Wednesday, November 2012
Each September, the Early Childhood program celebrates the changing of the seasons with a Harvest Festival, while the larger school community comes together to celebrate Michaelmas. This year, CWS saw both Michaelmas and the Harvest festival celebrations occur on the same day. As the days grew shorter, the Early Childhood enjoyed a bounty of seasonal food and autumn festivities. EC parent Al Wyatt remarked that “the real joy was brought by the kids. They exploded into the festival with games of tag and duck-duck-goose. Everywhere you looked, our bright-eyed children were dancing and twirling and taking part in pumpkin crafts.” Later that afternoon, students and teachers joined in a celebration of the archangel St. Michael to celebrate his spirit- one of courage, initiative, and steadfastness – and to draw on his deeds of legend to strengthen our own inner spirit and fortitude. As is tradition, Michaelmas was celebrated first by students cleaning up our neighborhood through garbage pick-up--to show reverence for our community--then followed with a parade and ritual reenactment of Michael slaying the dragon.
“My lasting impression as a parent was to marvel at the unity that permeated that beautiful autumn day. The students were energized and cheered excitedly during the relay races, and moments later responded together solemnly and maturely during the burning of the deeds.” -Joe Dupor, parent
Early Childhood parent cin salach reflected on the moving, free-spirited morning of the Harvest Festival. The energy and excitement of our youngest students as they participated in games and enjoyed seasonal apple cakes that they had helped bake created a memorable moment for parents. “The abundance of apple cakes that 'looked a bit different' was inviting and warm,” reflected Anna Gratzl. “They gave the festival a real harvest feel and I almost forgot our children’s hands made those yummy cakes!”
Following the Harvest Festival, the Grade School, High School, faculty, staff, and parents celebrated the traditional Waldorf Michaelmas Day, first with an assembly, then with a relay race and ritual slaying of the dragon. Students from grades 1 through 12 joined with faculty and staff to create teams and compete for prizes – includig handcrafted beeswax dragons lovingly made by Ms. Moskowitz’s second grade class. Parent Dawn Dingman reflected that the day truly felt like a community event, and that it was clear each student felt strongly connected both to their classmates and the school community.
Following the relay race, each student had an opportunity to burn a “deed”--as an intention of something to change in the coming year– in a community bonfire. Parent Joe Dupor reflects that: “My lasting impression as a parent was to marvel at the unity that permeated that beautiful autumn day. The students were energized and cheered excitedly during the relay races, and moments later responded together solemnly and maturely during the burning of the deeds.” “I burned my own intentions,” said Stephanie Arnett. “like our children, I made a list of my fears to 'burn' and visualized moving forward…who doesn’t have a dragon to slay?” Stephanie remarked that “I know our children will remember and meditate upon the meaning of Michaelmas throughout their lives, and I will admit I was one of the parents openly weeping at this event.”
SLIDESHOW INSTRUCTIONS. Note: Click on the main image at the top right to open a larger slideshow window.
Use the L & R arrows at photo's edges to scroll through the photos.
Tuesday, November 2012
Brendan Finucane is a music teacher at Chicago Waldorf School where he teaches orchestra and strings instruments to students in grades 3-12. As a graduate of the Washington Waldorf School (class of 2000), Brendan has an intimate knowledge of what makes Waldorf education special. Brendan has been involved with Waldorf schools since he was four years old, and now teaches here at Chicago Waldorf School. He has the unique, deep-rooted experience of having grown from a Waldorf student into an accomplished Waldorf teacher.
“I credit my Waldorf education with giving me the capacity to express and pursue several passions, and to maintain a balance between them. In addition to my role as a teacher, I am also a small business owner of a recording studio co-op. As a musician I am equally at home in a classical ensemble, playing electric cello in my loud and face-melting band, and sequencing digital electronic music in my production studio. I’ve even been able to find a balance between these music-related activities and my interest in worldly philosophy––via participation in an on-going reading group studying the 200 year history of the political and academic left.”
