Tuesday, August 2014
Waldorf Student Featured in WBEZ's "Student Stories"
Olivia Love-Hatlestad is a typical, spirited Waldorf student who attended the Da Vinci Waldorf School in Wauconda, IL through most of her adolescence including grade school, middle school and into her 9th grade year. Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, invited students from all walks of life to share their impressions on the state of education. Olivia's essay was selected and highlighted recently in WBEZ's "Student Stories" on Education (in part because she had the valuable perspective of having attended both a Waldorf school and Public school and because she makes very eloquent points of comparison about schooling in the current state of education).
WBEZ followed up by inviting Olivia for a personal interview this past July asking her and Walter Payton High School student Troy Boccelli to discuss their experiences in High School. It provides great insight into Waldorf education.
Click here for the FULL PROFILE on WBEZ's web page and below read some excerpts from her interview with NPR reporter Becky Vevea.
Excerpts from her interview and essay on Waldorf education:
"Every morning our teachers shook our hands and asked us how we were. They cared about us, and made the consistent effort to connect with and understand us. We not only learned the (what I now realize is invaluable) skill of engaging in conversation with an adult, but we developed deeply respectful relationships with our teachers. We were inspired to strive for excellence not by the pressure put on a grade, but by the desire to please these mentors to whom we looked up so earnestly."
“The [teachers] could tell if you were sick or if you were faking sick or if you needed help outside of class because they knew you and they actually cared about you. And then I entered public school, where, to know our last names, teachers had to check a roster.”
She talked a lot about giving students individual attention and really focusing on comprehension, rather than memorizing facts, something she thinks public schools focus far too much on.
“I retained, like, zero information, because what’s being given to us are packets and lists of names and dates that we have to memorize,” Love-Hatlestad said. “That’s in one ear and out the other. And sure I can retain it long enough to be assessed on it and since that’s all that matters, that’s fine. That’s been swept under the rug. The actual comprehension is kind of just a byproduct. It’s a bonus, like if you actually get it that’s great, but you don’t really have to.”
"There is study of other cultures in multiple classes, drawing parallels between them. Religion is not pushed, but multiple religions are studied, so that students may better understand the world as a whole.There are a wide range of subjects, all required, so that each student can discover his/her passion, and pursue it. No one feels talentless or worthless, because differences are not only celebrated, they are nurtured."
Thursday, June 2014
Stay connected with us by participating in one of the Chicago Waldorf School’s summer events. March in a parade amid the cheering crowds, visit us at one of our booths at Edgewater EdgeFest or at the Glenwood Ave Arts Festival, or come hang out with other CWS families at Albion beach on Tuesdays.
Chicago Parades- Come March with Us!!
Sunday June 29th – 45th Annual Chicago Pride Parade (11:30am-1:00pm)
Friday July 4th – Evanston’s 4th of July Parade (12:30pm-3:00pm)
For those younger and older participants―or just the sun shy―we have seating with cool drinks on the CWS bus which will drive in both parades.
Please RSVP to Jennifer Zielinski at 773-828-8468 or email@example.com. RSVPs are important so we can provide adequate event materials, water and reserve seats on the bus.
Chicago Neighborhood Festivals
August 2 & 3 – Edgewater EdgeFest (11am-5pm)
August 16 & 17 – Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival (12pm-5pm)
Either volunteer to sit with us under the tent or stop by to say hello; we love looking for a reason to chat and share whats special about Waldorf education with others in our city.
CWS Tuesday Summer Beach Days at Albion Beach
All Summer Long - starting June 17th (10am-4pm)
Get together with new, current and alumni CWS families at Albion Beach any Tuesday (weather permitting) this summer. Look for the big red CWS sun umbrella. Sponsored by the Parent Ambassadors group.
Questions! Contact Jennifer Zielinski at 773-828-8468 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 2014
Spend the summer engaged in Waldorf-based: Creative Play • Nature • Crafts • Recreation • Sports & Athletic Movement • Urban Exploration • Afternoons at the Beach • Fun Activities • Music Instruction • Baking & Recipes • West African Drumming & Songs • Arts & Handwork • Creative Publications (Publishing) • Songwriting & Recording • Spanish Fun! (cultural exposure) • Exploring Vibrant Chicago Neighborhoods in weekly Field Trips... and more!
