AWS Newsletter

AWS Awareness Spring 2016

New Beginnings

by Lisa Grupe, PhD, Administrator

Dual accreditation, moving into a new school building, and obtaining a construction loan from RSF Social Finance catapults AWS into the future, giving us another opportunity to define ourselves. What is our value proposition? That thing that we can claim which no other schools in our area can claim? Look at our age-appropriate curriculum, our low-media policy, our healthy food policy, our dress code, our play-based preschool, and how we cultivate a reverent atmosphere from the preschool snack table to the physics demonstrations in middle school. To what do they all point? A protective gesture around childhood. READ MORE

Why on earth are these students standing on top of their desks?

Ms. Carole’s 1st and 2nd graders take to their desks and toss a bean bag to one another as they recite math rhymes. Kinesthetic learning, or learning academic concepts while moving the body, helps the students to grasp the material in the very core of their being. READ MORE

AWS Awareness January 2016

Alabama Waldorf School earns SAIS & AWSNA accreditation

We are proud to announce that Alabama Waldorf School has been accredited by AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools in North America) and SAIS (Southeastern Association of Independent Schools) on our first attempt. To earn accreditation, AWS complied with 53 quality standards, was evaluated by an outside group of peer professionals, and implemented a school plan focused on strategic improvement and student performance in accordance with the school’s mission. READ MORE

AWS Awareness Autumn 2015

Media-Free Living

We’ve all read the latest research, the hundreds of articles and dire warnings about how screen time will ruin your kid’s brain. Here at Alabama Waldorf School, we strongly encourage no media at all for kids 9 and younger. For older kids, less than an hour on the weekends during the school year. So what to do? If you’re new to Waldorf or if you have young children, you maybe feeling overwhelmed or thinking: easier said than done.

Learning in the Waldorf Way

When Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf school over a hundred years ago, he created an academic curriculum based around milestones in child development. Because the process of Waldorf education is so unique, it can often feel reversed from a more traditional curriculum. We refer to it as a “ground-up” approach instead of a “top-down,” approach because we build foundations for future learning. 

AWS Awareness Summer 2015

Teaching Sensible Science

On April 16, Alabama Waldorf School middle school students and teachers presented a Middle School Science Showcase for current and prospective parents. AWS seventh graders demonstrated the concepts they learned through the phenomenological approach with physics and chemistry experiments focused on magnetism, electricity, acoustics, heat, optics, salt solutions, and mechanics. Sixth and 8th grade science tables were also be on display. (Read the whole article by clicking on AWS Awareness Summer 2015 above)

Screen-Free Week 2015: A Recap

Every year Alabama Waldorf School participates in challenging the faculty, students and families to put down their digital devices, ignore their televisions, and not ask Google ANYTHING for seven consecutive days. If you’re scoffing that that actually can’t be done, read the article on the next page for some motivation and inspiration. Not only can it be done, but especially for children, it MUST be done! (Read the whole article by clicking on AWS Awareness Summer 2015 above)

Raising Children in a Digital Age

As a parent, I find myself losing the battle of screen time on a weekly basis. If my stepson, after a long day of outside play and work, wants to spend some time traversing the digital world he created on Minecraft, a short stint of non-violent, arguably educational screen time can’t be terrible for him. Right? (This article was inspired by Gordon Neufeld's presentation, available on youtube, Raising Children in a Digital World. Read the whole article by clicking on AWS Awareness Summer 2015 above.)

2014-15 School Year Issues

AWS Awareness April/Spring 2015

Mathematics in Grade 4

In our second block of the year, we began to look at some of the interesting applications of mathematics throughout history. From ancient China, we learned the story of Lo Shu and the origin of the oldest magic square and its mythical properties. From there we moved to 16th century Europe to see the magic square of Albrecht Durer that he incorporated into one of his most famous prints entitled “Melancholia.” (Mr. Lucas's chalkboard drawing of "Melancholia" is printed in this issue of the newsletter.)

Gerda's Gallery: Watercolor Painting in the Kindergarten

Watercolor Painting is a medium used throughout Waldorf school programs, from nursery-aged children to 8th graders to high school students. In the Kindergarten, stories are used to introduce the “feeling” of each of the primary colors to the students. After each story is told, the children are given blank sheets of watercolor paper soaked in water and one color with which to experiment the spectrum of hues of one or two colors.

