The Bulletin

Holding Onto the Benefits of Penmanship and Handwriting

Thursday, January 2015

Its is a core learning experience at all Waldorf schools that students practice penmanship, they learn cursive, and use their handwriting skills to create their own curriculum Block Books (rather than using pre-printed textbooks). The benefit of MANUAL LEARNING is also taken up in traditional Waldorf handwork classes where students learn woodworking, knitting, hand felting and many other processes of manipulating natural forms and materials. Many contemporary studies in education and science, reports from neuroscscientists, academics, child psychologists and child development experts have been promoting the benefits of physical movement and kinesthetic learning (that is, learning through the body & making with your hands). This past December, Chicago Waldorf School students and parents were  profiled in a DNA Info Chicago article on the subject. Here is an excerpt from the article:


Penmanship Not Dead
at North Side Waldorf School

By David Byrnes / posted: December 29, 2014
DNA Info-Chicago


Even in the Digital Revolution, the pen is still a mighty weapon at the Chicago Waldorf School. The private school at 1300 W. Loyola Ave. still requires students to handwrite—rather than type—their assignments. School officials maintain that the approach actively engages students in learning. “When children create something, they’re invested in it,” school spokesman Jason Greenberg said. “They really learn instead of just memorize.”

Studies in education psychology support that claim, school officials say. A 1994 study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, conducted by Marsha J. Weil and Susan J. Cunningham Amundson, found that “Visual-Motor Integration [skills]… significantly relates to children in kindergarten’s ability to copy letters.” Put another way, students who learn to write rather than type have higher levels of motor development than those who do not, Waldorf argues.

“Our students create their own textbooks,” Greenberg said. “They learn to collate and organize their notes and then put them into a handmade, handwritten textbook. That’s important, because they learn that once they make a mark of the pen, they can’t take it back.” These textbooks, or "block books" as students Seamus Scott and Ely Taylor call them, take about four weeks to make. Each one is handwritten and drawn and created to complement a monthlong morning class corresponding to a specific subject. "I've had morning [block] classes for Greek geometry, anatomy. Right now we're studying organic chemistry," said Seamus, an eighth-grader.


“Even in the Digital Revolution, the pen is still a mighty weapon at the Chicago Waldorf School.”


This Waldorf method of learning by doing was pioneered by Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner in the early 20th century. According to Greenberg, Steiner believed in creating a more humanistic approach to education — as opposed to the parochial systems that were common in Europe at the time — in the wake of the loss of humanity in World War I. The first Waldorf school started in 1919 in Germany, and today there are more than 1,000 independent schools across the globe following the educational philosophy.

The Waldorf school in Chicago opened in 1974 with a single kindergarten class. It has since become a full kindergarten-through-high school program, with many of its 350 students attending all of primary and secondary school in the same program.

Besides penmanship and writing, the Waldorf School emphasizes what its website calls “an arts-integrated” approach, meaning students are often given lessons in the form of projects, service outreach and creative assignments. "Art isn't one subject we learn. It's part of every class," said eighth-grader Ely. Two years ago his class was doing an experiment on how ice melts. "We had to write our lab [reports] as if it was a fantasy novel with two living ice cubes," he said. “Our kindergartners learn the difference between odd and even numbers by playing jump-rope games,” Greenberg said. “It’s a simple thing, the difference between odd and even. But playing a game with it helps them internalize the information.”

Technology still has a presence in the Waldorf program. Many high school students, according to Greenberg, use computers to create research papers and interactive art projects. And, keeping with its “arts-integrated” focus, many also become involved with how technological devices are made, rather than just their functionality. “Many of our older students will disassemble a computer or radio and put it back together again...."
(click here to continue reading the source article)

        Above: a sample of student hand lettering from the Calligraphy Block, taught in 9th grade

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly at CWS

Wednesday, January 2015

Friday, January 16th from 2:00-2:45pm

Chicago Waldorf School Auditorium / Doors open at 1:50pm


The assembly will include a presentation and music by our vocal ensemble in honor of Nelson Mandela, the Improv ensemble, African Drumming class, and a poem offered by High School students, Anyah Akanni & Sam Sendelbach.

We warmly invite you to attend this community event with our students, faculty, parents and staff in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights principles of inclusion, respect & collaboration he championed.

Street Parking is available, as well as lot parking in the Arthur Ave (& Glenwood) Parking Lot
No RSVP required; but for any further questions please contact the Main Office at 773.465.2662

Below- Two views of the 2014 Dr. MLK Jr. Assembly: African Drumming and Capoeira presentations


Our Musical Evening Celebrates the Season

Thursday, December 2014


Wednesday, December 17th
7:00pm  (doors open at 6:45 pm)

CWS Auditorium


A special evening with students...

