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Education for the 21st Century

Don't forget to unclip the Newsletter at the bottom. There's a lot more to see!

We hope your Winter Break is filled with the joy of the season, the blessing of good friends, and the love of your extended family. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, January 3.

Dear Families,

We are so grateful to our Winter Festival Committee, and our school community who all came together to create a beautiful and magical Winter Festival. Our traditional advent spiral celebrated bringing light and warmth into the darkness of winter with lit candles and singing.

Thank you to all who have donated to our Annual Giving campaign. See below for an update of funds raised. Our campaign runs through Dec. 31. Donate now in order to claim your tax deduction for 2022!

Enjoy our last newsletter of 2022, and we will see you in 2023!

Leadership Message

Dear Community,

Our school was privileged to welcome Waldorf teacher and author Elan Liebner last week to work with our teachers and to offer an exceptional parent enrichment presentation on “The Twelve Points of View” last Wednesday evening. Elan has been involved in anthroposophy and Waldorf education since 1988 and has been a class teacher for 21 of those years. He has taught in foundation courses, lectured widely, and served as editor of the Research Bulletin for Waldorf Education. He has also chaired the Pedagogical Section Council of North America since 2012.


In his presentation, Elan focused on 4 of the 12 world views that Rudolf Steiner discussed most prominently in four 1914 lectures called “Human and Cosmic Thought.” Looking at perspectives of materialism versus spiritualism and idealism versus realism, Elan emphasized the value in being able to understand where one would place oneself, but more importantly to be able to then shift to understand similar and even opposite perspectives. In order to achieve this understanding, he spoke of the need for speaking with others from a place of openness. “My agenda is conversation,” Elan said, encouraging us to develop new thoughts with the other rather than “shouting thoughts at each other.”


Council is one means to achieve this kind of open communication where listening to other perspectives allows the wisdom of the circle to bring new understandings and acceptance. Due to the winter break, our next Parent Council will not be until January 25, but if you would like an opportunity to share in the kind of experience Elan was advocating, please join us.


May this holiday season bring you love and joy.


Kevin McDuff

School Administrator

Annual Giving Update

We have raised $29,671 so far

with only 20% participation from our families.

We can do this!

WSOC’s Annual Giving Fund is the cornerstone of the school’s fundraising programs as it provides the greatest opportunity to support the immediate financial needs of the school. It is the school’s most important source of unrestricted funds that impacts every student, every day, by ensuring funding for a comprehensive and dynamic curriculum of math, language arts, science, culture and foreign language study, performing arts, applied arts, music and movement. Every student and every family benefits from this extraordinary education, and we ask that every family participate in an amount that is meaningful to them.

WSOC is running its Annual Giving Campaign Nov. 29th to Dec. 31 and strives to raise $100,000 through 100% participation from all members of our school community. We strive for 100% participation in order to reach our goal and establish a strong collaborative message, within and outside of our community, that we are all in this together supporting the well-being and strength of our school.

Donate before the end of the year to receive a tax deduction.

Gifts to the Annual Giving Fund are welcome any time throughout the year. Got questions? Read our FAQ!


Winter Festival Fun

Thank you to our Winter Festival Committee - Erin Nichols, Kim Eijpen, Sara Rodelo and Claudia Boden - and all of our dedicated parent and staff volunteers. A special shout out to our set up and clean up crews- (beautiful teamwork on a tough job!) - and parents Jzin Teng and Joy Wang who carried on the tradition of the Elves Workshop. Thank you to Fermentation Farm, Nourish, Cream Pan, The Ecology Center, Peter & Lorraine Carson, The Vineyard 1924, Meet the Source, Farm to Farmers, the McDaniel Family, and our wonderful Festival Singers. All of you made our Winter Festival a day to remember.

We are thrilled to say that the event raised over $20,000 in sales, making this one of the most successful festivals in years.

Campus Snapshots

Fantastic Fungi

Grade 5 studied fungi as part of their botany block, and also enjoyed a delicious pasta meal featuring the subjects of their study.

Grade 12 Contemplates Nature and Life during American Lit Trip

Grade 12's American Literature Trip with English teacher Ms. Kuczenski took them to Restoration Oaks in Gaviota, where they enjoyed lots of literature, nature, writing, conversation, and "exuberant togetherness as we explored our surroundings from a contemplative and curious practice of restful openness," said Ms. K. 

Students also enjoyed a bonfire under the stars, curated with some favorite poems, songs, and original writing from the students (followed by some stargazing as Walt Whitman would implore us to do on such an eve as this with a full moon out here in the "wilderness," noted Ms. K).

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

By Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Botany Studies Take Grade 5 to the Sea

Grade 5's botany block also included a field trip to Little Corona beach last week, where they explored the tide pools and local sea life (including lots of seaweed).

Grade 9 Visits the Getty in LA

Grade 9 recently visited the Getty museum with high school arts teacher Andrea Crozier. The visit was part of their Art History block. They made masks inspired by their viewing of the painting Christ's Entry intro Brussels and added to their mask decor as they observed various paintings in the museum.

Christ's Entry Into Brussels in 1889 (FrenchL'Entrée du Christ à Bruxelles, "Entry of Christ into Brussels") is an 1888 painting by the Belgian artist James Ensor. The post-Impressionist work, parodying Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem celebrated on Palm Sunday, is considered Ensor's most famous composition and a precursor to Expressionism. It has been held by the Getty Center in Los Angeles since 1987.

A Glorious Day at Green Park for Early Childhood

Ms. Margaret's Pre Kindergarten enjoyed a sunny trip to Green Park

Upcoming Events

Our entire community is invited to attend this extraordinary evening. Grade six will perform "La Unificación Hispaniola", written by our Spanish teacher Iris Ortiz in collaboration with Spanish teacher Sandra Blanco. The play will be performed entirely in Spanish!

