In the Classroom

2nd and 3rd Grades: Clothing and Fibers Friday, December 8, 2017
The second and third graders have been studying clothing and fibers this month. Beginning with fabrics made from animal sources such as leather and silk, students are gaining a better understanding and appreciation for the many items of clothing we wear every day. 
5th Grade: Persia Friday, December 8, 2017
One student’s map of ancient Persia.
2nd & 3rd Grades: Seasonal Fun Friday, December 8, 2017

The second and third graders enjoyed decorating salt dough ornaments this week.


Apple Blossom Garden: St. Nicholas Friday, December 8, 2017

A surprise visit from St. Nicholas and Rupert in Apple Blossom Garden!





1st Grade: Painting Friday, December 8, 2017
The first graders enjoyed a painting lesson in complementary colors. Students have learned to mix secondary colors and are exploring who they are friends with. Also in painting, students are exploring the color companions of of the vowels. A brings soothing warmth- aaah. I is cooler and often gives a feeling of narrowing- pinch,  thin, stick. 
1st Grade: St. Nicholas Friday, December 8, 2017
First graders enjoyed a visit from St. Nicholas on Wednesday.
5th Grade: Mesopotamia Friday, December 8, 2017

The fifth grade transitioned from studies of ancient Persia to Mesopotamia this week. They explored ancient forms of writing and created their own tablets out of clay.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades: First Snow Hike Friday, December 8, 2017

It was fun to take the oldest students on a hike during the first snow of winter, just like they did when they were in early childhood!

4th Grade: Animals & Humans Friday, December 8, 2017

The fourth grade is finishing up their study of the animals and humans and finding out many interesting things along the way!

1st Grade: Beeswax Modeling Monday, December 4, 2017

Beeswax modeling in first grade. Students formed stars to make a path for Mary to walk to Bethlehem.

1st Grade: Friday Feast 12/1 Sunday, December 3, 2017

First grade’s Friday nature walk and feast in the park. The children had such a blessed day outside, with the bright sun kissing their faces, still waters in the lake, hot veggie soup to warm their bellies, and even some delicious desserts. They took a full advantage of every minute of the lovely fall day. They spent three hours in the woods and it seemed not enough for their little adventurous hearts!

Apple Blossom Garden – Magic Forest Friday, December 1, 2017

Apple Blossom Garden adventures in the Magic Forest!

6th, 7th & 8th Grades: Geometry Friday, December 1, 2017
This year in geometry we are looking to apply the relationships and patterns observed in geometric drawing to every day situations and problems like finding the perimeter of structure to be created, or the area of kite that needs new paper.

“Living in the world without insight into the hidden laws of nature is like not knowing the language of the country in which one was born.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan


5th Grade: Form Drawing Friday, December 1, 2017

The fifth graders have been working throughout the year on their Rangoli skills. This type of form drawing requires great attention to detail and organization. As you can see, they are getting more and more beautiful!

1st Grade – Friday Feast Friday, December 1, 2017

First Grade Friday Feast at Lakewood Forest Preserve.

Apple Blossom Garden Kindergarten: Painting Friday, December 1, 2017

Blue meets yellow in wet-on-wet painting in kindergarten class.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades: Geography Saturday, November 25, 2017

Each student presented a tradition from a country in North or South America as part of their most recent geography block.

Wonder Garden – Puppet Story Friday, November 24, 2017

Miss Dina and the Wonder Garden, performing a Russian puppet story that Miss Dina grew up hearing. Precious! 

1st Grade – Watercolor Painting Saturday, November 18, 2017
First grade painting lesson, focusing on complementary colors.
5th Grade – Watercolor Painting Saturday, November 18, 2017
Painting a light in the darkness during this season of Martinmas.
6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Lanterns Saturday, November 18, 2017

The 6th, 7th and 8th Graders prepared beautiful lanterns for our Grades Lantern Walk last week.

