The Bulletin

Third Graders Build Sukkah in the Side Yard

by Lauren Johnson Pilgrim, 3rd grade parent

The sukkah, a temporary structure, is built during the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkoth to remember the dwellings of the ancient Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. As architecture critic Paul Goldberger explains, “The sukkah is one of the very few times where Jewish liturgy and tradition has an architectural expression.” Thus the sukkah structure encourages those who experience it to dwell on–and in–the qualities of transience and impermanence.

Working with the class on Tuesday morning, it was easy to see just how many things have been in transition over the last few years. As parents of children in first grade and older, we don’t often find ourselves in the side yard where the young children play. Several of the third grade parents remarked how they missed beginning their days there and everyone appreciated the opportunity to visit with each other like we used to. When several of us noticed an early childhood student tenderly kissing his mother’s fingers, we silently acknowledged how much had changed since the last time we were in the side yard together.

Yet another reminder of the transformation underway was how our third grade children bounded into the side yard brimming with ideas and plans.

There was also no denying how strong, confident and mature my son and his friends looked as they carried in the wooden beams that would be used for the sukkah’s structure. Then there were the students tasked with starting the art panels that would form the sukkah’s walls. These panels depicted the creation story, Adam and Eve and the serpent, and Noah and his ark.

Because the students took turns working on each panel, the whole effort became a collaborative art project with all the social challenges this entails. The students discussed the important aspects of each story and tried their best to resolve any “artistic differences” diplomatically. When a historical anachronism was identified—a cat with a flea collar—they discussed whether this was very important and if anything should be done about it. Amidst their purposeful work, the third graders still had time for make believe. One student decided the sukkah needed to have a guard and began solemnly marching back and forth with a plastic rake over his shoulder!

As an object of impermanence, the third grade’s sukkah will remain in the side yard just through the end of Sukkoth on Wednesday evening. Please stop by before it’s gone!

To learn more about the construction of a sukkah, including what professional architects and designers came up with when challenged to build one, visit

CWS Hosts Community Dialogue in Inclusion & Diversity Symposium


Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality

Monday, October 7th, 6:30pm, Lower Eurythmy Room

Join us for this community event hosted by the Chicago Waldorf School’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee.  Attend a screening of “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” a film by Shakti Butler, that asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity and is designed to deepen the conversation on race. Rooted in love and justice, Cracking the Codes, can provide an honest, heartfelt starting point for conversation. For more information and to RSVP please contact Jennifer Zielinski at

Cracking the Codes is the most dignified and evidenced response possible to the blithe assertion that we now live in a ‘post-racial’ America.”

- Yes Magazine


Colorado Waldorf Schools Closed Due to Floods!

The Boulder Waldorf Kindergarden and Shining Mountain Waldorf School have both been hard hit along with many residents and local organizations in the areas of Colorado recently overwhelmed with unexpected floodwaters.

See the photos of the devastating floods.

Currently, the school’s administration is working with the Boulder County Health Department to asses all campus buildings and facilities.

You can visit their website or Facebook page for more information. Also the Boulder Waldorf  Kindergarten's Early Childhood classroom was entirely underwater and the classroom furniture, toys and materials are ruined. The school is in great need of replacement supplies and financial support. Supplies can be sent directly to Suzanne Down / 1604 Whitehall Dr. / Longmont, CO 80504 or here is the link to paypal for donations:

And finally, CWS's own Christine Culbert is collecting any donations of age-appropriate toys, materials and money to help refurbish their flooded EC classrooms. Contact her at

Welcome New Students and Families to the Waldorf Community!

We are grateful to all the new parents and parent ambassadors who participated in the welcome event on September 3rd. If you were unable to attend please stop by the Enrollment Office to pick up your Welcome packet.

On behalf of our faculty and staff, thank you for choosing the Chicago Waldorf School and best wishes for a wonderful school year!

Here are all the new families who have joined, or returned to, our community this year.