AWS Awareness Feb 2015

Early Childhood Education Experts Agree: Shun Play, Shun Learning

We often talk about the importance of play in the Waldorf preschool. It is the basis for a healthy childhood - body, intellect, and spirit. Waldorf schools offer a pre-academic curriculum to preschool-aged children, and, like curriculums used in northern Europe, hold off on formal, direct reading and writing instruction until the elementary grades.
      In a recent Washington Post article, the Alliance for Childhood touted the same. Report: Requiring kindergartners to read — as Common Core does — may harm some, states, “there is no evidence to support a widespread belief in the United States that children must read in prekindergarten or kindergarten to become strong readers and achieve academic success.”

Why Waldorf Education "just feels right" and how Physical Science Supports it

When parents first tour Alabama Waldorf School, many times there is a feeling that “this is the right place.” This seems to be especially true for parents of young children who appreciate the play-based, nurturing focus of the preschool. A parent can often tell right away whether the program is worth pursuing, not just for their young children, but for their whole family, as well. 
But as the nursery child grows into the kindergarten child who grows into the 1st-grade-ready child, a parent may start looking down the street to see what the Jones’s are up to. The Jones’s 1st grade child is reading already, their 2nd grader has science homework every night, and their 4th grader was just given an iPad at school!

AWS Awareness Oct/Nov 2014

The Importance of Learning Secular Ethics (at school)

Last month Birmingham was fortunate enough (nay, blessed enough!) to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a series of talks at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Alabama Theater, and, where I saw him, Regions Field... A major focus of His Holiness’s speech was the idea of secular ethics, or, he explained, respecting all religions and non-believers alike. “We need to put more inner value secularly. Compassion is a human value..."

Perspective Drawing in the Middle School

Waldorf teachers try to meet the different needs of the middle school students with the form drawing curriculum: the 5th graders, who experience “the golden age of childhood,” proportional as they are in their physical bodies and balanced in their thinking; the 6th grader, who has to deal with the arrival of puberty which disrupts this golden age and creates an environment of polarity and opposition in the child; and the 7th grader, who at lasts gets some perspective and reawakens the beauty, truth and goodness touched on in the 5th grade...

AWS Awareness Aug/Sept 2014

Recent Headlines Support Waldorf Curriculum

Scan the headlines of the Times and major newspapers and you’ll find that scientific research is catching up to Waldorf ideals. Here are a few that have surfaced just in the past month... 

Teaching Reading in Waldorf Schools

Short Answer: We teach reading “from the whole to the parts.” Long Answer: In Waldorf schools, students in the early elementary grades read by being met where they are.  They learn to read by writing what they know from activities in class, and they then read aloud from what they’ve written...

2013-14 School Year Issues

Common Core Curriculum: A Waldorf Response
...[In the 1990s and early 21st century,] the internet, 9/11, charter schools, Head Start programs, and the push to dominate the global market all figured prominently into the educational goals set forth by the government, "No Child Left Behind," being a culmination of all of these motivators. All the while, the basic development of the child was unchanged; all the while the focus on the child took a backseat to the focus on the nation.

Waldorf Graduates: Onward and Upward
Read about where AWS and other Waldorf alumni are now! "8th Grade AWS students received wonderful news regarding their future high school plans: they were accepted to the programs they applied to, including Shades Valley High School's Visual Arts and Engineering programs, The Altamont School, and Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School."

AWS Awareness - Feb/March 2014

How to Be a Child’s Frontal Lobe, or, Creating a Resilient Child

Last weekend Alabama Waldorf School hosted author and educator Kim John Payne for a Friday night lecture and Saturday workshop. A few dozen people, mostly teachers and parents, attended the events, centered around the theme, “Raising a Socially Resilient Child: Breaking the Cycle of Reactivity, Exclusion and Bullying.” For me, the events served as both reminder and inspiration: a reminder for why I believe Waldorf is a key component in raising a healthy family, and inspiration for getting back on the bandwagon, turning away from the screens and back toward routine, rhythm, and play. And not just for the kids, but for the parents, as well...

