DWS in the News: DWS Teachers Advocate for Cursive Writing

DWS grades teachers Linda Williams and Diane Reed were recently featured in two Detroit news outlets on the topic of cursive handwriting, and the important role this skill plays in our students' curriculum. View the segment and the article below: 

Dr. Linda Williams speaks about the advantages of cursive writing and how Detroit Waldorf School will continue to teach cursive in their curriculum.


Time to bring back cursive writing to schools?

Posted on March 28, 2017 by M Lapham on thedetroithub.com

Those of us who were in elementary school in the 20th century may be shocked to learn cursive writing has been disappearing from public schools … but there is a movement to bring it back.

To many, writing in cursive seems quaint, if not antiquated, in the age of technology when computers, which depend on typing skills, seem to rule.

Most Michigan schools no longer teach cursive, but some people are thinking that may be a mistake. One of the biggest pushes for cursive has been the Detroit Waldorf School (DWS), which never removed it from the curriculum, and policy makers have taken notice.

The first two grades at DWS are spent on block letters, also known as print. They start learning cursive in the third grade (sound familiar?). This grade is chosen because that is when children’s fine motor skills have developed enough to learn the flowing style of writing properly.

“Our third grade curriculum is designed to give children a broader view of the world around them. In language arts, students dissect parts of speech in grammar, as well as spelling and cursive writing to facilitate independent writing skills,” the school says.

DWS, and its continued commitment to cursive, has inspired a movement to get every school in Michigan teaching it again.

Legislators in five other states, including Tennessee and New Jersey, are trying to mandate cursive instruction in public schools. Part of the reason is to ensure when children leave school they have a proper signature and are able to read important older documents like the Declaration of Independence or their parents and grandparents letters.

There may be other advantages as well.

“A number of studies point to the importance of learning cursive writing for improving brain development and activating areas of the brain responsible for working memory, language, and thinking,” says Diane Reed, fourth grade class teacher and DWS faculty chair. “Learning cursive improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.”

Other studies have shown cursive writers have better reading and writing skills as a whole. This may help with certain learning disabilities.

“One could make the case that learning cursive is actually easier than learning to print, as there are no opportunities for confusing one letter for another, as some children do with printed letters like b and d,” says Reed. “This is especially important for children who are dyslexic.

“It is also quicker to write in cursive than it is to print, which is important for taking notes. Taking notes by hand has the benefit of engaging students in active thinking and discerning important points, since it is impossible to write down everything.  They are actually processing what they are hearing, and this leads to better understanding and retention,” she says.

Daniel Coupland, associate professor of education who is featured in Hillsdale College’s online course called “A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice,” agrees learning to write in cursive is a great learning tool.

“If you have to form the letters with your hands … because there’s some kind of connection with using your hands to form those letters,” he says. “It cements it in your mind a lot better. I understand that we’re moving in a particular direction in terms of technology, but I mourn the loss of those things if we move completely away from it.”

Cursive has been so engrained into us that many people didn’t even know it vanished from schools. It has been taught for as long as anyone alive can remember, and it seems many people think that the loss of it is a mistake.

The future maybe typed, but you can’t decipher the past unless you can write.

DWS in the News: Hour Detroit Magazine

HOUR Magazine covered our 50th year anniversary with a four page article featuring beautiful photos by DWS alum Cybelle Codish! Read on:  




 Published: February 28, 2017

With a rich history of milestones and challenges, the Detroit Waldorf School celebrates 50 years as a unique, community-driven institution — and with record enrollment to boot.


If you could peek into a classroom at any point in the Detroit Waldorf School’s 50-year history, things would look remarkably similar.

You’d see first-graders learning to cook, second-graders learning to knit, third-graders picking up the violin, and students throughout the school’s pre-K through eighth-grade classes practicing eurhythmy (expressive moment). And even now, when over half of DWS’ 230 students are too young to know a world without the iPhone, you still wouldn’t see a single one checking messages between classes.

But what’s most remarkable about the Detroit Waldorf School isn’t that it’s endured despite its adherence to its “developmentally appropriate” approach to education, but because of it.

