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May 24, 2013 
Please see a number of important announcements in the last issue of the Connection for this school year.  We especially want to alert you to the fact that head lice seem to be wide-spread in the Seattle area at the moment.  Please check your student's head regularly from now through the rest of the school year - thank you!


Next issue: September   

A L L    S C H O O L    N E W S  

JUMP TO:   All School News    Parent Assoc    High School    Grade School    Early Childhood    Community    Sound Circle    End

The M Word: A Conversation - From A Parent's Perspective
By Kassie Goforth, Marigold parent
We met in the Garden House- a friendly group of a dozen or so parents with Tracy and Muffie. Most of us were preschool and kindergarten parents who knew each other, which added to the warmth and depth of our conversation.

While a conversation about money can conjure up spreadsheets and dry facts, our meeting was nothing like that. It was dynamic and creative as we shared our fondest wishes and dreams (for example: an art gallery showcasing the arts and crafts of our community) and ideas for how we will achieve them. Our time together was so stimulating and enlivening that it left me wishing for a more regular way to participate in similar conversations.

We covered some of the basics: We are well placed financially at the moment, as most of our operating costs are covered by tuition. Our staff salaries are slightly less than the median for Independent Schools, and we continue to increase compensation to our beloved and hardworking teachers.  We aim to develop programs such as summer camps and adult education which will provide sources of additional revenue in the long term. And we reviewed the markers that indicate a financially sound school. (Click here for a great summary of these and a general financial overview.)

We also addressed some of the hard issues in our conversation, such as financial aid. There is the inevitable conflict between making a Waldorf education available to everyone who would like it, and having enough money to keep the school running. We discussed the uniqueness of Waldorf philosophy and teaching, and the fact that a Waldorf option does not currently exist in the Seattle public school system. This discussion led me to a greater realization of the value of Waldorf culture in Seattle, and a greater desire to support the school as much as I can, even beyond tuition, volunteering, auction and Annual Fund contributions, because it is a precious resource that is not readily available elsewhere.

Despite the appreciation for our community that is so evident when we come together, we also discussed the fact that we only have 40% of our families participating in the Annual Fund. Why is this, and how can we encourage greater participation? As well as the value of the funds themselves, the percentage of participation is important when we apply for other grants and funding sources. Donors want to see a high level of community support before committing outside funds. (In other words; if we don't support the school, why should anyone else?) This is why even a small contribution to the Annual Fund makes a big difference.

Finally, we would like to build an endowment. This is an important step, as an endowment stabilizes the school financially in perpetuity.  Income from the endowment can offset others costs and free up funding for essential uses such as curriculum development, staff salaries, financial aid, maintenance and enhancement of facilities and campus, and even other creative and novel ideas such as a student art gallery or summer camps.

This discussion moved my understanding of the financing of our school from more personal issues (such as how much tuition do I pay, how much can I afford to give above that, and how much volunteer work can I take on) to a much wider context. It enabled me to think of my contributions to the school in terms of questions such as "how important is it to me that Waldorf education thrives and grows in this city" and "what is the importance of Waldorf education and the Waldorf community in my life?" It is important to me to continue to grow within our community, and to make sure that Waldorf education continues to thrive in Seattle, not just for the benefit of my son but for the good of other children to come and for the wider community.

Let's Continue The Conversation
Our final Community Conversation will be held on Wednesday, May 29 from 7 - 8:30 pm in Huckleberry Hall. We will share dessert at 6:30 pm and our conversation will get underway promptly at 7 pm.  Please RSVP here.

Questions across a range of topics will be discussed; ranging from how we fund financial aid to the current status of the parent association to the role of the Board of Trustees. This evening offers an opportunity for us to not only discuss "burning questions" but to generate "inspiring ideas" and keep the conversations going.  We look forward to a rich and productive discussion, and hope you will join us on the 29th.  

Please Join Us In Celebration
Thursday, June 6, 2 - 3 pm, grade school campus  
The Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff of SWS invite you to join us as we bid a fond farewell to our grade school building and celebrate our long-awaited "new building."