•    Ms. Matson’s Sunflowers:         Arri Boyce, Silas Daut, Liam Foley, Abigiya Shawgo-Manley,
                                                         Sebastian St. John, Heidi Zhang, Woody Zhang & Isaac Zumann    
•    Ms. Morrison’s Sweet Peas:      Oscar Booth, Mason Kuck, Marquise Lane, Ella St. John & Cody Thomas  
•    Ms. Votanek’s Rose Garden:      Sahra Cohen, Calum Daut, Adrienne Hurn, Mari Kottke,
                                                          Julian Palmowski & Gwen Ramesh  
•    Ms. Barron’s Morning Glories:   Julide Buersmeyer, Levant Buersmeyer, Hannah Gordon, Henry Jenkins,
                                                          Dayton Kim, Ioanna Kouchoukos, Liam Lockwood, Henry Morgan-
                                                          Browning, Henry Luttschyn, Joshua Mulherin, Fiona Mulherin,
                                                          Hazel Palka & Olive Palka  
•    Ms. Assirati’s Bluebells:            Seline Allmer, Abril Braekke, Sasha Hirsch-Arnett,
                                                          Eme McIntosh, & William Shanley  
•    Grade 1 — Mr. Kuck:                  Brogan Bell, Marcus Flamme, Patrick Merrill, Adel Pierce, Francesca Wildi
                                                          & Odessa Winn   
•    Grade 2 — Ms. Rotko:               Anton Braekke, Maeve Brogan, Carlo Hague, & Wiatt Hague  
•    Grade 4 — Ms. Szymanski:      Averie Piehl (welcome back!)  
•    Grade 6 — Mr. Trevillion:          Maddie Abraham, Eitann Mallin (welcome back!), Aaron Ramesh &
                                                        Ewan Rasmussen (welcome back!)  
•    Grade 7 — Ms. Hartz:                Alek Piehl (welcome back!)  
•    Grade 8 — Ms. Sullivan:           Ayastan Sherniyazov  
•    Grade 9 —Sr. Correa & Ms. Huckabay:       Genevieve Antic, Yaakov Bockian, Eden DeJesus,
                                                                           Dana Flores & Cherokee Sperry  
•    Grade 10 — Ms. Vig & Mr. Welcher:             Nikolai Gorman & Maddie Kelson  
•    Grade 11 — Ms. Goodwin & Mr. Holdrege:   Gregory Levinson (welcome back!)

- submitted by the Enrollment Department: Lisa Payton and Jennifer Zielinski

Michaelmas Ushers in New Season of Strength & Fortitude

Michaelmas & the Harvest Festival

Please join us this Friday, September 27th for our community-wide festival

Harvest Festival – 10:30-noon  

For Early Childhood and Parent-Child parents. You are invited to attend with any younger siblings to enjoy the festival’s seasonal crafts and dance to the traditional folk music of Jutta & the Hi Dukes.

Michaelmas Assembly 12:30-2:45  

Begins in the Auditorium, followed by the outdoor Dragon Pageant and singing in the parking lot; then a trip to Albion Beach for dragon sand building and a school-wide relay run.


An Introduction To Michaelmas   by Andrea Shaffer, Gym & Movement Teacher

To understand the approach to festivals in a Waldorf school it is helpful to know that Summer is considered the season of sleep, and Winter the season of wakefulness. In Summer life rises into the hot air while the earth sleeps, just as our dreams take us on adventures while our body lays still. In Winter there is less apparent activity, yet below the earth's surface amazing work is being done. This is why in the Early Childhood, Mother Earth and the gnomes go underground and do their work and reappear in the Spring.


Michaelmas then, is a "re-awakening to the self" after the dreaminess of Summer.

It is a time for conscious action and a time to welcome challenge. This celebration takes a different form each year, but is centered on themes of bravery and acts of physical challenge. We will sing, work and eat together, and ready ourselves for the year of work ahead, as well as prepare for the concentration and reflection that Winter brings. 

As the bright light of summer begins to fade, the colors of the leaves begin to appear, and the wind begins to swirl, our school celebrates Michaelmas and the Harvest Festival each year. Much of the school's celebration is centered around the tale of St. George and the Dragon, and especially on the bravery and strength in the story. We take on other activities (like neighborhood clean-up in teams) for conscious action and to engage in physical challenges as an outer expression of the mental wakefulness we need for the school year ahead. In the Early Childhood the Harvest Festival is a celebration tied to the bounty of the natural world, and is also a preparation for winter and another growing season.                            (photos: 2012 Michaelmas Festival)

Learn from the Teachers in the Waldorf Curriculum Night

Above: 8th grade, Civil War & Revolutions  / Inset: 5th grade, calligraphy research report / Bottom: 2nd grade, the King of Ireland’s Son

Waldorf Curriculum Night / Thursday, September 19th / 7:00-9:30pm
An evening for parents to learn about the Grade School & Middle School curriculum

Hear from the main teacher about each grade’s highlights and themes for the year. Then meet your child’s special subject teachers and learn how their lessons complement, enhance and extend the themes of the morning lessons.

Learn how the curriculum is meeting your child’s developmental needs, and what that means in the classroom, in social situations, and at home.

Discover what you can do to support your child developmentally and academically at home.

We strongly urge ALL parents to attend this once a year Parent Curriculum Night. It’s an opportunity to ask questions of the Special Subjects, Grade School and Middle School teachers and learn about the class curriculum in your current or upcoming grades. Early Childhood parents are also welcome to attend to learn about Waldorf education in the Grade School and Middle School.

Meet ALL Grade School &  Middle School Teachers on-
Thursday, September 19th / 7:00-9:30pm in the grade school classrooms and the gym

We invite at least one parent from each family to participate in this important curriculum event.
Click here to reply to Phoebe Cape in the Main Office to reserve your seat & RSVP
(The RSVP deadline allows us to prepare enough copies of handouts to share samples with all participants)

Submitted by the CWS Enrollment Committee & College of Teachers