Apple Blossom Garden – Thankful Saturday, November 18, 2017

At dinner time
our table is this size.
There is a place for
Father, Mother
Sister and me.
But when Thanksgiving comes,
You can barely believe your eyes.
The same table grows
to about this size.

In Apple Blossom Garden we are thankful for baby brothers, pets, finger knitting, Christmas, family, flowers, everything, teachers, movie night, the middle of nowhere, pretzels, myself, school and bows.

Photo: Guests at our beeswax Thanksgiving feast.

1st Grade – Music Friday, November 17, 2017

The first graders on a journey of listening to birds calling in the forest with their different flute tones during music class.

Early Childhood Lantern Walk – Glimpses Friday, November 17, 2017
Apple Blossom Garden – Movement Adventures Friday, November 17, 2017

Movement adventures in Apple Blossom Garden.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Reading Nook Monday, November 13, 2017
Second and third grades enjoy their new pillow-filled reading nook. It’s been a well-loved place to snuggle up with friends and enjoy a book. The children were surprised with this classroom gift last week after many weeks of hard work and good deeds done for others.
6th, 7th & 8th Grades – North American Geography Friday, November 10, 2017
The sixth, seventh and eighth graders are exploring the geographic regions of North America. In this block they are looking at the physical and cultural geography of the American continents, region by region and people by people.

Apple Blossom Garden – Outside Fun Friday, November 10, 2017

Early Childhood – Lanterns Friday, November 10, 2017

Early Childhood Lanterns – getting ready for lantern walk.

Apple Blossom Garden – Snack Time Friday, November 10, 2017

Snack time in Apple Blossom Garden before Lantern Walk.

5th Grade – North American Geography Friday, November 10, 2017

The fifth grade finished up their first geography block of the year! Moving forward from our studies in fourth grade (which focused on Illinois and the Great Lakes), we spent this block looking at the different regions that make up the United States. From legends and historical events to habitats and animals we explored that many aspects of these regions.

1st & 5th Grades – Knitting Buddies Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A lovely tradition of Waldorf schools across the world is for the fifth graders to guide the first graders in their pursuit of knitting. On Tuesday, November 7th, Mrs. Griffith’s first grade handwork class celebrated this milestone knitting lesson when they were introduced to their knitting buddies from Miss DuRocher’s class. The fifth grade buddies  instructed the fledgling knitters and guided them through their very first stitches. The passing on of knowledge is a moving, magical moment!

1st Grade – Extra Lesson Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Extra Lesson exercises strengthen student sense of direction and movement. 

1st Grade – Painting Lesson Wednesday, November 8, 2017
First grade painting lesson-exploring primary color combinations.
Sunflower Garden – Dear Parents Friday, November 3, 2017

Greetings, dear parents; Happy Halloween!

“Grow, grow, grow for me;
grow as big as big can be
so I may make for Halloween
the finest lantern ever seen
… … …
Gnome, gnome, good root gnome
May I take your turnip home
so I may make for Halloween
the finest lantern ever seen”
The children have enjoyed this story, with interactive singing, about a boy who wants to put a candle in his turnip. Family and friends try and try to help him pull it up from the ground… a favorite seasonal story about teamwork and permission.
We also enjoyed a little singing/movement story in circle time about a witch who doesn’t want to share her soup with anyone! Aside from the obvious moral about sharing, musically this story-song is an exploration of soft(spooky!) and LOUD! “…and the wind blew all around the house: ooo-OOO-ooo”.
We have welcomed a new student to our class; he is now our youngest “Mighty Oak” Kindergartner. Please greet him and his parents warmly when you see them!
Elizabeth Kelly
Apple Blossom Garden – Beeswax Leaves Friday, November 3, 2017

Leaves are falling to the ground, yellow, brown, and red.
Like a pitter patter rain, one fell on my head.

Beeswax leaf creations in Apple Blossom Garden.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Physics Chalkboard Drawing Friday, November 3, 2017

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” —Bertrand Russell

6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Surprise Visit Friday, November 3, 2017

DVWS alum Matthew R. stopped by for a visit on a day off of school and helped some of his old schoolmates study for a writing test.