Founded by German philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf education strives to “bring forth the gifts that all children possess” through a curriculum that integrates the arts into the academics. Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace and teachers typically remain with a class as it progresses through the grades. In lieu of traditional textbooks, grading systems, standardized tests, or computers, the educational philosophy relies on creativity, imaginative play, and independence to help each child reach his or her full potential.

“It’s an education that really stretches the human being to connect to every part of the world,” says Simone Shurney, a current DWS teacher and ’03 graduate. “You really learn about yourself so that you can feel confident in yourself and have some sense of direction when you go out into the world and when you interact with other people.”

The unique educational approach was introduced to Detroit in the 1960s by Detroit physician Rudolf Wilhelm and his wife, Amelia. The German immigrant couple had long been interested in establishing a Waldorf school in the city, and in 1966, just a year before the ’67 riots/rebellion, DWS opened as one of the city’s first private, racially integrated schools.

Originally, the school was located in the basement of a Methodist church, but later moved into its current building in Indian Village, a former Liggett girls’ school designed in 1913 by Albert Kahn. Last September, a commemorative marker designating DWS as a Michigan Historic Site was erected on the school’s lawn. 

Today, DWS is one of over 150 Waldorf schools in the U.S., and one of two in Michigan (the other is in Ann Arbor). 

Though the school has indeed remained open for five decades, its existence hasn’t always been secure. In the ’70s, a disagreement inspired some parents to form a breakaway school. In the ’80s, DWS’ high school closed. 

And in the late ’80s and early ’90s, relocation was on the table.

“Like most other private or independent schools in Detroit, we looked at perhaps moving to the suburbs,” says Linda Williams, a third-grade teacher at DWS. “But we stayed and made a real commitment to the city that we had to have an alternative form of education here.”

In 2008, when the recession hit, the school’s enrollment dipped tremendously. Dissolution seemed imminent, but again, DWS found a way to keep its doors open.

“Teachers took pay cuts, administration took a 10 percent pay cut, we combined classes, and we had to lay off teachers,” says Charis Calender-Suemnick, enrollment and outreach director at DWS. “I remember parents attending an all community meeting when we downsized and people were crying. It was just so emotional.”

More recently, DWS has been flourishing. Within the past five years, the school has nearly doubled its enrollment from around 120 students to 230. Faculty members attribute the growth to multiple factors including a more structured marketing campaign and its ability to adapt to a changing Detroit.

“The things that survive in Detroit are the things that respond to Detroit,” Williams says. “We’ve really embraced our Detroitness and that is reflected in the community that’s come together.”

“It’s almost as if the openness to Waldorf education has grown with an openness to Detroit,” Shurney adds. “Students are able to come here and feel good about living in Detroit, going to a school in Detroit, in such a beautiful, historical place, in spite of all the difficulties that we’ve had.”

Parents in and around Detroit have been sending their children to DWS for decades, but as Detroit Public Schools continue to grapple with mismanagement, budgetary issues, and a general lack of resources, parents living in the city proper continue to seek alternatives to DPS beyond both charter and parochial schools.

“My husband and I have always worked and lived in the city and I wanted a school that was in the city,” says Sarida Scott-Montgomery, whose daughter is a fourth-grader at DWS. “I was extremely drawn to their motto, which is ‘cultivating a lifelong love of learning.’ I have older stepchildren, and particularly with my stepson, I could really tell that as he went through the [public] school process, he wasn’t enjoying learning. It wasn’t sparking any kind of passion in him for learning.”

New Center resident Sandi Heaselgrave says she and her husband were also looking for a local school with a more alternative approach to education. Heaselgrave’s son is now a first-grader at DWS.

“We were looking for a very diverse student body, and we were also looking for somewhat of a more natural learning process than the new standardized testing education systems,” Heaselgrave says.

Of course, private education comes at a cost. Annual DWS tuition ranges from just under $10,000 for five full days of pre-K to around $13,300 for third through eighth grades. There are reduced rates if a family enrolls more than one child at the school.

As students develop a network of support among each other, parents and teachers often do, too.

