spring’s Gala. Should you want to learn more about the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio, please visit their website for course descriptions and their history.”

Submitted by: David A. Dozier, High School Art Teacher


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.