Community Events to engage the head, heart, & hands

Waldorf Education

Come see the 6th Grade Play this Saturday!

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (A Medieval Tale)

Saturday, January 14th at 7:00 pm, Auditorium

The 6th grade class will be performing Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village written by Laura Amy Schlitz. A librarian at a Baltimore County, Maryland school, Ms Schlitz wrote this engaging book as a piece to be performed by children. It contains nineteen monologues and two dialogues spoken by young members of a medieval village, making it the perfect ensemble work. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! was well received and won the 2008 Newbery Medal for excellence in children’s literature.

Mark your calendars, support the fine actors of this ensemble, and learn about what life was really like in 1255–fleas, poverty, hard manual labor, and more! See history come alive through this costume drama, with song, dance and the fine art of the monologue.


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.

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: 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.



Colleen Everhart
Chicago Waldorf School
AWSNA Leadership Council

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

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

Why Free Play is Essential for Learning & Growth

Peter Gray, Professor of Psychology (emeritus), Boston College stresses the importance of Free Play

A Waldorf education places great emphasis on the role of free play in a child’s development — play being the ‘work’ of a young child. The October issue of The Atlantic echos this important truth. Author and M.D. Esther Entin examines play-based research conducted by Dr. Peter Gray, Ph.D.
Gray argues that the decline of free play among children has resulted in higher suicide rates and increased behavioral issues. He suggests a return to basics like extra time on the playground or a reduction in organized activities to help children grow into happy, well adjusted adults.

Doctor Gray enumerates the FIVE WAYS PLAY BENEFITS KIDS

When children are in charge of their own play, it provides a foundation for their future mental health as older children and adults:

1. Play gives children a chance to find and develop a connection to their own self-identified and self-guided interests.

2. It is through play that children first learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self control, and follow rules.

3. Children learn to handle their emotions, including anger and fear, during play.

4. Play helps children make friends and learn to get along with each other as equals.

5. Most importantly, play is a source of happiness.

As Ms. Entin commented, “For more than fifty years, children’s free play time has been continually declining, and it’s keeping them from turning into confident adults…”

Click here to continue reading this insightful article in the Atlantic.

Image: Wikimedia Commons. This article originally appeared on

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

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


Tuesdays and Thursdays in October & November

Children’s House and the Care to Share Committee will be crafting together every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:15am-noon in the Early Childhood Common Room. We are hoping to build a vibrant community of crafters where we can share our ideas and our skills. Come and learn how to make fairies, wands, dolls, magic rocks, cute mice, gnomes, finger puppets and much more. If you are not skilled, we will gladly teach you. If you are skilled, please share your working hands along with your crafty ideas.

Crafting starts on Tuesday, Sept. 27th and continues until the Holiday Fair. Small Children are welcome. Come and join us.

Submitted by: Dru Muskovin, Care to Share Committee