WSOC March 2018 Newsletter

Ms. Peterson's Grade 2 class celebrated Chinese New Year, The Year of the Dog, on Friday, February 16. 
Photo credit: Danielle Cohen
Hello families!

Once again, our Parent Education events have been filled to bursting- thank you to our community for turning out in record numbers! Most recently (in addition to our continued series with the wonderful Patricia Rubano) we hosted Waldorf Master Science teacher Michael D'Aleo, who educated us about EMFs and how to use our devices more wisely. Our very own high school science teacher Michelle Boynton wrote a wonderful article in Renewal on the subject of EMFs as well. Click here to view!

More Parent Education opportunities can be found below.

Re-Registration is coming up beginning March 12! Scroll down for details.

Our much-anticipated WSOC Annual Gala & Auction is coming soon. See below for more! It's going to be incredible and we can't wait to share more details.

If you ever find yourself with a question and are not quite sure which Administrative member or volunteer is the appropriate avenue to help you, here's a quick guide to the WSOC lines of communication:
  • Faculty Coordinator (Gina Garrison) - questions or concerns regarding class or specialty teachers, or other concerns requiring additional support/attention. 
  • School Administrator (Gina Iles) - any concerns or questions regarding safety, compliance, health, or facilities.
  • Admissions Director (Linda Timmons) - admissions related questions or concerns such as wait pools, enrollment procedures and deadlines.
  • Development Director (Teresa Alarcon) - questions about fundraising and gifts, including Annual Giving, Gala, grants, in-kind donations, restricted gifts, endowment gifts, and community outreach events within and outside of school. 
  • Business Manager (Jeff Barth) - questions regarding school budgeting, finances, tuition contracts, insurance, human resources, employee benefits, vendors, Company of Angels, or SCRIP.
  • Communications Coordinator (Alyssa Hamilton) - newsletter, website, school communications, and school-related event promotions.
  • Parent Association Chair (Olivia Slutzky) - PA Committees and events, volunteerism.
Stay tuned for more information about upcoming March events including Track & Field, 8th Grade Play, High School monologues and more!

Students in Ms. Fabian's Grade 4 learned about Chinese characters during Chinese New Year
Don't forget- no school March 26-April 6...Happy Spring Break (in advance!)


Alyssa Hamilton
WSOC Communications Coordinator

March at-a-glance: Re-Registration Week and important dates
Re-registration for the 2018-2019 school year will begin on Monday, March 12 and end on Friday, March 16. You will receive an email from TADS and will be asked to sign in to your account, pay registration fees and sign your tuition agreement. The remaining fees, including tuition, begin in June and continue into the Fall. Registration for outside applicants will take place immediately following, once we know if there are spaces remaining.

Please don't miss this deadline. The knowledge that we will begin in September with a confirmed number of students allows us to budget effectively and to be ready to bring your children this rich, full curriculum.

Please click here for an important message from your Admissions Director!


Click here for online calendar

March 2   Adult Education
March 3  Adult Education
March 5  Tea with the 12th Grade
March 6  Adult Education
March 7  Grade 6 Parent Evening
March 7  Developmental Stages of Play with Patricia Rubano
March 8  Volunteer Booths- learn more about volunteer opportunities
March 8  Blood Drive
March 10  Morning in the Kindergarten
March 12  Parent Education with Laurie Clark
March 13  Grade 7 Parent Evening
March 14  Grade 10 Parent Evening
March 14  Ms. Catherine Parent Evening
March 15  7th/8th Grade GGS Music Festival
March 16  Adult Education
March 16 Track & Field Grades 7/8
March 17  Adult Education
March 17  High School Monologues
March 19  Board of Trustees
March 20  Adult Education
March 20 Grade 8 Play
March 20 DOMG
March 21 Walk Through the Grades 
March 26-April 6 SPRING BREAK

WSOC Annual Gala & Auction 2018

WSOC's 2018 Annual Auction & Gala is coming up on 
May 12, 2018!