We hope to see you as we break ground and make Room to Grow!

Please park up the hill at the Maple Leaf Lutheran Church - thank you!   

2013-14 School Forms Due May 31
You should have received a mailing with several forms in the last few weeks.  If you have not already done so, please fill them out and send them the main office at the grade school campus.  Here is a list of the forms:
  • Emergency and Consent
  • Certificate of Immunization (new students only)
  • Annual Field Trip Consent and Release (grades 1 - 12)
  • Off-Campus Lunch Permission (grades 10 - 12 only)
  • Affinity Groups and Volunteer Opportunities
If you have any questions, please click here to email Elaine Schmidt. 

Renewal Magazine Is On The Way To You
The spring/summer issue of Renewal magazine, published by AWSNA, is coming home in the next few days with your oldest student.  Inside you'll find articles of interest about dexterity in infants and children, the gifted child in a Waldorf school, and the arts as an essential part of education, among many other thought-provoking topics.  We hope you'll enjoy this issue. 

BREAKING GROUND (Again) Before Breaking Away For Summer Vacation!
The time is fast approaching to celebrate the end of school and the start of summer vacation! This marks the quick shift back into phase 2 of the school's expansion project. Immediately following the last week of school, construction will be underway on the grade school campus. The first phase of construction brought excavation and new concrete foundations for the expansion additions. Three days after the last day of school on June 7, demolition crews will begin to move into the building for the start of the summer long renovation project. We will have moved everything out of the affected areas of the building almost overnight!

Due to the vast scope of this construction project and the incredibly dangerous conditions that will exist (from heavy machinery, hazardous materials handling, demolition debris, service disruptions and environmental disturbances) the campus will be closed to all activity and visits. There will be no parking at the school allowed throughout the summer. Only contractors and their suppliers will have access to the school parking lot until further notice comes later in August. The school playground will be closed over the summer and no events will take place at the main campus.

Very Limited Access To Grade School Campus
Please note that the grade school building and parking lot will be closed to faculty, staff, visitors, students and families for regular business starting Monday, June 10. Office staff will be available at the adjacent Garden House and by phone for any important communications that need to be made. 

Please call ahead if you need to meet with staff for school related business during the summer. (Parking will only be available at the Maple Leaf Lutheran Church.)

Remember to take your child's musical instrument, rain gear, hat, coat and all other items at dismissal before Friday, June 7. Anything left at the school beyond that date will either be donated or stored (and then inaccessible) until school resumes in the fall.

If you have any questions about the summer schedule for staff or how you can sign up to help move on June 7 and 8, contact our receptionist, Elaine Schmidt in the main office by phone or email: 206-524-5320,

Thank you for your support and patience through this exciting time of renewal for our school!
Diet and Behavior
Part 2 of a 2 part lecture by Dr. Miroslawa Witalis, summarized by Fred Ingham, Marigold parent
On Monday May 20th, Dr. Miroslawa Witalis gave a second lecture about nutrition and wellness, building on the material she presented in April.  The topic of this second talk was how our diet can influence our moods and behaviors in specific ways.  In the first lecture, she focused on the role of cortisol in regulating alertness and energy.  In the second, she spoke about the role of a hormone called DHEA.  DHEA is a pre-cursor to the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.  DHEA serves in a "restorative" function, and is somewhat complementary to cortisol.  DHEA is part of what allows adults to get by with less sleep than children (who normally do not have much DHEA prior to puberty).

Dr. Witalis sees that modern diets and certain environmental toxins (especially those found in plastics) are causing children to show physical and behavioral symptoms linked to DHEA and its associated sex hormones.  Aggressiveness and anxiety (testosterone), social problems (estrogen) and lack of concentration (progesterone) are indicators that there could be a hormonal imbalance at work.  She has seen behavioral problems correlated with elevated levels of these hormones, and has found that dietary interventions can be an important aid in helping individuals and families to function better.  Click here to read the complete article on our blog, The Open Window.  
Focus On The Power of Community

Two questions raised over and over during the M Word Conversations were "why do we have an Annual Fund," and "how are the funds used?"  Great questions!


