Chicago Waldorf School alumnus, Ben Agosto’s professional skating career included earning the honor of competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics where he and his partner, Tanith Belbin, took the silver medal in ice dancing.
Some of his former Waldorf teachers met him recently while he was in Chicago on a professional tour. This portrait shows Ben with Ro Hart (left) and Arlene Brennan (right), both former CWS early childhood teachers. Arlene was Ben’s kindergarten teacher when he was 5 years old (in 1987) at Chicago Waldorf School. Now he is 28 years old and an Olympic champion. Ben was pleased to reconnect with his former Early Childhood teachers.
Here are some facts about Ben’s athletic career:
Benjamin Alexandro Agosto (born January 15, 1982) is an American ice dancer. With partner Tanith Belbin, Agosto is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, a four-time World medalist, the 2004–2006 Four Continents champion, and 2004–2008 U.S. champion.
In 2010, Agosto & Belbin were ranked 4th in the world by the International Skating Union (ISU).
At the 2010 United States Figure Skating Championships, they were nominated to represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and ended up 4th in ice dancing.
Benjamin Agosto was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Northbrook, Illinois. He moved to Detroit, Michigan in June 1998 in order to train under Igor Shpilband. He is the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Jewish mother whose family has roots in Romania and Russia. Agosto attended grade school at the Chicago Waldorf School before moving to Michigan where he graduated with honors from Groves High School in June 2000.
In 2004, Belbin and Agosto won the U.S. Championship and repeated four times. At Nationals in 2005, the last year of the 6.0 system, Belbin & Agosto earned straight perfect sixes for presentation in their free dance. Of the 30 6.0s given out in ice dance at US Nationals, Belbin & Agosto have 14 of them. Their 6.0 count is second only to Michelle Kwan’s career 38 at nationals.
In February 2005, Belbin and Agosto organized and performed in their own figure skating benefit show, Skate Aid for Tsunami Relief, which raised more than $37,000 for Red Cross relief efforts. Belbin and Agosto went on to win the Olympic silver medal in ice dance on February 20, 2006. They were the first American ice dance team since 1976 (the first year ice dancing was contested at the Olympics) to win an Olympic medal.
See the source for these career facts.
PTO Sponsored Parent Education Evening
Thursday, April 7th
Refreshments at 6:30pm / Presentation at 7:00pm
Lower Eurthymy Room
A good foundation in math is always useful. If we learned math in a traditional school, we might wonder how our children learn math in the Waldorf curriculum. We might find it difficult to be helpful at home because our childrens’ lessons seem so different. Please join CWS faculty for this enlightening and educational discussion of how math is taught in the early grades and expanded upon in the middle grades and high school. This is an opportunity to experience Waldorf math, and a chance to reflect and ask questions. This will help you and your child with math at home.
Please RSVP to Lisa Rekstad, PTO Parent Education Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org
Doll Making with Nancy Melvin
April at Commons on the Corner
Friday mornings in April / 8:15am – 9:15am
The Parent Child Room, 1301 E. Loyola
Join CWS faculty member, Nancy Melvin, for a discussion of the importance of dolls in a child’s development. In addition, you will have the opportunity to knit a doll, beginning with making your own knitting needles. This is an experience that will give you insight into your child’s experience in the Waldorf classroom. Stay tuned for more information.
Direct questions to Commons on the Corner Lead, Christine Carroll at email@example.com.
Knitting with Megan Cummins
PTO Sponsored Parent Education Event
Thursdays, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21 and 4/29 / 8:15am – 10:30am
Parent Child Room, 1301 E. Loyola
What do you get when you rub two sticks together? Fire, right? Well, we are igniting the fire of learning by rubbing those sticks together – and adding wool. Yes, it’s time to learn to knit. This is a great skill and a lot of fun too! We will learn how to knit from fellow CWS parent and Urban Prairie handwork teacher, Megan Cummins. We will learn to cast on, knit, purl and even bind off. Don’t get cold feet… Why? We will learn how to make socks too!
Please register with Parent Education Lead, Lisa Rekstad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Ever Wonder What Happens To All Those Shipping Containers?
They build a Waldorf school with them.
In a groundbreaking ceremony last month, kindergartners sprinkled both water and wishes on the vacant lot that will soon house the Waldorf School of Orange County’s new $2-million building. The pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school on Canyon Drive invited all 326 of its students to join faculty, parents and the community to see where it planned to erect what was said to be Costa Mesa’s first building made from recycled shipping containers.
“It has always been a dream of this community to erect a building that will reflect the character of this community,” said high school science teacher Ingrid Feck. The building will house high school classes, an art studio, a life-science lab, auditorium, administrative offices, student lounge and a virtual library with a foreign-language lab.
The Waldorf School of Orange County expanded four years ago to include a high school. The school’s first senior class will graduate this spring. The seven students in the senior class, three of whom have been at the school since they were in pre-K, were honored with digging the first hole, as were parents Chi-Lin and Donald Sun, and Sandy and Rob Meadows.
The building was a long time coming, and due to students and parents working to bring the high-school classes to Waldorf, Rob Meadows said. “We are here to celebrate the seed this class planted four years ago that will grow into a building,” he said.
The 10,000-square-foot building will sit on a half-acre lot adjacent to the school overlooking Fairview Park and the Talbert Nature Preserve. The building will be made out of shipping containers — a fairly new, but growing trend in the U.S., said architect Todd Spiegel. The building, which is expected to be completed in May, won’t look like stacked shipping containers, but will be aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly, he said.
