The Bulletin

Holiday Festivals Schedule

Monday, November 2011


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 Value of Politeness and Courtesy

Friday, November 2011

Essential life-skills go beyond formal protocol…for good reason!

Is being courteous too old-fashioned and outdated? Why must it still be taught to children? Look at the larger picture of child development…Children engage in desctructive behaviors for a multitude of reasons. They may lack empathy or impulse control. A child may have a hard time imagining how another person feels. High levels of anxiety may cause a child to engage in control seeking behaviors or they may imitate a re-enforcing culture of put-downs, gossip and cynicism.

Politeness and courtesy create a predictable form where we consider others before ourselves. It models empathy and reduces anxiety in social situations. It stands against a culture steeped in cynism, using put-downs and bartering in gossip. Socially mature behavior forces us to place emphasis on another person’s needs above our own. When a community practices courtesy and politeness, children take notice, and the incidence of teasing and bullying diminishes radically.

The above is a Building Intentional Community (BIC) editorial. BIC is a committee of parents, faculty & staff offering support and resources to the CWS parent community.

Submitted by: Hazel Archer Ginsberg, BIC parent member
Photo: qasimsahi.blogspot.com

Why Free Play is Essential for Learning & Growth

Friday, November 2011

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

  1. When children are in charge of their own play, it provides a foundation for their future mental health as older children and adults:
  2. Play gives children a chance to find and develop a connection to their own self-identified and self-guided interests.
  3. It is through play that children first learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self control, and follow rules.
  4. Children learn to handle their emotions, including anger and fear, during play.
  5. Play helps children make friends and learn to get along with each other as equals.
  6. 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 TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com.

Waldorf School’s Michaelmas Celebration

Friday, November 2011

Students Parade & 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"

Friday, November 2011

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