The Bulletin

May Fair Brings an Outbreath of Family Activity

Above: The 4th graders welcome younger children to join in the Maypole dance in 2015


Dear Friends, Neighbors and Families throughout Chicago. You are warmly invited to,

May Fair 2016

Saturday, May 14th /  10am – 4pm


at Chicago Waldorf School – Rogers Park Campus
1300 W. Loyola Ave. / btwn Glenwood & Lakewood Ave.
open to the public     Map & Directions


The Chicago Waldorf School May Fair brings together everything you love about Waldorf: community connections for the parents; old-fashioned playful fun for the kids.

Activities for All Ages
New this year; enjoy dousing some of your favorite faculty and parents in the dunk tank. Activities include: face-painting, tie-dyeing shirts, hand henna tattoos & child-made crafts. See our community perform on the Entertainment Stage: music, drama, singing, circus club performances, storytelling and more.


Children’s Maypole Dance  (time: 12:00 noon / location: Street Stage)
The iconic focus of May Fair is the children’s maypole dance, a tradition started centuries ago. The maypole bears garlands and is a symbol for growth and the Spring. The 4th grade will weave the maypole ribbons in complex dance patterns to the musical accompaniment of the 5th grade. In the participation round, younger children are invited to partner with the 4th graders to wind and weave the maypole.

Shop for Crafts and Special Opportunities
The May Fair features a Silent Auction offering great packages. And we have many unique vendors and exhibitors. Shop the Artisan Vendors tables for beautiful wares!

There is a Children’s Vendors Area too. Here 5th graders sell fairy doorways.


The kindergarten tea room, treasure hunt, make jump-ropes, “Roll the Troll” bowling,  face painting, storytelling, and many more games await our youngest children...

tie-dye table, hair-braiding, cake walk, basketball hoop shots, Plinko board & dragon shoot, plunger derby, are some of the activities offered…

hand henna tattoos, high school talent show, music performances, dramatic scenes and more…


Inquiries? Call the school’s Main Office: 773.465.2662

Troll bowling in the young children’s activity area / Older kids assist with tie-dyeing in 2015

Above: children enjoy the swift challenge of the plunger derby  Below: Two children wear flower crowns

Celebrate Spring outdoors with us at the May Fair!

See you at Chicago Waldorf School’s Rogers Park Campus on Saturday May 14th / 10am-4pm

Spring Festival Concludes our Annual Recycle Drive

the 2016 spring festival RECYCLE DRIVE

Its Spring; Lets celebrate rebirth from decay and breathe new life into cast-aways and discards! Time to clear out those closets and lighten the clutter in your basement or attic. Our community members' material donations are being accepted this week until Friday, April 15th. In our main entrance you will find labelled bins and buckets where you can donate these used items for recycling:

Computers  •   Printers/Screens  •  Electronics

Batteries  •  Cell-phones •  Ink Cartridges

All electronics will be recycled through a CWS parent owned company, Huron Paper Stock. Or donate your used clothing & shoes for children through a midwives program supporting new parents in Casa Maternal de Nacimiento in Guatemala.


Clothing & Shoes (for Children in Guatemala)

All clothes and shoes will be donated to children from birth to 10 years old. Their regional weather is cold and rainy- so warm clothes welcome and please no shorts/skirts/flip flops/sleeveless shirts. Only sizes up to 10 yrs. old will be shipped.


To conclude and honor the day's hard work, join the school students, faculty and staff for our annual:

CWS Spring Festival  

Friday April 15th  •  12:30 pm
Auditorium •  Rogers Park Campus

To celebrate Spring's outward facing sense of renewal, the students engage in festival activities throughout the day including: work details that pick up trash in the neighborhood. Caretaking of the 2nd generation Sophia Garden, planting and mulching of the grounds and sideyard. Cleaning of the school hallways, auditorium and maintenance of the recycling programs bins as well as final sorting and loading of all materials collected from the 2016 Recycle Drive.

After a shared lunch across partnered grades, the full grades and High School come together in the auditorium for a Spring Festival Assembly. Parents and friends are welcome to attend at 12:30 in the auditorium.

Finally students conclude the festival in the afternoon with various races and team games at Albion beach, while the older grades play capture the flag at a nearby beach.


Thanks to our recycling partners:
Huron Paper Stock for supporting our Recycle Drive.
The Guatemala Midwives Project for sending clothes and shoes to Guatemala.