Tues and Thurs mornings from July 1- Aug 7
1/2 day camp: 8:30am-11:45am, for ages 12 and up
Practitioners of Art du Déplacement and Parkour use their bodies to interact with, and traverse, all types of environments. Led by CWS Parkour instructor, Kurt Gowan, in this camp you will learn to overcome physical and mental obstacles, discover fun and creative movements, and strengthen your body to meet the high demands of the discipline. You'll get a great workout as well as training for your mind and spirit. There will be games and challenges of all kinds! Bring: a Water bottle. Wear: Comfortable clothing. Long pants recommended. Any athletic shoes work!
Pre-registration class limit: 15 students / Camp Fee: 5 classes for $175 or all ten classes for $350
Select 5 or 10 from these camp dates: July 1,3,8,10,15,17,29,31 & August 5,7 (no classes the week of July 21st)
Early Childhood Camp
Due to growing parent interest we have added four weeks of summer camp exclusively for our youngest campers! The Early Childhood (EC) Summer Camp is dedicated to children from 3.5 to 6 yrs old and follows the morning rhythms of a typical Early Childhood class. This play-based half day summer camp involves indoor activities, nature stories, outdoor playtime in the playground and other Early Childhood class experiences. Morning snacks will be provided.
2014 Camps: June 16th through August 8th
Enroll Now in Weekly Sessions or All Summer Long!
Chicago Waldorf School is offering expanded camp activities and options for full weekday coverage from 7:30am - 6:00pm. Our Kids Camp and Sports Camps offer full day camp experiences (All day camps are 8:30am - 3:30pm). Now campers can also try topics based, specialty camps which are offered as full day and half-day "stand alone" options or as supplements to Kids Camp. (Half day camps are mornings: 8:30am-11:45pm and afternoons: 12:15pm-3:30pm). Additionally a Precare option is offered from 7:30-8:30am and After Care is offered from 3:30-6:00pm. Project materials and snacks will be provided in all camps (all fees included in camp tuition). Campers bring their own bag lunches and wear clothes appropriate for each camp's activities (details are outlined on the first day of camp).
All Day Camps: kid activities & sports
Kids Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 16-Aug 8 (8 Weeks- Full Days / mornings & afternoons)
A traditional summer full day camp with weekly themed activities that will culminate in a Friday field trip by school bus to destinations in the city. Campers will also make daily trips to the beach and other outdoor play areas. Dress in comfortable clothes and bring a lunch. Snacks will be provided. (For 6 years + up)
Songwriting Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . June 16-20 (Week 2- Full Day / mornings & afternoons)
Have fun exploring basic songwriting techniques on musical instruments in a variety of traditional styles, including folk, blues and classical. The camp will culminate with an afternoon of campers performing & recording their songs at Soapbox Music Studio. (For rising 5th graders and up / 11 years + up)
Basketball Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 28-Aug 1 (Week 7- Full Day / mornings & afternoons)
Held in the CWS gymnasium, this camp is open to all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. We teach fundamental skill development as well as team concepts. Campers receive individual instruction from highly qualified coaches with previous college playing and coaching experience. Campers should bring a lunch. (For 11-18 years old)
Creative Publications Camp. . . . . . . August 4-8 (Week 8- Full Day / mornings & afternoons)
CWS Communications Director, Jason Greenberg, will teach Middle School and High School campers to produce their own small run of self-published books. Campers will use basic scanning, SLR photography, digital imaging and layout software plus learn beginning book production and binding techniques. Each student will author, illustrate, edit, and design content for their pages in a book. (For rising 7th graders and up / 12-18 year olds)
Half Day Camps: Specialty topics
Specialty camps are offered as "stand-alone" half-day camps or they may be combined with the Kids Camp and aftercare for a full day of coverage. Half day camps are mornings: 8:30am-12:15pm and afternoons: 12:45pm-3:30pm. If staying through lunch period (12:15-12:45), campers should bring a lunch. Aftercare option provides additional coverage until 6pm.