“When I look at my own experiences with Waldorf education I see an education worth investing in. I see an education that addresses the development of the whole being…”
“I see my own Waldorf education as foundational to who I am today; this determines why I believe the Chicago Waldorf School deserves my support. When I look at my own experiences with Waldorf education I see an education worth investing in. I see an education that addresses the development of the whole being through a diversity of the arts. It is an education that nurtures students with the ability to intentionally and purposefully use technology, and study its modern and ancient contexts–from music and agriculture to architecture and communications. The arts are the sum of collective human knowledge–they are the ways in which we sustain and reproduce our world. I believe in the rich and balanced introduction of the arts that Waldorf students experience, but this requires strong resources, including supporting the teachers and providing the physical equipment that enrich Waldorf arts programs within the educational curriculum.”
"If this education is about anything, it is about what we bring to the world around us"
“As we bring the Waldorf experience of the arts to our students and to our larger community, we must be backed by a community that is involved and supportive. The Annual Fund is a key element in providing that crucial support and embracing the potential of our community. It is a deep an ongoing commitment to our students and faculty–and to our mission.”
Saturday, November 2012
Calling all Handworkers and Crafters: Beginner or Advanced, help Care to Share!
The Care to Share room at the Holiday Fair wants to be filled with beautiful handmade items, all made by you and other parent and faculty volunteers! Come and join us in Patricia Holdredge’s handwork room all of November every Friday from 1pm until 5pm and Saturdays from 9am until 5pm for fun workshops, learning, crafting, stitching and chatting. We will be making pixie hats, felted snowmen, dragons, finger puppets, fairy wands, roving angels, baby booties and children’s slippers, pencil carriers, felting kits and gnomes and fairies. "Take home" project kits will be available too.
Join us and your efforts will support fundraising for the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades as they reach out across the globe to Waldorf communities in South Africa, Guatemala, Kenya and other parts of the world through our Care To Share programs.
For examples of previous Care To Share collaborative projects see Care To Share Updates and Caring And Action Around the World.
Crafting sessions will begin on Friday Nov. 2nd with pixie hats, fairies, gnomes & puppets. Please see our schedule in the web site calendar.
We hope to see you there: once, or many times! If you would like to donate any of your handmade items, please contact us!
Questions or inquiries about the workshops:
Sue Smock-Lawson, 847-864-3398 or Dru Muskovin, 773-677-5557
Friday, November 2012
Music, Handwork, German, Eurythmy, Spanish and Gym……Oh My!!!
What is my Grade School Child Doing at School?
Special subjects teachers & you!
Thursday, November 15, 2012 / 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Get together to discuss curriculum with your Special Subject Teachers! Travel from classroom to classroom--just as your child does daily--and meet the teachers who educate your child. Learn how these subjects support Waldorf education and foster children's mental, physical and emotional development.
Pre-registration is encouraged to ensure adequate supply of grade specific handouts, which will be provided at the event.
Where: Chicago Waldorf School, in your child’s classroom (Grades 1-8) Social time will follow after.
Reserve your seat! Pre-registration ensures that we will have enough curriculum handouts for attendees. At the registration site simply input your name and which grade level your are attending to register.
Questions? You may contact Lisa Rekstad, PTO Parent Education Committee Lead at email@example.com
Thursday, November 2012
Our Waldorf community is united in many ways through shared social experiences including collaborative projects, volunteering, crafting, singing, conversation and food! Here from a recent parent potluck at (8th grade mom) Marina Post's house is yet another resource to share amongst the community: "Due to the popularity of the soup and many individual requests, I'm sending this out to all. I love this soup so much; I keep the ingredients on hand and whip it up in a pinch. Also try swapping out different veggies....I did not invent the soup. It may have been originally a Moosewood recipe, I'm not sure as a friend shared it with me. As with most oral/shared resources, the original provenance is lost..."
Thanks Marina for keeping the tradition going! And please check out her StudioM For Good for more info about nourshing souls through creativity, handwork and healing facilitation.
Butternut Squash & Spinach Soup-
1 tsp. Coriander seeds
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 tsp. Turmeric
In a pinch use pre-ground spices
2 Sm. Dried Chiles
15 Blanched Almonds
1 Large Onioin, diced
2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
3 TBS vegetable oil
2 tsp Ginger, peeled & grated
1 tsp Salt
2 cups Vegetable Stock
14 oz can of Coconut Milk
4 cups Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
6 handfuls Baby Spinach
A squeeze of fresh Lime or Lemon Juice
1. Grind the Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Chiles, and Nuts in a spice grinder.
(Or in a pinch use ground spices and chop almonds very fine)
2. Saute Onion and Garlic briefly, add Ginger and Salt.
3. When onions are translucent add Stock and ground Spice mixture to pot.
4. Stir in Coconut Milk and Squash. Simmer uncovered for about 40 min.
5. Stir in Spinach and allow to just wilt.
6. Remove pot from heat and stir in lemon/lime juice.
Yum! Enjoy with friends!