1st Grade – Star People Wednesday, November 1, 2017
First grade made star people to see and feel the path to draw a five pointed star. Students are thrilled when they learn to draw it and will often fill a page with stars to show their enthusiasm.
We also thought about others in the five family: rose, apple, fingers on one hand, five holes on our faces etc.
2nd & 3rd Grades – Arithmetic Saturday, October 28, 2017

Second and Third Grades wrapped up their first Arithmetic block with regrouping in subtraction. All their previous practice with place value came in handy as the miller tries to keep his storehouse of grain in order. When he doesn’t have enough in one room, he must “Go next door and borrow some more.” Then he can solve the problem of selling his grain to hungry customers! The miller in these drawing is a little puppet the students made!

5th Grade – Fun Friday Saturday, October 28, 2017
The fifth grade had a marvelous day on Friday! They started off the day by hearing some Halloween stories by the famous storyteller Jim May. They also all enjoyed wearing pajamas to school for PAJAMA DAY!  The fifth grade current block is in North America Geography, and today they did a drawing of a scene on the eastern coast. Based on the drawing, the class had a discussion about what kind of habitats and weather one might find when heading north and east. Later on in the day they celebrated Halloween by carving pumpkins! No matter how many times you do it, it’s still always fun. They ended the day by enjoying some delicious pumpkin seeds!
5th Grade – Handwork Saturday, October 28, 2017

The children watched Mrs. Griffith over dye yarn with indigo that had already been dyed with goldenrod- yielding green yarn! They helped dye the yarn for their sock knitting projects. The fifth grade dye session yielded 2 skeins of green yarn and one of sky blue.

1st Grade – Pajama Party Friday, October 27, 2017

First grade pajama party!

Sunflower Garden – Hike Friday, October 27, 2017

Sunflower Garden hiked to the magic woods this Friday!

1st Grade – Number Exploration Friday, October 27, 2017

First grade is now exploring the nature (no pun intended) of numbers.

4th Grade – Norse Mythology Friday, October 27, 2017

The children in fourth grade have been enjoying the powerful images from the Norse Mythology. The story of the mighty Yggdrasil tree became an open road to the nine worlds, as it shared its wondrous beauty with us. We followed Loki to Jotunheim, met the guardian of the sacred well, watched the Norns spin the threads of destiny and laughed at Thor’s quick temper.

Wonder Garden – Marigold Magic Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wonder Garden explored the magic of marigolds this week when they used them to dye cloth.

Apple Blossom Garden – A loose tooth? Thursday, October 26, 2017

A loose tooth?

Apple Blossom Garden – Hike Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Apple Blossom Garden’s first hike to the “Magic Woods.”

1st Grade – Math Games Thursday, October 26, 2017

Math games in First Grade.

1st Grade – Walk & Playtime Friday, October 20, 2017

A walk and playtime in Lakewood Forest Preserve.

1st Grade – Friday Feast with Miss Donna Friday, October 20, 2017
First grade enjoyed Friday Feast with a visit from their kindergarten teacher Donna Brooks.
1st Grade – Preparing to Dye Wool Thursday, October 19, 2017

First Graders harvested marigolds this week which they will use later to dye cloth.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Handwork (Circular Weaving) Thursday, October 19, 2017

Second and Third Grades began work on their circular weaving projects this week. This craft is a true head, heart, and hands endeavor. Students must plan ahead for working with different colors; they must feel the harmony between each section of weaving to know what will be pleasing to the eye; and they must have nimble fingers and a strong will to see it through to the over-under-over-under end!

The weavings by students have slowly begun to look more and more like a spider’s intricate web–just like the one we’re reading about in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

2nd & 3rd Grades – “Body Scale” song Thursday, October 19, 2017

Second and Third Grade students sing the “Body Scale” with music teacher Elizabeth English. Each of the seven tones in the pentatonic scale   corresponds to a place on, just above, or just below, the body.  Mrs. English sings and demonstrates a particular pattern which the children are then challenged to repeat. They take great joy in the game, and are so proud when they correctly repeat the sequence!