African Drumming Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 16-20 (Week 2- Half Day / mornings)
CWS drumming teacher, Michael Taylor, will guide campers through an exploration of the world of traditional West African djembe drumming. Learning rhtyhms on traditional, hand carved instruments, we will explore not only the music and songs, but also the oral tradition of each rhythm, which inludes: the name of the rhythm, where the rhythm is from (maps will be used), why the rhythm is traditionally played, what ethnic group created/plays the rhythm, who is the source (what teacher) and other relevant information. Each day we will view video documentaries and other footage of Michael's trips to West Africa and other reference footage pertaining to this course.. (For rising 7th graders and up / 12-18 years old)
Spanish Is Fun! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 23-27 (Week 2- Half Day / mornings)
CWS teacher, Ingrid Gomez, leads the class. This Is a wonderful way for children to learn Spanish while enjoying summertime fun. Ingrid (a native-speaker) will share with campers Latin-American games, hand clapping, songs, and some delicious recipes. Campers will also enjoy an afternoon filled with story telling in Spanish and crafts. (For rising 2nd graders and up / 8-12 years)
Early Childhood Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . June 23- July 18 (Week 2 thru 5- Half Day / mornings)
Due to parent interest we have added 4 weeks of summer camp exclusively for our youngest campers! The Early Childhood (EC) Summer Camp is dedicated to children from 3.5 to 6 yrs old and follows the morning rhythms of a typical Early Childhood class day. This play-based half day summer camp involves indoor activities, nature fables and storytelling, outdoor playtime in the playground and other Early Childhood class experiences. Morning snacks will be provided. (For EC children and rising 1st graders / 3.5 thru 6 years)
Parkour Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 1- Aug 7 (Week 3 thru 8- Half Day / mornings)
This camp meets 2 days a week: Tues and Thurs mornings from July 1- Aug 7, 8:30am-11:45am
Select 5 or 10 of these session dates: July 1,3,8,10,15,17,29,31 & August 5,7 (no classes the week of July 21st)
Camp Fee: 5 classes for $175 or all ten classes for $350 ($35/class Drop In fee subject to space availability)
Practitioners of Art du Déplacement and Parkour use their bodies to interact with, and traverse, all types of environments. Led by CWS Parkour instructor, Kurt Gowan, in this camp you will learn to overcome physical and mental obstacles, discover fun and creative movements, and strengthen your body to meet the high demands of the discipline. You'll get a great workout as well as training for your mind and spirit. There will be games and challenges of all kinds! Bring: a Water bottle. Wear: Comfortable clothing. Long pants recommended. Any athletic shoes work! (For ages 12 and up)
Adventures with Paper and Yarn . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 14-18 (Week 5- Half Day / mornings)
CWS teacher, Ingrid Gomez will guide the children in techniques like Suminagashi (Japanese floating ink paper marbrling), and weaving on a cardboard loom. With these two techniques and some sewing, the children will create their own books and pouches to keep them safe. (For rising 2nd graders and up / 8 years + up)
Band Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 21-25 (Week 6- Half Day / mornings)
Taught by CWS music teacher, Katherine Swaydis. Open to all students who have already begun a wind instrument. Students would divide into small groups and learn a piece for playing chamber music. I will instruct them on how to work together to prepare a piece fo music, but the final product will be up to them. Students will also be working on a full band piece. A small performance will be given on the final day of camp. The purpose of the camp is for students to learn how to play music in a small group with varying instrumentation so they will have to work out a way to to listen to each others' ideas and put them into action. (For rising 5th graders and up / 11 years + up)
Baking Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 28-Aug 1 (Week 7- Half Day / mornings)
CWS music teacher, Katherine Swaydis leads this class of up to 15 students. Campers will learn the basics of baking from scratch using all natural ingredients. Students will learning how to read recipes, measure ingredients, mix, bake, and of course, eat and ejoy a variety of baked goods! The goal is that students will learn what is in the food they are eating and how it is made. The class may explore vegan and gluten-free options if there is an interest. Students choose a new baked good each day. The menu may include scones, cookies, granola, biscuits, quick breads, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, etc. (For rising 6th graders and up / 11 years + up)
Volleyball Camps. . . . . . . . . . . August 4-8 (Week 8- Half Days / mornings & afternoons)
Volleyball- Level One (8:30am-12:15pm)
This camp covers all volleyball skills for beginning and intermediate levels and promotes collaborative team play. Campers receive instruction in volleyball technique with an emphasis on fun skill development games.