Myra Anderson, mother of Detroit-born rapper Big Sean (Sean Anderson), who graduated from DWS in ’02, says she remembers how supportive the parent-teacher community at DWS could be. To this day, the Andersons stay in touch with Sean’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Beth.

“She came to his concert when he was in Seattle the year before last,” Anderson says.

But most of all, Anderson believes Sean’s experience at DWS contributed to his becoming a creative and compassionate person. 

“I see him thinking outside of the box, and I see a sense of compassion for others and wanting to give back,” Anderson says. “It just laid a great foundation for him to spring forward from.”

In the end, every school hopes to lay a great foundation for its students. And although DWS has succeeded so far in building a strong, 50-year-old foundation of its own, it continues to strive for improvement — like any good teacher does.

“Fifty is big, and it’s a wonderful thing,” Williams says. “But I hope that we see 50 more.” 

Wellness at Waldorf: Sunflower Day Workshop

On January 28th, Wellness at Waldorf hosted a Sunflower Day Workshop in partnership with Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan State University Extension and the Child Health Incubator Research Project (CHIRP) at DWS. 

Participating families and community members spent the afternoon decorating planters that were later filled with soil and sunflower seeds, learning how to make sunflower seed butter from scratch and enjoying many healthful ways to incorporate this wonderful alternative to a nut-based butter into lunch and snack time. 

The weather outside may have been cold and grey, but Sunflower Day was certainly a sunny spot on our Wellness calendar of events! Thank you all who attended and we look forward to seeing you at our February 6th yoga event with Michele Pearson!  

Posted on February 1, 2017 .

DWS in the News: The Waldorf Warm-Up Project

Detroit Waldorf School proudly partnered with Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) for our annual MLK Day service project. Students, families, and faculty knitted cold weather accessory items to donate to the Detroit-based shelter.


Students from grades 5-8 served lunch at the shelter, in addition to passing out donations to the families in attendance. It was a wonderful opportunity to share with our community, and DWS is grateful for the coverage of the Waldorf Warm-Up Project on Channel 7 and FOX 2!

Wellness at Waldorf: Healthful Holidays Workshop

Food is a common language that brings community together, especially during the holiday season! Discover how you can make delicious meals with the entire family that are cost effective and healthy. Below are three recipes that were presented at our workshop on Monday, December 5th (click on the link following each video). Each one was featured on the news with Detroit Waldorf School's Wellness Coordinators, Jade Fearn and Katherine Feldhouse.

Posted on December 6, 2016 .

DWS In the News: Renewal Magazine Spotlight & Waldorf Alumni Forum

Detroit Waldorf School was featured in Renewal, a Waldorf Education publication, this month spotlighting our 50 year history in Detroit! A member of our esteemed faculty and a 2003 graduate of DWS, Ms. Simone Shurney MSEd, wrote a wonderful piece for this issue as well. 

We are so proud to be recognized for our 50th anniversary, and of Ms. Shurney for her outstanding contributions to our school! 

Posted on November 29, 2016 .

Purchase 50th Anniversary Commemorative Tiles Online

50th Anniversary Commemorative Tile

The unique handmade tile was lovingly designed by a current DWS parent, Rosa Castellanos. This makes a great gift for alumni, alumni parents, and/or your favorite DWS teacher!

(The tile cost is $47.17, shipping charge is $10, sales tax is $2.83)

Add To Cart
Posted on November 2, 2016 .

Introducing Wellness at Waldorf!


Thank you to all who attended our first Wellness at Waldorf workshop event on September 19th lead by DWS staff, Ms. Jade Fearn & Ms. Katherine Feldhouse. The topic of child nutrition flowed into fundamentals of meal & snack planning and healthful recipes were shared and sampled throughout the evening.

We are pleased to offer a digital copy of all of the recipes and resources from the workshop. Please feel free to share with your friends and family, and let us know your thoughts on workshop topics or areas of interest as we continue to develop this exciting community-wide holistic health & nutrition program. 

Samples of shared recipes included green smoothies, parsley dip and gluten-free yeast rolls we're served and savored by all who attended. 