5th Grade – North American Geography Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Fifth Grade has just begun their third block of the year- North American Geography. This block will be a survey of the different regions of North America, starting with the Great Lakes. Students were asked to create an illustration of our region and all it has to offer.


Early Childhood – Outdoor Play Thursday, October 19, 2017

Enjoying the fall season!

Apple Blossom Garden – Watercolor Painting Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Apple Blossom Garden wet on wet painting. Red meets yellow.


6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Physics Thursday, October 19, 2017
As part of our investigation of heat we dyed one flask of hot water red and inverted it over another flask of the same size filled with cold water. We observed that in this position the hot water remained in it’s flask. When we changed the position so that the hot water flask was on the bottom and the cold water was inverted on the top we observed a constant transfer of water between the two flasks.
This experiment aided us in our understanding of the relationship between temperature and density.
Sunflower Garden – Theatrical Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The children creating their theatrical company during our indoor play time.

Apple Blossom Garden – A Note from Mrs. Ieva Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dear Families,

HIKE DAY ~ We will begin our weekly Monday hike on Monday, October 23. Please dress for the weather and plan to pick up your child inside on hike days. Please make sure your Monday hiking child has a good night’s sleep, fortifying breakfast, and clothes that can handle what the woods may offer…including burrs! (Hats, mittens, rain pants or snow pants are expected based on the weather. Please make a bathroom stop before joining us on the play yard! Also, please no dresses or skirts for the girls and I would suggest pony tails or braids too)!

Starting next Friday, we are going to start to make soup. Our first soup will have potatoes from our own school garden! If you would like to share any veggies from your own garden, we would enjoy it very much!

In our circle time we are playing “Farmer Brown in Bungalow Town” game, where every child has a turn to be Framer Brown.

In our story time I started to tell the story “Harvest time”.  It is a cute story where a hedgehog family helps Grandpa Murphy harvest vegetables while he is having a long nap.
Mrs. Ieva

1st Grade – Battling the Dragon Friday, October 13, 2017

On a nature walk students battled the dragon with swords and acorns. Their imaginations are so alive.

1st Grade – Friday Feast Friday, October 13, 2017

First graders hard at work preparing peach crisp and vegetable dip for their weekly service meal Friday Feast.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Shelters Friday, October 13, 2017

The Second and Third grade wrapped up their study of shelters by building a sukkah for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Built of straw and tree branches, and lovingly decorated with flowers and found natural objects, the sukkah is a reminder of the wandering life early Jews had to endure as they fled their Egyptian captors. It is also a time to honor the bounty of the harvest and give thanks and gratitude for all of God’s gifts. The children took great joy in the building and decorating. When it was finished, we all squeezed inside for a delicious treat of challah bread and honey, traditional Sukkot foods for the first days of the holiday. Many thanks to the Fasman family for sharing the bread and honey with our class.

5th Grade – Book Presentation Friday, October 13, 2017

One of our fifth grade students came dressed as a character from a book that he read (Reptile Room, book 2 of “The Series of Unfortunate Events,” by Lemony Snicket) and gave a wonderful presentation of the book.

5th Grade – Rice Flour Forms Friday, October 13, 2017

Fifth graders also practiced making forms with rice flour!

5th Grade – Rangoli Form Drawings Friday, October 13, 2017

Fifth Grade has been working on forms called Rangoli—an intricate style of form drawing that requires attention to detail and organization.

Apple Blossom Garden – Imitation Play Friday, October 13, 2017
After watching puppet show “A Little Red House with No Windows, No Doors and Star Inside,” Apple Blossom Garden children are playing out the story.
4th Grade – Math Concepts Friday, October 13, 2017

Factual concepts of math have come to life this morning. Seven croissants for $50.75! What a deal! Can I please have a dozen more?!