Please join us on Saturday, May 12, 2018, for the Waldorf School of Orange County's Around the World Gala & Auction at the Huntington Bay Club in Huntington Beach. The Annual Auction & Gala is one of WSOC's flagship fundraising events, bringing together members of our community to support our school in an amazing evening of music, cocktails, dinner, dancing, and an exciting silent and live auction.   

This year's "Around the World" theme celebrates our community and the community we share with those around the world.
To ensure the evening's success we need everyone's support through volunteerism, outreach to businesses for auction donations, sponsorships, and advertisements, and, of course, your attendance. 
For a list of auction items needed for the Gala, please click here . For ticket sales, sponsorship, underwriting, and advertisement opportunities, or to make a donation to the live and silent auctions, please visit or call Teresa Alarc√≥n at (949) 574-7775, Ext. 210.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 2, 2018. Please visit our Gala table on March 2nd after drop-off to buy tickets and for other information on how you can support the Gala.

We are deeply thankful to Tara Cannon and Amy Rasmussen for acting as our Gala Co-Chairs. They are an integral part of our event's success and we are so grateful for all of their time and loving efforts.
All proceeds from the event support the exceptional education our children receive at WSOC. Thank you for supporting this important event. We hope to see you there!

WASC/AWSNA Accreditation Primer (part 2 of 3)

As part of the Self-Study, it was important to look at our mission statement as that is our guiding tenet for all that is brought to the students. We have spent over a year refining our existing statement. Here, directly from our Self-Study Report, is a description of our process.
The mission statement is a reflection of the core values of Waldorf education, illuminating our pedagogical approach to how and when we bring curriculum that addresses the development of the child instead of age-based instruction toward skills acquisition. The outcome of this approach is students who are engaged, academically strong and well-rounded individuals who are capable of meeting the challenges of the modern world. Rudolf Steiner believed that Waldorf education was an education for all and we hold this value here at WSOC as well. The Waldorf curriculum and pedagogy serve each developing human being equally and teachers are trained to be highly sensitive to age, gender, ethnicity and cultural differences so that they can deliver the curriculum in a way the best meets the students.
In the middle of the last school year we brought the Mission Statement to the Board of Trustees and College of Teachers joint meeting. The general consensus was that although the statement embodied the core principles of the school it was not concise and therefore not clear.
WSOC is committed to providing academic excellence through awakening in our students genuine enthusiasm, an interest in the world, a love of learning and a sense of purpose in life. The Waldorf curriculum meets the student's age-related capacities and develops the student's initiative, creativity, critical-thinking, and self-reliance.  Our educational approach encourages balance, engaging the student cognitively, emotionally and actively across all disciplines. We recognize and welcome the unique gifts brought by each student.
The accreditation team worked to shorten the original version of the Mission Statement without losing its integral meaning.  
Shortened Version:
WSOC is committed to awakening in our students a genuine interest in the world, an intellectual curiosity, and a sense of purpose in life by delivering a curriculum, which meets the student's age-related capacities and develops the students' critical thinking, creativity and self-reliance.

The shortened version, along with the longer original version, were put up on Padlet, an online platform designed to gather feedback, and all the Board members, faculty, staff and parent room representatives were invited to review the statements and determine whether they felt the shortened one encompassed all the same components as the original version.

The tallied results showed that there was very high overall satisfaction with the shortened version of the Mission Statement.  

The one comment that appeared frequently was that there was a missing element of how the education also works with the spiritual growth of an individual.
A smaller group worked together to find a suitable way to include this spiritual aspect. During that process it became apparent that the statement could be collapsed to be even more sucking and still carry the essential message. This is the final version:

WSOC offers a curriculum that meets the student's age-related capacities and fosters in each student a genuine interest in the world, an intellectual curiosity, a connection to the human spirit and a sense of purpose in life.  
Stay tuned for the next (and last) installment of the WASC/AWSNA ACCREDITATION PRIMER!

Thank you,
Gina Illes
WSOC School Administrator

Admissions: upcoming events

On March 5 (right after school gets out), we invite parents and students in Grades 6 and up to join us for a unique opportunity to hear from WSOC's Class of 2018. How have they most benefitted from their Waldorf journey? What were the challenges along the way? What's in store for them after high school? Learn all of these things and more at our second annual Tea with the 12th Grade! RSVP at


Walk Through the Grades
Wednesday, March 21
Meet in Company of Angels Garden
Please RSVP  here


Morning in the Kindergarten:  new date added
This event is perfect for any newcomers to Waldorf education!