Capital Campaign News
If you haven’t yet heard the good news, here it is: Alabama Waldorf School’s moving! Because our current location will be razed in 2017, AWS has been on the lookout for a new site the past several years. Earlier this year, on January 6th, we signed a contract for the property at 5901 Crestwood Boulevard - the former Crestwood Christian Church. 


AWS Awareness - Oct 2013

Technology as Teacher - by AWS Administrator, Lisa Grupe, Ph.D. 
“They don’t have textbooks this year; everyone gets an ipad,” said my friend at lunch last week speaking about her 6th grade son’s current public school experience. “They do all their work on it. In a way, it’s great, but he already has a hard time reading handwriting…what if this moves towards non paper and pencil completely eliminates that ability?” A good question, but to take a step back and look at the whole picture, we need to be asking, What is the impact of this technology on learning?

Physiology and Anatomy in Grades 7/8 - by Lynda Powell
Both classes began their introduction to the study of the living human body and its complex systems last year. We will continue physiology through the study of the excretory system and the lymph system. In anatomy, the class studies the muscular and skeletal systems as the framework for the human body. The block seeks to balance solid, fundamental scientific understanding with an appreciation for the artistry of form and movement within the body of man.

AWS Awareness - Nov 2013


Why Cursive Counts by AWS Administrator, Lisa Grupe, Ph.D.
Last month, I was subbing for the Spanish teacher in the combined 4th and 5th grade class. Unable to teach immersion-style as Waldorf foreign language teachers do, I decided to have the students write letters to Señor Spezzini about the things they liked and disliked: “Me gusta ______. No me gusta _________.”  Before they started writing they asked me, (or, shall I say, they whined to me), “Do we have to write in cursive?” A teachable moment was upon me. “Of course!” I said. “Cursive helps you to keep your thought processes going because the letters are joined just like your thoughts are!”

AWS Brand Receives Timely TLC, including new mission and vision statements 
The mission of Alabama Waldorf School is to cultivate healthy, confident, compassionate learners who excel academically, socially, and civically. The vision of Alabama Waldorf School is to be a beacon for the Birmingham community, offering a vibrant future grounded in an engaged, compassionate, and insightful understanding of the world.

AWS Awareness - Jan 2014/Dec 2013

Bullying: What it is, What it isn’t, and How Social Inclusion Can Help

It seems like the topic of bullying is coming up in more than just school offices and classrooms: sports headlines have revealed the issue surfacing in NFL locker rooms, and while flipping through a magazine the other day I saw that an ad for Secret deodorant was promoting a call for anti-bullying alongside their antiperspirant...


2012-13 School Year Issues


AWS Awareness - Sept/Oct 2012

Administrator Ad Lib by Lisa Grupe, Ph.D. This time of year in the life of a school is one of many “firsts.” Certainly, we welcome First Graders into the Elementary program; we also welcome new students into many of the other grades... Personally, it is a favorite time for me. I reflect back on my own Waldorf journey which began a dozen years ago when I started the journey through the grades with my own four-person First Grade class with our “Rose Ceremony” in the Auditorium. This summer I had the opportunity to sit with one of those four students -- now, unbelievably, 17 years old! -- at a college recruiting fair, Colleges That Change Lives.

Economics in the 6th Grade by Class Teacher, Melissa Downs With the money-based economy, we looked specifically at the development of businesses, banking, and paper money. Using an imaginary candy factory, we looked at the flow of materials and money through businesses.


AWS Awareness - Nov 2012

The Role of Homework in Waldorf Schools
Rudolf Steiner's view on homework went something like this: "You can give students homework, but it won't do any good -- it is not a learning experience." Daily homework at Waldorf schools does not start until the students are developmentally ready for it. Giving students regular homework when they are 7, 8, or 9 years old is (as parents of children these ages can attest) really just giving homework to the parents! At Alabama Waldorf School, daily homework begins in earnest in Grade 6, but the build-up is gradual...

Roman History in Grade 6
"One of the reasons that I think the sixth graders find Rome so appealing is that Rome was very adolescent in nature. Strong emotions often motivate the strong personalities in Roman history. Remus was jealous of his brother who was taking control of their new city. Romulus killed him in a rage after Remus’ jealous taunting. Much later, Hasdrubal holds such a grudge against the Romans that he makes his young son, Hannibal, promise to never be a friend to Rome. In addition to their strong emotions, the Romans had high ideals (also much like the sixth graders), such as courage, loyalty, and honor, which were worth more than life..."