Monday, October 2012
As we begin the 2012-2013 school year, we look forward to another year where the halls of the school will resonate with music. This year we welcome five new teachers to our community and two familiar faces stepping into new roles, for a total of seven new music teachers!
Sylvie Desouches, a long-time member of the Chicago Waldorf School community (as a parent, a former CWS class teacher and trustee), steps into the role of Music Program Coordinator. Ms. Desouches is teaching 3rd-8th grade music and overseeing the music program for the entire school. She has degrees in vocal performance and has enjoyed an active two-decade career as a soloist and chorister in many choruses, symphonic & acappella, large & small, sacred & secular.
Ms. Desouches is thrilled to be working with a team of musical professionals who bring to our students a passion for music and teaching and a wide range of experience and talent.
The newly structured CWS music program
includes these faculty members:
Cellist Brendan Finucane steps up as lead strings and orchestra teacher in both the grade school and high school. Mr. Finucane had been Mr. Spade’s orchestra assistant for the past three years, is an active freelance cellist and teacher in the Chicago area and is himself a Waldorf alum.
Violist Amanda Bailey joins Mr. Finucane as 3rd grade violin and viola teacher and grade school strings and orchestra assistant. Miss Bailey brings years of teaching experience and recently won a seat in the prestigious Civic Orchestra of Chicago where she will be working with Ricardo Muti, Yo Yo Ma and many other world-class musicians who work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Horn player Katherine Swaydis joins the faculty as the 6th grade band teacher and middle school band assistant to long-time CWS band teacher Jacob Wilson. Miss Swaydis is a freelance musician and teacher in the Chicago area, currently conducting and teaching for the YOURS Project of the People’s Music School.
Conductor, composer and pianist Seth Houston has taken the position of high school choral conductor, directing both the chorus and vocal ensemble, and will also teach the 10th grade History Through Music morning lesson block. Mr. Houston recently completed coursework for his DMA degree in choral music and has directed a great many youth and adult choirs and previously taught music and choirs at three other Waldorf schools.
Percussionist Michael Taylor steps in as African drumming instructor. Mr. Taylor has had a long career teaching, performing and recording West African percussion and is widely known for his work on the djembe and dunun.
Guitarist Jeremy Sheehan joins CWS to teach intermediate guitar. Mr. Sheehan has degrees in both jazz and classical guitar performance and brings many years of experience and passion for teaching guitar.
Although not new to our faculty, we’d be remiss in not mentioning our wonderful continuing music faculty: Beth Kelly for 1st and 2nd grade lyre; Jacob Wilson for middle school band and high school jazz band; and Justin Barron for high school beginning guitar.
In all, the Chicago Waldorf School music faculty is a team of 10 talented musicians who will bring a love of music to our students and to our community throughout the year. We hope you will welcome them to our school as they settle in; they have already begun guiding the many classes, assembly performances, recitals and plays that make the music program a lively part of the CWS curriculum.
Friday, September 2012
Welcome from the College of Teachers
Dear CWS Families, As the 2012-13 school year began, the faculty and staff at the Chicago Waldorf School were filled with enthusiasm to see the returning students and their families. It’s been a pleasure to see how much our students have grown, hear stories about summer adventures and, also, to welcome new students and their families into our community.
Faculty Professional Development
During the summer our dedicated staff “holds down the fort” at school while the faculty prepares for classes, attends conferences and participates in summer enrichment courses. Due to the tremendous generosity of our community at the 2011 Gala, many faculty members had significant enriching professional development experiences this past summer. In addition, those funds will help to support a review this school year of our World Languages Program as well as our Educational Support Program.
Workshop Trainings with Early Childhood Specialist, Nancy Blanning.
