The Bulletin

Remembering Ilene Warfield

Dear Chicago Waldorf School Parents, Alumni & Friends,


The late poet, author and activist Maya Angelou once said,


“I‘ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


I think many of us will remember Ilene Warfield’s kind deeds— her generous spirit and the way she moved in the world with uprightness and warmth, and those qualities she gave freely, that made us feel safe, made us feel we weren’t crazy, made us feel that we mattered. Ilene passed this morning at 3:30 am surrounded by her family, Sylvie, CWS Class of 2010, Liam, Class of 1998, and Cory, Class of 1992.

Though she sat behind a large desk, it did not act as a social barrier in her office. Her office operated as more of a confessional, for both colleagues and children. She always stopped whatever she was doing, welcomed you with a smile and her big blue eyes, and she embodied what we call the Parcival question: “What ails thee?” She listened without judging, witnessed without prying, and allowed one to maintain dignity in the face of a struggle – even adding levity and humor without offense to help bear the burden. One’s mood was always improved after a visit with Ilene. Her empathy was born out of the struggles she had faced, but she never made it about her. Her generosity of spirit and work was boundless.

We often say that the children are educated by a circle of teachers. Though not a teacher, Ilene knew and loved all of the children. She took an interest in their work and enjoyed watching them grow. She knew all of them and they all knew her. She participated in child studies with the faculty with insight and knowledge. She always wanted her office door left open so that she could hear the children. She greeted every child who brought her attendance, and relished the daily morning musical offerings that came in through the walls.

She insisted on taking every phone call to schedule parent/teacher conferences so that she could build relationships with parents. She often substituted, and referred to substitutions as “opportunities to enjoy” the outdoors with..., lunch with..., or time with various classes. The current 8th grade used to greet her with “Hip, hip, hooray!” every time she entered their classroom.

Most often, the phrase, “How can I help?” passed her lips, and then after agreeing to do more work in support of her colleagues and the school, she always closed with, “Thank you.” She spoiled us, and made things so much easier for us. By always staying positive she even made her illness easier for us. Her humility, courage and energy were inspiring.

On behalf of the Faculty and Staff,      
      - Karen Hartz and Andrea Shaffer

8th Grade Play Dazzles with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The final weekend of March offered this year's annual presentation of the 8th grade play; a tradition that showcases the talents of the middle-schoolers. The students demonstrate their dramatic skills as they conclude their Middle School drama program with a capstone production. 

Ms. Hartz's class elected to present the tale of Alice, who tumbles down the rabbit hole into Wonderland where she must try to make sense of a place where animals talk, flowers walk, and tea parties never end.

The auditorium was packed with a full house for the opening night; which featured Lewis Carrol's famous tale of Alice--a lost girl who comes to learn about herself after undergoing absurd challenges and trying to make sense of a world ruled by topsy-turvy nonesense.

With poise and grace--as well as periodic zaniness--the students took on the challenge of playing multiple roles,

with many inter-scene costume changes and even shifting character assignments in the last days of tech week. Their efforts paid off with an unexpectedly whimsical show braving the colorful, dreamlike and sometimes nonesensical world of Wonderland. 

The parents of the 8th grade supported the show, while Ms. Hartz led the production as its accomplished Director, and special mention must go to the amazing costume design, created by volunteer parent, Roberta Schmatz.  The event was great fun for the whole family! To get a taste of the production, enjoy the accompanying slideshow: a small sampling of the amazing and engaging scenes, costumes and characters from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland...

(For larger photos, click on the main image once to enlarge, then click again or use the arrows to navigate thru the slides...)

March Launches CWS Circus Clubs

Circus Clubs start this week!

Enroll in Circus Club Classes from March 9th thru May 30th

Pick one day, two, three, or all four. Circus classes are available: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All circus clubs run weekly from beginning of March until end of May, except the week school is closed for Spring Break (April 20-24). All Circus Clubs (except Early Childhood Club) will end with an exhibition show. Specific dates and fees are listed in the Schedule & Registration Form. Register your child this week!