(For rising 6th-8th graders / 11 – 14 years)
Volleyball- Level Two (12:45pm-3:30pm)
This camp provides more advanced and detailed instruction in volleyball techniques and skills for players in the intermediate to advanced levels. This camp will teach Individual skills, team play and offensive/defensive strategies. It will also address fitness and strength training. (For rising 9th-12th graders / 14-18 years)
Or call our main office at 773.465-2662 to register by phone. Registration Forms includes pricing and dates.
Waldorf incorporates active play and creativity in children’s learning to foster developmental growth.
Eight 1 week sessions are offered. Pick one week, multiple weeks or all summer!
Full day camp sessions run weekdays from 8:30am-3:30pm.
Separate aftercare and precare options are also available.
• Camps range from $175/week (half-day) to $300/week (full day) depending on the details of the camp.
The registration form has all dates and pricing costs per camps.
• All materials, equipment and supply costs are included within the camp fee.
• Single Day Drop-Ins for either Kids Camp ($75.00 per day) or EC Camp ($50.00 per day) may be
prearranged 48 hrs ahead of time with the Main Office on a “Space Available” basis.
• Payment is due the week before session begins.
• Because spaces are reserved, refunds/discounts are not available for absenses or early pickups.
Mail in this registration form or call our main office at 773.465-2662 to register by phone.
Also please submit this permissions form, required for camp enrollment.
Tuesday, June 2014
The 4th grade just finished their first group class reader, “Fair Weather’ by Richard Peck. In a chance to meet the author and interview the creator behind the story, the 4th grade set out to find the Newberry medal winning children's book writer. Their quest was fruitful when they landed at the Evanston Public library yesterday where Mr. Peck was presenting a talk on his book signing tour. Twelve of Ms. Szymanski's students went to this event and got to meet, chat and pose with the author.
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." -Frederick Douglass
Bringing the craft of writing alive is a core experience that is taken up in multiple ways throughout the curriculum. While the 4th graders are meeting professional writers, the 7th graders just finished promoting and selling their first published book; an anthology of poetry from their Wish, Wonder and Surprise Language Block. With over 100 copies sold the print run has almost sold out; but you can still buy some of the few remaining copies here.
These are some of the many ways that reading comes alive at CWS.
“Waldorf education enables young people to be in love with the world as the world should be loved.” -Majorie Spock
Monday, May 2014
A parent perspective by Cin Salach, CWS Early Childhood Parent
My son has been a Sweet Pea for three years. For three years I have bought slippers in increasing sizes, packed his cubby sack with extra layers, negotiated snowsuits and mittens and many wee ones in various states of morning readiness, then returned at noon to pick him up and see his shining face.
Every morning I enter the Early Childhood hallway, smell whatever’s baking, wonder whose birthday it is if there is popcorn in the air, and check the chalkboard to see what’s coming up….it’s a pretty wonderful way to start the day.
I have to admit, I feel like we don’t really have to wake up completely to go to school right now…we snuggle with smoothies (him) and coffee (me) until it’s time to put on clothes and coats …but we tell stories the whole time…sing…wonder if we’ll get there before or after the EC door is unlocked….
So, on the night we met his teacher-to-be a few weeks ago, I realized, this is serious. Next fall, he’ll be GOING TO SCHOOL. That means I will have to wake up a bit too! There is a more formal good morning in the air. Doors open at 7:30. He won’t need slippers. We might really have to brush our teeth as opposed to just eating an apple in the car. He’ll be there until 3! Whoa.
