Welcome to The Watershed: The Charlottesville Waldorf School Podcast!

Each week we will explore a different wonder of Waldorf education in order to shine a light upon the many beautiful depths and reaches of such a rich and nourishing educational methodology.

You can look forward to:
-       Presentations/Lectures
-       Expert Interviews
-       Community event recordings
-       Readings of articles & excerpts
-       …and so much more!

Please join us on our journey through The Watershed!

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the show, please visit our Charlottesville Waldorf School Facebook page and, while you’re there, let us know of any show topics that you’d like for us to cover in the future.

Also, if you are new to our community and would like to learn more about what our school has to offer, or to schedule a tour, please click the link below:

The Watershed - Episodes

Episode 29: Storytelling Within the Waldorf Curriculum - Grades 3 – 5 (Part II)
In this week’s episode Michael Wright continues his presentation on storytelling within the Waldorf Curriculum. Mr. Wright covers the origin stories of 3rd grade, the Norse Myths of 4th grade, and the stories of ancient cultures in 5th grade, emphasizing how important it is to present these stories at these specific developmental periods. Michael also shares excerpts from a few different authors including one from Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Once again, please pardon the occasional rumbling of the 3rd grade preparing for their play!

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 28: Storytelling Within the Waldorf Curriculum - Grades 1 – 3 (Part I)
In this week’s episode, Michael Wright, our faculty chair, speaks on storytelling within the Waldorf Curriculum. Storytelling is a fundamental characteristic of humanity and certainly the beginning of language development for children. Listen in as Michael discusses some of the key features of storytelling within grades one through three--you will quickly realize that story is what inspires our students to discover their own sense of creativity and intrinsic motivation. Please pardon the occasional rumbling in this recording. It is actually the 3rd grade preparing to share their story—the 3rd grade play!

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 27: Make Them Scientists
In this week’s episode I bring to you an article from the waldorfeducation.org blog, Essentials In Education. The article is entitled, “Make Them Scientists: Redirecting The Science Instruction Paradigm” and discusses the steadily increasing focus on STEM field education, how conventional approaches to science are ultimately unscientific, and the ways in which Waldorf education creates natural, full-fledged scientists through curiosity. Please visit blog.waldorfeducation.org for more great articles just like this one.

An Argument for Reversing the Bases of Science Education – A Phenomenological Alternative to Cognitivism, Bo Dahlin, Edvin Østergaard, Aksel Hugo. NorDiNa 5(2), University of Oslo Library, 2009.

Goethe’s Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature, David Seamon & Arthur Zajonc, editors. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998
Child Development and The Teaching of Science, David Mitchell, Boulder, CO: AWSNA, Waldorf Science Newsletter

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 26: The 9-year Change with Michael Wright
In this week’s episode, Michael Wright, our Faculty Chair at CWS, delivers a presentation on one of the most important transformational periods of a child’s life: the 9-year change. Michael discusses what is going on developmentally for the child and how we can best meet them during this potentially turbulent time. 

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 25: Community Night with Roberto Trostli - The Social & Emotional Development of the Grade School Child (Part II)
In this week’s episode, we get to hear the concluding portion of Roberto Trostli’s Spring Community Night presentation on the Social and Emotional Development of the Grade School Child. Roberto goes on to share several warm and inspiring anecdotes from his career as a teacher and accentuates the importance of storytelling and drama in child development. Many thanks to Roberto for visiting the Charlottesville Waldorf School and sharing his wisdom with our community! 

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 24: Community Night with Roberto Trostli - The Social & Emotional Development of the Grade School Child (Part I)
In this week’s episode, we get to hear the first part of Roberto Trostli’s Spring Community Night presentation on the Social and Emotional Development of the Grade School Child. Roberto begins by engaging the group in an exercise, calling upon each individual to visualize what they want for their children once they have reached middle age. From the many noble desires and aspirations derived from the exercise, Roberto goes on to discuss how we can “prepare the soil” for these fine qualities to develop and blossom within our children.

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement! 

Enjoy the show!