Below, please read about one example of how your generous support of the Annual Fund impacts our faculty and our students.  Thank you, The Power of Community is awesome!


During our spring break, I had an opportunity to attend the first World Language Teachers' Conference at the Geotheanum, the center for the anthroposophical movement in Dornach, Switzerland. It has been a dream of mine to visit the Geotheanum ever since I encountered Anthroposophy 30 years ago when I lived in Tokyo. This dream came true this spring. Around 400 language teachers from all over the world gathered in Dornach for one week to study together and learn from each another. Learning from teachers of many different backgrounds and languages was an incredibly rich experience for me, and we found many common themes in our work together.   


The lectures and workshops at the conference inspired me to reflect deeply on my daily work as a teacher. I was moved and also energized by the many conversations and stories of teaching a foreign language in a Waldorf school.   



There were two comments that were particularly memorable for me.  Christof Wiechert, a former head of the Pedagogical Section at the Geotheanum, remarked, "unlike common expectations, students must have the same feeling toward world language teachers as they have toward their class teacher." Another one of our workshop leaders remarked that we must have a faithful practice of art in our lives if we want to be better teachers.  (See an example of Hirata Sensei's art practice h.) 



Being at the Geotheanum was also very inspirational for me. The Geotheanum is an incredible piece of architecture that rises out of the hillside in Dornach. The inside of the building is sculpted with soft-edged corners and curved ceilings and pillars, and the spaces are made even more beautiful with amazing paintings and sculptures. I was fortunate to be able to participa

te in a guided tour to see Rudolf Steiner's famous sculpture "Representative of Humanity" to deepen my understanding of this breathtaking piece.


I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the school for supporting me, and Nettie Fabrie for encouraging me to attend the World Language Teachers' Conference.  I am deeply grateful for the Annual Fund donations that help make professional development opportunities such as this available to our faculty.  Naoki Hirata, grade school Japanese teacher 


It is not too late to participate in the Annual Fund, simply click here, and provide an opportunity for professional development for another of our fabulous Seattle Waldorf teachers.  Thank you!


P A R E N T   A S S O C I A T I O N 

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Green Team
We are excited to announce the launch of the SWS Green Team!  A group of parents, faculty and staff have convened to discuss approaches to greening SWS.  While there is much interest and activity around sustainable practices at SWS, a formal process/procedures is not in place.  This group is discussing a broad array of areas and approaches to poritize and formalize sustainable practices.  Areas identified to focus attention include:
  • Obtaining green certification for the school addition/remodel project
  • Facilities (greening processes and procedures pertaining to building and grounds)
  • Green procedures for festivals
  • Greening of various aspects of the schools operations including:
    • Procurement
    • Maintenance and operations (includes waste management)
    • Finance
    • Landscape/physical environment
    • Transportation
  • Campus planning
  • Curriculum - including sustainability in the pedagogy at all levels
  • Policy development - to ensure sustainable priorities in perpetuity
  • Community engagement/education
The team's next meeting is scheduled for Monday night, May 27.  Click here to email Jan Harris for more information.

Thank You!

On Sunday afternoon, May 19, members of the Waldorf Helpers of the Outdoor Learning Environment (WHOLE) came together to remove invasive species and plant a living willow fence for the preschool play yard next to the Garden House. We removed 1660 lbs (0.8 tons) of ivy and blackberry from this edge of campus! No small task, but everyone was in high spirits, sharing food and smiles while getting busy enlivening our outdoor classroom space. Parents and students of all ages participated by pulling and carrying the invasives, as well as mulching and applying biodynamic preparations in the garden. Many thanks to the families that came, and I look forward to seeing you at the next work party in the fall when we hope to plant out this space!  Sarah Garton, Gardening teacher   


H I G H    S C H O O L    N E W S

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Ultimate News - Congratulations Waldorf Warriors!

