Each year, the Chicago Waldorf School celebrates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a school-wide assembly planned by the Festivals Committee and the Inclusion & Diversity Committee.
This year's assembly provides an opportunity to appreciate the work done to further human rights both in our community and throughout the world. It will feature presentations, reflections, and musical offerings performed by students, faculty, and special guests all honoring equality and investigating the history and current impact of the civil rights movement in society today.
Please join us on
Friday, January 18th at 2:00 pm
in the CWS Auditorium
This year, the Inclusion & Diversity Committee has chosen to focus on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of national legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices. As part of the school's mission to celebrate its diverse and inclusive community within the heart of Rogers Park, this assembly will focus on the historical events sparked by the foundational tenet that all voices should be heard. The assembly will highlight the importance of voting rights and examine the privilege that we all share in being able to vote.
Chicago Waldorf School invites students, faculty, and community members to join us in sharing their own voices and stories. A speaker from the Sudanese Community Center will speak on his own experiences with voting rights, and CWS faculty will take to the stage to reflect on the importance of speaking one’s own voice. High school sophomore Anyah Akanni will present readings of her slam poetry, and the High School Chorus and African Drumming class will perform musical offerings.
All are welcome to attend. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly is appropriate for grades 1 through 12.
This past Fall, the High School students took field trips for their Agriculture morning lesson block that brought them into diverse neighborhoods in Chicago to survey a number of sustainable living and urban farming initiatives.
Students got a first hand look at communities creating living and work situations that are self sufficient and environmentally-minded, that are revitalizing "waste spaces" and converting them into green spaces. These communities are invested in the value of maximizing our connection to land, produce and even livestock within the urban environment. Here are some of the places the CWS high school students explored:
"The Plant is a a new kind of organization in a very old building. We’re working to show what truly sustainable food production and economic development looks like by farming inside an old meatpacking facility, incubating small craft food businesses, brewing beer and kombucha, and doing it all using only renewable energy that we make onsite. By connecting outputs of one business to the inputs of another, we are harnessing value from materials that most people would throw away....It’s part vertical farm, part food-business incubator, part research and education space – and it will be entirely off the grid." 9th grader, Silvia Sukenic was impressed by the fact that the Plant "will run entirely on bio gas for its power source." Her classmate, Maddie Byrne said, "The Plant is cool because its goal is to be totally self-sustainable..."
GRIT Magazine recently awarded the Freak Farm the honor of being its "Homesteader of the Year" and featuring a profile of the farm in its coverage. Other groups have taken notice of this active backyard micro-farm that has diverse features including chickens, guinea hens, vermicomposting (worms), a harvesting garden and other agricultural elements. CBS 2 News also gave Freak Farm some coverage and highlighted the farm's founder, Tristan Beache.
After visiting the Angelic Organics Farm, 9th grader Taylor Jones said he'd never been on a farm before and that "they fed the cows beets; they don’t have milking cows, but they do milk their goats.” “Zo” Schrepferman commented that “One of the most memorable things was eating a hot pepper called a 'Paper Lantern' that looks like a regular pepper but its red and super hot.” The students also met with urban farmers and learned about plans for development of new urban farmland in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Some of these proposed "urban ag" farms are supported by and developed through CRAFT, the Angelic Organics Education Center's Farmer Training Program.
“All their food is biodynamic and they don’t use chemical pesticides, instead the farmers do things to trick the bugs, like rotating the crops.”
- 9th grader, Zo Schrepferman
Grace White, a 9th grader, commented that, “Visiting Angelic Organics was an experience similar to working on my uncle's farm. It was interesting; I’d love to have an internship experience there.” Science teacher & 9th grade advisor, Brian Gleichauf, put the experience into a historical and pedagogical perspective explaining, “We have been doing the in-town Agriculture trip since before we even had the morning lesson block to go with it! I really feel like what we’ve crafted in this experiential block makes for a powerful experience for the 9th graders. It allows them to connect with their city and their food in a new way, and it brings to consciousness aspects of their living that most have seldom thought about before. I also love that this block ‘bookends’ with the Service Learning Trip at the end of the school year, in which they get two weeks of total immersion in agricultural life.”
As parents we want our children to know intrinsically what they think and feel, and we want them to be able to express it clearly to others. How do we make that happen? By being our children’s emotional coaches so they can develop their own ability to know themselves.
Below are a few ideas to get you started:
Don’t deny or ignore a child’s feelings:
We’ve all done it at one time or another but saying, “You’re not sad,” to a child who is crying or, ”stop whining,” when we don’t want to hear it, makes a person feel unseen. It also does little to help a child learn to cope with their intense feelings. Instead, describe what you see. If you say, “I see a little girl who looks sad” it won’t actually make your child feel worse. Rather, it will most certainly help her feel understood and heard. Give your child tools so she knows what to do when she is feeling upset.
Look for and comment on the emotion that is underlying the behavior:
The next time your child protests unduly about leaving the park say to him, “It can be so hard leaving when we are having so much fun.” Validating his experience can help him to get through a tough time.
Talk about the behavior, not the person and describe the problem:
Children take what we say very seriously which is why when we are feeling displeased it is useful to separate out the behavior from the person. For example, saying, “I see a bedroom with clothes and toys all over the floor” expresses your displeasure and gives the child information at the same time. It is much more likely to elicit a helpful response than, “This room is a mess, you are so sloppy!”
Consider your first family:
How were feelings handled in the family you grew up in? Do certain feelings make you uncomfortable? Exploring these questions and developing your own awareness can help you as you help your child navigate his or her emotions. All feelings are okay; it’s what we do with our feelings that matters. Be your children’s emotional coach and watch them grow.
Current parent Hazel Archer Ginsberg shares insight from the Chicago Waldorf School Building Intentional Community (BIC) committee in order to be an emotional coach to your children and to deepen dialogue between families.