The Chicago Waldorf School 5th through 12th grades and their music teachers are pleased to present an evening of seasonal music and audience sing-alongs.

Enjoy offerings by the grade school choruses and bands and high school jazz band, chamber ensemble and vocal ensemble.


Please join us for the concert!

Explore Manners and Morality in Jane Austen’s Classic Story…

Wednesday, December 2014

Set in England in the early 19th century, Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, tells the story of the Bennet family's five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. This famous novel of manners has been adapted to the stage by the High School Drama Club.

The public is welcome to attend performances on

Friday, December 12th and Saturday Dec 13th

at 7:30 pm in the CWS Auditorium

Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted in support of the Drama Club's future projects. Here are a map and directions to our school. This play is recommended for students in grades 3 and up.

Schools Are The Foundation of Community…

Wednesday, December 2014

The Chicago Waldorf School has received strong and positive feedback following the Trumbull open house held last week. Asking the Alderman to define Trumbull for school use only gives a not-for-profit a fighting chance to bid. The Chicago Waldorf School recognizes this architectural gem and wants to preserve it for its intended use.

Chicago Waldorf School is organizing a good old-fashioned door-to-door effort to meet 40th & 48th Ward residents and hear their thoughts. This informational flyer is included for groups and individuals who are concerned about for-profit development and wish to support a School Only Use for Trumbull for consideration by the Board of Education, who will be selling the property soon. Please email Luke Goodwin if you want to get involved.

Click here to Take the Alderman's Survey to voice your opinion about the best uses for Trumbull.


Why is this important to the neighborhood:

> Use the building as it was designed to be—A SCHOOL!
> Landmark the building
> Protect the open space
> Increase local business on a daily basis
> Fill the building with laughter and singing
> For-profit development will increase density in Andersonville
> Reuse of Trumbull as a school will keep traffic and parking issues at a minimum
> 50% of the Waldorf community already lives in local Andersonville neighborhoods

What can you do? Call or e-mail your Alderman

Email subject: Trumbull Feedback
Email body: Please keep Trumbull a school and only a school.
40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor 773-769-1140 /
48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman 773-784-5277 /


Why Chicago Waldorf School?

Solid and Well Established!
> At 40 years old, Chicago Waldorf School is one of the oldest PreK–12 Waldorf schools in the Midwest and one of the most unique and diverse non-charter private schools in the city.
> We give away more financial assistance than any other private school in the city
> We integrate academics with art, music, movement and social service
> Chicago Waldorf School is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation certified as a non-public school by the Illinois State Board of Education. Come visit us at


Why Trumbull?

More Space
> We are a growing community in need of finding a permanent home. We love our school in Rogers Park but require more physical space.

Trumbull is the Right Building for Waldorf's Requirements!
> The architectural design matches our needs perfectly. We come together as a school community at every opportunity. The auditorium will serve as the heartbeat of our schools life and provide a meeting place for Andersonville community
> We intend to landmark this special building and preserve all historic elements

> Andersonville is the perfect fit for the Chicago Waldorf School with overlapping values of diversity, culture & community life
> With 355 students from 250 families we will bring over 500 people into the Andersonville community
> On a daily basis parents will frequent the Clark Street corridor for shopping, dining and exercise
> We will be an anchor to Andersonville by encouraging community use of newly developed green space and the 400-seat auditorium
> Our annual Holiday Fair and May Fair events will add life to Andersonville!

A Warm Welcome To Friends of Our School

Monday, December 2014


Our Pre-K through High School in Rogers Park invites Chicago families to our annual:


Chicago Waldorf School Holiday Fair

Saturday, December 6th
10:00am – 4:00pm

1300 W. Loyola Ave. (at Glenwood and Lakewood)


The Holiday Fair organizers look forward to making this the most joyful celebration of the season yet….

         Honor the Spirit of the Season!

In this festival,we open our doors and welcome families and neighbors inside to enjoy workshops and activities that include handwork and "Do-It-Yourself" craft-making projects. Braid your own jumprope, dip  and decorate handmade candles, create beautiful star ornaments and you'll find other ways to celebrate "making things."

Musical Entertainment: 

We will have more atmospheric music in the back of the auditorium at these times:

10:00-10:20      High School Strings

10:20-10:50      Holiday Fair Carolers

10:50-11:10      High School Strings

11:10-11:40      Holiday Fair Carolers

11:40-12:00      Grade School Strings

Followed by these performers on stage:

1:00        High School African Drumming

1:15        The Kelson Twins

2:00        All-Star Dad’s Band

3:00        Raffle Drawing


Make Toys, Gifts & Hand-Made Crafts:

In the Waldorf tradition that celebrates the value of handwork visit our Care to Share table, Children’s House (crafts for children 6 yrs. and younger), jump-rope making & candle-dipping activity workshops. Also enjoy a dragon shoot game and other favorites.

