Filtering by Author: Charis Calender-Suemnick

AWSNA Parent Enrichment Series-Free Webinars


The Human Encounter: Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School Community: A Conversation with Torin M. Finser, General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society and Chair of the Education Department at Antioch University New England

Wednesday, October 21, 8:00 p.m.

~~A school is a community, and its health depends upon the quality of its relationships. Join us as Torin speaks to the parent-teacher relationship. This webinar is co-sponsored with the Anthroposophical Society in America. Details and REGISTRATION


Discovering a Genius: Rudolf Steiner's Vision for the Future: A Conversation with Frederick Amrine, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in German Studies at the University of Michigan and a professor at the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan

Wednesday, November 11, 8:00 p.m.

~~Who was Rudolf Steiner? What were his intentions in founding Waldorf Education? The unique insights and research of Steiner into subjects such as medicine, agriculture, education, and social forms have long been a sense of inspiration for millions. This webinar is co-sponsored with the Anthroposophical Society in America. Details and REGISTRATION


Posted on October 8, 2015 .


On behalf of the college of teachers, faculty, and staff, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all families. It has been wonderful to meet many new and returning families since the first day of school, as well as at the All Community Meeting last night. I shared that our school will celebrate the 50th anniversary next year, and that this is coinciding with the honor of our school hosting the annual 2016 AWSNA summer conference in June. (AWSNA is the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States). DWS is an accredited member school of AWSNA.

The Detroit Waldorf School has alumni all over the world, and what they share in common is their love for the community that they were able to experience as they stepped into adulthood. Again and again, former students express how Waldorf education prepared them both academically and socially to find their place and purpose in the world. Innovation, resilience and social awareness are some of the capacities that they have developed to transform themselves and to meet the future successfully.

As we begin our year, we look forward to many experiences and accomplishments. Our days will be filled with new and exciting activities at school and at home, and for the benefit of our children, it is important to be mindful of healthy rhythms in our lives. A good daily rhythm supports a vibrant body and mind; regular meals, regular sleep and waking hours provide a balance between work and leisure times. By giving our children the gift of a rhythmical life both at school and at home, we give them a head start for their future life. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, coined the phrase “RHYTHM REPLACES STRENGTH”, which infers that much more can be accomplished when a healthy rhythm is present.

I wish you and your children a wonderful year that is filled with new learning experiences, joy and time to play!

Susann Eddy, College of Teachers Chair, Eurythmy Teacher and Therapeutic Eurythmist

Posted on September 17, 2015 .

Ms. Dzvinka Hayda Returns to Our Growing Kindergarten Program

Photo by Donald Schulte 

Photo by Donald Schulte 

We are so thrilled to welcome, Dzvinka Hayda, who brings a wealth of Waldorf teaching experience.  She holds a degree in Waldorf Education from the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development from Madonna University, and a TESOL certificate from Oxford Seminars. Dzvinka has taught Kindergarten at the Waldorf Kinderhaus; early childhood classes, Fifth Grade and Parent and Child Classes at the Detroit Waldorf School; and facilitated the Parent and Child Program at the Oakland Steiner School. 

She is the founder of a Waldorf Early Childhood center in Ukraine, regularly lectures internationally on the welfare of children and mentors Waldorf Early Childhood teachers. Her two sons are graduates of the Detroit Waldorf School. Dzvinka is also the author and illustrator of the award-winning book Little Angel's Journey

She is happy to return to Detroit Waldorf School as a Kindergarten teacher for the 2015-16 school year! 

Posted on June 16, 2015 .

May Day 2015

The following photo gallery was provided by Cassie Laymon, mother of a DWS 4th grader. You may recognize her always with camera in hand at our festival celebrations each year. Thank you Cassie for sharing your beautiful work!

Posted on May 21, 2015 .

8th Grade at Ocelot Print Shop

The eighth grade extended their art studies by visiting Ocelot Print Shop, an artists' collective and community screen printing shop. Former DWS parent, Kinga Kemp immersed the 8th grade in the entire screen printing process from creating their own design to the final products of t-shirts and posters!

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

Chemistry in action at Pewabic Pottery

Last month the 8th graders experimented with different earth oxides during their Chemistry block. They observed the effects of different combinations under extreme heat in a kiln to produce various glazes. 

Here is an entry from one the the 8th graders journal:

When we visited Pewabic for our glazing class, we first learned and talked a little bit about glazes. The basic makeup of a glaze is made from chemical elements such as copper, brass and iron. We learned to mix our own glazes, being very precise with our measurements and wearing face masks to keep the dust out of our lungs. We experimented with different components and how they changed in the firing. We looked at our finished and fired tiles from the recipes we made. Some of the ingredients added were Rutile and Cobalt. After being fired, my tile was more textured, plain and white. We also discussed glaze flaws. Two such flaws are crazing and pitting. Crazing is when the glaze looks like it is cracked. Pitting is when a glaze traps gases that are being let off, which then leaves holes in the glaze.  I really liked the way crazing affected some of the pieces, giving them more of a textured look. Through these classes, I found the endless possibilities of glazes very interesting.