Our team practiced and played hard all season, and the final game last Saturday was capped off by a presentation from the league with the Spirit of the Game Award. This award was given to our team by their opponents because we were the team they most appreciated playing.  Winning this award was a huge deal.  22 teams played in all the leagues and we were the ones that got it. To win this award at the high school level, where people are so much more competitive, and spirit can at times be put to the side, made me really proud of our entire team. Tomas Campomanes, Utimate coach   



Photos thanks to Ryan Graham.  Click here to see more images on our SmugMug site here.  

Grade 12 - Senior Project Festival
Over the course of one afternoon and two evenings last week, I had the pleasure of viewing all thirteen of this year's Senior Project presentations at Seattle Waldorf High School.  Already through the last four years I have been impressed many times by this group's poise and talent in various musical and drama productions, but the sight of each one of them presenting their individual projects last week exceeded all expectations.  Aidan, Alexa, Anne, Emma, Fiona, Hallie, Kailash, Kristina, Raizel, Samantha, Sophia, Teal and Zayna had been supported through a many months' long process by various members of the high school faculty and staff, and also mentored by one or more professionals in each of their fields of choice.  But when the time came to present, each stood alone on stage!


Topics included musical composition, performance, and production; Irish language and culture; search and rescue, wilderness first aid, and crisis management; Waldorf early childhood education; black-and-white film photography; book writing and illustration; lino printing; forensic portraiture; yearbook production; fashion design and garment construction; video blogging; and community service through bicycle mechanics.  Whether listening to descriptions contrasting digital photography and production with photochemical film development or hearing about the processes of sorting and tracking donated bicycle parts through a recycling program staffed by youth volunteers, it was a thrill and honor to have had this glimpse at each student's depth of feeling and thoughtfulness in approaching "real" work beyond the world of high school. Briana Bennitt, grade 12 parent      


See a sample of artwork presented at the festival at the end of the newsletter. 


Grade 12 - Senior Service Trip

A student committee, guided by Lisa Ayrault, their class sponsor, has been at work to research, plan, and organize the week-long trip. The committee, in consultation with the rest of the class, has chosen to stay in the vicinity of Bend, Oregon, and to offer three days of environmental service work (trail maintenance, fence removal, etc.) with two agencies (the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and the Deschutes Land Trust).  The class is also looking forward to a few recreational experiences for some fun: inner-tubing and an introduction to technical rock climbing with a skilled guide service. 

Grade 9 - Farm Trip

Grade 9 students have traveled to Whidbey Island, where they are camping on the Freundlich farm (both Jay and Bonnie Freundlich are SWS faculty).  The students have been busy working on the farm, repairing fences, planting willows for their willow basket project next year, milking the cow and making yogurt and cheese.  In addition, they helped out in the garden of the local community food bank.  As the weather was fairly cool out on the farm, they kept the fire going all day...   


G R A D E    S C H O O L    N E W S

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Grade School Lost & Found Is Overflowing! Items will be be donated on June 7     

We have many coats, hats, water bottles, even a bike helmet. Please stop by and go through the bin in the lobby. The remodel starts right after school is out and all unclaimed items in Lost & Found will be donated as we clear the building.  

Last Hot Lunch Order Due By May 31!
The last hot lunches of the school year will be served on June 4 and 6.  B
e sure to place your order by Friday, May 31.  Click here to find all you need to know about the grade school hot lunches.  

Results From The Track Meet 
The 12th annual 7th and 8th grade regional track and field meet was held on a beautiful Wednesday, April 24.  Schools in attendance were Whatcom Hills, Whidbey Island, Bright Water, Three Cedars, Olympia, Madrona, and Seattle, totaling 170 students.  The track events were led by Bryan McGriff from Bright Water with many parent timers.  The field events were run by our juniors from the Seattle Waldorf High School.  My thanks go to all who lent a hand in making this another very successful track meet.  Click here to see the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each event.  Elaine Klansnic, grade school PE teacher 

Grade 5 - A Round Of Knitting
Students in the 5th grade have spent the entire year knitting in the round, often employing four double pointed knitting needles at once. They have used their skills to create striped socks, hats and bags, many of which are on view in the lobby's display case.


