News from AWSNA            December  2018
The official e-news of the Association of independent Waldorf schools
December greetings! 

As you well know, just around the corner we enter the 'year of Waldorf education' --2019! In this year ahead, you will be hearing inspiring and uplifting news about member schools' Waldorf100 projects, along with international updates and celebrations. It is indeed an exciting time to be a part of the Waldorf education movement, and we are grateful to be in the company of visionaries, leaders, learners, and stewards such as yourself.

In the meantime, we wish you the most joyous of seasons. May your holidays be filled with the love of family and friends, and your New Year ahead be bright with abundance and blessings.

With warmest wishes,

Nita Davanzo
Interim Waldorf100 Director

Supporting Food Security in Central Oregon
The Waldorf School of Bend first-graders are in the news for helping their local food bank package food for distribution. First grade teacher, Meghan Allsopp, says, "One of the pillars of our school is global citizenship and environmental stewardship, our curriculum includes gardening and culinary so it was a natural combination to work with HDFFA to bring all of that together in a really fun field trip. (The students) couldn't believe how delicious the 'ugly' carrots were. They all want to go back and volunteer more."

Read more at   Waldorf Education.
Photo: Waldorf School of Bend

Waldorf and Finnish preschools allow children to use cutting knives, tools, and real glassware because it increases a student's responsibility and independence. In Waldorf education, early childhood students are permitted to carry glassware, help to cook in a real kitchen, and prepare snacks with proper cutlery. The BBC reports that these safe, managed risks for young children can help them take responsibility and initiative. Modern world worries can lead to a risk-averse culture, but these risks must be balanced with the benefits a student will experience from any given activity.

Read more at Waldorf Education
Photo: Seattle Waldorf School

The Weak Link Between Grades and Success
Grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social and emotional intelligence. Success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem--it's more about finding the right problem to solve. That means that if you always succeed in school, you're not necessarily setting yourself up for success in life. Studies have found that academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career success, yet many believe the opposite. As some evidence of this, The New York Times reports that, "Steve Jobs finished high school with a 2.65 GPA, J.K. Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter with roughly a C average, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. got only one A in his four years at Morehouse."

Read more at   Waldorf Education.
Photo: Sunrise Waldorf School
Youngest in Class Receive More ADHD. Diagnoses

New Harvard Medical School research shows that the youngest children in a grade are 34% more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than their classmates. It makes sense that developmentally less mature children, often younger by almost an entire year, would have trouble paying attention and remaining still when asked. This implies that having an earlier cut-off date for first grade may be beneficial for the youngest students, especially boys. According to The New York Times, many people believe this research also strengthens the case for starting school and academics at a later age.

Read more on Waldorf Education.
Photo: The Waldorf School of Philadelphia
Learning from Mistakes and Not Grades

Studying mistakes, instead of focusing on a grade, can lower the stakes and give students space to learn from errors and better absorb material.   

"What I was finding when I was handing back tests the old way, where I put a grade on it, was kids would look at their grade, decide whether they were good at math or not, and put the test away and never look at it again," says Leah Alcala, a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher.

Alcala also puts "favorite mistakes" on the board so students look at their mistakes collectively and discuss what went wrong. "I see that now when I give tests back, they're continuing to learn," she says.

Read more on Waldorf Education .

Photo Source: Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm
Americans Show Overwhelming Support for Arts Education

One of the largest national public opinion surveys of American perceptions and attitudes towards the arts and arts funding has found that Americans continue to be highly engaged in the arts. They believe more strongly than ever that the arts promote personal well-being, help to understand other cultures and are essential to a well-rounded education. The new research demonstrates that Americans continue to be highly engaged in the arts and believe the government has an important role in funding the arts.

Read more on Waldorf Education.

Photo: Detroit Waldorf School
Success in Life Requires More Than Good Grades

Skills like self-regulation, perseverance, cooperation, and empathy contribute as much to a successful life as academic achievement. 
A new meta analysis of research on non-cognitive skill development in children aged 12 or under found that these skills had notable positive effects on later outcomes in children's lives. They improved academic achievement and psychosocial, cognitive and language outcomes. 
"Traits such as attention, self-regulation, and perseverance in childhood have been investigated by psychologists, economists, and epidemiologists, and some have been shown to influence later life outcomes," says Professor John Lynch, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide and senior author of the study.

Read more on Waldorf Education.

Photo: Davinci Waldorf School
Waldorf Wall Calendars Available 

For the last four years, the Waldorf Wall Calendar, produced by the Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, has reached an enthusiastic audience with the families and communities of Waldorf schools throughout North America and even made its way to Europe and beyond. It is being offered again this year-this time in celebration of the Waldorf100 centenary.

The 15-month fine arts calendar features artwork from every class, offering a sense of the artistic journey students experience through the grades. A special 4-page introductory section details the consciousness behind the teaching of art in the Waldorf curriculum.

The calendar is a great item for sale in your school store, through the office, or at any holiday events, and could help promote Waldorf education to your wider community. With a suggested retail price of $18 we are finding many schools eager to order, confident that they can sell calendars easily in the holiday season. Some schools also order calendars as end-of-year gifts for faculty, staff or donors, as a low-effort fundraiser, or to have in classrooms.

For AWSNA schools the wholesale prices are: $10 each for orders of 10 or more, $8 each for orders of 40 or more. Suggested retail price is $18.  Order forms and information at Summerfield Waldorf School  or by email to Adam at

What does it mean to nourish our children, ourselves, and our world? There is literal nourishment given by the earth to humankind; and also spiritual, emotional, and intellectual nourishment. All of these gifts are not just given, but cultivated, as we humans are only benefactors of the natural world when we engage in its stewardship. The method of this stewardship, and the way we teach it to our children, matters greatly.

You can read the whole article on Waldorf Education.

Please visit AWSNA's education blog, called Essentials in Education, in which we explore topics that matter to educators, researchers, policy experts, and thought leaders from a Waldorf Education perspective.
We welcome comments and feedback, and we also welcome guest posts. Please contact Beverly Amico at for details. 

Previous topics include: 
  • Education's Role in Curbing Teen Anxiety
  • Crucial Creativity
  • Reframing Failure in the Classroom
  • Teaching Empathy: Essential for Students, Crucial for Humanity
  • The Importance of Learning a Second Language
  • The Educator as Artist
  • Experiential Education
  • In Praise of Kindergarten
  • Teach Children to Seek Significance over Success
  • Make Them Scientists - Redirecting the Science Instruction Paradigm
  • The Powerful Force of Curiosity
  • Happiness in the Classroom
  • Be Worthy of Imitation: Why Modeling Matters at Home and in Class
  • Fostering Lifelong Learning
  • The Importance of Productive Solitude
  • Outdoor Education - Beyond Environmentalism
Read more on Waldorf Education
Sunfield Waldorf School

Mark your calendars for the 2020 Waldorf100 Conference hosted by Chicago Waldorf School, Chicago, IL from June 22-25, 2020.   The conference is the culmination of the year-long festivities celebrating 100 years of Waldorf education worldwide. 

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), and Alliance for Public Waldorf Education (APWE) invite you and your colleagues to join us in celebrating our past and planning for the future.

Check out the complete listing of events
on  AWSNA's Events Calendar ,
including details and contact information.

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 ins titutes.  Thank you.

If you'd like to subscribe to
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please sign up by going here.

Photo: GBRSS 
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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