The Bulletin

CWS Faculty Author, Dramatist and Playwright Wrote Original Play

Tuesday, November 2013

CWS Teacher John Trevillion is a true “renaissance man:” teacher, dramatist, playwright, director, and author. John has co-authored the book Music of the Spheres and directed the play of the script. This musical which he wrote for middle school students is a delightful adaptation of scenes from the life of Johannes Kepler. The play is an important contribution to Waldorf curriculum, integrating many fields including Science, History, Biography, Music and Drama into rich storytelling. This play is a valuable pedagogical tool and significant Waldorf curriculum module for the 8th grade block that studies revolutionary thinking and innovation in historical contexts .

You can purchase the book, “Music of the Spheres,” through the AWSNA publications website.

Waldorf Grad Recipient of Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine

Tuesday, November 2013

Neuroscientist, Thomas Südhof, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine. Südhof graduated from the Hannover Waldorf School in Germany in 1975. Below is an excerpt from the Stanford University Report announcing his award. Or you can read the full article at its source.

"Neuroscientist Thomas Südhof, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He shared the prize with James Rothman, PhD, a former Stanford professor of biochemistry, and Randy Schekman, PhD, who earned his doctorate at Stanford under the late Arthur Kornberg, MD, another winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The three were awarded the prize "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells."

"I'm absolutely surprised," said Südhof, 57, who was in the remote town of Baeza in Spain to attend a conference and give a lecture. "Every scientist dreams of this. I didn't realize there was chance I would be awarded the prize. I am stunned and really happy to share the prize with James Rothman and Randy Schekman."

Südhof noted that, although he hasn't directly worked with either of the other winners, their work was complementary and he called the Nobel committee "ingenious" in pairing the three of them.  The researchers will share a prize that totals roughly $1.2 million, with about $413,600 going to each.

"Tom Südhof has done brilliant work that lays a molecular basis for neuroscience and brain chemistry," said Roger Kornberg, PhD, Stanford's Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine. Kornberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2006. He is the son of Arthur Kornberg, in whose lab Schekman received his doctorate...."

"Thomas Südhof is a consummate citizen of science. His unrelenting curiosity, his collaborative spirit, his drive to ascertain the minute details of cellular workings, and his skill to carefully uncover these truths — taken together it's truly awe-inspiring.                
                                            - Lloyd Minor, MD, Dean of the School of Medicine, Stanford University

"We've made so many major advances during the past 50 years in this field, but there's still much more to learn," said Südhof, who in a 2010 interview with The Lancet credited his bassoon instructor as his most influential teacher for helping him to learn the discipline to practice for hours on end. "Understanding how the brain works is one of the most fundamental problems in neuroscience."

Photo Credit: Steve Fisch
Read the full article at its source in Stanford News

A Peek Into the 3rd Grade Classroom and Curriculum

Wednesday, October 2013

by 3rd grade teacher, Becky Moskowitz

In 3rd grade the child experiences a new outlook; the question arises within the child’s consciousness, “Who am I?” In Waldorf education we recognize this realization of selfhood as the 9-year change. New capacities for thinking and judgment are emerging. The unity of all things experienced in earlier years gives way to an inner/outer dichotomy; “I am here, and the world is there.” This brings self-consciousness and a critical view of oneself and of others. Personal opinions and strong likes and dislikes are emerging. A new realistic view of the world is beginning to manifest itself. The 3rd grade curriculum helps the child move through this developmental stage by studying the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures, engaging in the practical arts of Farming, House-Building & Working Fibers, and practicing the mathematical skills of Measurement, Long Multiplication & Division, Exchanging Currency and Telling-Time. 

I have Celebrated Shabbat for many years with other 3rd grade classes, and the reverence and peace it brings to the children is precious...

The hands-on experience of this year’s curriculum includes cooking, building, fiber arts, making transactions with money, reading clocks to tell time, preparing soil, planting, tending and harvesting in the garden. Each activity has the purpose of connecting the child in a very concrete way to the material world. In a sense, the world is demystified by the child’s growing knowledge of how-to-do-things in life – which offers a perfect antidote to the challenges of the 9-year change. Another strong remedy for children of this age is the feeling of reverence.

It’s been said that Shabbat is the most important Jewish holiday because of its weekly rhythm and its emphasis on resting!!!  This also connects the students to the story of the Seven Days of Creation from the Hebrew Scriptures and it ties in the idea of rhythm and time. 

Every Friday, my class goes to wash their hands and then re-enters the room in silence.  I lead them through three Hebrew blessings over the candles, the wine (grape juice) and the challah bread.  I have celebrated Shabbat for many years with other 3rd grade classes, and the reverence and peace it brings to the children is precious.  We adults have all kinds of religious, agnostic or atheist beliefs but that is not the main purpose of this classroom activity; we celebrate Shabbat because the children need to experience devotion and reverence.  I teach the children these blessings and once they have mastered them, we opened up our classroom for parents to join us. This is a wonderful way to create closure for the week and begin the weekend.

Waldorf Education Profiled by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN

Wednesday, October 2013

We are happy to announce when Waldorf Education© gets coverage in national news media. Three weeks ago we shared a Chicago Parent Magazine article featuring CWS families living “Simplified Summers.”  And now…

This week CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta & Dr. Layne Kalbfleisch, a cognitive neuroscientist, discussed “how Waldorf education keep students engaged through constant movement” as an essential learning process. Dr. Gupta also profiled schools following The Waldorf Way as exemplary, “innovative education.”