The faculty and staff began the academic year with an Orientation Week that included lectures and discussions with Nancy Blanning, a renowned Waldorf Early Childhood specialist (pictured right). Nancy led us in many thought-provoking conversations about the needs of the children today and how we can best meet them. Our time with Nancy laid the groundwork for this year’s weekly faculty and staff study.
The Waldorf Approach to Technology
As you may know, the College of Teachers at the Chicago Waldorf School is responsible not only for our faculty’s professional development, but also for curriculum development. Last year the Waldorf School movement received widespread media coverage beginning with a New York Times article about the use of technology in Waldorf schools. Although we were very grateful for the publicity, we felt that the coverage told only half the story. CWS formed a College-mandated Technology Task Force that began to look at how our curriculum addresses the understanding and use of technology, and additionally what further curriculum development is needed in this area.
Community Support, Dedication & Generosity
Once again, our community responded with tremendous support at our spring 2012 Gala. These funds will support both program development and administrative infrastructure for technology needs. The College of Teachers is currently overseeing a process that will distribute and implement the use of the funds that have been reserved for pedagogical purposes. We look forward to letting you know how these exciting plans unfold this year!
Lastly, this past spring we explored the opportunity of moving into a new site at what had been the St. Scholastica Academy High School. A team of incredibly dedicated Board of Trustee members, other parent volunteers and CWS staff members worked tirelessly to see if this was a feasible option for our school. Although it was decided that this was not to be our home, important groundwork was laid in our ongoing search for a permanent home. We were also reminded that our true home is in the community spirit that we- faculty and staff, parents and students- create together out of our love and devotion for Waldorf education.
Thank you for entrusting your children’s education to us and may there be many blessings on our 2012-13 School Year!
Colleen Everhart, Chair
For the College of Teachers
Friday, September 2012
We are grateful and excited to welcome these new students into our classes and to include all their parents and family members in our community. On behalf of all the teachers and staff, thank you for choosing the Chicago Waldorf School and best wishes for a wonderful school year! Here are our newest students:
10th Grade: Mr. Wilson and Ms. Goodwin- “Maria” Yun Ju Park, Aja Linnet
9th Grade: Ms. Vig and Mr. Holdrege- Dylan Bilstrom, Juliet Kelson, Emina Music, Alphonzo "Zo" Schrepferman, Sylvia Sukenic, Katherine “Grace” White, Madeline Franklin, Dylan Kulik, Roiale Thomas, Chareeya “Tan” Vasikachart, Taylor Jones, Max Renton
8th Grade: Ms. Triggiano- Alexandra “Alex” Schrepferman
6th Grade: Ms. Hartz- Tierney Bilstrom, Megan Padgett
4th Grade: Ms. Poole- Colin Dorrian
2nd Grade: Ms. Moskowitz- Auren Boynton, Caius Boynton, Ashley Gonzales, Ethan Pierce
1st Grade: Ms. Rotko- Simone Jackson
Early Childhood 1: Ms. Matson- Lola Zimmerman, Luisa Assirati, Amiri Compean, Delaney Dahlaw
Early Childhood 2: Ms. Donkel- Reagan Dorrian, Claudia Galligan, Henry Galligan, Marlena Berger, Louisa Goodwin, Ameyalli Flannery, Rebecca Kriho
Early Childhood 3: Ms. Votanek- Alana Correa, Eloise Brown, Knox Brogan, Ethan Hartung, Riley Hartung, Avishai Hall, Gianmatteo Vigano, Bailey Rae Kuck, Audrey Madla, Walker “Gus” Rozic, Taylor Gardner, Mieke Hall, Maxim Nikitin
Early Childhood 4 Nursery: Ms. Assirati- Lucas Gratzl, Ari Blatt, Clara Degenholtz, Everett Chambers, Camilla Sheftel, Giovanni Barford, Olivia Barford, Jaedah Marsh, Timothy Casserly, Lorenzo Sassi, Soren Dahlaw
Early Childhood 5: Ms. Culbert- Helen Prekop, Francis Prekop, Kishore Olayo, Hadassah Hernandez, Shiloh Hernandez, Vaughn Bradley, Drake Jarrett-Stenzel, Elsa Plumb, Samuel Kemeny
Thanks to 7th grader, Maci Greenberg for providing this "new student" illustration