Let your child develop skills in:

AERIAL: spanish web, trapeeze, silks

BREAKDANCE: individual and group choreographed routines

CLOWNING: skits, juggling, plate spinning, globe walking

GERMAN WHEEL: inline wheel routines to advanced spiral

JUMP ROPE: team, paired and individual performance

TUMBLING: acrobatics, floor exercises, gymnastics



Students will learn from our professional staff:

CJ Williams- Breakdance & Gymnastics

Mr. Williams was a competitive gymnast in high school. After high school he trained with Circesteem in Chicago. He eventually founded the ConnectForce breakdancing team, and he competes nationally. Mr. Williams currently performs with the Break‐a‐bulls. He is also getting his physical education degree and we are happy to have him for his third year at the Chicago Waldorf Circus program.

The Actor’s Gymnasium- Aerial Performance

Our two aerial instructors come to us through the Actor’s Gymnasium in Evanston. Actor’s Gym is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Chicago as a premiere theatrical circus arts organization. We are happy to be working with their staff for the eighth year in our CWS circus program!

Ashley Gambill- Jump Rope

Ashley was a competitive jump roper as part of a team for years. She teaches German at our school in the early grades and the high school. She regularly brings her passion for jump rope and sustainable living to her students.

Cirque Experience– German Wheel

Our German Wheel instructor is a teacher from Cirque Experience; Chicago’s gymnastic wheels program. Cirque Experience was founded by Wolfgang Bientzel who coordinates the teachers of the German wheel and, fittingly, hails from Deutschland. He is the 7 time world champion of the German wheel, and now trains other competitors.

Andrea Shaffer (coordinator)

Ms. Shaffer has taught gym for 4,000 years at CWS and believes in the power of artistic and competitive athletics to enrich young people’s lives. She has an unnatural love of Tootsie Rolls.

Photos from Circus Club 2013: A duo's jump-rope routine  / A student performs Spanish Web (also top image) / Students demo a clown routine / The club rehearses a clown skit and floor tumbling simultaneously


Waldorf Summer Adventure To Israel & First Arab Waldorf school

Waldorf education is developing worldwide. This summer Waldorf students have the opportunity for service learning and cultural exchange with Waldorf students in one of the first Arab Waldorf schools. This extraordinary adventure starts with a short filmmaking workshop followed by a school week working on a service project with students at Tamrat El Zeitoun, the first Arab Waldorf school in Israel.

Participants will be staying at Kibbutz Harduf, home of Israel’s pioneer Waldorf school, where their evenings will be spent working on creating a video documentary and getting to know members of the Harduf community. This service learning project will run from June 13-27, 2015.

For more information, visit the WORLD WISE ADVENTURES WEBSITE (sponsoring organization) and the website created for the school: and see this PDF flyer for more specific details of the program.

(top photo: Waldorf students from the 2014 Israel summer exchange program / below: local sites students visit)

The sightseeing tour begins in the Galilee with a tour at Beit Uri, an anthroposophical residential community for developmentally disabled children and adults. From there enjoy six days full of hikes, history, sites, food, scenery, friendships and unforgettable experiences.

Seniors Share Their Expertise in Senior Projects Week 2015


Scheduled events run from March 9th thru 13th

All presentations are in the CWS Auditorium

It is a tradition in Waldorf education that the seniors, having reached the culmination of their studies at our school, 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 research and writing to the assembled public for presentation and discussion.

These lectures span a broad range of topics. Parents, friends and guests—all members of the public—are warmly invited to attend and participate in the Q&A sessions after each presentation. Also on view, in the back of the auditorium, is an exhibition of the Seniors' art projects, case studies and written reports that accompany their live presentations.

Learn from the seniors in this annual capstone event!