1st Grade – R, W & D Thursday, October 12, 2017
Letter lessons continued with consonants R W and D this week. It takes a lot of practice to form the letters correctly.
1st Grade – Yellow Meets Blue Thursday, October 12, 2017
First graders explored what happens when yellow and blue meet.
Apple Blossom Garden – A note from Mrs. Ieva Tuesday, October 10, 2017

When I’m grown up, grown strong as an oak,

I’ll tame the wild dragon with one mighty stroke.

When I’m grown up, grown big as the world.

I’ll ride forth a hero with my banner unfurled.

Dear Families,

I would like to warmly welcome a new “mighty oak” Vaughn in our class. As well as his mom and dad Morgan and Mark Branson into our community!

What a weather change we had today! Pure autumn with some rain drops and whirling wind. Please make sure your children have proper outdoor gear.

For the last week and a half we have been starting our day with a little walk through the prairie (you can see some photos in our schools news letter). It is quite magical, especially when sun is shining.

Today we painted with wet-on-wet watercolor exploring the colors yellow and red and we’re going through the process of how we will paint and care for our materials. I hope to give you a chance to watercolor paint at our next class meeting. (The date is not set yet, but will soon be :))

We have had some changes in our snack schedule, adding some lentils and sauerkraut. Please enjoy the attachment with the most recent snack and activity update.

For the next couple weeks I will  continue to work with “Mighty Oaks” on tying bows and encourage this work at home, as well as finger knitting.

Please enjoy some of autumn activity ideas:

  1. Collect Leaves! We are at the beginning of the height of colors for the autumn season, so please get outside, take a hike, and enjoy time in nature and the changing of the trees. If you find small/medium size leaves about the size of your palm, please collect, press in a book (put heavy books on top), and use later to decorate your table.
  2. Carve a pumpkin and/or bake one to make into pumpkin pie, muffins, or whatever you desire. Be sure to bake the seeds.
  3. Relax and enjoy each other’s company ~ play a game, read a book together, rake leaves and jump in them, sit around a fire.

Mrs. Ieva

5th Grade – Ancient Cultures Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fifth Grade finished up their first ancient cultures block last Friday with a trip to a Hindu temple, and also enjoyed a delicious Indian meal at a local restaurant.

Sunflower Garden – A Note from Miss Kelly Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dear Sunflower Garden Parents,

“Oh, I wish me a galloping horse for to ride,
With a helmet of gold, and a sword at my side.
To the mountain I ride with a hey and a ho;
Against the old giant to battle I go;
Then I draw out my sword for a blow,
And I drive the old giant below!
Now, my pony, my pony, a-galloping go
Back to my home with a hey and a ho,
Where my Mother awaits me and smiles with delight,
For I bring her a basket of red apples bright.”

Themes of courage and heroism mingle with themes of homely comfort and nourishment in our circle plays, stories, and in playtime too. As the exciting Autumn winds stir us to new adventures, Mother Earth is calling her seed-children home to rest…

It was lovely to see so many of you enjoying our Harvest Festival last weekend. What glorious weather it was! We also had perfect weather for our apple-processing day on Tuesday– plenty of breeze to shoo the bees, lovely sunshine, and seasonable temperature… We peeled, cored, and chopped SO MANY apples! We will continue to enjoy our delicious applesauce with our porridge and with our granola for at least a couple more weeks.

This week in playtime the children have made so many “puppet plays” with our beautiful toys. It is delightful to see the children working together in groups to create these completely child-initiated story experiences. Yesterday, we actually had three different theater companies creating three different scenarios on three different “stages”—quite naturally it came about that the audience sat in the middle and turned around to view each play at the right time; and the players shifted into and out of audience mode so smoothly and attended so politely to each others’ stories– and the final curtain was just in time for clean-up time with perfect agreement. (Clean-ups are going pretty smoothly, too, as we are all becoming accustomed to how our room has a place for everything.) Your children are so full of imagination!