Faculty Spotlight:

High School English Teacher Beka Castro

Spreading the word

UCI English M.A. program supports K-12 teachers

By Megan Cole

After spending a few years teaching English at a small, arts-focused high school, Beka Castro found herself longing to engage in “the same nerdy, synergistic, literature-rich conversations I was asking of my students.” Immediately after finding UCI’s English M.A. program and meeting the faculty, she discovered just what she was looking for.

“I knew it would be the perfect format for learning about literary criticism and research while also having fun adopting new ways of looking at literary genres I already loved,” she recalls.

Castro, now a second-year English M.A. student, is one of about two dozen students in the program, which was designed primarily for K-12 teachers eager to develop their skills in communication, critical thinking and literary analysis. According to English Department Chair Elizabeth Allen, the English M.A. degree is not only pragmatic – it prepares graduates to teach at the community college level and can increase K-12 teachers’ salaries – but “intellectually nourishing, enriching and exploratory.” 

UCI’s English M.A. program has been around for about 30 years, but it was recently reimagined as a two-year, part-time program to better accommodate the schedules of high school teachers like Castro. It is currently the only humanities program across the UC system designed specifically for mature and returning students. 

Allen, the daughter of two public school teachers, was particularly thrilled to relaunch the English M.A. program, as her parents both attended similar enrichment programs and “grew tremendously” as a result. She is proud that UCI’s English M.A. program has had a similar impact on its alumni.

“Programs like these give teachers authority in their institutions, a sense of imaginative purchase on the work they’re doing with their students, new ideas – really, it gives them a sense that there is a huge, established world of literature in which they are participants,” she says. “As a teacher, the feeling that you’re part of something bigger than yourself is so powerful.” 

Castro has already transported ideas from the M.A. classroom to her own high school courses, where she covers everything from ancient literature to literary bioethics (using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a primary text) to an interdisciplinary course called “Forensics with Agatha Christie.” 

“Professionally, I have connected more thoughtfully to the content I deliver in my classroom thanks to the English M.A. program, energizing the material and methods I use to help students love literature,” says Castro. 

Castro adds that while “the academics are stellar and diverse,” the highlight of the program for her has been “the delightful closeness of our cohort and our direct and encouraging relationships with the faculty.” 

“So many of us are teachers, so perhaps we are hungry for more satisfying conversations around literature,” Castro says. “Our cohort may share a desire to use what we learn in the wider world. But whatever the reason, the result is fascinating and engaging discussions combined with genuine care for the people in the room.”

Company of Angels

Today Only. Nourish will be selling their specially formulated chai in the store from 8:30am-3pm. Come enjoy our favorite chai!

Last Day to Shop. Company of Angels will be open on Monday, December 19th from 9:00am-3:00pm. This will be the last day to shop until January 2023!

In addition to Nourish's popular chai, dry tea, oils, spice kits, neti kits and seasonal cleansing packets also will be available today!

Scrip of the Week

Sections Fine Meats

Sections Fine Meats is a whole animal butcher shop and deli, providing coastal Orange County with the highest quality California pasture raised meats. Our focus is grass-fed grass-finished beef, prime beef, pasture raised pork, lamb and chicken.

$100 cards offer 10% Scrip rebate!

333 E 17th St #22, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Mon- Saturday 10am - 7pm

Sunday 10am - 5pm

WSOC Calendar

Mon 12/12, 9:00a - 10:00a • Parent Study Group with Early Years Teacher Holly Richards (Parent-Infant through Grade 1 parents welcome)

Mon 12/12, 6:00p - 8:30p • Board Meeting

Tue 12/13, 3:00p - 5:00p • High School Soccer away game vs. CC Downey

Wed 12/14, 6:00p - 8:00p • Grade 6 Play

Thu 12/15, 3:15p - 5:15p • HS Soccer HOME (play at Vanguard) vs. Fairmont SJC

Fri 12/16 • Grade 9 Early Registration deadline

Fri 12/16 • Playgroup Session 1 ends

Fri 12/16, 12:30p - 12:30p • Early Dismissal Early Childhood classes

Fri 12/16, 1:00p - 1:00p • Early Dismissal Grades

Mon 12/19 - Mon 1/2 • Winter Break

January 2023

Mon 1/2 • New Year's Holiday Observed

Tue 1/3 • School back in session

Tue 1/3 • Early Childhood Application Deadline

Tue 1/3 • Playgroup Session 2 Begins

January aftercare forms will arrive in your inbox via ParentSquare.

News & Announcements

Congratulations to Renee Gaudreau (Class of 2015)

Congratulations to WSOC alumn Renee Gaudreau for publishing her article on Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort): Whole-Plant Preparations May Pose Less Risk for CYP450 Interactions than Standardized High-Dose Extracts in the Fall 2022 issue of the Journal of American Herbalists Guild.

Renee is a graduate student at the American College of Healthcare Sciences whose primary area of study is herbal medicine. Following her 16 years of Waldorf education, Renee obtained her bachelor’s in alternative medicine before going on to acquire her master’s in herbal medicine. She focuses much of her attention on biodynamic growing practices in Southwest Florida, where she grows many tropical fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs on her family’s seven-acre property.

Read her article here!

Why School Traditions Matter

Traditions contribute to a sense of comfort and belonging, bring people together, encourage ongoing connection and reinforce shared values. Traditions also offer context and space for meaningful reflection.

Read More
Click here for WSOC College of Teachers, Board Members and Administrative Rotation
Waldorf School of Orange County
2350 Canyon Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92627-3948
(949) 574-7775