Images above: Students participate in the 2015 Spring Festival and Recycle Drive

Celebrating The Differences We Encounter In Our Time

Talking With Our Children About Difference

An Inclusion and Diversity Symposium


Tuesday, April 5, 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Chicago Waldorf School-Rogers Park Campus
1300 W Loyola Avenue
at Lakewood
High School English Room-3rd floor


As our world grows more connected it will become increasingly important for the “adults of tomorrow” to be able to work collaboratively with a broadly diverse population. Race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality and ability are just some examples of difference we encounter in our time.

Join the discussion as the Inclusion & Diversity Committee hosts a conversation on “talking about difference” with our children while cultivating a sense of appreciation for others. 


This parent evening is sponsored by the Inclusion & Diversity Committee, and supported by the CWS faculty & administration


Photos from 2015:

Top- 1st graders in the playground
Side- Seniors and 1st grade buddies carve pumpkins

Understanding Kids: Pushing the Reset Button

In our series of parent education perspectives comes this analysis from Victoria L. Dinckley, M.D. for Psychology Today Magazine. Dr. Dunckley is an award-winning integrative child psychiatrist and is also the author of the book  "Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-TimeRead her article about the effects of screens on child behaviors and cognitive development:


Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy

"Psychology Today Magazine,"  published: August 18th, 2015

Children or teens who are “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who are depressed and apathetic have become disturbingly commonplace. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.” That is, they’re agitated but exhausted. Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to struggle academically and socially.

At some point, a child with these symptoms may be given a mental-health diagnosis such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, and offered corresponding treatments, including therapy and medication. But often these treatments don’t work very well, and the downward spiral continues.

What’s happening?

Both parents and clinicians may be “barking up the wrong tree.” That is, they’re trying to treat what looks like a textbook case of mental disorder, but failing to rule out and address the most common environmental cause of such symptoms—everyday use of electronics. Time and again, I’ve realized that regardless of whether there exists any “true” underlying diagnoses, successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast” —to allow the nervous system to “reset.”

If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity. The ability to tolerate stress improves, so meltdowns diminish in both frequency and severity. The child begins to enjoy the things they used to, is more drawn to nature, and imaginary or creative play returns. In teens and young adults, an increase in self-directed behavior is observed—the exact opposite of apathy and hopelessness.

It’s a beautiful thing.

At the same time, the electronic fast reduces or eliminates the need for medication while rendering other treatments more effective. Improved sleep, more exercise, and more face-to-face contact with others compound the benefits—an upward spiral! After the fast, once the brain is reset, the parent can carefully determine how much if any electronics use the child can tolerate without symptoms returning.

Restricting electronics may not solve everything, but it’s often a missing link in treatment when kids are stuck.  

But why is the electronic fast intervention so effective? Because it reverses much of the physiological dysfunction produced by daily screen time. 

Children’s brains are much more sensitive to electronics use than most of us realize. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take much electronic stimulation to throw a sensitive and still-developing brain off track. Also, many parents mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time—Internet or social media use, texting, emailing, and gaming—isn’t harmful, especially compared to passive screen time like watching TV. In fact, interactive screen time is more likely to cause sleep, mood, and cognitive issues, because it’s more likely to cause hyperarousal and compulsive use.  


Six ways electronic screen time makes kids angry, depressed and unmotivated...


Here’s a look at six physiological mechanisms that explain electronics’ tendency to produce mood disturbance:  

1. Screen time disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock

Because light from screen devices mimics daytime, it suppresses melatonin, a sleep signal released by darkness. Just minutes of screen stimulation can delay melatonin release by several hours and desynchronize the body clock. Once the body clock is disrupted, all sorts of other unhealthy reactions occur, such as hormone imbalance and brain inflammation. Plus, high arousal doesn’t permit deep sleep, and deep sleep is how we heal.

2. Screen time desensitizes the brain’s reward system

Many children are “hooked” on electronics, and in fact gaming releases so much dopamine—the “feel-good” chemical—that on a brain scan it looks the same as cocaine use. But when reward pathways are overused, they become less sensitive, and more and more stimulation is needed to experience pleasure. Meanwhile, dopamine is also critical for focus and motivation, so needless to say, even small changes in dopamine sensitivity can wreak havoc on how well a child feels and functions.

3. Screen time produces “light-at-night”

Light-at-night from electronics has been linked to depression and even suicide risk in numerous studies. In fact, animal studies show that exposure to screen-based light before or during sleep causes depression, even when the animal isn’t looking at the screen. Sometimes parents are reluctant to restrict electronics use in a child’s bedroom because they worry the child will enter a state of despair—but in fact removing light-at-night is protective.  