Episode 023 - Physics Within the Waldorf Curriculum - (Part II)
In this week’s episode, we get to enjoy the second and final part of Michael Wright’s presentation on Physics within the Waldorf Curriculum. The study of sound is approached through mathematics and a story of Pythagoras, but begins phenomenologically with the actual experience of sound.

If you appreciate these podcasts and find value in them, please do us a favor and get the word out by “liking” and “sharing” each episode on Facebook! With your help, we could unveil the wisdom of Waldorf to countless families who have yet to hear of our movement!   

Enjoy the show!

Episode 022 - Physics Within the Waldorf Curriculum - (Part I)
In this week’s episode, Michael Wright brings forth a multifaceted presentation on physics within the Waldorf curriculum. In this first part of a two-part series, Michael takes us on a journey from the foundations of science in the younger grades to the actual elements of the physics curriculum in middle school and how those naturally interface with the music curriculum. Many thanks to Greg Howard for his assistance in this presentation!  

Enjoy the show!

Episode 021 - Circumambulating the Rivanna Trail (4th Grade Reflections)
Last fall and into mid-December, Ms. Elizabeth Hale and the 4th grade embarked on a series of eight hikes in order to explore the local 19.5 mile Rivanna Trail. In this week’s episode, you get to listen in on my conversation with Ms. Hale as she presents her perspectives on this truly unique educational experience. I also had the opportunity to interview the entire 4th grade later on that week, during which many of the students shared with me their reflections on circumambulating the Rivanna Trail. Please enjoy the show! 

The 4th Grade Rivanna Circumambulation was showcased in our most recent Annul Giving video: Click here to view the video.  

Enjoy the show!

Episode 020 - The Great Winterfest Review

In this week’s episode, I present to you: the Great Winterfest Review! On January 27th our community gathered together to witness many lovely musical offerings from our 1st through 8th grade students. There were verse recitations along with pentatonic flute, choral, and orchestral performances. It was apparent that the students (and teachers) had worked very hard in preparation for Winterfest and the audience made it clear that they loved hearing the fruits of their labor! 

Many thanks to all those who helped to make Winterfest such a great success! Enjoy the show!

Special thanks to Dana Patek (Choir Teacher), Justin Esposito (Orchestra Teacher), Emily Rosson (accompaniment on piano), Laurel Humiston (cello sectionals) and Amy Walder (private instruction)!

Below are the performance time markers:
4th Grade Strings (1:00)
The Duet - Paul & Aidan (5:30)
5th & 6th Grade Orchestra - w/ some 7th/8th Grade Guests (9:37)
7th & 8th Grade Orchestra w/ some 6th Grade Guests (12:45)
1st Grade Vocal Performance (21:31)
2nd Grade Vocal/Flute Performance (24:37)
3rd Grade Vocal Performance (28:58)
4th Grade Vocal Performance (32:11)
5th Grade Vocal Performance (35:53)
6th Grade Vocal Performance (40:48)
7th Grade Vocal Performance (43:30)
7th & 8th Grade Vocal Performance (47:03)


Episode 019 - Music Within Waldorf Education

In this week’s episode, Michael Wright, Faculty Chair at CWS, fields the question, "Why is music such a huge piece of Waldorf Education?"  His answer wends its way from the significance of lullabiles, the feeling life, and the pentatonic scale to the role of the breath, rhythm, and bringing the will to the practice of an instrument. 

Once again, Michael comes through with a thoughtful and comprehensive response to a hugely important question within the realm of education as a whole. 

Enjoy the show!


Episode 018 - Media and Screen Time (Part IV)
In this week’s episode, the Wednesday Morning Coffee Hour attendees have a deep conversation exploring a multitude of possible reasons as to why media is so pervasive within our society. Is it that we are craving connection? Are we simply addicted to these devices? How can we help our children (and ourselves) navigate the many pitfalls of media & technology today? 

Please join us as these ideas, and many more, are examined by a very astute group from the CWS community.  

Enjoy the show!