AWS Awareness - Feb 2013

Biennial State of the School Address: Where we're going and how we plan to get There!
On Thursday, February 7th, parents and teachers met in the school auditorium to hear Administrator Lisa Grupe’s biennial State of the School address. After being asked to complete a brief survey (see results in the sidebar), Dr. Grupe led a powerpoint presentation which gave a brief overview of the school’s historical benchmarks, how we got where we are today, and what we need to do to become sustainable, both as a nonprofit business and an educational community.

Astronomy in Grade 6
The following is an excerpt from a typical 3-week Astronomy Block Rotation. This particular Astronomy block was taught in Ms. Grupe’s combined 5th/6th grade class...“The skills that the students develop with compass and straight edge will be put to use again as we depict the arcs and circles that describe the paths of the stars in different quadrants of the sky.  Our study of Astronomy will be based primarily on observations made with the unaided eye."

AWS Awareness - Apr 2013

- Live and Silent Auction Donors make possible our 2013 Gala Fundraiser! Join us this coming Sunday, April 7th for our Spring Soiree at the Clubhouse on Highland from 5-8pm! See the Awareness for details.

- Research supports what Waldorf preschools already know: promoting curiosity in the young child is a direct path toward the development of critical and creative thinking skills.

- Classroom Clips: Watercolor paintings in 5th grade North American Geography, Physics in Grades 6 and 7, and AWS 3rd graders train for, write, and perform a Circus!

AWS Awareness - May 2013

The Adaptibility of AWS by Lisa Grupe, Ph.D.
What does AWS have in common with bacteria? Adaptability! Bacteria continue to proliferate, adapt and morph even in the face of modern medicine. They are amazing microorganisms, adapting to almost any threat and emerging stronger as a result. In its almost 30 year history, AWS has met many challenges and, as a result, it has become more streamlined, more nimble, and more efficient.

Waldorf Olympics 2013 by AWS Parent, Dave Hall
Dave Hall participated in the 5th graders' 2013 Southeastern Waldorf Olympics as a chaperone. In this excerpt from his blog post he writes about how the experience went beyond his expectations "...What I didn’t know was how drawn in I would become, how in two short days I would come to care for and take a special interest in kids I’ll probably never see again, or how vital I would come to see this experience and how awesome it is I have a wife who’d be so insistent that this is the way our children would be educated."

AWS Awareness - July 2013

What does an Age-Appropriate Curriculum REALLY mean?
One hundred years ago when Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf school, he created an academic curriculum based around milestones in child development. This past April, AWS Administrator Lisa Grupe, Ph.D. led a discussion about how the Waldorf teaching method incorporates principles of child development and important rites of passage in the classroom each year...

6th Grade History, by AWS teacher Melissa Downs
“The changes that the students experienced this year were well-met by the sixth grade curriculum, which did an excellent job of anchoring the students in the world. We focused on Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages – time periods in which humans became much more grounded in the realities of earth and more separated from the spiritual world of the gods. Though the Romans worshipped their gods and could be very superstitious, they were more firmly anchored to the material world than the Greeks that we studied in fifth grade..." 



2011-12 School Year Issues

AWS Awareness May 2012

Anthroposophy: It's not just a Tongue Twister -- Anthro…what? Anth-ro-POS-ophy. I like to think of it as a combination of anthropology and philosophy—the study of mankind. And why do you care? Because it’s the philosophical basis for Waldorf education. In a nutshell, it’s what makes us different. And that means it’s at least partially why you chose AWS for your child's schooling and why your child’s teacher chooses AWS as a place to work...

The Virtual Reality Danger  -- Jaimen McMillain's lecture focused around the idea that we don’t need to ban digital media, as much as we need to be educated about it, especially before exposing a child to it. So, how can you prepare a child for exposure to virtual reality? How can you strengthen them so that they are not taken in by what they are watching?...


