The Bulletin

First Grade “Readiness”: An EC Mom’s Reflection

A parent perspective by Cin Salach, CWS Early Childhood Parent

My son has been a Sweet Pea for three years. For three years I have bought slippers in increasing sizes, packed his cubby sack with extra layers, negotiated snowsuits and mittens and many wee ones in various states of morning readiness, then returned at noon to pick him up and see his shining face.

Every morning I enter the Early Childhood hallway, smell whatever’s baking, wonder whose birthday it is if there is popcorn in the air, and check the chalkboard to see what’s coming up….it’s a pretty wonderful way to start the day.

I have to admit, I feel like we don’t really have to wake up completely to go to school right now…we snuggle with smoothies (him) and coffee (me) until it’s time to put on clothes and coats …but we tell stories the whole time…sing…wonder if we’ll get there before or after the EC door is unlocked….

So, on the night we met his teacher-to-be a few weeks ago, I realized, this is serious. Next fall, he’ll be GOING TO SCHOOL. That means I will have to wake up a bit too! There is a more formal good morning in the air. Doors open at 7:30.  He won’t need slippers. We might really have to brush our teeth as opposed to just eating an apple in the car. He’ll be there until 3! Whoa.



   “I am nervous.
     But sooooo excited.
     Which is exactly how
     Leo is feeling.”


Every once in a while he’ll ask about first grade and say either “I can’t wait!” or “I think I am going to stay in kindergarten forever.” Nothing in between. Then I remind him we have months of kindergarten left so let’s just be in kindergarten. Let’s sew puppets and build things for the gnomes in the side yard. Because then there’s an entire summer. And then….

Then, there is the most amazing first grade teacher waiting for you Leo….I’ve met her…she is such an incredible story-teller…and there will be letters waiting too…and numbers….. knitting…and new games…. Spanish…. German….and then…afternoons at the playground with the second graders… Yes! Your old pals from EC! And as I’m telling him this, both of our eyes are shining….and you know, I really believe by the time September rolls around, we will both be ready for first grade. --

You can read more of cin's writing on her own website, poemgrown.

May Fair Returns with Spring Breezes and Family Fun

Chicago Waldorf School celebrates the-


Saturday, May 17th, 10:00am-4:00 pm

Free Admission / Open to the public

1300 W. Loyola Ave. / Chicago, IL


The May Fair is an annual outdoor festival that ritually welcomes the Spring, which is traditionally celebrated by Waldorf schools throughout the world. This event engages the students with the larger community and celebrates the spirit in which Waldorf schools nourish and support the child’s connection to nature and the seasonal cycles. May Fair activities range from face-painting to child-made crafts, tie-dyeing, music & singing performances, storytelling and more. The most iconic element of May Fair is the children’s maypole dance that evokes community pride and joy and continues a tradition that was started by celebrants performing in May festivals centuries ago.

Children’s Maypole Dance
(time: 12:00 noon / location: Street Stage)

Often the center of May celebrations, the maypole bears garlands and is a symbol for the growth of new vegetation and spring life. Dancers gather around the pole that is sprawling with greenery and colored ribbons attached to the top. To the accompaniment of traditional music played by our students the 4th graders will walk or skip in opposing directions allowing the strings to intertwine in complex patterns creating a braided weave around the pole.

Activities for All Ages
The Chicago Waldorf School’s annual May Fair features dancing, live entertainment, music, games, food, craft-making, and unique vendors and exhibitors. In addition to the many musicians, poets and performers, the event will feature a lively roster of activities: 


YOUNG KIDS:  bubble wands, roving butterflies, tricycle races, treasure hunt, face painting, storytelling, and more.

OLDER KIDS: obstacle course, bean bag dragon shoot, cake walk, jump rope braiding, gnome archery, and more.

TEENAGERS:  hand henna painting, high school talent show, music performances


•  Great Food and Treats                •  Crafts for All Ages          •  Games and Prizes    

•  Unique Vendors                          •  Live Entertainment         •  Silent Auction   

•  Traditional Maypole Dance        •  Flower Crowns                •  Street Fair / Block Party

Invite your friends (Open to the Public!) by sending them this invitation. Or via our Facebook Event.