4. Screen time induces stress reactions

Both acute stress (fight-or-flight) and chronic stress produce changes in brain chemistry and hormones that can increase irritability. Indeed, cortisol, the chronic stress hormone, seems to be both a cause and an effect of depression—creating a vicious cycle. Additionally, both hyperarousal and addiction pathways suppress the brain’s frontal lobe, the area where mood regulation actually takes place.

5. Screen time overloads the sensory system, fractures attention, and depletes mental reserves

Experts say that what’s often behind explosive and aggressive behavior is poor focus. When attention suffers, so does the ability to process one’s internal and external environment, so little demands become big ones. By depleting mental energy with high visual and cognitive input, screen time contributes to low reserves. One way to temporarily “boost” depleted reserves is to become angry, so meltdowns actually become a coping mechanism.

6. Screen-time reduces physical activity levels and exposure to “green time”

Research shows that time outdoors, especially interacting with nature, can restore attention, lower stress, and reduce aggression. Thus, time spent with electronics reduces exposure to natural mood enhancers.


In today’s world, it may seem crazy to restrict electronics so drastically. But when kids are struggling, we’re not doing them any favors by leaving electronics in place and hoping they can wind down by using electronics in "moderation." It just doesn't work. In contrast, by allowing the nervous system to return to a more natural state with a strict fast, we can take the first step in helping a child become calmer, stronger, and happier.  ---

The article can be read at its source:
Psychology Today Magazine website

Photo: Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock Top: pathdoc/fotolia

Betrayal, murder & other bad behaviors in the 8th grade play

Dear Friends and Families of Chicago Waldorf School,    You are invited to attend:

You’re A Dead Man, Charlie Brown

                Friday, April 1st & Saturday, April 2nd, at 7:30pm

                in the CWS Auditorium  /  1300 W. Loyola Avenue


Broadway’s Planter’s Theatre is set to present a revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” when, on opening night, the lead actor is murdered. How could this be? Will the show actually go on? And who dunnit? Follow along as Inspector Doyle O’Connor of the NYPD is called in to unravel this tangled web of deceit, betrayal, murder, and other forms of bad behavior. Enjoy listening to some of the songs and dances (frequently interrupted) of the original play.

Come and enjoy the antics for April Fools Day!

This play was originally written by 8th grade teacher, John Trevillion (with considerable input from his class) in 1995. It was the product, you might say, of a most fortunate accident. In two subsequent productions - in 2003 and 2016 - Mr. Trevillion has solicited further input from the students of those classes, and woven in new material. It has been as much fun to write as it has been to see performed. Come enjoy the twists and turns of the play and support the 8th grade class.

Between Act refreshments will be served. This play is for ages 10 years old and up
Admission is free, but donations toward the 8th grade class fund are welcome.

Thanks to 8th grader, Katherine Norquist for the lovely poster art.

Joy is a Jam Donut, You Make Yourself

Kendall College Master Baker Visits Waldorf

The Middle School's 7th grade recently participated in a baking workshop in which they learned the professional processes, procedures and nutritional science behind baking...all in service to concocting a fun confection similar to the Jelly Donut. 

This workshop is a typical component of the German class curriculum. Whats the connection, you ask? Well in fact the students were making "Berliner Pfannkuchen" a classic pastry bun that is traditionally prepared and served in Germany for New Year's Eve ("Silvester") and also for the carnival holidays ("Rosenmontag" and "Fat Tuesday").

As is essential to the Waldorf curriculum, students literally learned by DOING (mixing, kneading, punching, waiting, rolling, cutting, forming, baking, preparing, filling, glazing, sprinkling and waiting some more...all in service to the final payoff...EATING and ENJOYING!)


Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!             – Oscar Wilde


Special thanks to Master Baker, Melina Kelson-Podolsky who led the students through the workshop that she normally teaches at the prestigious Kendall College Pastry program. In addition to being one of only a handful of Certified Master Bakers in the United States, Kelson-Podolsky sits on the board of directors of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America.

In the Waldorf workshop, various aspects of baking science were analyzed and practiced as well as observations made by CWS German teacher, Frau Gambill, about the many variations in presentation and donut forms that range across cultures (After all a Berliner is not the same as a jelly donut, which is not the same as a Bavarian Cream nor a Kitchener Bun. Long Johns and Bismarks are different than "Jambusters" and "Burlington Buns." Its interesting how every culture identifies its pastries differently by cultural heritage...and lets not even get started on the diverse cultural backgrounds behind the humble and ubiquitous "dumpling.")

Note: To enlarge the images in the slide show above simply click on them.