AWS Awareness March/April 2012

National Screen-Free Week is April 30th through May 6th. Turn off your screens and give your eyes and brains a rest from celluloidal stress!! Each day of Screen-Free Week, AWS will be hosting outdoor and indoor games and activities the whole family can enjoy...

Field Trip Fun, "Down on the Farm" -- The 3rd grade class recently visited Heron Hollow Farm to try their hand at farming for a day. The children began by mastering the art of milking a goat, which requires a two-part effort of distracting and mollifying the goats by feeding them oats while they are being milked. It takes a firm hand and lots of oats to fill a gallon jar!


AWS Awareness February 2012

Dispelling the Myth Regarding Grades in Waldorf Schools...Yes, we give them!

...Grades students are taught in subject blocks that typically last about 4 weeks. During this time, students create lesson books on the subject being studied, whether Roman History, Acoustics, or Algebra. Because they don't carry around textbooks, they make their own; and it is an active, engaging process that engenders a sense of accomplishment at the end of each block. The block test is a good grading tool, then, because it assesses what the student retained from the entire four weeks..."

History in 6th and 7th Grades

As part of their block on medieval history, middle school students in Ms. Powell’s class had to “live” out the history they were studying by participating in “The Squire’s Challenge.” In addition to the lesson work, students had to “contribute to the well-being and progress” of their class, the whole school, and their neighborhood, church, or community organization...

AWS Awareness January 2012

What it takes to be a Class Teacher in the Waldorf Grades

"A Waldorf teacher needs to value the development of wonder, gratitude, and responsibility. When subjects are brought to life in the class by the teacher via imagination and/or intuition, the student wants to explore learning, and this creates wonder. When topics and subjects are over-explained or taught to a test, the student’s desire for learning is thwarted. Reverence and wonder can easily arise out of the Waldorf curriculum..."

Alabama Waldorf School participates in Alabama Gives Day!

On February 2, 2012, our community will come together for Alabama Gives Day, and we need YOU to join us as our state makes history and our school raises money for, among other things, Waldorf teacher training!


AWS Awareness November 2011

Why a Developmental Education Surpasses a Benchmark-Learning Education

"...Dispelling the myth that Waldorf students in the young primary grades are not taught to read is one of my favorite things to take on, ranking right up there with the differences between Waldorf and Montessori schools! It was, however, a real pleasure to have Dr. Ernest, a local professor of child psychology (UAB), and parent of AWS kindergartner Sam and first grader John, plead our case for a change!..."

Who is John Huckestein (aka Mr. Huck) and what does he have in common with our 2012 Gala?

"No, Mr. Huck hasn’t been here longer than Ms. Powell, but he is an AWS 15-year veteran, armed with a great sense of humor, and loved by all children who come under his watchful and loving care...And yes, he is the Guest of Honor at our 2012 gala appropriately named the April Fool's Day Fiesta! Save the date!..."


AWS Awareness October 2011

The Timeless Quality of Waldorf Education

"When I speak to people about the wisdom of Waldorf education, I am struck by its timelessness. I often say that things are different here at the Waldorf school because we know what we are doing, the curriculum is set and was built around the development of the healthy child, and it’s been practiced and honed to a fine art over 92 years."


"For three weeks in November, AWS will, for the fifth consecutive year, host a student of the American Eurythmy School in California. Student Karen Robertson is completing her practicum for Euruythmy Certification here, which means that AWS students will get to experience this unique Waldorf art form!"


AWS Awareness September 2011

The Connection between Arts and Academics

“Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences gained credibility in the 1980s, but Steiner’s Waldorf curriculum had already put the gist of that theory into practice by 1920! Students learn in different ways. It’s not rocket science and yet, most common educational methods ignore this basic premise. What Steiner knew was that DOING was the key to learning..."

Announcing the opening of…Gerda’s Gallery

"In honor of our AWeSome Benefactress, Gerda Carmichael, graduate of Manhattan’s Rudolf Steiner School and grandparent of 5th grader Lucia, AWS is dedicating a new space to display students’ artwork. Faculty and Staff will nominate outstanding artwork to be displayed in the preschool hallway..."