​Sources: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/

Episode 017 - Media and Screen Time (Part III)
In this week’s episode, continuing our Media and Screen-time theme, I bring to you an article from the Essentials in Education blog entitled A Case for Deferring Electronic Media in the Classroom. The article covers many of the positives and negatives of technology and screen-time, and why Waldorf educators say: it can all wait. You will find over 30 source links in the show notes if you care to have a more in depth exploration of the many topics presented within the article.
Please share your thoughts on the CWS Facebook page, and don’t forget to like and share the podcasts episodes!
Enjoy the show!
  1. http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/10/29/228125739/what-to-know-about-babies-and-screen-time-kids-screens-electronics
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0193397394900051
  4. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/bumc-mai013015.php
  5. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED527859.pdf
  6. http://www.parentingscience.com/violent-video-games.html
  7. http://www.livescience.com/52148-social-media-teen-sleep-anxiety.html
  8. http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v28/n10/full/0802706a.html
  9. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210196
  10. http://healthland.time.com/2011/11/18/brain-changes-in-video-gamers-addiction-or-just-people-having-fun/
  11. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain
  12. https://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/cognitive-control-in-media-multitaskers
  13. https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/insights/all-insights
  14. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/
  15. https://msu.edu/~nellison/Wohn_et_al2011_HICSS.pdf
  16. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(10)00770-6/abstract
  17. http://www.parentingscience.com/beneficial-effects-of-video-games.html
  18. https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx
  19. https://www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/digital_media_symposium_proceedings.pdf
  20. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED527859.pdf
  21. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/
  22. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/16/childre-nature-outside-play-health
  23. https://hbr.org/2014/09/the-creative-benefits-of-boredom
  24. http://www.stancoe.org/cfs/handouts/specialnds/pdf/importanceofsocialinteractions.pdf
  25. http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/
  26. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/students-who-use-computers-frequently-at-school-do-worse-2015-09-15
  27. http://www.oecd.org/education/students-computers-and-learning-9789264239555-en.htm
  28. http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/students-computers-and-learning/how-computers-are-related-to-students-performance_9789264239555-9-en#page2
  29. http://neatoday.org/2015/01/08/technology-classroom-dont-believe-hype/
  30. http://fortune.com/2015/04/28/education-tech-funding-soars-but-is-it-working-in-the-classroom/
  31. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnins.2013.00279/full
  32. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336361277/scientists-say-childs-play-helps-build-a-better-brain
  33. http://blog.waldorfeducation.org/2016/04/outdoor-ed-beyond-environmentalism/
  34. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/dec/16/cognitive-benefits-handwriting-decline-typing
  35. https://www.edutopia.org/stw-arts-integration-research#chart
  36. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html
  37. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_Waldorf_education

Episode 016 - Media and Screen Time (Part II)
Last week we heard Michael Wright's presentation in Part I of the Media and Screen Time Series, but this week, in Part II, the parents sound off and share their respective perspectives on the topic. As the discussion unfolds, the group acknowledges the great complexity of the issue and explores various angles on the topic, from using screens in moderation to the effects of screens on circadian rhythms--this insightful crew covers the spread.

Please share your thoughts on the CWS Facebook page, but for now: enjoy the show!

For more information about the Charlottesville Waldorf School and our wonderful community, please go to www.cwaldorf.org.

Episode 015 - Media and Screen Time (Part I)
This week on the Watershed we venture into a very complex and often touchy subject for many parents and teachers alike: the role of electronic media within the lives of our children and within our society as a whole. As technology continues to pervade more aspects of our everyday existence, Waldorf Schools have become some of the few remaining institutions where you don’t see screens on walls and in the hands of students.
Listen in as Michael Wright and the many insightful Wednesday Morning Coffee Hour attendees weigh in on this crucial topic of our time.
Resources that were mentioned in this episode:
Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It by Jane M. Healy, Ph.D.
Behind The Plastic: Looking Deeper into Technology (Article from A Real Life TM)
Who’s Bringing Them Up? TV and Children (Article from the September Issue of Echo)


Episode 014 - The Powerful Force of Curiosity
In this week's episode, during this magical time of the winter holiday season, I bring to you an article that discusses the importance of curiosity and how Waldorf education cultivates a learning environment that not only encourages curiosity but finds it to be fundamental in our efforts to inspire lifelong learners. Please visit www.waldorfeducation.org for other great articles just like this one.
I hope that everyone has a safe and delightful holiday and a happy new year!  You can find this article here: http://blog.waldorfeducation.org/2016/09/the-powerful-force-of-curiosity/


Episode 013 - Advent and the Spiral of Lights
In this week’s Episode, Faculty Chair, Michael Wright, explores some of the imagery that arises out of this dark time around the winter solstice and how we must strive to find and share our light within. Michael shares a lovely advent poem that honors mineral, vegetable, animal, and man and goes on to describe the beautiful and reverent ceremony that is the Spiral of Lights.