Shop the Artisanal Vendors Bazaar:

Vendors will sell handmade crafts and artistic goods all day in an artisan’s bazaar. Shop our wonderful Waldorf vendors who have been selectively juried for wares that align with the Waldorf values of handcrafting with natural materials. Our Waldorf Recycled room sells gently used furniture, toys, dolls, house goods and clothes that are of value to the community.

Share a Communal Meal: 

Handmade tamales, empanadas and more! Delicious, warm foods will be served in the gymnasium. Also in the gym will be the bakery, which will be available ALL day, along with coffee, water and juice. The gym will be filled with plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to sit, relax and enjoy a meal or something sweet with their friends and family. Children can enjoy themselves while grown-ups chat over a cup of coffee while observing the school’s Alumni Council and CWS Greenery Tables!


Season’s Greetings everyone,
     we can’t wait for you to join in the fun…


Tokens are for sale  at the door. Tokens are needed for all craft workshops and activities. While food & goods vendors will accept cash. $5 Admissions for Adults / Children Admitted Free. Activities Tokens are available for $1 each

Waldorf Author and Science Teacher, Michael D’Aleo, Presents

Tuesday, November 2014

Parents and the general public are welcome to join in this evening presentation:

From Playing in Fields to the Higgs Field:

How Waldorf Education and
Modern Physics Make Sense

presented by Michael D’Aleo

Wednesday, November 12 at 7:30pm

in the High School Physics Lab / 1317 W. Loyola Ave (south side of Loyola Ave)


The foundation of Waldorf Education is based on a rich developing of the senses in the younger child.  As the students become older and more awake to the possibility of "living thinking," more sophisticated and integrated concepts are able to be introduced, developed and understood.  This growth allows the students to not only understand some of the latest breakthroughs in science; it also facilitates their ability to live more deeply in their everyday experience of the world.  How does the view of education underlying a Waldorf School develop the same type of thinking expressed in modern physics in the Higgs Field?  The answer is both simple, yet powerful!

“…students not only need to understand some of the latest breakthroughs in science; it also facilitates their ability to live more deeply in their everyday experience of the world.”

Michael D’Aleo lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of science, education and environmental issues. He was a co-founder of the high school at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs where he taught physical science and astronomy. Mr. D’Aleo has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rutgers University where he graduated Summa cum Laude.  He also holds a Masters degree in education from Sunbridge College.

In 1991, Mr. D’Aleo became involved in education and research out of his strong experience of the interrelationship between the world of man, both technical and artistic, and the natural world.  He has lectured internationally on the topics of science and education in various settings.  Mr. D’Aleo is co-author of the book Sensible Physics Teaching, a guide for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade educators to teach physics in a manner relevant to the experience of the students.  He is also the author of the forthcoming book, Embracing Materialism and Letting It Go – An experiential guide to overcoming an object-based world conception.

Kids In Nature; Why It Matters

Tuesday, October 2014

Bill Bryson's A Walk In the Woods, and Robert Frost's iconic  poem "The Road Not Taken" are exemplars of a lonstanding tradition and appreciation for the restorative powers of nature and humans' deep conection to the natural environment. New studies, book authors and child psychologists are also asserting that this connection has psychological and developmental influence on children that are far deeper and more lasting in impact than the mere enjoyment of lesuire time outside. Outdoor experience, exploration and play engages the child and fosters critical experiences in learning and psychological development. It also broadens a child's perspective and their understanding of the world.

"kids today are becoming more and more removed from nature, at the expense of their own psychological and physical well being"

Lauren Knight writes in a new Washington Post article about the impact of nature on children and she offers a list as a parent's guide to engaging in experiences in nature. Her list includes:

  1. Inspire curiosity by being curious yourself
  2. Simply be in nature with no other distractions
  3. Limit electronic devices while commuting
  4. Seek out natural, untouched spaces and return often
  5. Make time for unstructured outdoor play
  6. Stop thinking about nature time as leisure time
  7. Read about nature with your child
  8. Plant a small garden
  9. Look at the stars
  10. Get organized

"Children who spend more time in nature develop better motor fitness and coordination, especially in balance and agility. And the benefits of the mind are not to be overlooked..."


Read the details of each guideline for parents (including a great reading list) in the Washingtopn Post article

Photosgraphs of "Milo and Oliver at the river" & " Milo at Graveyard Fields in North Carolina" by Lauren Knight

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