The Bulletin

New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.

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

Sign up for the Arcturus Sumer Intensive Program

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.

The 8th Grade presents: As You Like It, by William Shakespeare

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!

Math Night: A Review of Waldorf Curriculum

Mathematics Unfolded

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

Looking for CWS Board Trustees

Chicago Waldorf School’s Committee on Trustees of the Board of Trustees is:

Actively seeking individuals who are interested in serving as a Trustee of the Board…

or as a member of a Board Committee. We are looking for talented people who are willing to take up the challenging and rewarding work of leading the school toward fulfilling its mission. These people can come from within our CWS community, or can be drawn from outside our current ranks.

Click here for more details (candidates must meet these requirements).

If you are interested, or you think someone you know might be just who we’re looking for, please email Cynthia Joho at We would like your suggestions by March 31st.

Math Team earns high rankings from ICTM

CWS High School Math Team Headed for State Finals!

April 30th at the University of Illinois

The high school math team’s strong performance in the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) Regional Competition earned them the opportunity to advance to the State Finals.  Both the Freshman/Sophomore 8 person team and Liam Lundy, as an individual, will be competing on April 30th at the University of Illinois.  Students competing in the State Finals include Paco Alvarez, Alex Morson, Merci Randolph, Vlad Yourtchenko, Gabby Anspach, Liam Lundy, Rochelle Peterson and Maddie Lawson.  Other math team members include Rosie Fitz, Quinn Kennelly, Jhanneau Roberts, Alice Blehart, Cameron Fife and Joanna Northage-Orr.

This is the first time that the Chicago Waldorf School has qualified as a team to attend the State Finals.  As small as our school is, the Freshman/Sophomore 8 person team earned a score equal to or higher than many schools much larger in size, such as the University of Chicago Laboratory School, St. Ignatius, Lane Tech, Lake Forest, Highland Park and Glenbrook South.

Each year, the math team has grown in size and improved their performance in the ICTM Regional Competition.  The team is currently coached by Katie Sullivan and Robert Wilson and was started and led by Brian Gleichauf for several years.  Brian and Katie will be traveling with the team to the State Finals and are helping the team gear up for the competition in bi-weekly practices.

Submitted by Math Team faculty advisor, Katie Sullivan

Congratulations to our Math Team for their impressive performance
we wish them strong will and calm focus for their impending conference!

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