Faculty and communty members walked the Spiral last night and our studens will walk today.  Please enjoy the show!

Photo courtesy of Robert Radifera Photography


Episode 012 - Be Worthy of Imitation: Why Modeling Matters at Home and in Class (An Article from The Sophia Institute)
In this week’s episode, I share a great article from sophiainstitute.us that reminds us why it is so important that we all be of good character and interact respectfully with one another. It is not only the job of the teacher to do self-work--we are all responsible for how we act and, as you will find in today’s show, how we act is precisely what shapes our children (and, arguably, our society). 

Make sure you go check out sophiainstitute.us, where you’ll find a lot of other great articles just like this one!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 011 - Loving Authority with Jack Petrash (Part II)
This week’s episode is the second and final part of Jack Petrash’s presentation on loving authority. In the first part, Jack discussed parenting and the many intricacies of working with younger children.  In part two, Jack goes on to discuss some of the characteristics of the 9-year change and how those end up being small glimpses into the teenage years to come.
Jack provides many useful anecdotes and answers some challenging and thoughtful questions from our community.
Again, many thanks to Jack and to all the families who were able to attend.

Please enjoy the show!

Episode 010 - Happy Thanksgiving
This week’s episode is short and sweet. As we approach Thanksgiving Day this year, with all of the hubbub of travel and food preparation, let us remember to dwell on the magnificence of the multitude of blessings that we all may find within our family, friends, and community. Please enjoy this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox entitled, “Thanksgiving.”

We hope that everyone has a splendid holiday and look forward to seeing you once again, next week!


Episode 009 - Loving Authority with Jack Petrash (Part I)
Last Friday on November 11th, the Charlottesville Waldorf School community had the great pleasure of welcoming veteran Waldorf teacher, Jack Petrash, for our first community night of the school year!  He discussed our necessary roles as loving authorities and explored how we raise healthy, cooperative children and like ourselves at the same time!

Jack Petrash is an educator with over thirty years of classroom experience (having just completed his fourth class at the Washington Waldorf School) and a teacher of teachers at the Nova Institute where he is the founder and director. He has written extensively on issues pertaining to innovative classroom instruction, has served on the editorial board of the journal Encounter, and is the author of Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out. In addition, Jack has traveled extensively to work with parents. His parenting pieces have appeared in the Washington Post and on National Public Radio and he is also the author of Covering Home: Lessons on the Art of Fathering from the Game of Baseball, which received the National Parenting Publication's gold award. His third book, Navigating the Terrain of Childhood: A Guidebook for Meaningful Parenting and Heartfelt Discipline was released in August of 2004, the Nova Institute Press' first publication. 

Many thanks to Jack for such a deep, insightful, and delightfully humorous community night! 

Episode 008 - History within the Waldorf Curriculum - Articles from the Crossroads Seasonal Journal - Winter 94-95
As I have been gathering articles to share wity you on the show, I came across some lovely old "Seasonal Journals" that were published back when our school was the Crossroads Waldorf School.  It is truly enjoyable to look back at our origins and reassurning to hear that we still carry the same torch that was passed to us so many years ago.

So, this week I will be sharing two articles from the Winter Journal from the 1994-95 school year.  The first article discusses the study of history within a Waldorf Kindergarten (written by Sharifa Oppenheimer and Kate Von Briesen) and the second explores history within the grades (written by Jody Spanglet and Nancy Regan). 

Please enjoy the show!


Episode 007 - Biography with Marca-Maria Boggiano (Part 1 of 2)
This week, in part one of a two-part series, we hear from Marca-Maria Boggiano, who is trained in the Anthroposophical process of Biography and Social Art. Through various techniques and approaches, Marca-Maria reveals how the practice of Biography and Social Art allows one to work on self-development by bringing consciousness to the riddles of our respective biographies, work on healing, and then apply this personal growth towards our engagement with the other.