Samples of shared recipes included green smoothies, parsley dip and gluten-free yeast rolls we're served and savored by all who attended. 

Posted on October 6, 2016 .

DWS in the News: 50th Anniversary & Historical Marker Dedication


Detroit Waldorf School continues to make headlines! We are thrilled to have been featured in The Detroit News and on FOX 2 Detroit highlighting our school's 50th anniversary in Detroit and the dedication of our building's historical marker. 

FOX 2 Detroit - September 24, 2016


The Detroit News - September 24, 2016 [retrieved from detroitnews.com]

Detroit — The 92-year-old founder of the Detroit Waldorf School was present to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary Saturday by dedicating a historic marker at the Albert Kahn-designed building in Detroit’s historic Indian Village neighborhood.

Amelia Wilhelm founded the school with her late husband Rudolf Wilhelm in 1965. It was housed at Central United Methodist Church on Woodward until 1966, when the couple purchased the stucco and brick structure on Burns Avenue that previously housed the Liggett girls’ school.

“It not only educates children for the mind but (also for) their spirit, and it gives them self-confidence,” Wilhelm said Saturday, surrounded by dozens of Waldorf students, parents, alumni and faculty.

The couple founded the school because they were committed to the Waldorf method of education. There are 168 Waldorf schools in the U.S., including three in Michigan, with others in Oakland County and Ann Arbor.

“My husband went to a Waldorf school in Germany that his father founded,” Wilhelm said of her husband, an allergist who passed away in 2000.

The Waldorf method was developed in Germany in the early 1900’s by Rudolf Steiner, a well-known artist and scientist of that time. His holistic approach integrates art and music with academics, and allows children to learn at their own pace. The name “Waldorf” was coined because Steiner’s first school was built at the behest of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company.

Henry Traurig, of Huntington Woods, said said the school’s unique methods gave his daughters the ability to analyze and problem solve. Now ages 31 and 27, his daughters are grateful they attended the school.

“They feel like it didn’t just educate them in their lives, it changed their lives,” Traurig said. “They learn to think three dimensionally through a concept, so they’re able to analyze at great depth.

“They learned how to learn through the rest of their lives.”

Lily Mitchell, 13, has attended Waldorf since third grade.

“There’s a lot of art and music,” said Lily, who’s now in seventh grade. “ You can use your creativity to learn new things and experience things that at other schools you wouldn’t be able to.

“We’ve done painting and drawing and use charcoal, water colors and pastels, and we did an oil painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Starry Night.’I knit a doll too, and knit a pair of socks.”

According to Wilhelm, the school was “deliberately integrated” at its founding. The school strives for a mix of racial, ethnic, geographic, and social-economic status among its 240 pre-kindergarten through eighth-graders. Tuition ranges from $7,000 annually to $13,000 depending on the grade, but not all families pay that much.

The Detroit school has “accessible tuition”, meaning families pay an agreed-up amount consistent with their income level, and the school forgives the remainder, according to Charis Calender, Enrollment and Outreach Director.

“It’s based on economic need and it depends on each family’s financial picture,” Calender said.


Posted on September 27, 2016 .

Announcing New College Chair

Sarah Addae and Susann Eddy

Sarah Addae and Susann Eddy

At the All Community Meeting last week Sarah Addae, new chair of the College of Teachers, thanked Susann Eddy for her service of holding the leadership position of college chair for the previous seven years. The leadership positions among the teaching faculty are revolving positions, so teachers hold them for a period of time and then the leadership passes to another member of the faculty.  Susann Eddy held the position of college chair for seven years, adding her wisdom and expertise to the leadership council of the school and guiding DWS through an exciting period of time.  Many thanks and huge gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for her time, effort and perspective as College Chair.  

The College of Teachers is the organ of the school which carries leadership for  the pedagogical present and future of the school. Through study and research of questions that relate to the life of the school, College members strive to work with each other, the Board, administrative staff, faculty members, and parents, to guide the school and fulfill its mission in the City of Detroit. The College of Teachers is responsible for the pedagogical work of the school, on behalf of the children in the school. It is also responsible for the cultural life of the school, on behalf of the school community. In addition, the College of Teachers, Administrator, and Board together take responsibility for planning and development of the school's future. 