Inquiries? Call the Chicago Waldorf School's Main Office  (773.465.2662) or just show up at the Fair!

The Seniors Future Moves: 2015 and Beyond


Talia Adams has been accepted to the University of Redlands’ Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, but has deferred for one year. Talia will seek employment this summer and looks forward to auditioning for theater productions in Chicago in the coming year. Once on the Redlands’ campus, Talia will be part of a unique learning community.  Johnston Center students design their majors, forge graduation contracts with their professors, and live among peers in a setting built on community and consensus.

Paco Alvarez will attend Carleton College in Minnesota. When he visited the campus, he was impressed by the students, whom he described as “interested in what they are learning, and not just there for the degree.” Paco plans to study English and Philosophy, and looks forward to involvement in one of their extracurricular writing groups and perhaps the film society. Carleton is ranked #1 by U.S. News for undergraduate teaching at a liberal arts college. 

Malcolm Collins is looking forward to four years at the University of Iowa. He had his sights set on a large or mid-size university with strong academics. The University of Iowa offers that, plus all of the excitement of a Big Ten school. In addition, it has a beautiful campus and a warm and welcoming student body. Although Malcolm is interested in pre-law, the strong artistic and performing arts culture helps to create a diverse and open campus culture which Malcolm appreciates. U.S. News names Iowa as one of the top 30 public institutions in the country. 

Adele Erickson has made her decision to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida next fall. In making her decision, she was swayed by the photojournalism program and the high percentage of international students.  Lynn’s core curriculum, the Dialogues of Learning, was recognized by Inside Higher Education as an example of how colleges and universities can increase the rigor of their academic offerings and improve the comprehensive education of their students.

Rebecca Lavin-Burgher is headed toward warm Florida weather and Eckerd College this fall. Rebecca hopes to explore several different avenues of study, but she is considering journalism with a focus on photography.  The required freshman program, “The Human Experience” happily reminds Rebecca of the Waldorf approach to education. Eckerd looks out for the well-being of its students and provides unique de-stressing options (such as bringing puppies onto campus) during each finals week. Eckerd is also one of the top 50 schools that produce graduates who go on to obtain PhD’s in the sciences and humanities. 

Jeremy Marder is excited to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. When he visited the campus, he attended a protest about fracking and was impressed with the students’ passion and the intellectual level of their arguments. Jeremy hopes to explore majors, but currently has an interest in the Global Studies program. And he has already found at least one study abroad program of interest, to Spain and North Africa! On the extracurricular side, Jeremy hopes to become involved in film production on campus.

Sarah Matthews looks forward to college at the University of Oregon. UO has an excellent journalism and communications program, and this is an area which interests Sarah greatly. Sarah was pleasantly surprised during her visit to campus; she sat in on a lecture that was highly interactive even though there were almost 200 students in attendance! Sarah looks forward to attending sports events and bicycling.  And she is already in communication with students at Duck TV, the local station, and she is hopeful that she can get involved there right away. UO has been designated a top-tier research institution by the Carnegie Foundation. 

Alex Morson is east-coast bound and will attend Connecticut College to study computer science and/or math. He likes the location near an urban area, and noted after his visit there that the students seemed very welcoming and participatory in class. Connecticut College was named by Newsweek and College Prowler as one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation; the campus is actually part of a 750 acre arboretum. Princeton Review ranks Connecticut College #11 for excellence in career services and job placement.

Iris Pavelic will stay in the Chicago area to attend North Park University with a major in chemistry. North Park has a very diverse student body and offers pre-pharmacy advising, which is important to Iris’ long term goals. Iris will continue to work at Walgreen’s; but once she turns 18, she can sit for the pharmacy technician licensing exam, and she plans to do this during the summer. Hopefully we’ll see Iris working in the pharmacy department at Walgreen’s by fall. Iris has already signed up for classes at North Park and is looking forward to participating in theater, as well as competitive soccer and volleyball. 