“I am nervous.
But sooooo excited.
Which is exactly how
Leo is feeling.”
Every once in a while he’ll ask about first grade and say either “I can’t wait!” or “I think I am going to stay in kindergarten forever.” Nothing in between. Then I remind him we have months of kindergarten left so let’s just be in kindergarten. Let’s sew puppets and build things for the gnomes in the side yard. Because then there’s an entire summer. And then….
Then, there is the most amazing first grade teacher waiting for you Leo….I’ve met her…she is such an incredible story-teller…and there will be letters waiting too…and numbers….. knitting…and new games…. Spanish…. German….and then…afternoons at the playground with the second graders… Yes! Your old pals from EC! And as I’m telling him this, both of our eyes are shining….and you know, I really believe by the time September rolls around, we will both be ready for first grade. --
You can read more of cin's writing on her own website, poemgrown.
Tuesday, May 2014
Chicago Waldorf School celebrates the-
2014 MAY FAIR FESTIVAL
Saturday, May 17th, 10:00am-4:00 pm
Free Admission / Open to the public
1300 W. Loyola Ave. / Chicago, IL
The May Fair is an annual outdoor festival that ritually welcomes the Spring, which is traditionally celebrated by Waldorf schools throughout the world. This event engages the students with the larger community and celebrates the spirit in which Waldorf schools nourish and support the child’s connection to nature and the seasonal cycles. May Fair activities range from face-painting to child-made crafts, tie-dyeing, music & singing performances, storytelling and more. The most iconic element of May Fair is the children’s maypole dance that evokes community pride and joy and continues a tradition that was started by celebrants performing in May festivals centuries ago.
Children’s Maypole Dance
(time: 12:00 noon / location: Street Stage)
Often the center of May celebrations, the maypole bears garlands and is a symbol for the growth of new vegetation and spring life. Dancers gather around the pole that is sprawling with greenery and colored ribbons attached to the top. To the accompaniment of traditional music played by our students the 4th graders will walk or skip in opposing directions allowing the strings to intertwine in complex patterns creating a braided weave around the pole.
Activities for All Ages
The Chicago Waldorf School’s annual May Fair features dancing, live entertainment, music, games, food, craft-making, and unique vendors and exhibitors. In addition to the many musicians, poets and performers, the event will feature a lively roster of activities:
YOUNG KIDS: bubble wands, roving butterflies, tricycle races, treasure hunt, face painting, storytelling, and more.
OLDER KIDS: obstacle course, bean bag dragon shoot, cake walk, jump rope braiding, gnome archery, and more.
TEENAGERS: hand henna painting, high school talent show, music performances
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:
• Great Food and Treats • Crafts for All Ages • Games and Prizes
• Unique Vendors • Live Entertainment • Silent Auction
• Traditional Maypole Dance • Flower Crowns • Street Fair / Block Party
Invite your friends (Open to the Public!) by sending them this invitation. Or via our Facebook Event.
Inquiries? Call the Chicago Waldorf School's Main Office (773.465.2662) or just show up at the Fair!
Thursday, May 2014
SENIOR DECISIONS AND POST HIGH SCHOOL PLANS: CLASS OF 2014
Talia Adams has been accepted to the University of Redlands’ Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, but has deferred for one year. Talia will seek employment this summer and looks forward to auditioning for theater productions in Chicago in the coming year. Once on the Redlands’ campus, Talia will be part of a unique learning community. Johnston Center students design their majors, forge graduation contracts with their professors, and live among peers in a setting built on community and consensus.
Paco Alvarez will attend Carleton College in Minnesota. When he visited the campus, he was impressed by the students, whom he described as “interested in what they are learning, and not just there for the degree.” Paco plans to study English and Philosophy, and looks forward to involvement in one of their extracurricular writing groups and perhaps the film society. Carleton is ranked #1 by U.S. News for undergraduate teaching at a liberal arts college.