Monday, March 9

1:50 — Welcome

2:00 — Sam Sendelbach  /  Down the Rabbit Hole: A Study of Electron Microscopy  (for grades 6 &up)

2:45 — Lauren Dubendorf  /  The Bees of the Seas: The Degradation of the Coral Reef  (for grades 4 & up)


 Tuesday, March 10

10:00 — Welcome

10:15 — Jenna Rogers  /  Exploring the Shadows: Gothic Literature and Its Reflection of Society  (for grades 9 & up)

11:15 — Madeleine Driscoll  /  Santé: Making Wine  (for grades 9 & up)

12:00-1:00 — Lunch

1:15 — Elijah Teague  /  Seamless: Starting a Clothing Brand  (for all ages)

2:00 — Auset Muhammad  /  White Crescent: Building a Nation  (for grades 8 & up)

2:45 — Becca Wright  /  Chronos & Kairos: The Construction and Perception of Time  (for grades 9 & up)


Wednesday, March 11

10:00 — Welcome

10:15 — Juan Jose Zuluaga  /  Why is My Brother Doing What I Do? Epigenetics: How Our Cells Respond to Different Environments  (for grades 8 & up)

11:00 — Alex Bender Hooper  /  Why Trains Matter: A History of Trains and My Experience with Model Railroading  (for grades 4 & up)

12:00-1:00 — Lunch

1:15 — Aja Linnet /  Working with Clay: My Experience with Pottery and Modeling

2:00 — Jimmy Geraghty  /  Basketball Analytics  (for grades 6 & up)

2:45 — Alex Leonard  /  Gender and Visual Media  (for grades 9 & up)


Thursday, March 12

10:00 — Welcome

10:15 — Maria Sofia Patino  /  The Art of War: How to Apply Sun Tzu’s Teachings to Our Lives  (for grades 9 & up)

10:55-11:10 — Snack Break

11:15 — Isaiah Hasselquist  /  In Their Skin: Reptiles in the World of Fashion  (for grades 9 & up)

12:00-1:00 — Lunch

1:15 — Bianca Moreno  /  A Knighthood for Our Time: Camphill Past, Present and Future

2:00 — Gregory Levinson  /  From East to West: The Origin of Martial Arts  (for grades 6 & up)

2:45 — Yun Ju Park  /  Personality in Decision Making  (for grades 7 & up)


Friday, March 13

2:15 — Welcome

2:30 — Augie Verciglio  /  3D Printing: The Art and the Science   (for grades 5 & up)

3:15 — Michael Chungbin  /  Under the Camera  (for grades 6 & up)

4:00 — Juan Correa  /  Howling:  A Journey through Recording  (for grades Grade 7 & up)

4:45-5:55 — Dinner break

6:00 — Joe Hartz /  Growing a Story  (for grades 7 & up)

6:45 — Anyah Akanni  /  Brain Anatomy and Hallucinations  (for grades 7 & up)

7:30 — Closing

Holding Onto the Benefits of Penmanship and Handwriting

Its is a core learning experience at all Waldorf schools that students practice penmanship, they learn cursive, and use their handwriting skills to create their own curriculum Block Books (rather than using pre-printed textbooks). The benefit of MANUAL LEARNING is also taken up in traditional Waldorf handwork classes where students learn woodworking, knitting, hand felting and many other processes of manipulating natural forms and materials. Many contemporary studies in education and science, reports from neuroscscientists, academics, child psychologists and child development experts have been promoting the benefits of physical movement and kinesthetic learning (that is, learning through the body & making with your hands). This past December, Chicago Waldorf School students and parents were  profiled in a DNA Info Chicago article on the subject. Here is an excerpt from the article:


Penmanship Not Dead
at North Side Waldorf School

By David Byrnes / posted: December 29, 2014
DNA Info-Chicago


Even in the Digital Revolution, the pen is still a mighty weapon at the Chicago Waldorf School. The private school at 1300 W. Loyola Ave. still requires students to handwrite—rather than type—their assignments. School officials maintain that the approach actively engages students in learning. “When children create something, they’re invested in it,” school spokesman Jason Greenberg said. “They really learn instead of just memorize.”