Senior Projects Week 2016- Students Teach the Community


Week of March 7-11, 2016

All presentations in the CWS Auditorium / 1300 W. Loyola Avenue  (Map It)

The Waldorf High School seniors, as part of the culmination of their studies, take on the mantle of educators by becoming teachers to the community. Having worked all year on a self-selected topic, the seniors present their specialized knowledge, research and writing to the assembled public for discussion. Parents, friends & guests: members of the public are warmly invited to attend! Presentations will proceed without pause, so please come at the beginning of each morning & afternoon, or evening session.


                    Welcome & Opening Remarks

10:00 am   Dylan Kulik- Aquaponics: Farming in Symbiosis (grades 3 & up)            

                    Chris Richards- Cartoon Creation (grades 7 & up)

                    Liza Kahn- Understanding Beauty: An Exploration Across Four Cultures (grades 7 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm     Graham Heavenrich- ThemMixesGood: Creating a Musical Presence Online (grades 8 & up)

                    Maddy Byrne- From Street to Gallery: Graffiti and Street Art (grades 7 & up)




10:00 am     Madeline Franklin- The Evolution of Video Games (grades 6 & up)         

                     Shannon Sullivan- Without a Conscience: A Closer Look at Psychopathy (grades 8 & up)

                     Taylor Jones- reCycling (grades 3 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm      Guthrie Gates- Music in Media: The Art of Scoring Films (grades 4 & up)

                      Kyra Gleason- The Human-Canine Bond (grades. 9 & up)




10:00 am     Maddie Kelson- American Songwriters (grades 4 & up)   

                      Conor Sullivan- Secret Soldiers: The Study of America’s Most Elite Spec-ops Unit (grades 5 & up)

                      Juliet Kelson- How To Make A Penny In The Music Business (grades 7 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm       Samuel Liss- The Psychology of Deception (grades 7 & up)

                      Delphine Lazar- Uncensored: Adolescence As A Solitary Act (grades 11 & up)

6:30              All High School Parent Evening




10:00 am      Grace White- The Spirituality of Eastern vs. Western Medicine (grades 5 & up)         

                       Siubhan Stormont- Movie Makeup: The Art of Transformation (grades 3 & up)

                       Alfred Phillippe Collins- Bauhaus and Its Influence on My Design (grades 5 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm       Nikolai Gorman- Relativity: Understanding the Universe (grades 6 & up)

                      Paul Bonaccorsi- My Story: A Journey in Pictures (grade 12 only)




2:00 pm      Tan Vasikachart- Kohn, Commedia dell’arte and Me  (grades 1 & up)              

                     Max Renton- Calder’s Universe: Changing the Face of Sculpture (grades 9 & up)

                     Silvia Sukenic- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Burden and Blessing (grades 7 & up)

                                — Dinner Break —

6:00 pm     Emina Music- Bosnia: Peace By Piece (grades 7 & up)

                    Nick Leonard- Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: A Guide to Narrative and Linguistic Adaptation (grades 7 & up)

8:00          Closing

Above: The Class of 2015 Seniors at the conclusion of last year's Senior Projects Week

Malaysian Education Dignitaries on a National Tour visit CWS

Colleen Everhart, CWS College Chair; Luke Goodwin, CWS Administrative Director; Muhammad Hana Pizi Abdullah, Chief Imam, State Government of Kelantan; Shaipolbahari Salleh, Assistant Registrar, Institute Al Quran, Terengganu; Surraya Abu Bakar, Deputy Principal, Adni Islamic School, Kuala Lumpur; Salmy Gheblawi, Translator, US Dept. of State

In the exchange of ideas about human learning and child development, Waldorf Schools benefit from an international presence in countries across the world. Waldorf schools embody a global perspective founded on universal human capacities strengthened by the diversity of communities and cultures who embrace the "Waldorf way" in education.

I like Chicago Waldorf School's focus on creativity in education. Teachers and students have the freedom to engage in creative activities and they are not stressed out.   -Muhammad Hana Pizi Abdullah, Chief Imam

This past December a US Department of State sponsored delegation of Malaysian educators asked to visit Chicago Waldorf School to study our programs and discuss administrative and pedagogical practices with CWS leaders. We hosted a panel discussion with the Chief Imam from the State Government of Kelantan, the Deputy Headmistress of Sekolah Islam Adni and the Assistant Registrar of Institute Al-Quran. After a spirited exchange of cultural inquiry, sharing perspectives and discussions of best practices for administrative and pedagogical goals the delegation expressed interest in pursuing further study of the various Waldorf Schools currently established in Malaysia. We bid them farewell as they continued their tour of American cities and schools. A few days later, after they had continued on to Los Angeles and reflected on their visit to CWS, the delegates generously shared with us some of their observations about our school. 