The following faculty and staff are members of the College of Teachers: 

Sarah Addae, Chair  (6th Grade Teacher) 

Julia Baryo  (Educational Support) 

Linda Brooks  (Administrator) 

Arlene Cornier  (7th Grade Teacher

Susann Eddy  (Pedagogical and Therapeutic Eurythmy) 

Dianna Guldi  (5th Grade Teacher)  

Helena Mitchell  (Kindergarten Teacher)

Diane Reed  (4th Grade Teacher). 

Linda Williams  (3rd Grade Teacher)

Posted on September 22, 2016 .

Co-Founder's Children Donate $50,000 at 50th Anniversary Auction

Cynthia, Chris and Mark Wilhelm, the children of DWS co-founders Rudolf and Amelia Wilhelm, donated $50,000 to our beloved school.  This gift is in support of Phase One of ADA compliance for our historic Albert Kahn building, in honor of Rudolf and Amelia Wilhelm and in celebration of the 50th Anniversary.  DWS faculty, staff, and parents are deeply grateful for the Wilhelm family's steadfast support and continued generosity.  Once again, thank you! 

Mark, Chris, Co-founder Amelia Wilhelm, Cynthia (pictured left to right) with their mother after announcing the donation on Saturday, April 30th.

Mark, Chris, Co-founder Amelia Wilhelm, Cynthia (pictured left to right) with their mother after announcing the donation on Saturday, April 30th.

Photo above and gallery below courtesy of DWS Alumna and current Early Childhood teacher, Ms. Grace Halloran

Posted on May 12, 2016 .

3rd Graders Build Shelters from Around the World

The students were so excited to show me their shelter projects this week! The study of house building across world cultures is part of Waldorf's 3rd grade science curriculum. I was completely impressed not only with the creativity behind each child's project, but the way they explained their shelter with such depth, detail and pure excitement. This is why I love Detroit Waldorf School! I could actually see the children's love of learning in their eyes and hear it in their voices.

Please enjoy the photo gallery of each shelter from this year's 3rd grade class.
~Charis Calender-Suemnick, Enrollment & Outreach Director

Posted on April 7, 2016 .

Parenting Educator Kim John Payne Visits Detroit Waldorf

Detroit Waldorf to Host Simplicity Parenting Lecture & Workshop on March 11-12th

What if you could do one little thing to completely change your family? A small shift to eliminate stress and increase happiness and success?

Small, doable changes are the work of Kim John Payne, a world-renowned parenting educator who is coming to Detroit Waldorf School March 11-12 for a special, two-day free and open-to-the-public program on Simplicity Parenting.

“One of the best ways to build resiliency with kids is to give them a very simple, balanced home life, time to decompress,” says Payne. “You don’t have to turn your life upside down. We will be teaching how to make sensible, simple steps to balance a kid’s life.” 

Payne leads Simplicity Parenting, one of the largest parenting organizations in the world. His book by the same title and this movement were inspired by Payne’s volunteer work in Asia, in Thai Cambodian refugee camps and Jakarta, Indonesia slums. “I saw stress really up close,” he relates. “When I moved back to the West, I saw the same look on kids’ faces. I came to think of it as the undeclared war on childhood. They weren’t in a war zone; there was cumulative stress, going too much, too soon, too sexy, too young, an overall sense of overwhelm. It was the new normal. A highly stressed life is the new normal.”

Payne believes kids need parents to be present and to lead. Simplicity Parenting, he says, teaches how to harness “the power of less.” A big part of that, he says, is “filtering out the adult world. We’ve lost track of what’s appropriate for kids and for adults and that the two things sometimes are different. A lot of the adult world needs to be filtered out of kids’ [consciousness] because it’s just plain scary and stressful for them.”