The school wanted the portability of being able to move if its lease isn’t renewed and have the ability to grow and change with time, said Paul Conolly, chairman of the school’s board of trustees. Beyond the flexibility the containers offer, the building’s eco-friendly materials reinforce the school’s philosophy, which is to include environmental consciousness in the curriculum, he said. “That’s very near and dear to their hearts,” he said.
Here is the source for this article. And you can preview the video showing timelapse building of the school.
This article authored by a University of California at Berkeley professor who’s research of child development and cognition has produced results confirming core elements of the Waldorf approach to education. She shares her perspective and interpretation of data from two separate studies from research institutions that demonstrate learning outcomes and child behaviors that make a strong case for the age-appropriate, developmental approach that is integral to a Waldorf education. Here follows her article lead-in:
Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School
Ours is an age of pedagogy. Anxious parents instruct their children more and more, at younger and younger ages, until they’re reading books to babies in the womb. They pressure teachers to make kindergartens and nurseries more like schools. So does the law—the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act explicitly urged more direct instruction in federally funded preschools.
There are skeptics, of course, including some parents, many preschool teachers, and even a few policy-makers. Shouldn’t very young children be allowed to explore, inquire, play, and discover, they ask? Perhaps direct instruction can help children learn specific facts and skills, but what about curiosity and creativity—abilities that are even more important for learning in the long run? Two forthcoming studies in the journal Cognition—one from a lab at MIT and one from my lab at UC-Berkeley—suggest that the doubters are on to something. While learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution.
What do we already know about how teaching affects learning? Not as much as we would like, unfortunately, because it is…continue reading
See the source for the full article by Alison Gopnik. Posted to Slate Magazine / Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Here’s a unique opportunity for deep study to learn more about the principles behind the pedagogy. Presented by the Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Program:
Arcturus Summer Intensive
JUNE 27th - JULY 1st, 2011
Arcturus is the Waldorf teacher training program that also educates individuals in the foundations and insights into Waldorf Education. More info is available at the Arcturus website.
The Summer Intensive includes these workshops:
Gardening by Patricia Holdrege
What could be more hands-on than a city garden? During this workshop we will be getting our hands in the earth at a neighborhood community garden. Come ready to learn the basics of city gardening, composting, warm composting and wear clothing appropriate for gardening!
Painting & Drawing out of Plant Observation by Frances Vig
Our lives are shaped by our individual experience of the world, yet often we do not really see what is in front of us. Using painting and drawing, we will work with the colors and forms in nature not only to examine what we know but also to learn to see nature in a different light. We will work with practical exercises in perception and journal our observations as an approach to learning to see nature anew. All levels of experience are welcome!
Rudolf Steiner Life & Work by Rick Spaulding and Jim Kotz
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth.
From an early age Rudolf Steiner was fascinated by modern science, yet due to his experiences of the spiritual world, was not able to find the connection between the natural world, the world of science, and the truths he had discovered regarding the spiritual world. With the help of Goethe’s Color Theory, Steiner strove to bring clarity and a new terminology to unify science, the spirit, and the natural world. In addition to learning about Steiner’s biography, there will also be a focus on his 1924 lectures to farmers.
Friday, April 1 (no foolin’) & Saturday, April 2 at 7 pm in the Auditorium
Come one, come all to the 8th grade presentation of As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Join us for this love story wrapped in comedy as two young women are banished from their courtly life to the Forest of Arden where their own clever plan and a cast of characters show them that country life can offer more joy than they have known.
The play features one of Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage,” and is the origin of the phrase “too much of a good thing.” The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre.
This play, running well over two hours and with a bawdy bent, is best for children sixth grade and up. Refreshments will be available during intermission. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated as they will make our foray to the Four Corners area on our 8th grade trip possible. We are looking forward to sharing our story with you and your friends!
March 23rd is the 1st day of our 100 day drive!
Today marks the launch of CWS Annual Fund’s 100 Days to $100,000 and 100% Participation Drive.
Click here for a previous profile of the drive. Your support of Annual Fund goes directly to support our teachers. You can submit checks to the Main Office, donate online or contact Jackie Johnson for more information.
April 7, 2011 Refreshments at 6:30pm / Presentation at 7:00pm
CWS Lower Eurthymy Room
What does a child in a Waldorf School experience on his/her first day of the 1st grade? Why, the teacher presents the student with two lines: a curve and a straight. Are there any other kinds? Not really. And just think about it: all of our numbers and letters, the primary symbols that govern our lives and interactions, are formed out of these two fundamental types of lines. On the first day of elementary school the child is presented with an archetypal experience.
Now this experience will be revisited and expanded upon in a multitude of ways and contexts throughout the child’s education. One of the most obvious of these contexts is mathematics. How do we measure curved lines, or calculate the area bounded by such lines? This is a question first addressed in 7th grade geometry, and re-visited again in high school calculus. Are there, in fact, two archetypal lines, or is there only one? This is a question taken up in high school geometry, and it constitutes a culminating response to that seed experience planted back on the first day of grade school.
The teachers at the Chicago Waldorf School would like to share with you the nature in which important educational themes are introduced, explored and metamorphosed through the grades always, of course, in harmony with the developing child. Last year we presented the theme of fire as it is introduced in 1st grade, and developed in chemistry lessons in the middle and high schools. This year we invite you to attend an evening in which the theme of the curved and straight line is developed through the 12th grade curriculum. On Wednesday, April 7th, at 7 PM, this PTO-sponsored evening will feature presentations from Nancy Szymanski, John Trevillion and Brian Gleichauf, representing the early, middle, and high school grades, respectively. We look forward to seeing you.
Please RSVP to Lisa Rekstad, PTO Parent Education Lead at email@example.com