Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Guest Speaker/Presentation

PTO Sponsored Events for January

Window Into the Waldorf World

Saturday, January 28 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Register Now for these weekend workshops at the Chicago Waldorf School

Want to experience a day in the life of a Waldorf student? Become a student!

Explore what our children experience every day when they enter Chicago Waldorf School. Learn about the Industrial Revolution, Color Exploration, and the approach to creative uses of Technology within Waldorf Education. Experience a lesson in Physics, German, Singing and much more. Get to know Chicago Waldorf teachers by asking questions and engaging in dialogues. Become a student for a day! Mingle with other parents and strengthen your community ties.

Curious about “what’s ahead” for your child?
See for yourself!

Parents are welcome to attend one educational session or stay for the whole day. Online registration will be made available for individual sessions with limited seating. On-site childcare is an option for an affordable fee.

8:30-9:00 Auditorium/ Registration & Social Time
9:00-9:30 Auditorium/ Singing with Jeff Spade
9:30-9:45 Auditorium/ Introductions to the day’s events

Session 1: (10:00-11:30)
Auditorium/ EC Winter Circle
Physics Room across the street/ John Trevillion, Brian Gleichauf, Jim Kotz
2nd grade classroom/ Nancy Szymanski
North Handwork Room/ Nancy Matson
1st grade classroom/ Lara Brackett

Session 2: (11:45-1:15)
Auditorium/ EC Winter Circle
Physics Room across the street/ John Trevillion, Brian Gleichauf, Jim Kotz
Gymnasium/ Claude Driscoll
English Room/ Diane Meinke

Lunch 1:15-2:00

Session 3: (2:00-3:30)
English Room/ Diane Meinke
1st grade classroom/ Lara Brackett
North Handwork Room/ Nancy Matson
6th grade classroom/ Ileana Valencia

3:45-4:30 Lower Eurythmy Room/ Closing Question and Answer Session

Please Reserve your Space Now

For additional information please contact PTO Community Education Lead, Lisa Rekstad.
We also welcome submissions for future parent education event ideas.


Parent Education Evening: Meeting the Adolescent through the Middle School Curriculum

For parents who want to learn what makes the middle school years (grades 6, 7 & 8) different from the early grades. Please attend:

Wednesday, February 8th, 7:00-9:00 pm

In the Lower Eurythmy Room

This evening will provide parents with a developmental picture of the adolescent and describe how the academic, artistic and practical arts curriculum prepares and inspires students for more advanced levels of inquiry and analysis.

This event will create a forum for dialogue and provides answers to parent questions about the strengths of our middle school program. Many age relevant issues will be addressed including: How do Waldorf schools understand and approach technology in Middle School? How do the changes in adolescence effect students’ learning, socializing and emotional interactions? How does the curriculum meet these developmental needs? How does the Middle School curriculum prepare students for High School? These are the kinds questions we will explore in dialogue after being presented with examples of school lessons in distinct presentations from John Trevillion, 8th grade teacher, and Brian Gleichauf, high school science teacher.

Rudolf Steiner encourages teachers, in Physics instruction, to show the link between scientific knowledge acquired through experimentation and its technical applications in the modern world. Mr. Trevillion and Mr. Gleichauf will demonstrate and discuss a series of experiments that explore the invention and demonstration of engines and that are a theme introduced in the 8th grade (as external combustion steam engines) and picked up again in curriculum that has continuity in 9th grade Thermal Physics (with internal combustion engines).

Parents will have ample time for Q & A and discussions about the transitions into Middle School—and then into High School—curriculum.

For more information about this parent education evening please contact
Katherine Rogers at or Lisa Payton at

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Agent of Change

Mention Martin Luther King, Jr.’s name to anyone walking down the street and you’ll often hear a similar theme—he was a powerful force that fought for equality and justice. Ask a 5th grader from my mother’s class (she’s a teacher) in a rough socioeconomic neighborhood just outside of Detroit and you’ll hear themes of inspiration, hope, and role model. An 11-year old boy told my mother that King gives him hope that the world will continue to change for the better; his work inspires him to be respectful and act with dignity toward all human beings. Powerful words from an 11-year old boy who doesn’t know if he’ll be in the same home each week. He clings to the lessons learned from King’s struggle and attempts to remain a positive change agent within his own family and community.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

Festival: Join CWS on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, January 13th, 2pm in the school auditorium

Born in January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergymen and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Using nonviolent methods such as peaceful marches and sit-ins to seek equality and justice for all human beings, he challenged American society, desiring to put an end to racial segregation and discrimination. He also worked to end poverty and war through education. King continues to be a powerful force 44 years after his assassination. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday established in 1986, is more than a day off from school or work. It is meant to commemorate the sacrifice that King and his family made to secure freedom, justice and a higher quality of life for all mankind.