Merci Randolph has a great deal of enthusiasm for her college choice, Dickinson College. She noted that they have an organic farm which partially supplies the cafeteria and that she will be able to bicycle there and perhaps work there. Dickinson is one of the top schools for long-term study abroad opportunities; it has an exceptional language program, and also has good connections to the State Department. Merci is drawn to the social justice focus and many progressive historical traditions relating to civil rights and women’s rights. Dickinson has been named one of the top 10 Fulbright-producing liberal arts colleges.

Cole Ruscitti has lined up a number of intriguing opportunities after graduation. He will begin his post-high school experiences working at an auto shop 3 days per week over the summer. He also hopes to help expand his mom’s dog-boarding business, and will continue building furniture, decks, cabinets and fences as he has done in past summers. In September, Cole will travel to Berlin to visit a friend and experience the culture. When he returns from Germany, he may enter into entrepreneurship with an idea or two that is already brewing. Cole may attend college in the future, but will only do so with a clear educational goal in mind.

Lindsay Thompson will head to the west coast to attend Evergreen State College, a school known for its unique interdisciplinary model. Lindsay speaks highly of the active and community-oriented student body and noted that there seems to be a great deal of school pride. She looks forward to leaving her mark on Evergreen. Lindsay is already in touch with the volleyball coach and may play for the Geoducks. Evergreen is ranked very highly in the National Survey of Student Engagement and for its First Year Experiences for freshmen. Evergreen’s focus is on developing the ability to work in teams, communicate effectively, and think critically and creatively. It is one of the Colleges That Change Lives.

Joe Wendy decided on Elon University in North Carolina; with approximately 5,000 students, it is neither too large, nor too small. Joe would like to explore majors, but has considered math, business and sports management.  Elon’s housing is divided into “neighborhoods”; Joe has already chosen his preferred neighborhood, a historic area near the center of campus activities. He is looking forward to participating in the intramural sport offerings. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks Elon’s business program very highly. Elon is one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars, and has been named a leader in engaged learning, innovation and fostering a strong sense of community on campus.

Photos: Seniors and other High School student musicians in the CWS Jazz Band perform in the Spring Instrumental Assembly- April 2014

Shared Values: Architecture and the Waldorf Experience

A parent perspective by Mark Miller, CWS Parent

My wife, Anne Cousineau, and I had been living in Rogers Park since 1995. Part of our decision to raise a family here (Zoe, eighth grade and Eli, fifth grade) was the connection to nature the nearby beach, parks and lake provided. This encouraged balance in our lives.

When it came time to select a school, CWS resonated with us immediately for its approach, and understanding of the value of balance, nature and spirit. It has been a large blessing in our lives.

An unexpected blessing from being in this community is that I have been asked by many CWS families and the school itself to assist them professionally with my skills as an architect. For those of you who don’t know me, you will recognize my work from the barn play structure in the side yard and the theatrical sets for many school plays including the recent eighth grade play Oliver Twist in which Anne spearheaded the set and production design. For me, it is a pleasure collaborating with Waldorf families, as we share similar values. It’s fun to work as a team with like-minded people to create architectural works where these values are reflected. It’s clear from the feedback the spaces we create together are enjoyed and enrich the lives of those who experience them on many levels.

Appreciation of nature, a Waldorf cornerstone, resonated in the recent completion of a renovation for the CWS Boyce family. They moved from an all glass mid-rise building with connections to sun, the lake and Lincoln Park to a 100-year-old Victorian home in Evanston. To help “open up” the home and reconnect to these elements, we completely removed the rear wall and added an all-glass English conservatory which transitioned to a semi-circular deck and the garden.

These values informed the new home I designed for EC teacher Ms. Nancy Matson, her husband Alan and their family, who have an amazing site overlooking the Chicago River and Cook County Forest Preserve. I like to ask my clients what about their current residence really annoys them (what is “blocking” them from connecting with spirit.) Nancy shared she disliked the dark stairwell that lead up to the second floor. So, one important goal was to provide the family a staircase that would remedy this. The new stair became an “open riser,” allowing one to see through it. The stair, placed next to a two-story window wall, faces the sun and forest. Now, from any spot in the home, one is connected to the sun and the forest. Views of the wildlife, treetops and flowing river are integrated throughout the experience of “being” in the home.