Malcolm Collins is looking forward to four years at the University of Iowa. He had his sights set on a large or mid-size university with strong academics. The University of Iowa offers that, plus all of the excitement of a Big Ten school. In addition, it has a beautiful campus and a warm and welcoming student body. Although Malcolm is interested in pre-law, the strong artistic and performing arts culture helps to create a diverse and open campus culture which Malcolm appreciates. U.S. News names Iowa as one of the top 30 public institutions in the country.
Adele Erickson has made her decision to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida next fall. In making her decision, she was swayed by the photojournalism program and the high percentage of international students. Lynn’s core curriculum, the Dialogues of Learning, was recognized by Inside Higher Education as an example of how colleges and universities can increase the rigor of their academic offerings and improve the comprehensive education of their students.
Rebecca Lavin-Burgher is headed toward warm Florida weather and Eckerd College this fall. Rebecca hopes to explore several different avenues of study, but she is considering journalism with a focus on photography. The required freshman program, “The Human Experience” happily reminds Rebecca of the Waldorf approach to education. Eckerd looks out for the well-being of its students and provides unique de-stressing options (such as bringing puppies onto campus) during each finals week. Eckerd is also one of the top 50 schools that produce graduates who go on to obtain PhD’s in the sciences and humanities.
Jeremy Marder is excited to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. When he visited the campus, he attended a protest about fracking and was impressed with the students’ passion and the intellectual level of their arguments. Jeremy hopes to explore majors, but currently has an interest in the Global Studies program. And he has already found at least one study abroad program of interest, to Spain and North Africa! On the extracurricular side, Jeremy hopes to become involved in film production on campus.
Sarah Matthews looks forward to college at the University of Oregon. UO has an excellent journalism and communications program, and this is an area which interests Sarah greatly. Sarah was pleasantly surprised during her visit to campus; she sat in on a lecture that was highly interactive even though there were almost 200 students in attendance! Sarah looks forward to attending sports events and bicycling. And she is already in communication with students at Duck TV, the local station, and she is hopeful that she can get involved there right away. UO has been designated a top-tier research institution by the Carnegie Foundation.
Alex Morson is east-coast bound and will attend Connecticut College to study computer science and/or math. He likes the location near an urban area, and noted after his visit there that the students seemed very welcoming and participatory in class. Connecticut College was named by Newsweek and College Prowler as one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation; the campus is actually part of a 750 acre arboretum. Princeton Review ranks Connecticut College #11 for excellence in career services and job placement.
Iris Pavelic will stay in the Chicago area to attend North Park University with a major in chemistry. North Park has a very diverse student body and offers pre-pharmacy advising, which is important to Iris’ long term goals. Iris will continue to work at Walgreen’s; but once she turns 18, she can sit for the pharmacy technician licensing exam, and she plans to do this during the summer. Hopefully we’ll see Iris working in the pharmacy department at Walgreen’s by fall. Iris has already signed up for classes at North Park and is looking forward to participating in theater, as well as competitive soccer and volleyball.
Merci Randolph has a great deal of enthusiasm for her college choice, Dickinson College. She noted that they have an organic farm which partially supplies the cafeteria and that she will be able to bicycle there and perhaps work there. Dickinson is one of the top schools for long-term study abroad opportunities; it has an exceptional language program, and also has good connections to the State Department. Merci is drawn to the social justice focus and many progressive historical traditions relating to civil rights and women’s rights. Dickinson has been named one of the top 10 Fulbright-producing liberal arts colleges.
Cole Ruscitti has lined up a number of intriguing opportunities after graduation. He will begin his post-high school experiences working at an auto shop 3 days per week over the summer. He also hopes to help expand his mom’s dog-boarding business, and will continue building furniture, decks, cabinets and fences as he has done in past summers. In September, Cole will travel to Berlin to visit a friend and experience the culture. When he returns from Germany, he may enter into entrepreneurship with an idea or two that is already brewing. Cole may attend college in the future, but will only do so with a clear educational goal in mind.