Very Warmly,
Elizabeth Kelly

All-School Food Drive – Now Through Thanksgiving Break Friday, October 6, 2017

Da Vinci Waldorf School is partnering with the Wauconda/Island Lake Food Pantry to provide donations to build up their offerings for the colder months. During this season of Michaelmas, we focus outward beyond ourselves to the needs of others. As part of our Service Learning curriculum we give the children opportunities for deeds that engage their wills and challenge them to think of others. Our school will collect donations from students, parents and the community from now until Thanksgiving break.

Every Friday in October and November the grade school
students and teachers will walk to the food pantry, housed
at the Township Offices just down the street, to
deliver what we have collected during the week.

We ask that every student in the school, including early childhood students, bring in one item per week between now and Thanksgiving—of course even more donations are always welcome! This is a very good way to engage your children in the spirit of giving and get them excited about our weekly endeavor.

After Thanksgiving, our Fourth Graders will be collecting donations for the Food Pantry throughout the entire school year. Please keep your donations coming weekly, as you are able!

Please place donations in the basket/bin just inside the front doors of the school.

Items specifically requested: diapers, feminine hygiene products, peanut butter, tuna, soups, macaroni and cheese, and cereal. Even fresh produce is welcome!

Our first walk to the Food Pantry will be next Friday, 10/13!

4th Grade – Michaelmas Fun! Friday, October 6, 2017

Michaelmas FUN!

4th Grade – Local Geography Friday, October 6, 2017

Fourth graders have worked hard during their Local Geography block on their penmanship and writing skills. They found delight in map making and hearing stories about Native Americans.

4th Grade – Clay Work & Painting Friday, October 6, 2017

Engaging imagination in clay work and painting!

1st Grade – Consonant Letters Friday, October 6, 2017

First grade continues lesson work with consonant letters through images. In this chalkboard drawing the dragon is hiding in his cave from the sword of Michael. Students copy the drawing then practice the formation of the uppercase and lowercase letters. They also recite verses exploring the use of the letters.

1st Grade – Winnifred and Sasha Friday, October 6, 2017

Students in first grade are following the story of Winnifred and Sasha as they adventure into the woods. This brother and sister pair, and their perils and triumphs, will provide the backdrop for many lessons about seasons, nature, and math.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Ancient Rome & The Middle Ages Thursday, October 5, 2017

As we wrapped up our exploration of Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages each student took a chance to share the biography of a historical figure from these time periods. Some summarized the life of their figure while others brought a dramatic presentation of a story from the figure’s life that they found particularly interesting.

5th Grade – Pen Pals Thursday, October 5, 2017

The fifth grade has some new pen-pals from Ecuador! One of Ms. DuRocher’s dearest friends is teaching English in a school in southern Ecuador. Her students sent the first batch of letters to the class—in Spanish. With the help of Señora Julian they translated the letters and learned a little bit about what it is like to live in Ecuador. They’ve started writing their letters in return and will send them very soon. This is a photo that the students will send to their new pen-pals.

1st Grade – Michaelmas Thursday, October 5, 2017
Michael’s sword will subdue the dragon! First graders had fun crafting a scene from the story of the Archangel Michael.
Sunflower Garden – Autumn Winds Thursday, October 5, 2017

“…then there was a whistling around the wall, and a singing around the house, and with a hey and a ho, the Autumn Winds blew into the garden: ‘Arise, arise, Mother Earth’s children! Arise and dance!’ The winds were whistling and singing in branches and in bushes, and one by one, Mother Earth’s children flew into the air…”

1st Grade – Farming Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This week’s First Grade class, harvesting potatoes and putting some fresh straw in the chicken coop.

Early Childhood – Apple Processing Day Wednesday, October 4, 2017
What a perfect day it was Tuesday for apple washing, polishing, peeling, and chopping in our Early Childhood classrooms!

Keeping little hands busy!

