The Bulletin

The Return of Swap-O-Rama-Rama

Saturday, February 12, from 9AM to 5PM
in our School Gymnasium

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a clothing swap and series of do-it-yourself workshops in which a community explores creative reuse through recycling. Help save the environment (and get a new spring wardrobe). Bring in those forgotten clothes, swap them for something new and then get creative! You get access to everything from sewing machines to silk screens, and all the supplies and coaching you’ll need to make new outfits, bags, jewelry and more. If you’re fashion-independent, green-minded, or DIY-centric, this is for you!

•  tons of swapped clothes available for your creative rescue
•  volunteer-assisted sewing machines
•  silk-screening stations
•  workshops in sewing, button and jewelry making, embroidery, knitting and fabric art
•  fashion shows
•  live music & more!

Chicago Waldorf School will again be hosting this event on Saturday, February 12, from 9AM to 5PM. Suggested Donation: $20 + a bag of clothing (students and seniors—half off). If you would like to learn more or are interested in volunteering to help sort clothes, teach crafts, run sewing machines and other essential tasks, check out their web site at Hope to see you there!

Thursday SKATE at Warren Park

Thursdays 3:30-5:30 pm skate to your heart’s content

In a recurring tradition, every Thursday a growing number of Waldorf families join other friends, students and community members for after-school ice-skating at Warren Park.

From beginning learners to confident and experienced skaters, the ice is open to all.

Interested families are invited to come (bring friends and fellow outdoor enthusiasts) and feel the nip in your nose and catch a snowflake on the tip of your tongue as you skate in the beautiful outdoors.

Bring your kids, bring your skates (or cheap $6 rental is available at the shop) for free skating sessions. Meet-ups will continue at the Warren Park ice rink, weather permitting, for the entire Winter season through Sunday, Feb 27 (last day the rink is open).

Warren Park
6601 N. Western Ave.  (Map)
$6 skate rental or free if you bring your own skates

Looking for a rink closer to home? See the Chicago Park District Rinks.

Understanding the Nuances of Pluralism…

Pluralism & Multiculturalism: What Does it Mean for Our School?

The Diversity Committee invited Lusanda Mayikana, Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs and a member of the English Department at Lake Forest Academy to present and lead a roundtable discussion regarding issues of diversity at our school. Dean Mayikana spoke and facilitated a broad discussion on January 20, first dialoguing with the Faculty and Staff at their weekly meeting, then returning to speak to the larger community that evening. The discussion centered on exploring and analyzing the topics of pluralism and multiculturalism, appreciating their importance in our children’s education and learning how to incorporate a comprehensive and open-minded perspective to issues of difference in our community. Definitions of stasis and “tolerance” were identified as commonplace but unproductive relationships. In a memorable phrase from the discussion, it was commented upon that our community would benefit from a stance of “being comfortable with being uncomfortable” in our efforts to make connections that may put us outside of the comfort zones that are pre-established in the status-quo tolerance of multi-culturalism.

Please contact Jennifer Zielinski, Chair of the Diversity Committee, at or 773.828.8468 if you would like to join future meetings and discussions regarding these issues.

Lusanda Mayikana is the Dean of Pluralism and Multicultural Affairs and a member of the English Department at Lake Forest Academy. She holds an MA in English Education from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and an MA in English from Middlebury College. She earned her BA, BEd and a Higher Education Diploma (Postgraduate) from the University of South Africa. Before coming to LFA, Ms. Mayikana was a fellow in the African American Studies and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Seeking Pentathlon Judges

Fifth grade marks an important learning transition from mythology to history. Through study of the ancient Greeks, students develop an appreciation for the balance between skill and beauty, art and science, earthly life and spirituality. In the spring, students participate in a five-event Greek Pentathlon with students from other regional Waldorf schools, allowing them to test their skills in a celebratory environment.

You Be the Judge - Pentathlon 2011 / Volunteer Now!

What is the Waldorf approach to sports and athletics? A great way to experience first-hand this important part of the curriculum is to be a judge at the pentathlon! This year’s pentathlon is in Hartland, Wisconsin from May 11-13, and features almost one hundred 5th graders from 7 schools. The camp is on 500 acres of pine forest; all pentathletes and judges stay overnight in rustic furnished, heated cabins that have fireplaces. You will meet parents and children from other Waldorf schools, watch the events and participate in all social activities.

Pentathlon Judges:

• Communicate Inspiration & gravitas

• Observe dedication, effort, athleticism and concentration

• Evaluate team spirit and fraternity

• Validate the students’ Experience

We are looking for volunteers to be pentathlon judges.
Future and past 5th grade parents welcome!! Past pentathletes, please volunteer!!