2010-11 School Year Issues

AWS Awareness June 2011

Personalities in the Classroom, Part II: Working with the Rabbit's and Pooh's

Remember Winnie the Pooh and Rabbit? As promised, we are wrapping up our in-depth look at the temperaments with discussion of the choleric and the phlegmatic.·Using Betty Staley’s chapters on the temperaments in Between Form and Freedom: A Practical Guide to the Teenage Years (easy to find online and through Hawthorn Press), we will gain insights into recognizing and raising the phlegmatic child and the choleric child...

End-of-theYear Letter to Parents -- From Lynda Powell, 2010-11 5th/6th Grade Teacher

As in infancy, when organs and hormones are developing, our students have so much growth occurring every year and often every month it seems, as their toes poke through the sandals they loved so much just a short time ago (or so it seems to those of us who buy the shoes). Arms and legs are so sturdy and coordinated during their 5th grade year and into their 6th grade year. I believe it is a tribute to our curriculum and especially our spacial dynamicsTM program (that is, Ms. Cripps!) that AWS adolescents I observe successfully cope with their changing bodies and turn into human beings with grace, poise and beauty...

AWS Awareness May 2011

Personalities in the Classroom: Teaching the Eeyore’s, Tigger’s, Rabbit’s, and Pooh’s

A parent reminded me that I had not yet re-addressed the temperaments from the January 2011 Awareness, so let’s begin with how  to recognize them. Often, the archetypal characters in “Winnie the Pooh” are used as models. Pooh is phlegmatic with his calm demeanor and overall preoccupation with eating, comfort, and rest. Eeyor and Piglet represent the melancholic temperament with their “Everything is going wrong…again,” and “The sky is falling!” attitudes. Tigger is of the sanguine temperament--optimistic, fun, happy-go-lucky, and chatty! Rabbit is the choleric with his passionate leadership qualities, his fiery personality, and his proclivity toward anger.

Russian Language and Culture

On May 4th, AWS 4th graders traveled to the Jewish Community Center to visit ESL class for Russian immigrants. Russian Teacher Rita Meikson prepared a surprise presentation in honor of Victory Day. 


AWS Awareness April 2011

One teacher for eight years?! A Response to Concerns about Looping

A Nursery parent kindly commented the other day, “I really love the Waldorf philosophy and can see how it makes sense for my preschool child, but I’m worried about Waldorf elementary school because of the way the teachers loop through the grades...what if my child doesn’t like his teacher and is stuck with him for 8 long years?” As a former Kindergarten through 8th grade looping teacher, myself, I have much to say on the subject!

AWS Alumni receive top honors!

Congratulations to Janine Mwenja and Alex Kilpatrick on their recent honors! Both Jeanine and Alex were voted into the National Honor Society, and the Spanish National Honor Society. As part of their 11th grade curriculum at the Jefferson Countty Int’l Baccalaureate School, students take advantage of work-study opportunities. Janine has been contributing her talents and skills to the architectural projects at Giattina-Aycock. 


AWS Awareness March 2011

Movement Education

Last weekend at the Jaimen McMillan Workshops, I learned a lot more about WHY our approach to physical education is different. So it’s in this month’s Admin Adlib that I’d like to share some of what Jaimen brought during this incredibly insightful and useful conference on Movement Education


The annual Waldorf Pentathlon is an honored rite of passage for Waldorf 5th graders. As with all Waldorf curriculum, the pentathlon teaches to the developmental stage, celebrating the student’s “golden year,” the time when they are searching for form and meaning in how things work–the mechanics–and finding it in the formula of learning and applying these pentathlon events. They are taught the exact sequence of movements to, for example, throw a javelin and when the javelin flies as expected, the student sees her formula realized.


AWS Awareness February 2011

Synaptic Pruning

What is synaptic pruning? Why does it matter? As usual, this month’s “Ad Lib” comes from a stimulating conversation I had with a prospective parent. She ..

Summer Camp

Wondering what the kids will do this summer without the reliable, rhythmic AWS day? Look no further than your own school hallway! With camps being offered for both preschool and grades students, your kids can enjoy summer on AWS playgrounds and in the classrooms! 


AWS Awareness January 2011


Thanks to all of you for making this Holiday Faire one of the most beautifully decorated ever! Vendors’ goods were perfect for Christmas shopping, the bake sale and lunch buffet were delectable nourishment for body and soul, and the music was entertaining.