To celebrate King’s life and work for human rights, Chicago Waldorf School is celebrating King with a special assembly organized by the Inclusion and Diversity Committee (IDC) on Friday, January 13th in the school auditorium. Special reflections and musical offerings will be performed by students and faculty. This year’s theme comes from a letter written by Dr. King while he was imprisoned in a Birmingham jail. In it he wrote:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The entire school community is invited to attend and share in this school-wide event. This assembly is appropriate for children over 6 years in age.

Submitted by: Lori Browder, Marketing Volunteer Photo from

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.

Canamac Productions Presents “Defamation” at CWS

Monday Oct 24th at 1:30pm

Performed for 9-12th grades
in the CWS auditorium

Defamation, written by Todd Logan, is a take-no-prisoners drama exploring the timely issues of race, class, and religion. In the play, Regina Wade, an African American businesswoman from Chicago’s south side, sues Arthur Golden, a Jewish real estate developer from Winnetka, for defamation. And there’s a twist: the AUDIENCE IS THE JURY. This compelling play offers a fresh approach to generate constructive dialogue about the ways we continue to be divided along the deeply personal, highly charged issues of race, class and religion, as well as how they impact the legal system.

“In a speech in February 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder made the ‘controversial’ comment that in spite of Obama’s election there continues to be a serious racial divide in America. I believe Holder is right,” said Logan. “For several years I’ve been trying to write a play that deals with the question ‘what does it really say about ourselves about where we go to bed at night?’ I finally found a dramatic way into the subject through a story about a professional African American woman, a successful Jewish businessman and a watch.”

This event is open to all members of the CWS community and our neighbors, the students and faculty from the Global Citizenship Experience High School who will be joining us for the play and interactive discussion sessions. This Fall, Defamation is on tour throughout the Chicagoland area. For more information, visit their website

This event is sponsored by the CWS Inclusion & Diversity Committee. In partnership with the Global Citizenship Experience High School. If you would like more information about the Inclusion & Diversity Committee contact Jennifer Zielinski at

PTO Sponsored Events for September

Commons on the Corner

Fridays at 8:10am in the Parent-Child Room

The Parent-Child Room is located at street-level #1301 on the SW corner of Loyola & Lakewood.

We’re starting the school year off with three Commons on the Corner events!
Join us in the Parent/Child room on Friday mornings after drop-off for a coffee klatch and discussion sessions with these excellent speakers:

SEPTEMBER 16th: Lattes with Luke
CWS Administrative Director

Our own Administrative Director, Luke Goodwin, will ring in September with an introduction to the new school year. Luke often hosts Commons on the Corner sessions to answer any questions you might have or discuss the latest topics and projects relevant to the school’s operations and initiatives. Find out about upcoming events, or ask questions about specific issues. Luke offers an open door and attentive ear to all members of our community for focused discussion.

SEPTEMBER 23rd: Making Healthy Lunches with Kim Lutz

Kim Lutz is the author of Welcoming Kitchen. With food allergies, sensitivities, and restrictions becoming increasingly common, creating a welcoming kitchen—a place where friends and family can all come together and share a meal—has become a challenge. Kim will share her expertise in serving delicious, nutritious meals that everyone can enjoy.

SEPTEMBER 30th: Vermicomposting with Stephanie Davies

Create your own home composting program with guidance and tips from an experienced expert. Community educator, entrepreneur, author, and health care professional, Davies revels in the wisdom of the red wiggler composting worm. As the founder of Urban Worm Girl, she educates the urban community about the ease and benefits of recycling kitchen waste by composting with worms. You’ve always wanted to start vermicomposting, so come and learn how easy, clean, and virtually odorless it is. Come and do the worm!

For more information about these PTO events, and to RSVP, please contact PTO communication lead, Kelly Aaron at

Creating a Rich, Conducive and Protected Space for a Child’s Development

Kim John Payne’s Perspective on Raising Children with Awareness for Age-Appropriate Exposure

How does the growing child interact with society’s ever increasing complexity? As consumerism, media, advertising and communication networks get faster and more fragmented, the onslaught of information can have a strong detrimental effect on a child’s development.

