Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Grade School News

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.

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Waldorf School’s Michaelmas Celebration

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Students Perform Slaying of the Dragon

Chicago Waldorf School grade school, middle school and high school students gathered on September 29th, 2011 to celebrate the Festival of Michaelmas. Often called the festival of “strong will,” the community celebrates Michaelmas as marking the initiation of personal reflection. The festival is named for the archangel Michael, the protector of humanity, who inspires qualities of courage, initiative and steadfastness.

The students enjoyed a full day of festivities which included a performance by the Midwest Eurythmy Group, telling the story of St. George and the Dragon, a discussion on the life of Rudolf Steiner and a school-wide participatory Dragon Pageant. The day concluded with multiple bonfires for the individual grades at Albion beach.

These wonderful photos captured by CWS parent, Craig Lewandowski


Janet Oliver- The Eight Primary Reflexes

Full Day Workshops: Sat & Sun, November 5th & 6th

A former Montessori Pre-school teacher, with a Masters in Human Development and over a decade of clinical experience, Janet Oliver will present a workshop on the eight primary reflexes and their development and integration. Primary reflexes are instinctual movement patterns which help us to survive. These include the finger grasp reflux of a newborn or the startle ‘Moro’ reflex of a baby. They are not meant to last a lifetime, but rather organically integrate into our central nervous system. Children and adults who still retain elements of these reflexes can be frustrated because they are constantly being subverted by interfering instinctual responses. These reflexes may affect a person’s learning, behaviors, and well being.

This workshop is for any parent who would like insight into their child’s neurological development.

Janet L. Oliver has been in private, clinical practice in neurodevelopment and reflex integration for thirteen years. As a certified HANDLE Practitioner, her passion is in sharing the sensory motor developmental model for lifelong learning and efficient functioning. She works with public, Waldorf and Montessori Schools for teacher trainings and helping students with developmental delays.

The Janet Oliver workshop will take place at the Chicago Waldorf School in the Upper Eurythmy room. It is designed to assist body workers, occupational and physical therapists, teachers, parents and caregivers. Follow this link for the registration form for this workshop. For more information, please contact CWS Educational Support Teacher Cynthia Trevillion.


Farm, Orchard and Pie, Oh My!

The 5th grade celebrated the first day of autumn with a trip to a farm and an orchard. In connection with our study of botany, we travelled to Susanna Farms in Lake Villa where the students practiced their orienteering skills in a corn maze, viewed varied habitats on a hay ride pulled by an antique tractor, learned some animal husbandry, and were able to pet and observe active racehorses. Farmer Lauri shared her failures and successes using purely organic farming methods. Each child was able to take home a small pumpkin. Her farm welcomes the public and offers a Haunted Hayride from dusk until 10 p.m. the last three weekends in October.

5th graders observe the cycle of fruit from tree to plate!

After the farm, the group headed south to Heinz Orchard in Green Oaks where proprietor Anthony taught us about bee husbandry. We learned how apple trees are propagated and tended. The students picked delicious empire apples that became the key ingredient to our homemade pies. Heinz Orchard is a family run, low spray orchard that is another great family field-trip destination. On Saturday, Jeff McCullough, parent of Will, taught students the art of baking pie crusts from scratch! The class then shared our bounty with the social services Kovler Center on Albion Avenue.

Submitted by 5th grade teacher, Karen Hartz


CWS 5th Grader performs Verdi’s “Otello” at Chicago Symphony Center & Carnegie Hall

Hear CWS 5th grader, Ultra-Violet Archer sing with the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concert performing Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Otello, at:

Chicago’s Symphony Center, April 7, 9 & 12
New York’s Carnegie Hall, April 15-17

Ultra-Violet Archer has always loved to sing. Even before she was born she experienced drum circles and musical jams from the womb. Parent-Child classes and the Waldorf curriculum reinforced her musical home life. When she was 8 years old she asked CWS Music Director Jeff Spade to give her voice lessons and he recommended she try out for the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) since they use a very ‘Waldorfian’ approach to music.

At the CCC’s neighborhood choir level, boys and girls learn proper vocal technique, music reading and sight singing skills, as well as the discipline of singing with musicality, movement, and expression. Singers are offered numerous performance opportunities to exhibit the diverse repertoire reflecting the multicultural mission of Chicago Children’s Choir.

The CCC has neighborhood choirs all around the city. Ultra-Violet attends the one in Rogers Park that is close to school. (4th graders, Ford Walters and Sylvan Hartshorn-Bunis are part of that choir). Neighborhood choirs are for singers in 3rd grade through high school; they rehearse twice a week throughout the school year and perform several times during the year and sometimes take a short tour in the spring.

After several call backs Ultra-Violet was selected from over a thousand children to be part of the performance.

Through the CCC, Ultra-Violet was offered an opportunity to audition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) production of Verdi’s Otello with guest Maestro Riccardo Muti. After several call backs Ultra-Violet was selected from over a thousand children to be part of the performance.