Community Spotlight

Kristen Cecil, WSOC High School Humanities teacher

Before becoming our high school humanities teacher this year, Connecticut-born Kristen Cecil taught creative writing and literature at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. In addition to teaching, she also worked as the first mate on Mystic Seaport Museum's schooner Brilliant, the nation's oldest sail education program.
Ms. Cecil went on to complete M.F.A. and M.A. programs in Creative Writing and Gender and Race Studies at the University of Alabama.
She says she is deeply enjoying teaching Waldorf high school students. What sets our students apart?
"For one, the conversations in class," she says. "The students are so good at listening to one another, referencing one another's opinions and adding to them. They go deep! They are both playful and profound. They are wonderful collaborators and willing to experiment!"
What's her class been working on?
"This week, we are just finishing our student films to screen for Film Fest. It's interesting because our topic theme year is "Forging the Future of Peace," yet we've been discussing how a story uses conflict to move the plot forward. Each group is playing with this tension between conflict and peace in a different way, and it will be so fun to watch how their efforts come together."
What drew Ms. Cecil to Waldorf Education? In 2008, Kristen was at a poetry conference and met a teacher from Minnesota who happened to be a Waldorf teacher. She became interested in how Waldorf pedagogy harmonized with social-justice and creative-writing pedagogies, which opened the door to a deeper look at anthroposophy.
Ms. Cecil most recently wrapped up discussion in a reading group of  From Symptom to Reality in Modern History by Steiner and also finished the book  Citizens of the Cosmos by Beredene Jocelyn, which is grounded in the Waldorf view of human development taking the form of seven-year cycles.
She also resonates with the rhythms of the WSOC classroom blocks, she notes, as well as the Socratic nature of teaching in Waldorf education; a shared dialogue between student and teacher that often answers questions with other questions in order to draw out deeper responses.
The Waldorf practice of learning with the whole body does not fade in the high school years, says Ms. Cecil. She often incorporates theater-inspired interpretive techniques into studies of classic and ancient works. When her 10th graders studied the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text, students blocked out a spatial interpretation of the looming battle described in the opening chapters to tease out insights about deeper emotional truths.
She is eager to begin working with Grade 11; they will read Shakespeare's  Hamlet during her next block.
"Waldorf education provides an incredible framework for understanding human development. We are constantly developing throughout our lives," she says.
"This is why people become teachers- we ourselves have an innate love of learning. Our development as educators is ongoing, parallel to our development as human beings; it never ends!"

Volunteer Spotlight:  Maureen McDermott

Typically, a new family likes to settle in for a few weeks before launching into the volunteer realm. Maureen McDermott started her volunteering career baking for WSOC's New Family Orientation. It was her second day at WSOC; her twin sons Levi and Aidan had just started kindergarten. She, along with wife Lisa Kalmin and their boys, were one of the families being welcomed. She was unfazed.
"I had read a great deal about the school, and I understood that contributing was part of the experience of being here," she says. "It enhances our time here at WSOC, and it's also creating a wonderful example for our kids, how we collectively create community."
Aside from baking for Hospitality and Company of Angels, Maureen quickly found a home in volunteer works such as accompanying the boys' classes on walks and helping with classroom projects. More recently, she has taken on the role of Hospitality Coordinator for WSOC's Parent Education events. Thanks to her and her crew, each of our Parent Education events has been lovingly stocked with warm and cold beverages and treats. This welcoming gesture goes a long way with not only our invited speakers, but our guests who often come straight from work.
Being present on campus also affords a deeper sense of knowing. "One of my favorite things about volunteering has been getting to know all of the children, as well as the Administrative staff," she notes.
What is her advice to a new family looking to get involved but feeling overwhelmed, or unsure of where to start? She recommends talking to a friend on campus or a Room Rep, someone seasoned who can distill the process and make recommendations based on a family's availability and interests.
In addition to her current volunteer work, Maureen was recently appointed to the WSOC Board of Trustees. "I am honored to be of service at this level, it's a new commitment and I am excited to see where I can make a difference."
"When I walk on campus, I feel I have carved out a space here," she says. "It gives me a sense of ownership."