Two additional collaborations have come from assisting CWS moms Jenn Paschen and Bridgid Rooney in their work: places of healing. Jenn is the owner of “The Nest” acupuncture and prenatal health center and Bridgid Rooney owns Lakeview Physical Therapy. For Jenn, health is related to an unobstructed flow of energy in the body. I designed her new center to make this flow of healing energy more apparent to visitors, using curving shapes in her bamboo floors and treatment room walls. Natural materials and Japanese shoji screens made new visitors feel at ease, and so healing can begin as soon as a client walks into the center. In this context, the architectural design assists the philosophy of the practitioner, just as the collaboration with Bridgid Rooney incorporated her views of healing.

Like Waldorf education, when we infuse values of awareness, spirit and an appreciation of nature to architecture, we enrich the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual experiences for our whole being. --

More of Mark's architecture for Waldorf families can be see at his website, ZenPlusArchitecture.

Appreciation of Grandparents & Special Friends Day

Grandparents Day • May 2, 2014

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make Grandparents Day a huge success—we had more than 130 grandparents and special friends visit the students in their classrooms and stay for the grades presentations!

Colleges Seek Out Waldorf Graduates: Seniors Making Decisions


This year at Chicago Waldorf High School, twelve of our graduating seniors have applied to a college or university. The schools below have accepted our graduating seniors as of the reporting deadline in early April.  Merit scholarship offers have been generous as these colleges attempt to lure the most qualified students.

Twelve colleges/universities are new to our list when compared with the last few years. These schools include Carleton College, Bates College, College of William & Mary, Pepperdine University, Emerson College, Denison University, Elon University, University of Redlands, St. Mary’s of California, University of Kansas, Champlain College, and Whittier College.  Colleges and University Admissions Staff's familiarity with Chicago Waldorf School continues to expand with each graduating class! 

Congratulations to Our Seniors and their Families!

This year's tweleve seniors have been accepted to:


Bard College, NY

Bates College, ME

Carleton College, MN

Champlain College, VT

College of William & Mary, VA

Columbia College Chicago

Connecticut College

Denison University, OH

DePaul University, IL

Dickinson College, PA

Eckerd College, FL

Elmhurst College, IL

Elon University, NC

Emerson College, MA

Evergreen State College, WA

Hampshire College, MA

Indiana University–Bloomington

Knox College, IL

Lawrence University, WI

Lynn University, FL

Milwaukee Institute Art/Design

Northeastern Illinois University


North Park University, IL

Occidental College, CA

Pepperdine University, CA

Rollins College, FL

Savannah College of Art/Design

Southern Illinois University

St. Mary’s of California

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Dayton

University of Illinois at Chicago

U of Illinois Urbana Champaign

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Oregon

University of Puget Sound, WA

University of Redlands, CA

University of Vermont

Western Illinois University

Wheaton College, MA

Whittier College, CA

Willamette University, OR


Note: this list represents reported acceptances as of 4/8/2014

Celebrate National “Screen Free Week”

Welcome to national Screen Free Week (May 5th-11th )

Hear are some start-up guidelines and activities, or get creative and make up your own!

  1. Draw a silhouette picture of your family members
  2. Play board-games, card games or tell stories.
  3. Read a book/story aloud
  4. Write a hand-written letter to a grandparent or special friend
  5. Take advantage of the longer daylight hours by going for a walk or planting seeds.
  6. Make a home for the bees in your backyard (in the garden or outside your window) with this project from the Pollinator Partnership.                              

There are many ways to approach this week’s self-planned events with your family and friends. See the Screen Free Week Family Guide for additional details and guidelines for participating. Or visit: for more support and to connect to others embracing this event.

101 Screen Free Activities is a document providing just what it says…read on and,

Happy Screen Free Week!