The March 11-12 events will help parents identify “small, doable shifts” to bring more peace and harmony to their families. Reservations are available for a lecture on Friday, March 11, from 7-9pm and for a half-day workshop on Saturday, March 12, 9am-1pm. Both events take place at Detroit Waldorf School, 2555 Burns Ave., Detroit.

RSVP: www.detroitwaldorf.org/events

Kim John Payne, M.ED,  is the author of three books, including Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids, and a consultant and trainer to more than 200 North American schools. Payne has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for 27 years.

“We are delighted to bring Kim John Payne to our community to help families recalibrate their lives and schedules to bring more peace and success,” says Charis Calender-Suemnick, Enrollment and Outreach Director at the Detroit Waldorf School.

“Just like we focus on educating the whole child according to their unique developmental stage, we believe people of all ages do better and find more happiness when they achieve balance and harmony in relationships, schedules and routines. This unique event will help everyone find that alignment!”

Posted on February 23, 2016 .

Scarf Bombing Photo Gallery & Channel 2 Coverage

I am constantly overwhelmed by the power of helping others. I am also convinced that this is the most precious capacity we can instill in young people. This MLK Day came with severe cold and welcomed the release of over 75 scarves and hats across Metro Detroit for the homeless. One of our middle school students reflected on the project and said to me, "We can never completely solve the problem of homelessness but making something with our hands that someone can use, that has a direct impact on their life." 

Enjoy this photo gallery of our students this past MLK Day! I also included the coverage on Channel 2 News leading up to the event. ~Charis Calender-Suemnick, Outreach Director

Posted on January 20, 2016 .

DWS Community Knit Scarves for the Homeless

Last year, DWS students, alumni and staff tied 75 handmade scarves around telephone poles, trees, fences and lampposts in Greektown, Grand Circus Park, Riverwalk and near a homeless shelter on St. Paul. The scarves featured tags that read, “If you’re cold this winter, please take me.”

Since there is no school in session on MLK Day, the scarf-bombing activity, which will kick off with volunteers meeting at the Roasting Plant in Campus Martius on January 18th at between 10am-12pm., is voluntary. However, knitting is part of DWS’ handwork curriculum, offering students the opportunity to participate.

Handwork skills are integral to cultures worldwide; mass production in modern times prevent many from realizing the intellectual and creative aspects of participating in such fine motor projects. In Waldorf education, knitting is taught in first grade; Waldorf founder Rudolf Steiner referred to “thinking as cosmic knitting.” Early handwork activities in the Waldorf curriculum set a foundation for a sense of self-reliance and pave the way for learning physics, geometry and other areas of math and science later on.

Children learn crochet in second grade and return to knitting after that, learning to purl. Sharp needles for embroidery and cross-stitch come in 4th grade, mirroring the journey of crossing from childhood into adolescence. Knitting in the round happens in fifth grade, reinforcing mathematical concepts, and long-term sewing projects begin in grades six and seven.

Research shows a connection between fine motor skills and brain development. Children learn to use both sides of the brain simultaneously when practicing handwork, and eye tracking and numeracy are reinforced by these lessons.

Even more than all of these academic benefits are the heartfelt ones DWS students feel when they use handwork lessons to create something that benefits others. Like many parts of a Waldorf education, the handwork curriculum integrates the intellect with the academic, nurtures a sense of caring for others and builds practical skills for confident human beings ready to impact the world around them.

Written by Lynne Golodner, DWS parent, blogger and owner of Your People Public Relations

Posted on January 7, 2016 .

8th Grade Class Trip 2015 - Temagami Ontario

This post was adapted from the "Waldorf Today" national newsletter. Ms. Shurney, DWS 8th grade teacher, and student Maisie, submitted the following reflections about their trip this past summer.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey in the end that matters.”

The quote above by Ursula K. LeGuin gives a beautiful illustration of the meaning behind my eighth grade class’ adventure to Northwaters Wilderness Programs in Temagami, Ontario.  I cannot imagine a more suitable start to our school year, as the students were welcomed into a community that firmly embraced the idea that we as individuals are free in our right to choose who we are, and who we wish to become.  The physical challenges of thriving in nature provided the students with many opportunities to recognize their own unique strengths and talents as well as that of their peers. 