Learning Parts of Speech in 3rd Grade,
from Ms. Lucas

Using characters, like the one pictured above, engages otherwise reluctant students into lessons about grammar and parts of speech. Ms. Lucas told her students stories about King Noun the Namer, whose job it was to name things in his kingdom. His wife, Queen Adjective, was responsible for describing the things King Noun named. The energetic Sir Verb is always doing things, running or walking from one activity to the next.

AWS Awareness November 2010

Eurythmy Student brings Steiner’s unique Art Form to AWS

Eurythmy student Joshua Eckland is completing his practicum for his Euruythmy Certification at Alabama Waldorf School. For three weeks in November Joshua brings lessons to AWS’ Kindergarten and grades classes. AWS parent Rachel Cornelius and Ms. Carole accompany Mr. Eckland’s musical eurythmy exercises on the piano.

Learning outside of the Classroom: AWS Field trips!

On October 26th, Ms. Lucas’ 3rd graders traveled to Pell City as part of their Farming Block curriculum. Hollow Springs Farm owner Chris Bennett was kind enough to mention our students in his newsletter. 


AWS Awareness October 2010

Alabama School Service Days
This year, instead of monthly playground workdays, the AWS community will be hosting seasonal Service Days. There will be a total of three. Two will be held during normal school hours. Each class will take on a task or role in helping to better our classrooms, facilities, and our community. 


AWS Awareness September 2010

AWS Students lend a hand at Birmingham’s Puzzle Piece

AWS Movement Teacher Jennifer Cripps is taking her circus curriculum on the road! Ms.Cripps, who is Level One certified in Spacial Dynamics™, is now sharing her Developmental Circus Arts program with the children at Renee Plata’s Puzzle Piece, an autism awareness outreach program located in the Mountain Brook area. 


2009-10 School Year Issues 


AWS Awareness June 2010

2010 Graduation

On the last Thursday in May, AWS celebrated its 4th annual graduation ceremony in the beautiful sanctuary of East Lake United Methodist Church. It was a lovely evening, and watching the 8th graders was yet another reminder of why I, especially as a developmental psychologist, truly love Waldorf education— it celebrates meaningful rites of passage deliberately and by design.  


AWS Awareness May 2010

Waldorf / Montessori comparison

How are Waldorf Schools and Montessori Schools alike/different? I love this question because I love the story that answers it. Legend has it that Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner met after the first World War to discuss how best to heal society after such devastating tragedy.  Both scientists and philosophers, they agreed that education of the future generation was the key for a healthy future...

6th/7th Grade Spanish - Works by Jose Marti

Senora Mixon took advantage of a call for artwork surrounding the topic of the White Rose, a nonviolent resistance movement in Germany during World War II. Students translated Jose Marti’s poem, “I Cultivate a White Rose,” and then completed artistic renderings using pastels. Children ages 3 to 18 years have sent in artistic responses to the theme of the courage to stand alone in the face of unjust practices.

AWS Awareness June 2010

Administrator's Ad Lib

When I was first a Waldorf teacher, I thought it was the students that were different.  Different in a good way.  Thoughtful.  Open.  Inquisitive.  Other-oriented.  Ready to challenge.  Honest.  By the time 5th grade rolled around, I realized it was the parents who were different.  Parents who had chosen a feeling-based, whole-child education for their children.

Holi in the Kindergarten

Happy Days Are Here Again! With winter neatly tucked up in the attic, it is time to come out of our cocoons and enjoy the Spring Festival called Holi. Holi - the festival of colors - is undoubtedly the happiest and most fun-filled Hindu festival. It is an occasion that brings joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, a delicious variety of foods and, of course, lots of bright colors!


AWS Awareness April 2010

3rd Grade Gardening from Melissa Downs

“We have been using Wednesday afternoons to prepare and plant our garden. Each student had three square feet of space and chose three different vegetables to plant. Before we ever put seeds in the garden, we tilled the soil, added some soil amendments,  and built little one-foot fences to mark out the different garden plots. Then we planted our cool weather vegetables – carrots, peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, beets, radishes, and onions. And just before spring break, we were rewarded with the sight of many seedlings!”