Lindsay Thompson will head to the west coast to attend Evergreen State College, a school known for its unique interdisciplinary model. Lindsay speaks highly of the active and community-oriented student body and noted that there seems to be a great deal of school pride. She looks forward to leaving her mark on Evergreen. Lindsay is already in touch with the volleyball coach and may play for the Geoducks. Evergreen is ranked very highly in the National Survey of Student Engagement and for its First Year Experiences for freshmen. Evergreen’s focus is on developing the ability to work in teams, communicate effectively, and think critically and creatively. It is one of the Colleges That Change Lives.
Joe Wendy decided on Elon University in North Carolina; with approximately 5,000 students, it is neither too large, nor too small. Joe would like to explore majors, but has considered math, business and sports management. Elon’s housing is divided into “neighborhoods”; Joe has already chosen his preferred neighborhood, a historic area near the center of campus activities. He is looking forward to participating in the intramural sport offerings. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks Elon’s business program very highly. Elon is one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars, and has been named a leader in engaged learning, innovation and fostering a strong sense of community on campus.
Photos: Seniors and other High School student musicians in the CWS Jazz Band perform in the Spring Instrumental Assembly- April 2014
Wednesday, May 2014
A parent perspective by Mark Miller, CWS Parent
My wife, Anne Cousineau, and I had been living in Rogers Park since 1995. Part of our decision to raise a family here (Zoe, eighth grade and Eli, fifth grade) was the connection to nature the nearby beach, parks and lake provided. This encouraged balance in our lives.
When it came time to select a school, CWS resonated with us immediately for its approach, and understanding of the value of balance, nature and spirit. It has been a large blessing in our lives.
An unexpected blessing from being in this community is that I have been asked by many CWS families and the school itself to assist them professionally with my skills as an architect. For those of you who don’t know me, you will recognize my work from the barn play structure in the side yard and the theatrical sets for many school plays including the recent eighth grade play Oliver Twist in which Anne spearheaded the set and production design. For me, it is a pleasure collaborating with Waldorf families, as we share similar values. It’s fun to work as a team with like-minded people to create architectural works where these values are reflected. It’s clear from the feedback the spaces we create together are enjoyed and enrich the lives of those who experience them on many levels.
Appreciation of nature, a Waldorf cornerstone, resonated in the recent completion of a renovation for the CWS Boyce family. They moved from an all glass mid-rise building with connections to sun, the lake and Lincoln Park to a 100-year-old Victorian home in Evanston. To help “open up” the home and reconnect to these elements, we completely removed the rear wall and added an all-glass English conservatory which transitioned to a semi-circular deck and the garden.
These values informed the new home I designed for EC teacher Ms. Nancy Matson, her husband Alan and their family, who have an amazing site overlooking the Chicago River and Cook County Forest Preserve. I like to ask my clients what about their current residence really annoys them (what is “blocking” them from connecting with spirit.) Nancy shared she disliked the dark stairwell that lead up to the second floor. So, one important goal was to provide the family a staircase that would remedy this. The new stair became an “open riser,” allowing one to see through it. The stair, placed next to a two-story window wall, faces the sun and forest. Now, from any spot in the home, one is connected to the sun and the forest. Views of the wildlife, treetops and flowing river are integrated throughout the experience of “being” in the home.
Two additional collaborations have come from assisting CWS moms Jenn Paschen and Bridgid Rooney in their work: places of healing. Jenn is the owner of “The Nest” acupuncture and prenatal health center and Bridgid Rooney owns Lakeview Physical Therapy. For Jenn, health is related to an unobstructed flow of energy in the body. I designed her new center to make this flow of healing energy more apparent to visitors, using curving shapes in her bamboo floors and treatment room walls. Natural materials and Japanese shoji screens made new visitors feel at ease, and so healing can begin as soon as a client walks into the center. In this context, the architectural design assists the philosophy of the practitioner, just as the collaboration with Bridgid Rooney incorporated her views of healing.
Like Waldorf education, when we infuse values of awareness, spirit and an appreciation of nature to architecture, we enrich the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual experiences for our whole being. --
More of Mark's architecture for Waldorf families can be see at his website, ZenPlusArchitecture.