Grade 4 - The Gifts Of A Potlatch
By Michael Montague, grade 4 & 1 parent.  Please do not share this with the kids.
After an early morning start and an uneventful trip to Whidbey Island we arrived at the Potlatch. We unloaded all of our gear into two pickup trucks. The kids, accompanied by Mr. Gottenbos and a couple of chaperones, hiked a third of a mile to the beautiful meadows, surrounded by trees, where the Potlatch was being held. The rest of the chaperones unloaded the gear from the pickup trucks and started to set up tents. Whidbey Island Waldorf School hosted the event and their school is located on the property where the Potlatch was held. Being the next closest school, we were the first to arrive. Throughout the morning, the rest of the eight area Waldorf schools arrived and set up their camps. There were about 125 fourth graders in all. The Potlatch was led by a handful of elders, assisted by the teachers and chaperones.

After lunch, we formed a huge circle for the opening ceremony, led by Angeles Pena, of the Navajo Nation. The kids were divided into five clans, with kids from each school in each clan. All the teachers and chaperones were in the salmon clan. One at a time, Angeles gathered each clan in a circle around him and talked about their clan animal and encouraged them to be good people. Angeles talked about the meaning of a hand shake and looking the person in the eye as you do it. And then, in a big long line, we all shook hands with everyone else there. 
Click here to read more about the activities and gifts shared.  More images can be found on SmugMug here.  

Grade 1 - Beginning Drama
Grade 1 students have been preparing for their play "The Four Seasons." Their work of this school year comes together in this nature play through the speaking of verses, singing, flute playing and movement. First grade plays are intentionally very simple and short, with the students speaking and singing as a chorus and moving as a group, while the audience is kept small and intimate.

E A R L Y   C H I L D H O O D    N E W S

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Welcoming Next Year's First Graders
It is a SWS tradition that grade 1 students are welcomed to the school by grade 8 students at the Rose Ceremony, the first assembly of the school year.  As you may guess, each first grader will receive a rose from an eighth grader.   This year's seventh grade students have been preparing a surprise - next week they will deliver personalized cards to the kindergarten students who will be moving up to grade 1.  Please keep this a secret!  Click on the image to see a larger version.  

Preschool Fun
The cool drizzle this past Wednesday did not in any way affect the Daffodil and Marigold preschoolers, who enjoyed swinging, digging, pumping water, creating rivers and more.  


C O M M U N I T Y   A N N O U N C E M E N T S 

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This section provided as a free service to the SWS community.

What Are Our Community Members Up To?

Vienna, grade 8 student, will be performing on the fiddle with the Northwest Scottish Fiddlers at Folk Life on  Monday, May 27 at 11:20 am on the Mural Amphitheatre stage. 


Lectures, Workshops, Concerts, Festivals, Summer Camps Etc.


Looking For A Summer Camp? Found A Great Camp? 

Click here to share information about a summer camp you would recommend.  Click here to see a list of camps for all ages that community members have suggested, including some organized by SWS students.


Family Dances And More For Families At Folklife 

Seattle Family Dance is hosting a great mix of events at the Folklife festival this year, including dancing, singing, storytelling and crankies.  Click here to see the complete lineup.   This is the first year that the festival has had a venue for traditional music and dance related activities in the kid area, and this is pretty exciting!  If you'd like to know more contact Clare, Rosemary and Grade 2 parent at


Mashenka And The Bear   

Sunday, June 2, 11 am and 1 pm, Three Cedars Waldorf School, Bellevue

Enjoy a marionette performance of this lovely story presented by Willow Branch Puppet Theater.  Advance Visa/MC reservations: $7 child/senior, $8 general admission.  Call 206-985-2059.  At the door: $8 child/senior, $9 general admission.  

Summer Writing Workshops and Tutoring
Offering week-long writing workshops, meeting in the mornings, ideally suited to students entering grades 9 and 10.  They can help your student grow into a more skilled and confident writer by focusing on: Getting around writer's block and procrastination; practicing the methods and habits of successful writers; understanding unspoken expectations of school writing assignments; learning and practicing strategies for creating ideas for writing; developing fluency in drafting; moving toward mastery of grammar, punctuation and other editing conventions.  Email Glen VanDerPloeg, Ph.D. (often known as Dr. V, former Waldorf High School English teacher) at for more information about workshops or individual tutoring.