Interested? Questions? E-mail Andrea Shaffer or call 773.465.2662 x8323

Waldorf Education: Alumni In the News

His engineering talent has taken one Waldorf graduate all over the country; one day, his ideas could be flown in space.

Michael Maylahn, 19, a 2009 graduate of The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, recently led a team of engineering students in creating a prototype Mars rover at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. A sophomore at Santa Monica College in California, Maylahn was recommended by a teacher to participate in the project, in which just 89 students from across the country were accepted into NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program after completing a rigorous months-long application process.

To qualify, Maylahn spent about 800 hours last summer completing four web-based research assignments in which he drew up a plan for a hypothetical robotics mission to Mars — in addition to holding down a full-time job and taking an online class. His plan — including a financial proposal, timeline and sketch of the rover — was accepted, and the process culminated in Maylahn flying from California to Alabama for the three-day, hands-on experience at the NASA center earlier this fall.

There, he led an 11-member team of students from throughout the U.S. to put their rover plan into action, with only 30 hours to get it all done. They competed against 33 other students in Alabama, while a separate group was sent to compete at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

“We had to create a business model for a robotics firm that would hypothetically create and sell a Mars rover to NASA for a mission,” Maylahn said. “Then we were given a box of robotics parts and actually built the rover.”

Maylahn tapped into his natural leadership abilities to encourage team bonding, which is what he believes gave his team the edge to win the competition.

“I divvied up the tasks and helped people if they needed help. The most important part was briefing everyone every couple of hours so they knew what everyone else was doing. As a result, it brought our team close together,” Maylahn said.

The “think outside the box” mantra of his Waldorf School education also played a key role in his success as the team leader, Maylahn said. Though his forté has always been math and science, Maylahn said he was grateful to his teachers at the Waldorf School for helping him strengthen his weaker areas, like writing and art. “That made me more well-balanced,” he said. “The more well-balanced you are, the more things you’re able to achieve. I also feel like I have a really good idea of who I am, and at 19 years old, I feel like most of my peers don’t have that.”

Ultimately, Maylahn hopes to combine his love for math and science with his natural leadership abilities and one day run his own robotics firm. “I feel like I earned so much from this experience, (and got) a glimpse of what I want to do in my career,” he said.

Source profile by MAREESA NICOSIA, published by The Saratogian

Waldorf Thunder Athletics

From Coach Cameron Morrison—

Middle School Boys’ Home Basketball Game Tuesday, February 1st

Come cheer their last home game of this season. The boys have played very hard, giving maximum effort at every practice and game. As a reward for their continued commitment to their craft, it would be great to fill the gym with enthusiastic cheering fans for the last home game. After this game, the teams go on the road for the final two contests before the tournament starts, so let’s cheer them on at home before they head into a difficult stretch to end the season.

What: Final Middle School boys’ home basketball game
Where: Waldorf Gym (The ‘Thunder’ Dome)
When: Tuesday, February 1st at 4PM (JV) and 5PM (Varsity)
Why: To reward the teams for a great season!

Middle School Girls’ Basketball Makes a Comeback Win

The middle school girls’ basketball team ended the week on a high note with an exhilarating win over Ancona. The team was able to overcome an 8 point deficit. This was the first win over a tough Ancona team in many years. What a great effort by the team; Go Thunder!

Individual Athletes:

The news coming out of the pool is that Keven Henley is training hard with his Evanston club team. He is looking forward to racing in the Illinois High School Association sectional meet which takes place at Evanston High School Saturday, Feb. 19.

Class Field Trips

Class field trips are an integral component of the Waldorf class curriculum. They allow for the direct observation, participation and immersion that is the hallmark of education by DOING.

Here are just a few examples of this year’s field trips…

The 2nd grade will be traveling to Glastonbury Farm on June 1, 2, & 3rd to learn about herbs, goat’s milk and animals in a farm setting.

The 3rd grade will visit the Angelic Organics Farm to learn about Community-Supported Agriculture and roll up their sleeves to participate in Biodynamic Farming.

The 4th grade just returned from their visit to Camp Edwards where they studied animal tracks and habitats and enjoyed the invigorating winter landscape with ice skating and sledding activities.

The 5th grade will be competing in athletic events with numerous other students from Mid-western region Waldorf Schools in the Pentathlon that is hosted annually in Heartland, Wisconsin.

Consult with your teacher and room parents to learn the details of your child’s class field trip. Volunteer parent chaperones are usually needed for each class trip.

The Presence of Colorful Classrooms

One of the most noticeable distinguishing markers of a Waldorf classroom is the complex profusion of colors, textures and imagery in the room. From the weekly watercolor paintings that adorn the walls to the students’ handwork, beeswax sculptures, and carefully crafted, self-authored, hand- illustrated textbooks, the Waldorf classroom is alive with evidence of the student’s creative process.

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