Please enjoy part I of Marca-Maria’s presentation on Biography!


Episode 006 - The Mother School with Barbara Gehrung
This week, we have the opportunity to hear from Barbara Gehrung, a current CWS parent, who had the unique experience of attending the very first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany. In her presentation, Barbara discusses the historical context of "The Mother School," the relationships between private and government schools, Waldorf stereotypes, and the many victories and challenges that can arise from within a Waldorf School experience.

Many thanks to Barbara for sharing her stories and perspectives!

Note: Click here to see a selection of photos of "The Mother School" from the book, "Die erste Waldorfschule" by Dietrich Esterle.
Episode 005 - The Temperaments with Michael Wright
In this week's episode, we get to listen in on another enlightening Wednesday Coffee Morning presentation during which Micahel Wright discusses the Temperaments in the context of teaching, parenting, and even nutrition.  If you'd like to view the handouts that are referenced in this episode, you may find them posted below.

Handout #1 - Temperaments Chart

Handout #2 - The Four Basic Temperaments

We have been receiving a great deal of wonderful feedback and praise from listeners near and far, so thank you all so much for listening and engaging these important ideas with our community!

Please enjoy this illuminating presentation by Michael Wright!

Episode 004 - A Glimpse into First Grade with Kate Walter
In preparation for the First Grade Readiness event this week, we thought it would be nice for everyone to hear Kate Walter’s presentation on the First Grade experience from last year’s Windows on Waldorf event.  Kate discusses classroom routines, the relationship between language and story, and the origins of the alphabet.

Please come join us this Thursday, October 13th from 6:30pm – 8pm and enjoy an evening with Early Childhood Teacher, Sue Lim, and current 5th Grade teacher, Suzanne Ryan, as they speak on the intricacies of First Grade readiness (https://www.facebook.com/events/1063140247087339/).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Episode 003 - Enter The Dragon - A Deeper Investigation of Michaelmas with Michael Wright
Did you enjoy Michael Wright's overview of Michaelmas last week?  Did it leave  you wanting to learn more?  This week you have an opportunity to go deeper into the story behind Michaelmas.

The discussion that unfolded at last week's Wednesday Morning Coffee Hour (9/28/16) approached Michaelmas from a number of angles, including a historical representation of St. George, spiritual imagery, and the significance of metaphor.  All of this led to a thoughtful and stirring conversation for all.

Please enjoy this extended look into Michaelmas!

***Many thanks to the attendees of this Wednesday Coffee Morning for their dynamic participation in this lively discussion!

Episode 002 - The Celebration of Michaelmas with Michael Wright
In this week's episode, our faculty chair, Michael Wright, discusses the impetus and significance of our school's autumnal festival of Michaelmas!

As we find ourselves in this transitional period moving from the warmth and abundance of summer towards the cold and desolation of winter, Michael explains how this is a perfect time for the development of the self, a time for courage, and ultimately, a time to open ourselves to love.

Please enjoy this overview of Michaelmas!

We hope that you will join us for the Charlottesville Waldorf School's Michaelmas Festival this Thursday, September 29th at 8:30 a.m. in the Pavilion - see you there!

Episode 001 - Wednesday Coffee Mornings with Michael Wright
This week I had a chance to sit down with Michael Wright, the Faculty Chair at the Charlottesville Waldorf School--we discussed the weekly Wednesday Coffee Mornings that he hosts and why he thinks that it’s so important that parents, families, and other members of the community have a chance to experience what a waldorf student learns and practices within our classrooms.

Please enjoy my conversation with Michael Wright.

These delightful and informative Coffee Mornings are held in the CWS Library from 8:15am-9:30am (and sometimes longer for those who are interested in staying) on every 1st, 2nd, and 4th Wednesday of the month during the school year.

On the 3rd Wednesday of each month we will have the PA meetings hosted by Liz Koors, the PA Chair, during which class parents share some of the details of what’s been happening in each class. 

Please join us--we look forward to seeing you there!