For Sale:  Student Violins (Eastman) 
Good condition; all purchased new from Olsen Violins and used by one student; includes case and bow: 1/10 $125, 1/8 $150, 1/4 $175. Contact: Laurie Beale,

For Sale:  Cello And Violin
Only played about 10 minutes a week for a year or two. Call and make an offer. Great deal! Carolyn, 206-384-2240.

For Sale - Cello
Full sized cello in very good condition with soft case and bow. Estimated value is $1,000. Looking for that OBO. Sam Hranac, 206-661-6423.

Music Lessons for Guitar, Cello, Piano, Voice And Trumpet

Friendly and patient personal instruction for children and adults by experienced, credentialed music teacher. Individual or group lessons in your home or mine. Learn fundamentals of technique and how to practice for sustained learning and enjoyment. Custom tailored to your learning style and musical interests. Pop Rock, Classical, Folk, Latin American, Celtic/Irish, Blues. Se habla Español. Contact Ricardo Much, SWS grade school Band and Spanish teacher by e-mail or phone:, 425-876-5376. Click here to hear recordings.  

Looking For Housing
Grade 3 parent is looking for a 2 BDR MIL, apartment or small house for Sept 1st, 2013.  Ideally, the rent would be around $1,000/mo. (possible partial childcare/work exchange for rent reduction if higher), close to the school or in the Wallingford/Fremont/Ballard area.  Please respond by email or phone at 206-852-6523. Looking for a long-term rental up, minimum 1 year up to 6+ years.


Looking For Hosts
Sound Circle Center is looking for host families to accommodate participants in the Sound Circle Summer Intensives. The Summer Intensives are held at Bright Water School on Capitol Hill during the weeks of June 23 - 28 and July 1 - 5.  If you have an extra bedroom or space that you could offer for a guest, please contact Kim at for more details, including reimbursement.

Vermont House Trade For July 

Offering a 3 BR ranch, with partially finished basement; many acres out the back door, as well as many hiking trails. The property is located just outside Montpelier in a beautiful area.  The owner is an alumni parent and currently teaches at the Orchard Valley Waldorf School. Contact Larry Cohen by phone (802-225-6024) or email  References available. 

Looking For Childcare?  Offering Childcare?

Click here to see an online page to assist our community in exchanging this kind of information. 

For information on Break Care for children age 5 to grade 5, information will be posted in the Grade School News section above.  


S O U N D   C I R C L E   C E N T E R 

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Upcoming Events at Sound Circle Center


Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: Living the Philosophy of Freedom

Two daily sessions of lecture and discussion with Michael D'Aleo, plus Eurythmy, to enhance Rudolf Steiner's seminal work on becoming free creative thinkers. Participants may take this as a stand-alone course, or choose from afternoon workshops, focusing on Early Childhood or Art, to complete the day.  Click here for more information and the registration form.


Coming Next Fall: A New Round Of Parenting Courses   

Parenting is a vocation, from which we sometimes need a vacation. We hope that you will join us once a month for a day of renewal to learn more about the tools of your trade. Two classes will be offered again next school year: Family Foundations (covering issues from birth to six year-olds) and Soulful Parenting (seven to fourteen year-olds). Whether you are taking a deep brush to your housecleaning, or a deep breath with your preteen, you will find a joyful and deeply spiritual perspective of the life you share with your children. There is no need to exhaust yourself parenting when you can learn to renew your energies. Both of these courses nourish resources that provide you with rhythm and parenting wisdom.  Click here to learn more.


Click here to see a progression from draft to final drawing.

We educate our students to be free human beings who impart purpose and meaning to their lives,
who meet life with courage, and respond with initiative and creativity to the needs of the world and their fellow human beings.

The Connection is generally published twice a month while school is in session. For publication dates, click here and type the word Connection in the search window.
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