News from AWSNA               August 2016

The official e-news of the Association of independent Waldorf schools


Congratulations to Vancouver Waldorf School graduate Georgia Simmerling who won the bronze medal in women's track cycling team pursuit during the Rio Olympics. Simmerling, who previously competed in alpine skiing in 2010 and ski cross in 2014, had never before raced a bicycle on a velodrome track before she gave it a whirl in June of 2014. She made her debut on the World Cup circuit in January of 2016 and won the bronze medal the same year!

We are so pleased to share the news that Maine Coast Waldorf School was named Best Private Elementary School in Down East Magazine's annual "Best of Maine" issue. From shopping to eating to playing outdoors, Down East readers and editors selected their statewide favorites this year and Maine Coast Waldorf School made the list! The full list of "Best of Maine" winners appeared in the July issue of Down East Magazine.

More good news comes from Saratoga Springs: SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company with local operations in New York state (South Glens Falls, Greenwich, and Saratoga), recently awarded an Environmental Education Grant to The Waldorf School of Saratoga SpringsThe grant will be used to build a solar panel generator to power the 750-watts-worth of pumps that clean and circulate the water in the school's 10,000-gallon water feature. When complete, the pumps will be run 100 percent on sustainable energy.

Send us your news - we'd love to share it!
Beverly Amico

Beverly Amico
for the AWSNA Executive Team
Happiness in the Classroom

Students who enjoy school while there have been shown to have better academic performance than their less joyful peers. As it turns out, there is a wellspring of studies about student well-being linked to better engagement and advanced academic performance.

Read more on Essentials In Education, AWSNA's new blog that explores topics that matter to educators, researchers, policy experts, and thought leaders - from a Waldorf Education perspective.

Previous topics include: 
  • Be Worthy of Imitation: Why Modeling Matters at Home and in Class
  • Fostering Lifelong Learning
  • The Importance of Productive Solitude
  • Outdoor Education - Beyond Environmentalism
Photo: DWS
What Screen Time Really Does
To Kids' Brains

From an article in Psychology Today: "When very small children get hooked on tablets and smartphones," says Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Medicine, "they can unintentionally cause permanent damage to their still-developing brains. Too much screen time too soon is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people's attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary -- all those abilities are harmed. Put more simply, parents who jump to screen time in a bid to give their kids an educational edge may actually be doing significantly more harm than good, and they need to dole out future screen time in an age-appropriate matter."

Read more on Waldorf Education 

Senate Passes Act That The Arts Are Considered Core Subjects

The arts in education recently received a significant boost: On July 16, the United States Senate passed its bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), by a count of 81 to 17, according to a press release distributed by NAfME. "By naming music and arts as core subjects in the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate has acknowledged and begun to address the national problem of the narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for more than a decade."

Photo: NAME
renewal mag covers

Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education
Renewal contains articles by leading Waldorf educators on: early childhood education, child development, parenting questions, curricular and pedagogical issues, the role of the arts in education, remedial education, education for the adolescent for today's world, community building, the philosophy behind Waldorf Education, starting a Waldorf school, and Waldorf schools around the world. 

At AWSNA's June conference, delegates celebrated the silver anniversary of Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education and 25 years of service by our extraordinary Chief Editor, Ronald Koetzsch and tireless Copy Editor and Publication Designer, Anne Riegel-Koeztsch. In addition to thanking Ronald and Anne for producing AWSNA's award-winning journal, we thank our long-term and new subscribers for supporting the publication and, in doing so, Waldorf Education. If you are not a current subscriber and would like to be, please go here. A new e-Journal will be launched this fall. Stay tuned!

Why Handwriting is Still Essential
in the Keyboard Age

Pediatrician and author Perri Klass, M.D. writes about the ongoing educational debate concerning handwriting in the New York Times

"This myth that handwriting is just a motor skill is just plain wrong ... we use motor parts of our brain, motor planning, motor control, but what's very critical is a region of our brain where the visual and language come together, the fusiform gyrus, where visual stimuli actually become letters and written words ... You have to see letters in "the mind's eye" in order to produce them on the page. Brain imaging shows that the activation of this region is different in children who are having trouble with handwriting."
You can read the article here.

And if you're interested, here 's another article, from two years ago, in the Science section of the New York Times, that  explores "What's Lost as Handwriting Fades." According to researchers, children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it's not just what we write that matters - but how. 

Photo: Alan Stovell 1st Grade
Check out the complete listing of events on our website.

Details and contact information for fall events can be found on

We'd like to extend a special thank you to 
for supporting AWSNA as members of our Partners Circle. 
Their supporting funds help our Association to drive strategic initiatives and services to our member schools and institutes. Thank you.

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AWSNA provides leadership to schools by facilitating resources, networks and research as they strive towards excellence and build healthy school communities. The Association performs functions that its member schools and institutes could not do alone, including:

    Outreach and advocacy

    Accreditation and school support services

    Professional development activities

    Research and publications

Please contact us if you have any questions about AWSNA or this or any other newsletter. 

Questions please contact or an AWSNA executive director:  

Executive Director, Finance & Operations: Stephanie Rynas

515 Kimbark, Suite 106, Longmont, CO 80501
612-870-8310 x104   Fax 720-633-9543
Executive Director, Advancement: Beverly Amico

515 Kimbark, Suite 106Longmont, CO 80501
612-870-8310 x106    Fax 720-633-9543

Executive Director, Membership: Melanie Reiser
515 Kimbark, Suite 106Longmont, CO 80501
612-870-8310 x105     Fax 720-633-9531

AWSNA | 515 Kimbark | Suite 106 | Longmont | CO | 80501