Posted on April 16, 2015 .

Waldorf Language Arts Curriculum Builds Love of Reading and Writing

DWS third grader recently wrote his own story by hand during his free time. The Waldorf Language Arts curriculum cultivates a love of reading and a strong imagination through storytelling. Henry's favorite book is "The Hobbit" and he also enjoys illustrating his stories as well. Please enjoy his story, "The Mouse and the Apple Fairy." 

There was once an old mouse who lived in an old oak tree. Every year or so, he would take a stroll into the big wood. As he walked, he thought about where he should go. As he strolled thinking, he hummed a little tune:

"Oh fairy of the apple tree, Why don’t you come to me?"

"Fairy of the apple tree, I’d sure like to meet thee!"

Then, all of a sudden, he ran into a big tree! It was an apple tree! The mouse looked up at the giant apple tree and its ripe, ripe-looking apples. “Wow,” said the mouse. “If only I could eat that apple.”

“If you want that tender apple, you must do all I ask – and I ask you to do a tricky task!” said a voice.

  “Who’s there?” asked the mouse.

  “The fairy of the apple tree! Don’t you remember calling me?” said a little girl no bigger than the mouse.

  “If you’re a fairy,” said the mouse, “then I wish I had that apple.”

  “I cannot do what you ask until you finish my tricky task,” said the fairy.

  “What’s this task of yours?” asked the mouse.

 “Find a king dodo bird. When you do, get his herd.” The fairy disappeared.

  “Find a king dodo bird?” said the mouse. “How will I find a king dodo bird?” He walked on. He soon came to a valley and in that valley, he saw (not believing his eyes) a herd of dodo birds! In the middle of the flock stood the king dodo bird. “Holy hopper!” cried the mouse. “I can’t believe my luck!”

He hopped across the valley until he reached the crowd. He ran under the birds until he reached the heart of the flock. “King Dodo Bird,” squeaked the mouse. “I’m here to round up your herd!”

  “Vhat!?” cried the king dodo bird. “You daaarrre!?” screamed the king dodo bird. “SIEZE HIM!” cried the king. But the mouse was too fast and he ran out of the valley and into the woods.

  “Man,” said the mouse. “That was such a good, warm welcome!”

He turned back and went to the flock again, this time with a plan. He took a berry and stuck it to a leaf, stuck the berry to his back and ran to the group of dodo birds.

  “Ve showed that mouuuuse!” said the king. “He von’t come baaack forrrr a looong time.”

Then a leaf ran to the flock with a vine trailing behind it. “Vhat the –“ cried the king. The leaf ran around the birds’ legs. “Oh nooooo!” said the king. All around, birds were falling down. They were all rounded up.

  “The task is done. I can go to the apple fairy and get an apple!” The mouse dragged the long vine behind him. When he got to the tree, he called out, “Hey, apple fairy! I did your task!”

A girl came running. “How goody-good-good! You did my task and now I’ll give you what you ask.”

And so the fairy got her task done, the dodos got their freedom, and the mouse got his apple.


Posted on March 5, 2015 .

Shelter Gallery from our 3rd Grade Class

The 3rd grade social studies curriculum explores shelters from around the world. This block offers the unique opportunity for students to learn about the richness of different cultures and paints the pictures of people who live in different lands/types of homes. Please enjoy this spectacular gallery, from yurts and igloos to grass huts and houses on stilts. 

Posted on February 12, 2015 .

“Scarf Bombing” Initiative Planned for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015

Inspired by local Detroit “scarf bomber”, Barbara Green, Detroit Waldorf School staff, parents, and children will be busy this holiday season knitting hats and scarfs for the needy. “Scarf bombing” is a national movement where people knit scarfs and place them locally in areas that have a high homeless population. Items typically are tied to public fences or statues and include a note stating, “If you are cold this winter, please take me.” Items will be collected on Friday, January 9th and placed around the city of Detroit on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“Volunteering on MLK, Jr. Day is a tradition at Detroit Waldorf School,” states Julia Baryo, Handwork teacher for grades 1-8. “It is vital for our students to experience the importance of helping those in need.” The school invites Detroit community members to participate as well. Please deliver your hand-knit or crocheted scarfs to the school office by Friday, January 9th from 8am-4pm. For more information, please call 313-822-0300.

Posted on December 19, 2014 .

Children Need to Play

Waldorf Early Childhood Programs across the world allow ample time and space for joyful creative play and naturally building a child's imagination. Mary Milkovie, PreK Lead Teacher at Detroit Waldorf School for over 25 years, was recently published in the Grosse Pointe News on the importance of play in early childhood. 

Click on the picture below for the full story

Posted on December 11, 2014 .