Kim John Payne offers an essential model of how parents can reclaim rich and productive space for childhood experience by simplifying and reducing the amount of toys, books and clutter; establishing rhythms and rituals for family experience and interactions; care-taking the space for attention and connection within families; and limiting the distractions and complications of mainstream media that often lead to over-stimulation and anxiety. His book Simplicity Parenting has been an influential cornerstone for many families trying to strengthen and streamline their children’s lives and protect the developmental focus and needs of kids as they grow.

Here Kim John Payne reflects on the question “What is appropriate exposure for my child?”

A consultant and trainer to over 110 U.S. independent and public schools, Kim John Payne, M.ED, has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for twenty seven years. He regularly gives key note addresses at international conferences for educators, parents, and therapists and runs workshops and training’s around the world. In each role, he has been helping children, adolescents and families explore issues such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem and the vital role living a balanced simple life brings.

Sally Fallon Morell headlines Family Farmed Expo

Join Sally Fallon Morell for a full day at the FamilyFarmed EXPO on Saturday, March 19.

Including her 3 hour workshop:NOURISHING TRADITIONAL DIETS: The Key to Vibrant Health.

Sally will discuss how animal fats, properly prepared whole grains, enzyme-enriched foods and nourishing bone broths kept our ancestors healthy. Her presentation begins with an explanation of Dr. Weston Prices unforgettable photographs of healthy traditional peoples.

Sally will also explain the underlying factors in a variety of traditional diets that conferred beauty, strength and complete freedom from disease on so-called primitive populations. Other workshops that day include food preservation, making cheese, year round gardening, shopping local and organic on a budget, whole animal consumption, and raising chickens in your backyard.

The EXPO also includes cooking demos from some of Chicago’s top chefs, plus over 100 exhibits.

Tickets for the full day are $35 including Sally’s workshop. For more information, go to the Family Farmed Expo webpage

The FamilyFarmed EXPO is the Midwest’s leading Good Food event. Thursday and Friday include a financing conference and trade show focusing on growing the good food movement, farms and businesses. Click here for more information about the entire three day event.

Douglas Gerwin on Cultivating Imagination

Root, Shoot, and Fruit:
Cultivating Imagination in Childhood & Adolescence

Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 pm

A Presentation for parents and friends
by Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, Wilton, NH

Children typically go through three major phases along the path of their development, starting with birth and early childhood, passing through the elementary years, and culminating with puberty and adolescence. During each of these developmental phases they learn in radically different ways, partly for reasons of their changing physiology––including the maturation of the brain––and partly because of their burgeoning inner life.

A Waldorf program responds to these inner and outer changes by helping children unfold their nascent capacities. Chief of these is the imagination as a faculty of cognition. Imagination can be trained to perceive truth and reality just as effectively as rational intellectuality. Out of childhood imagination, cultivated in the lower school, arise in the high school teenager those crucial abilities to weigh, to assess, and to arrive at truth.

Through examples drawn from the artistic as well as the academic curriculum, we will explore in a practical way what it means to learn “from the inside of things” rather than to be instructed about them from the outside.

Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, has taught history, literature, German, music, and life science at the Waldorf high school level since 1983. He presently divides his time between adult education and teaching in various North American Waldorf schools. Douglas is the founder of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program at the Center for Anthroposophy and editor of several books related to Waldorf education.

Understanding the Nuances of Pluralism…

Pluralism & Multiculturalism: What Does it Mean for Our School?
The Diversity Committee invited Lusanda Mayikana, Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs and a member of the English Department at Lake Forest Academy to present and lead a roundtable discussion regarding issues of diversity at our school. Dean Mayikana spoke and facilitated a broad discussion on January 20, first dialoguing with the Faculty and Staff at their weekly meeting, then returning to speak to the larger community that evening. The discussion centered on exploring and analyzing the topics of pluralism and multiculturalism, appreciating their importance in our children’s education and learning how to incorporate a comprehensive and open-minded perspective to issues of difference in our community. Definitions of stasis and “tolerance” were identified as commonplace but unproductive relationships. In a memorable phrase from the discussion, it was commented upon that our community would benefit from a stance of “being comfortable with being uncomfortable” in our efforts to make connections that may put us outside of the comfort zones that are pre-established in the status-quo tolerance of multi-culturalism.

Please contact Jennifer Zielinski, Chair of the Diversity Committee, at or 773.828.8468 if you would like to join future meetings and discussions regarding these issues.

Lusanda Mayikana is the Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs and a member of the English Department at Lake Forest Academy. She holds an MA in English Education from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and an MA in English from Middlebury College. She earned her BA, BEd and a Higher Education Diploma (Postgraduate) from the University of South Africa. Before coming to LFA, Ms. Mayikana was a fellow in the African American Studies and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.