As the students stand poised at the edge of childhood, ready and eager to make their transition to high school and young adulthood, the feelings of independence, self-reliance and community were made tangible for the students in a way that was both inspiring and long-lasting.  I was struck deeply by how openly the students expressed their appreciation for the natural world around them over the course of our trip.  What is more, the student’s realization of their own unique strengths and the gratitude the students showed for the company and support of their classmates set a healthy, heart-strong tone for the upcoming school year. 

It is in this final year of grade school that my eighth graders will arrive at a series of important ends.  As their teacher, I am eternally grateful that our experience at Northwaters has helped my students to confidently and consciously rise to occasions and relish the journeys that lie ahead.

Simone Shurney, Grade 8 teacher, Detroit Waldorf School

I came into the experience at Northwaters with very detailed expectations.  We would carry the canoe with another person.  We’d have really bad food.  It would be cold and wet, and the trip leaders would be wilderness guides. 

When we arrived by plane at Langskib base camp, I was happily surprised when I met Josh, Savannah, Dominic and Judith, and I thought it would be just like being on trail at summer camp. I was wrong.  Trying out the canoe and carrying the wannigan proved hard.  I wasn’t nervous or scared, I just thought the experience might be harder than I first expected.  That night, I dreamt about carrying the canoe better than everyone else, and I felt motivated.  By the time the meat grinder (an aptly named portage) came around, I was ready.  Nervous, but ready.  I kept telling myself it was just another portage, just a really hard one.  I struggled carrying the canoe, which I’d had success with earlier in the trip.  I struggled on the meat grinder, and found it difficult to stay in the moment. 

I think I thrived through the encouragement of myself and others.  I told myself that after every uphill we’d have to go down (which is funny because going downhill is really hard while carrying a canoe), reassuring myself that I could do it.  When I got back home, I told my mom that it was the best thing I’ve ever done, and the hardest.  I am very glad that I took this trip to Northwaters.

~Maisie, Eighth grade student, Detroit Waldorf Schoo

Posted on December 17, 2015 .

Alumna, Aniela Eddy, appears on NPR's, A Prairie Home Companion

Aniela Eddy, DWS Class of 2003 and student of DWS music teacher-Ms. Venus Rembert, recently appeared on NPR's, A Prairie Home Companion. Violinist Aniela Eddy is a member of East 4th Street Quartet along with fellow musicians, Chiara Fasani Stauffer on viola, Eva Kennedy on viola and Paul Miahky on cello.

Aniela is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has performed with ensembles such as the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, Ensemble LPR, Ballet Next, and the Blossom Festival Orchestra. In addition to frequently teaching at the El Sistema of El Salvador and Guatemala, Aniela has toured throughout India, performing concerts and promoting various organizations. She is a recipient of the Avanti Award and a faculty member at the Aurora School of Music.


Posted on December 3, 2015 .

Jeppe Flummer Visits Detroit Waldorf School

It was such a joy to welcome Jeppe Flummer from the International Forum of Waldorf/Steiner Schools. This was the first time the group organized a visit to North America. Jeppe traveled all the way to Michigan from Denmark where he taught History in a Waldorf high school for nearly 30 years. Jeppe was interested in our school because of the social impulse living in the city right now and the 50 year history we hold within these walls.

Jeppe and I weaved out of every classroom in the school as I told him the story of DWS, the building history and about the current community. We were greeted by many hugs in the PreK Rose classroom and joined in beautiful circle time songs. We heard riddles in Grade 2, gazed at fraction chalk drawings in Grade 4, guessed how long it took to build the pyramids in Grade 5 and marveled at our parent Eurythmy group. 

After the tour, our parent council group (CHAT) prepared a lovely reception for our visitor and we were surprised to see that Amelia Wilhelm (co-founder of DWS) was in attendance. Jeppe was overjoyed to meet her and as he was shaking her hand he exclaimed, "I can feel the whole history of this school and what you have done for the children!" 

~written by Charis Calender-Suemnick
Enrollment & Outreach Director

Posted on November 19, 2015 .