Shaipolbahari Salleh, Assistant Registrar, Institute Al Quran, in Terengganu said, "I am impressed with this school because it is not exam-oriented. The curriculum encourages students to be independent learners. I find it remarkable that the students can create their own portfolio and that they do not use textbooks in class. It also shows that they understand the subject that they are learning and that it is not rote memorization."  His analysis of the Waldorf approach reflects a shared understanding of the goal to activate a student's passion for inquiry. This child-focused approach was also detailed by Ms. Surayya Abu Bakar, who commented that a strength of the Chicago Waldorf School is it's,

...emphasis on developing the child as a human being; less concerned with testing, but more about what they know and how they apply it, which is reflected in the portfolios they produce. Even though the focus is on play and creativity, at the end of the day, the students excel at their core subjects.  - Surraya Abu Bakar, Deputy Principal, Adni Islamic School, Kuala Lumpur


Sandwiched between largely Buddhist Thailand, predominantly Muslim Indonesia, Hindu India and the predominantly Catholic Philippines, Malaysia is a nation that historically was subject to different religious and cultural influences, but retained its own strong identity. Although there are many old and new external influences within the country, its culturally diverse society is striving for its own way, and investing in preparing their children for the future.

Malaysian parents have met Waldorf Education with keen interest. Private institutions are frequently attended during early school age, and Waldorf kindergartens are very attractive option because they teach in several languages, have collaborative interaction as a key principle, avoid the strict state curriculum - which is mandatory from kindergarten onwards - and offer a child age-appropriate education.

The Malaysian Waldorf Movement began by the end of the 1990’s. In 1997, Junko Suzumoto and Ong Kung Wai established the first Waldorf initiative, Nania, in Penang. Through the support of the Friends of Waldorf Education this initiative grew steadily in Malaysia over the years.  Expatriate families dominated early enrollment, but from 2002 onwards, interest from Malaysian parents increased. In 2004, another initiative, Taska Lin, was established in Penang. In 2008, the third initiative, Kelip-kelip, was established in Klang Valley, in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur. And interest in play oriented pre-school education is growing. Several initiatives have emerged, some new, some incorporating Waldorf methods to their existing system.

took its name from the “Narnia” stories by C. S. Lewis. Like ‘Narnia’, Junko Suzumoto wants Nania to be a place children want to visit and return to again and again; to be a school where they encounter self-development challenges and experiences that prepare them for their life's journey. The enrollment of local and foreign children, with multi-ethnic and various national and cultural backgrounds posed a challenge at the beginning. What is fitting and relevant for all? So the school adopted festivals from different cultures to facilitate nurturing moods and to establish seasonal rhythms. These festivals are celebrated as cultural events without religious overtones. By 2012 Nania reported operating at full enrollment of 52 children with a yearlong waiting list.

Another home-kindergarten project called Taska Lin is also located in Penang and was founded by Lee Swee Lin and her husband Yang. Lin got to know Waldorf Education 15 years ago through Junko Suzumoto.  Her visit to Nania was so touching that Lin chose to be an assistant teacher, instead of selecting a more commercial job. In 2000 Lin took up study at Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Teacher Training College. Taska Lin, has enrolled 38 children from age 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 years. The children are from expatriate families from different countries and about 20% are Malaysian. At Taska Lin, the children play and sing in Malay, Mandarin and Japanese, as well as in English. During Family Day at a public indoor playground other visitors with young kids are often impressed with Taska Lin’s children for being so confident and playing well together.

Klang Valley, located in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur, is the centre of the Malaysian Waldorf movement. It all began with Kelip-kelip in 2008, when the founders and married couple Da Vid and Wan Yee, graduates from Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar, started out with 10 children. This all lead up to early 2011, when Da Vid started Kelip-kelip Waldorf School, the first Waldorf school in Malaysia. Kelip-kelip quickly outgrew it's facility and needed a bigger location to accommodate the children wishing to enroll. A supportive parent purchased land to build a new school. And there is a plan for the new school, to initially be built with six classrooms. Fortunately there is hope for Kelip-kelip's growth, as the interest in Waldorf education increases among the school’s community.

Two years after Kelip-kelip, two other Waldorf kindergartens started up in Klang Valley, as well as a Waldorf doll making class. In Malaysia, Waldorf education is still in an early stage of development. However the founders of Waldorf education in Malaysia believe they are on the right path, doing the best thing for the children, for society, and for the world through Waldorf education.

As reported by Ong Kung Wai,
founder of Nania Waldorf Kindergarten
Malaysian photos/historical content edited from Waldorf Worldwide.


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