Apple Blossom Garden – Prairie Walks Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Apple Blossom children are starting their day with a walk through the Prairie.

“Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self interest,
not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our
mental, physical, and spiritual health depends on it.”
—Richard Louv
Apple Blossom Garden – A Word From Mrs. Ieva Monday, October 2, 2017

Thanks so much to all who attended our first parent evening! It was wonderful to sit together, to share some tea and good conversations, and to learn a bit more about your child and yourselves. And also thank you so much for all of your help at the Harvest Festival. What a glorious day we had!

Last week I finished showing the puppet show “A little red house with no doors, no windows and star inside” (This week we will play it out. Shh. It is a secret.)

Our circle time imagination has been a story of Honey-bee, who visits three very different flowers, and tells each one a secret — which fruit each will become, with help from the bee, and the sun’s magic power.

“Inside the hive a treasure is made
Inside the honeycomb, honey is laid.
Inside the hive it is dark as night
Where bees make honey
From sun’s golden light.”

On Thursday we worked with wool and made little Honey bees. These little bees inspired children to create their own puppet show.

This week we entered the season of Michaelmas…a time for taming dragons, taking up one’s courage, and doing GOOD in this world. In that spirit, Mrs. Jen will grind grains with children on Monday, which we will make into bread on Wednesday. It will be a special dragon bread with treasures (almonds and raisins) inside.

On another note, in our circle time we will have a special “knighting” ceremony each day. A few different children each day will be “knighted” to go forth and do good deeds. They will choose a special treasure from a bag to take home. No need to talk to your child about this…help me keep it special. I just want you to know that you may see a special treasure come home, and it is a gift.

Tuesday morning we will have lots of outdoor morning play, and apple washing. We’ll peel and chop apples to make apple sauce for all three classes.


Mrs. Ieva

1st Grade – Watercolor Painting Monday, October 2, 2017

This week’s first grade painting lesson explored the weight of blue as it fell from the sky into the deep blue sea.

1st Grade – Letters Monday, October 2, 2017

First grade began its work with letters this week. Images from stories are the foundation for both the formation and sounds of the letters.

One student’s lesson book drawing for the letter S. This lesson drew from the fairy tale The Six Swans.


1st Grade – Finger Games Monday, October 2, 2017
First graders engage in finger games during a handwork lesson.
6th Grade – Poetry Writing Friday, September 29, 2017

Where I’m From
by N.S.

I come from donuts on Sunday
and tacos on Tuesday
From flying the W in the yard
and Dumbledore and Harry Potter
From Madden and MLB to Sudoku and Monopoly
And the baseball diamond and the football gridiron
I come from me

Where I’m From
by J. R.

I’m from a Place of farmers
from Black Duck Minnesota.
I’m from a Place of snowy winter days.
I’m from an old house on a bumpy street.
I’m from a Place of carols around the Christmas tree.
I’m from a Place of reisengrute on Christmas Eve.
I’m from a Place where my grandma was an artist.
I’m from here.

5th Grade – Ancient India Friday, September 29, 2017

The fifth grade began their first ancient cultures block this week! Their first exploration is focused on ancient India and the majestic stories that make up an incredible culture. We started the week with an introduction to India and with a story about the creation of the world.

5th Grade – Helping & Service Friday, September 29, 2017

Our class parents AND students are staffing the Roots & Shoots Cafe during the Fall Festival on Saturday. The children spent some time this week preparing the menu and cafe signs for the big day. Children learn service, helping, and develop a sense of seeing beyond themselves throughout their curriculum and through such events.

5th Grade – Michaelmas Bread Baking Friday, September 29, 2017

On Wednesday we made bread dough (using 25 cups of flour!) and started baking fresh rolls for our Michaelmas celebration on Friday! Of course we had to sample a bit of our handiwork.

Apple Blossom Garden – Inspired Creativity Friday, September 29, 2017

On Thursday Apple Blossom children worked with wool—making little bees. This inspired them to create and perform their own play.

