Urban Prairie Waldorf School

2017/18 Parent Education Overview

At Urban Prairie, we consider parent education to be an essential part of the work of our school, and we strive to offer a wide range of lectures, workshops, and experiences.  These events are intended to enrich the parent experience at UPWS and strengthen the bridge between school and home; however, they are not limited to UPWS parents.  We welcome all who are interested in learning about child development, education, and how Urban Prairie brings Waldorf education to life.  

We present a robust parent education calendar each semester.  We realize that parents are very busy and cannot attend all events.  If you can come though, please do.  You will not be disappointed!  Please direct all questions regarding Parent Education events to Heather Berhalter.


2017/18 Spring Parent Education Calendar


“Understanding Waldorf Education” Series

January 16, April 24, and May 15, 7 – 8:30pm

Christian Community Priest and former Class Teacher from Tamarack Waldorf School Ann Burfeind is offering a discussion series for parents on the basic ideas of Waldorf education, child development, and how the Waldorf curriculum is designed to foster the healthy growth of the human being.  Ann is a great resource for our community, and we are happy to welcome her to the parent education calendar.  Don’t miss this great opportunity!


“Rhythmic Movement Therapy”

January 24, 8pm (notes can be found here)

“The brain requires stimulation from the senses for new nerve growth, branching of existing nerves, and myelination of nerves. The main sensory stimulation for the process of brain maturation comes from the balance, tactile and proprioceptive senses. These three senses are fully engaged while doing rhythmic movements. The rhythmical baby movements done in the first year of life give the brain the stimulation required for maturation and for connectivity between parts of the brain. For many reasons, children may not get enough opportunities to do these rhythmic movements in infancy.

When there is not enough brain stimulation in infancy, it can result in a compromised ability to process sensory information and access the cortex. Access to the cortex is the basis for many skills such as focusing, control of impulses, managing the emotions, abstract thinking, learning, planning, making decisions and using foresight.”

Education Support Specialists Kris Boshell (Chicago Waldorf) and Candace Choma will teach parents how to practice these exercises at home with their children.


Therapeutic Eurythmy Workshop

January 25, 6:30pm (notes can be found here)

Ever wonder what therapeutic eurythmy is, how it is different from the eurythmy offered in our regular school schedule, and how it could be helpful for your child? Workshop leader Mary Ruud will demystify this topic for you and even get you moving a bit!  Mary has been teaching Eurythmy to adults and children for more than 30 years. She teaches in several Waldorf teacher training courses for private, public and charter schools as well as Lifeways and Early Childhood Training.  Mary will soon begin to offer therapeutic eurythmy at UPWS.

The Association for Therapeutic Eurythmy in North America (Athena) has generously provided funding for this parent education workshop.


“Who Are the Honeybees?” Webinar

Wednesday, 1/31, 6:30 – 7:45pm

Join AWSNA and the Anthroposophical Society for this special, interactive webinar open to all families in US Waldorf schools!  Alex Tuchman and Gunther Hauk of Spikenard Farms HoneyBee Sanctuary will lead this discussion about the relationship of bees to the human being based on inspirations from Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics. Investigate the hive as a dynamic organism and find out more about who the honeybees really are.

Register here for the call.


“The Wonder of Mathematics”

February 16, 6:30pm

This workshop will reawaken your sense of wonder in math so it can be passed on to your children!  Jamie York is an internationally-respected Waldorf math consultant who has created a comprehensive and meaningful Waldorf mathematics curriculum that spans grades one through twelve (the Making Math Meaningful® curriculum series books).  Jamie consults at a variety of schools nationally and internationally. He teaches math workshops, and serves on the faculty at the Center for Anthroposophy.  We are happy to welcome him for the second part of a two-part faculty training weekend.  Please plan to join us for Friday evening’s discussion!  Please purchase your tickets here.


Film Series:  Nature Play

March 3, 3pm

Join us for a screening of this award-winning film about childhood, nature, and play.  Nature Play portrays the Scandinavian method of teaching, living and enjoying nature, juxtaposed with the high stakes testing/high stress Edu-culture of “rigor”. The film has won seven international awards, including one for Cinematography and a Global Humanitarian Award.  Childcare is available for $5/child.  Please purchase your movie ticket and sign up for childcare below.

Click here to buy tickets and sign up for childcare!



Executive Function

Wednesday, March 21

Mary Jo Oresti brings over 30 years of teaching experience in various capacities in Waldorf school.  Ms. Oresti currently coordinates and instructs in five teacher development programs in the U.S. and abroad, consults in schools about remedial programs, and serves as the president of Association of Healing Education.  She will visit UPWS in March and has offered a parent education opportunity.  More details coming soon!


Foundations Studies Weekend:

Friday, March 23  (with possible additional single workshops during the weekend)

Michael D’Aleo will lead a Friday evening lecture on astronomy and other workshops throughout the weekend.  More schedules will be available soon. 

Michael D’Aleo lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of science, education and environmental issues and is a founding member of the Saratoga Experiential Natural Science Research Institute (SENSRI) in Keene Valley, New York as the Director of Research. He is the cofounder of, and leads the successful 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teacher training, Teaching Sensible Science. 


The Physics of Star Wars

Saturday, April 14, 4pm

Dirk Morr, 7th grade parent and UIC physics professor, will explain the scientific ideas behind “Star Wars” techonologies!  This event will be fun for the whole family and is being held as a fundraiser for next year’s 8th grade class trip.  Ticket information will be available soon.