Grade 6 Medieval Games

On  Wednesday, February 7, WSOC Grade 6 students joined surrounding area Waldorf students at Journey School in south Orange County for their annual Medieval Games tournament. 

During the 6th grade, students study history and culture of Rome to the Middle Ages. As students engage with these historic eras, they experience the shift from the Ancients' poetic consciousness to the Medieval search for truth and development of modern scientific concepts, paralleling change in the Grade 6 student.

While engaging in these Medieval-style activities (such as jousting and archery), the students are encouraged to extoll the qualities of honesty, justice, nobility, prudence, courage, loyalty, gallantry, brotherhood/sisterhood, fortitude, and hope. 

Throughout the school year, the 6th graders have been encouraged to manifest these positive virtues in their daily interactions, stemming from a block of studies on Medieval history. As is typical in Waldorf education, the physical education component (Games Class in the lower school) ties into the studies of the main lesson. The Games class prepared students for the competition by engaging in teamwork and trust challenges as well as building balance and endurance skills.

Feeling the love at WSOC HS's Valentine's Day photo booth

 WSOC faculty, parents, and students all got in on the love-in-action at the WSOC high school   Valentine's Day photo booth on Wednesday, February 14. 

Parent Education
Becoming Human: Waldorf 101 with Patricia Rubano

Please join us for our latest Parent Education series! 

Wednesday, 6pm-8:30pm
Last session: March 7 
Meadows Hall

Click here for flyer and details.

About this series

Becoming Human: Waldorf 101 has been carefully curated to assist parents with practical applications of popular topics such as conflict resolution, child development and how to support Waldorf education at home. Each class is dynamic with a strong Q&A component, and can be shaped to address the age group of the audience's children.

Adults only, please RSVP to


Come Sing! Community Singing Sessions with Rusty Vail 

Sundays 4-5:30pm
8th grade classroom
Suggested donation: $10

About these sessions

This method of singing was developed by Werbeck (vair-bek), in keeping with the indications given her by Steiner, and she named it The School of Uncovering the Voice. This way of using the voice harmonizes the entire human being, and is equally beneficial for beginners and those with experienced singing voices. Rusty Vail is offering an opportunity to come and experience Werbeck singing. 

"My classes and lessons offer techniques, exercises and songs chosen and designed to develop mastery over the physical instrument; find joy, enthusiasm and creativity through singing; cultivate a singing voice that is effortless, flexible, objective and universally beautiful. If you are inspired to better understand and develop your voice, then try this inherently healing artistic process; come sing on Sundays and begin a new practice!" --Ms. Rusty

**Parking and entry at the faculty parking area behind the 5/6/7 classrooms. 


Exploring the World of Children's Drawings
with Laurie Clark, author and Waldorf educator for four decades

Monday, March 12
Meadows Hall

About this lecture

Children's drawings are a map that help us understand their developmental stages, and the wonder of their unfolding individuality. Join Laurie Clark in exploring this phenomena and learn how to "read" what your child is trying to reveal through his or her drawings.

Adults only, please RSVP to

Community News

Announcing a part-time course starting in June 2018 for
new and experienced Waldorf educators who wish to deepen their practice and understanding of the teaching of science in Grades 6-8
Teachers who have taken this course rave about it.
Teachers who did not take it are asking,
"When will the next cycle begin?"
When: Starting in June 2018 
Where:  Waldorf School of Orange County
2350 Canyon Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
For course information contact:

Michael D'Aleo, SENSRI
or Gary Banks

Sponsored by the Research Institute for Waldorf Education,
SENSRI, and the Waldorf School of Orange County

Brochure here

Tanaka Farms CSA: We need a few more families!

We need a few more subscribers to start our CSA! Waldorf School of Orange County now has a Tanaka Farms CSA (community supported agriculture) account! Once we have 20 subscribers, Tanaka Farms will start deliveries on Thursdays (every other week) with boxes being dropped off between 9-9:30am. 9:00 and 9

CSA boxes will be located by Eurythmy Hall. 