Based on Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello, Verdi’s opera revolves around four central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army; his wife Desdemona; his lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted ensign Iago. This is Verdi’s penultimate opera; it was nearly never written, since the composer had gone into retirement following the success of Aida. But librettist Arrio Boito and Verdi’s publisher convinced the composer to write the opera, and Otello received its premiere at La Scala in Milan in 1887.

You can read more about the CSO & CCC’s Otello here.
Come see Ultra-Violet and the CCC perform with the CSO. Get Tickets Here

Fifty two years ago during the Civil Rights Movement, the late Christopher Moore founded the multiracial, multicultural Chicago Children’s Choir at Hyde Park’s First Unitarian Church. He believed that youth from diverse backgrounds could better understand each other—and themselves— by learning to make beautiful music together. The Choir currently serves 2,800 children, ages 8 – 18 through choirs in 45 schools and after school programs.


Welcome! Two New Families Join Our School

We are delighted to welcome two new students and their families to the Chicago Waldorf School community: Ewan Rasmussen will be joining the 3rd grade and Kristin Kornberg, a guest student from Norway, will be joining the 10th grade.


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!


Currently in the Classroom

Here is a preview of this month’s curriculum blocks being covered in the grade school.

1st Grade- Szymanski Arithmetic
2nd Grade- Poole Arithmetic
3rd Grade- Shortridge Arithmetic: Measurement, Time & Money
4th Grade- Petersen Arithmetic
5th Grade- Sullivan Ancient Greece & North American Geography
6th Grade- Triggiano Physics with Brian Gleichauf
7th Grade- Trevillion Chemistry & Algebra
8th Grade- Hartz 8th Grade Play

Join the 2011 Circus Club!

CIRCUS CLUB 2011 begins next week.

Now you can join the circus without running away from home! Join the Waldorf Circus Club with your friends, right here in our own gymnasium…

Registration is still open to Chicago Waldorf School families. Circus Club is open to grades 3-12. All classes (except Advanced) are from 3:00-5:00PM and the entire program runs from March – May.

Mondays 3:00-5:00pm (Begins March 7)
Classes will be taught by Actor’s Gymnasium staff. Students in grades 3-12 students will stretch, tumble and be introduced to the Spanish Web, trapeze, silks and more.

Tuesdays 3:00-5:00pm (Begins March 8 )
Groundwork skills such as tumbling, juggling, unicycle, spinning plates, acrobatics/balancing and clowning. Taught by Meshu Tamrat and Andrea Shaffer; new this year: Advanced Jump Rope Tricks taught by Ashley Gambill.

Tuesdays – Advanced Session 5:00-6:30pm (Begins March 8 )
Danger Hour – for students interested in tumbling, sports acrobatics and break dance
Advanced Aerial – for students with previous experience and the desire to work one-on-one with an
aerialist to develop a routine. Students in the advanced class can work on both ground and aerial elements and will perform either at the Big Show or during the MAY FAIR, or both.

Fridays 3:00-5:00pm (Begins March 11)
Classes will be taught by Actor’s Gymnasium staff. Students in grades 3-12 students will stretch, tumble and be introduced to the Spanish Web, trapeze, silks and more.

The BIG Show: A Public Performance (Friday, May 27th at 6:00pm)
All students will perform in a show on Friday, May 27th. On that day, students will stay
after school for a dress rehearsal and will be fed dinner, and then will perform in the show.

What will you need?
Students should come to each class prepared. They should have a snack in their lunch (students will not be permitted to go to New Leaf after school) and should have appropriate clothing. Clothing should be stretchy, and not baggy. T-shirts, leotards, sweatpants, shorts and leggings are all appropriate. Students will be in socks or barefoot most of the time.

Enroll in Circus Club Now!
Space is limited and enrollment will be on a first come/first served basis. Those with questions
should contact Ms. Shaffer at ashaffer@chicagowaldorf.org or at 773.465.2662 x8323. Thanks!


Class Field Trips

Class field trips are an integral component of the Waldorf class curriculum. They allow for the direct observation, participation and immersion that is the hallmark of education by DOING.

Here are just a few examples of this year’s field trips…

The 2nd grade will be traveling to Glastonbury Farm on June 1, 2, & 3rd to learn about herbs, goat’s milk and animals in a farm setting.

The 3rd grade will visit the Angelic Organics Farm to learn about Community-Supported Agriculture and roll up their sleeves to participate in Biodynamic Farming.

The 4th grade just returned from their visit to Camp Edwards where they studied animal tracks and habitats and enjoyed the invigorating winter landscape with ice skating and sledding activities.

The 5th grade will be competing in athletic events with numerous other students from Mid-western region Waldorf Schools in the Pentathlon that is hosted annually in Heartland, Wisconsin.

Consult with your teacher and room parents to learn the details of your child’s class field trip. Volunteer parent chaperones are usually needed for each class trip.