Click here for:  CNN’s Profile of Waldorf Education

And if you are interested in the many other recent news profiles of Chicago Waldorf School, and Waldorf Education in general, see the CWS media page for other videos and articles.

Please share this news with family and friends; you can also find many more articles and media profiles of our school, community members and Waldorf alumni on facebook. To join our community please visit the Chicago Waldorf School’s facebook page and "like" it to receive our periodic announcements.

- shared from the Marketing & Communications Department by: Jason Greenberg, Mark/Comm Director

A Teacher’s Reflection in Early Childhood

Wednesday, October 2013

Sarah Morrison is the newest Early Childhood Lead Teacher who is leading the Sweet Peas (EC2)

The Chicago Waldorf School's Early Childhood program provides a nurturing foundation for the growing child. By nourishing the mind and the senses through a healthy, beauty-filled environment, the program fosters the development of the whole child. Sarah Morrison joins the Early Childhood program this year.

As a new faculty member I greatly appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received. At every turn and by every person I’ve met I’ve been welcomed into this amazing community. It has been so much fun getting to know everyone and getting my classroom set up.

Upon meeting with my wonderful room parents the thought of being an Early Childhood teacher became a reality. I have loved going on home visits this summer. Having the chance to meet all my new and returning children before school starts has been invaluable. I was just as excited as the children are to have these visits!

Sarah has 15 years of experience working with young children. Her love of nature started as a child when helping her Dad garden and feeling the earthworms wiggle on her fingers and toes. She endeavors to weave her love of stories, traveling and the outdoors into her work with children.


Wednesday, October 2013

On Tuesday, October 15th, the administration will be sending home Chicago Waldorf School car magnets as part of the school’s annual fund kick off. This year’s annual fund, Done By 31, starts next Tuesday and ends on Tues., December 31, 2013. You have 11 weeks to make your Annual Fund gift or pledge. Pledge payments are due on June 30, 2014. Our annual fund goal is $160,000 with 100% parent, Trustee, faculty and staff participation.

What’s new about Annual Fund 2013-2014?

• 11 week vs. 9 month Annual Fund campaign

• Monthly giving option

• Focus on matching gifts

• In Honor of/In Memory of giving

You’ll learn about these new initiatives through emails, notes, telephone calls and Voices articles. Please read each document carefully and know that the annual fund is the core of the school’s fundraising initiatives.
The annual fund supports EVERYTHING at the Chicago Waldorf School from turning on the lights each morning to increased teacher compensation, from an enriched Waldorf-inspired curriculum to tuition adjustment and everything in between. Know that every gift made shows the donor’s commitment to CWS.
A tax-deductible annual fund gift makes a difference in the lives of our students and, through academics, allows them to reach their full potential.

Eager to give now? Contact Alexa Markoff at 773.828.8458 or by email at

Third Graders Build Sukkah in the Side Yard

Thursday, September 2013

by Lauren Johnson Pilgrim, 3rd grade parent

The sukkah, a temporary structure, is built during the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkoth to remember the dwellings of the ancient Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. As architecture critic Paul Goldberger explains, “The sukkah is one of the very few times where Jewish liturgy and tradition has an architectural expression.” Thus the sukkah structure encourages those who experience it to dwell on–and in–the qualities of transience and impermanence.

Working with the class on Tuesday morning, it was easy to see just how many things have been in transition over the last few years. As parents of children in first grade and older, we don’t often find ourselves in the side yard where the young children play. Several of the third grade parents remarked how they missed beginning their days there and everyone appreciated the opportunity to visit with each other like we used to. When several of us noticed an early childhood student tenderly kissing his mother’s fingers, we silently acknowledged how much had changed since the last time we were in the side yard together.

Yet another reminder of the transformation underway was how our third grade children bounded into the side yard brimming with ideas and plans.

There was also no denying how strong, confident and mature my son and his friends looked as they carried in the wooden beams that would be used for the sukkah’s structure. Then there were the students tasked with starting the art panels that would form the sukkah’s walls. These panels depicted the creation story, Adam and Eve and the serpent, and Noah and his ark.

Because the students took turns working on each panel, the whole effort became a collaborative art project with all the social challenges this entails. The students discussed the important aspects of each story and tried their best to resolve any “artistic differences” diplomatically. When a historical anachronism was identified—a cat with a flea collar—they discussed whether this was very important and if anything should be done about it. Amidst their purposeful work, the third graders still had time for make believe. One student decided the sukkah needed to have a guard and began solemnly marching back and forth with a plastic rake over his shoulder!

As an object of impermanence, the third grade’s sukkah will remain in the side yard just through the end of Sukkoth on Wednesday evening. Please stop by before it’s gone!

To learn more about the construction of a sukkah, including what professional architects and designers came up with when challenged to build one, visit

CWS Hosts Community Dialogue in Inclusion & Diversity Symposium

Wednesday, September 2013


Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality

Monday, October 7th, 6:30pm, Lower Eurythmy Room

Join us for this community event hosted by the Chicago Waldorf School’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee.  Attend a screening of “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” a film by Shakti Butler, that asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity and is designed to deepen the conversation on race. Rooted in love and justice, Cracking the Codes, can provide an honest, heartfelt starting point for conversation. For more information and to RSVP please contact Jennifer Zielinski at

Cracking the Codes is the most dignified and evidenced response possible to the blithe assertion that we now live in a ‘post-racial’ America.”

- Yes Magazine


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