Interested? Sign up here:

Tanaka Farms will be donating 10% back to the school, which will go towards the 8th grade trip each year.

Please contact Cat Bodga with any further questions about the WSOC CSA.

Craving some cozy? Grab some firewood!

The 8th graders are carving animals from red oak in their Woodwork class with Mr. Matan ... and as they chop away at their block of raw wood to approach the envisioned shape, there are lots and lots of "leftovers" - way too nice to just throw away!

Red oak is perfect for the fireplace and even for cooking (pizza or barbecue, anyone?). The 8th grade is selling boxes of logs and kindling as part of their fundraising to get them to Boston and Maine this June; prices vary depending on box size. Please stop by the 8th grade classroom to pick up a box or two.

Thank you so much for your support and goodwill - we really appreciate it!

With love and gratitude,
Grade 8

Annual Giving gifts continue to flow!

Congratulations to Ms. Catherine's Pre-K for reaching 100% participation for Annual Giving!

Donations to WSOC's Annual Giving Fund for the 2017-18 school year can be made through July 31, 2018 at

Want to host a foreign exchange student?

A student from Stuttgart, Germany would dearly love to join WSOC at the start of the 2018-19 school year for approximately two months. He is in 9th grade this year at a small Waldorf school and studies both English and Spanish.  

This is a lovely opportunity to bring another young person to our school and into your home. 

Interested? Contract Kristi Kilcollins for more information!

Speech specialist to visit WSOC

Ashley Smit has a diploma in Artistic Speech and Drama from Amwort School and the Goethenum in Dornach, Switzerland. While Ashley is not trained in therapeutic speech, she can recognize habitual speech patterns and how they may develop or resolve in child development.

Ashley is available for individual speech consultations at WSOC on Monday, March 12 and and Tuesday, March 13.

$30 per session is payable by cash or check to Ashley Smit. Please contact Lilith Dupuis: for more information.

Our high school girls need basketball uniforms!

We're in full form on the basketball court. Our high school girls team is going for it!

The thing is, we need some girls' uniforms. If you'd like to sponsor/donate some jerseys and shorts, we would greatly appreciate it!

If you want to help, please contact Liz Wenger.

Thank you!

Steiner study group at Company of Angels

We are happy to announce that WSOC community member Rajee Rajamani is forming a Steiner study group.  The group will begin with an essay by Rudolf Steiner, "The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy." It is a relatively easy read and has a good introduction to the basic ideas of Anthroposophy and yet, like all of Steiner's writings, there is always more that one can glean even from a second or third reading.

As  with all Anthroposophic study groups, there is no leader in the group, and it is built instead on the questions and contributions of everyone involved. Rajee will act as facilitator.

Whether you are a seasoned anthroposophist and longtime community member or a new parent, the study group would love to have you be a part of it! 

1pm - 2:50pm
Company of Angels garden
Important Documents & Links

Support WSOC every time you shop on!

PrestoPay tutorial for Scrip here:

Big Aftercare March forms, please email to Ms. E
Little Aftercare March  forms, please email to Ms. Michaela
Volunteer Driver Form  (requirements are different for overnight field trips; ask your class teacher for details)

College of Teachers
Catherine Averett
Christiane Bohr
Jenell Carlson
Francesco De Benedetto 
Gina Garrison (Chair)
Andrea Hubert
Angie Meier
Brooke Natzke
Holly Peterson 
Lorri Valenzuela-Mier (Chair)

Board of Trustees
Lisa Arnquist
Megan Brown
David Burnett 
Francesco De Benedetto (College Rep)
Gina Garrison (College Rep)
Gabe Frisby (Chair)
David Kruse
Maureen McDermott
Leslie Morrison
Margaret O'Brien
Colin Severn
Olivia Slutzky
Adminstrative Rotation:
Jeff Barth
Teresa Alarcon
Gina Illes
Linda Timmons

WSOC Ombudsmen
Russ Bermejo


Waldorf School of Orange County | 2350 Canyon Drive, Costa Mesa CA 92627 | 949-574-7775 ||