Studies in education psychology support that claim, school officials say. A 1994 study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, conducted by Marsha J. Weil and Susan J. Cunningham Amundson, found that “Visual-Motor Integration [skills]… significantly relates to children in kindergarten’s ability to copy letters.” Put another way, students who learn to write rather than type have higher levels of motor development than those who do not, Waldorf argues.

“Our students create their own textbooks,” Greenberg said. “They learn to collate and organize their notes and then put them into a handmade, handwritten textbook. That’s important, because they learn that once they make a mark of the pen, they can’t take it back.” These textbooks, or "block books" as students Seamus Scott and Ely Taylor call them, take about four weeks to make. Each one is handwritten and drawn and created to complement a monthlong morning class corresponding to a specific subject. "I've had morning [block] classes for Greek geometry, anatomy. Right now we're studying organic chemistry," said Seamus, an eighth-grader.


“Even in the Digital Revolution, the pen is still a mighty weapon at the Chicago Waldorf School.”


This Waldorf method of learning by doing was pioneered by Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner in the early 20th century. According to Greenberg, Steiner believed in creating a more humanistic approach to education — as opposed to the parochial systems that were common in Europe at the time — in the wake of the loss of humanity in World War I. The first Waldorf school started in 1919 in Germany, and today there are more than 1,000 independent schools across the globe following the educational philosophy.

The Waldorf school in Chicago opened in 1974 with a single kindergarten class. It has since become a full kindergarten-through-high school program, with many of its 350 students attending all of primary and secondary school in the same program.

Besides penmanship and writing, the Waldorf School emphasizes what its website calls “an arts-integrated” approach, meaning students are often given lessons in the form of projects, service outreach and creative assignments. "Art isn't one subject we learn. It's part of every class," said eighth-grader Ely. Two years ago his class was doing an experiment on how ice melts. "We had to write our lab [reports] as if it was a fantasy novel with two living ice cubes," he said. “Our kindergartners learn the difference between odd and even numbers by playing jump-rope games,” Greenberg said. “It’s a simple thing, the difference between odd and even. But playing a game with it helps them internalize the information.”

Technology still has a presence in the Waldorf program. Many high school students, according to Greenberg, use computers to create research papers and interactive art projects. And, keeping with its “arts-integrated” focus, many also become involved with how technological devices are made, rather than just their functionality. “Many of our older students will disassemble a computer or radio and put it back together again...."
(click here to continue reading the source article)

        Above: a sample of student hand lettering from the Calligraphy Block, taught in 9th grade

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly at CWS

Friday, January 16th from 2:00-2:45pm

Chicago Waldorf School Auditorium / Doors open at 1:50pm


The assembly will include a presentation and music by our vocal ensemble in honor of Nelson Mandela, the Improv ensemble, African Drumming class, and a poem offered by High School students, Anyah Akanni & Sam Sendelbach.

We warmly invite you to attend this community event with our students, faculty, parents and staff in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights principles of inclusion, respect & collaboration he championed.

Street Parking is available, as well as lot parking in the Arthur Ave (& Glenwood) Parking Lot
No RSVP required; but for any further questions please contact the Main Office at 773.465.2662

Below- Two views of the 2014 Dr. MLK Jr. Assembly: African Drumming and Capoeira presentations


Our Musical Evening Celebrates the Season


Wednesday, December 17th
7:00pm  (doors open at 6:45 pm)

CWS Auditorium


A special evening with students...

The Chicago Waldorf School 5th through 12th grades and their music teachers are pleased to present an evening of seasonal music and audience sing-alongs.

Enjoy offerings by the grade school choruses and bands and high school jazz band, chamber ensemble and vocal ensemble.


Please join us for the concert!

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