8th Grade Class Builds Low-Voltage Battery at Pewabic

In addition to creating a water filtration system, the 8th grade students also created clay vessels, which served as different cells to create a circuit for a low-voltage battery.  The 8th grade will continue to work with Pewabic in the winter and spring learning the chemistry of color and glaze development and the history of Raku and Pit firing.

Posted on November 17, 2014 .

Alumni Spotlight: Gabe Angelini-Knoll

Gabe Angelini-Knoll graduated from Detroit Waldorf in 2003 moving on to high school at University of Detroit Jesuit. In 2007, he "headed west " to Kalamazoo College to pursue his undergraduate studies in Psychology and Mathematics, co-lead his school's chapter of Amnesty International and studied abroad in Ecuador. For the past three and a half years he has been studying Mathematics at Wayne State University. Completing his Master's degree after two years he is now almost halfway through his Phd program in Algebraic Topology. An international academic, he recently spoke at a workshop in Mexico on the paper "Nilpotence and stable homotopy theory II" written by Mike Hopkins and Jeffrey Smith.

Posted on November 4, 2014 .

Co-Founder Amelia Wilhelm, Age 91, to Lead Students in Walk-A-Thon on Friday, October 17th

91-year-old Amelia Wilhelm of Bloomfield Hills is preparing to walk with Detroit Waldorf School students during the school’s annual Walk-A-Thon on Belle Isle on October 17th to demonstrate her support for the school.  Detroit Waldorf School is the independent school in Detroit’s historic Indian Village neighborhood that she and her husband, Rudolf, founded 48 years ago. Her commitment to walk is a testament to her lifelong dedication to the school that she was instrumental in shaping. She is an inspiration to the students and a beloved matriarch of the school community, serving on the board of trustees from the school’s beginning to the present day. The school asks for tax-deductible donations toward Amelia Wilhelm's Walk-A-Thon goal.

This annual event raises money in support of the school’s mission to make a Waldorf education accessible to Metro Detroit families.  Secure online donations may be made at

Founded in 1966, the Detroit Waldorf School is part of the international Waldorf School movement, which comprises over 1,000 schools in more than 60 countries. The Waldorf education model integrates comprehensive, age-appropriate academics with rich artistic experiences and practical work designed to challenge the mind and fire the imagination. DWS is housed in a stately historic structure built in 1913. Situated on four acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, the school provides a warm and inviting environment that nurtures growth, learning, and creativity by focusing on each student’s intellectual, physical, and emotional development. DWS offers enrollment in pre-K through eighth grade. Its interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizes analytical, creative, and critical thinking, and cultivates children’s inherent curiosity and love of learning. The Detroit Waldorf School is located at 2555 Burns St., Detroit, MI 48214, just three miles east of downtown Detroit. For more information, call 313-822-0300 or visit

Posted on October 16, 2014 .

Science in the 2nd Grade

On Wednesday, we went on a nature walk.  The children are very observant, and were eager to collect different types of acorns.  Some discovered two wasps on the sidewalk and a spider on the underside of a fence.  We stopped to watch a bumblebee on some goldenrod.  Afterwards, a few of the children described how they'd seen the bumblebee's tongue and pollen on its legs.  This careful observation is the essence of Waldorf's approach to science in the early grades, and is something that we will practice through the years. The children will find these observation skills useful in middle school when we begin to have physics and chemistry blocks.

~Diane Reed, 2nd Grade Teacher

Posted on October 7, 2014 .

Environmental Science Project at Pewabic Pottery

Last Friday, our 8th grade students constructed a water filtration system out of terracotta clay at Pewabic Pottery. Each strand of clay was hand-rolled by students, sprinkled with sawdust and molded into what looked like an upside down coil pot. The class learned that the sawdust would burn during the 1,700 degree firing process, creating pathways for the water to filter through. It takes 6 hours for the water to pass through and the mineral composition of the clay filters water far better than the average Britta and lasts up to 5 years! The water filtration container was built collectively by our students and can fit on a standard 5-gallon bucket. During their visit, students contemplated the chemistry behind what they were building, the community aspects of the project and the impact access to clean water has in third world nations and the global community. 

Posted on October 1, 2014 .

What is Michaelmas and why do Waldorf Schools Celebrate it?

September 29, midway between the northern hemisphere's summer and winter solstices, the ancient festival of Michaelmas is celebrated.  As summer's warmth fades, and the cool crispness of autumn falls upon us, mother nature's fruits and vegetables ripen for harvesting. Her gifts help sustain us through the dark cold days of winter and remind us to summon our own gifts and inner strength to help balance our internal light with the darkness of the season.   

Stories of good versus evil or light versus dark are often told to illuminate the balance of light and dark that we all must strive towards mastering.  One favorite Michaelmas story is that of St. George taming the dragon with the sword of justice and courage given to him by the Archangel St. Michael. 

A celebration of strength and courage, of facing dragons both internal and external, Michaelmas is a great time to ponder our own inner dragons and to cultivate the courage and strength necessary for self development.  

Posted on September 25, 2014 .