Early Childhood – Helping Friday, September 29, 2017

Early Childhood children are helping to sand new cutting boards for Wonder Garden.

Apple Blossom Garden – Finger Knitting Friday, September 29, 2017

Mighty Oaks are starting to finger knit in Apple Blossom Garden.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Illuminations Wednesday, September 27, 2017

With the warmth of the midday sun filtering in and the soft hush of nibs on paper surrounding us, it is easy to understand why the medieval monks felt closer to God as they brought new life to the ancient texts they were copying through they’re beautiful illuminations.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Shelters Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Second and Third Grade students dug into their Human and Animal Shelters block this week. We imagined what the first dwelling made by humans could have looked like.

Come see some of the beautifully created shelters on display in the main entrance lobby.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Stories of Creation Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Second and Third Grades studied Genesis and the stories of creation through painting and writing.

Then they explored many of the colors in creation, while wondering…”what did the first dwelling in creation look like?”

And finally—the riddle solved! The first house, or dwelling, was the human body!

All Grades – Glimpses from Beach & Nature Exploration Day Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On Friday, September 8th, the students and teachers of Da Vinci’s grade school enjoyed Beach and Nature Exploration Day! They ventured to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park in Zion for a day filled with exploration and fun.

We are extremely grateful for the transportation by bus, which was made possible by a $1,000 biodiversity grant received from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Independence Tube Corporation, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation and the Illinois Conservation Foundation.

Students took time to explore the local terrain and learn about the land and wildlife of northern Illinois. They enjoyed a hike through forests and along the beach, observing their surroundings as they went. There was a scavenger hunt and a group lunch. The very cool weather prevented the planned swimming treat, but students were able to wade and splash in the water and had a great time in the natural surroundings.

Many thanks to our teachers for enabling such a special outing for our students, and thanks to Mrs. Kristine Fiskum for the excellent snapshots of the day!

Wonder Garden – Welcoming the Children Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A glimpse of our Wonder Garden teachers welcoming their class.

Sunflower Garden – Autumn Nature Table Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Early Childhood – On the Playground Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Children from Apple Blossom Garden, Sunflower Garden, and Wonder Garden have enjoyed playing and exploring outside during these last hot days of the season!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Gardening and Science Monday, September 25, 2017

Second and Third Grade are excited about their weekly work of studying Gardening and Science….or is it Science and Gardening? Either way, it’s hands-on fun both in and out of the classroom.

Sunflower Garden – Birthdays, Ponies, Apples & Oaks Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy Sunday, Dear Parents;

Thanks so much to our latest birthday boy’s family for attending his school birthday celebration last week. It was lovely to have you at school with us. The Sunflowers now have two six-year olds, and we have several more birthdays to come in the near future.

In our circle time, we have left the bees and have been riding our ponies out to the orchard—there are many things to see along the way! And, we are enjoying gathering apples into our (imaginary) baskets and bringing them home (of course pony gets one to munch in thanks for our day’s ride…)

Trot, trot, trot;
Go and never stop!
Trot along my little pony,
Where it’s steep and where it’s stony;
Trot trot trot trot trot;
Now it’s time to stop! (whoa, ponies!)
Our Early Childhood team has decided to put off our annual apple processing day (when we’ll peel, core, and cut as many apples as we have on hand, outdoors in the morning—and make delicious applesauce inside in our classroom). We will wait a few more days for more autumnal weather (please?). We are hoping to do our apple processing on Tuesday Oct 3rd.


I know a gnome who has his home
Right in the middle of an oak tree.
He wears a hat
And breeches that
Are all of the color of the oak tree.
Two squirrels live above his head
A family of rabbits beneath his bed
I keep them warm and safe, he said
All in the shelter of my oak tree.
It is a delight to work and play with these little and big Sunflowers!
Elizabeth Kelly
Wonder Garden – Harvesting Tomatoes Friday, September 22, 2017

Wonder Gardeners picking fresh tomatoes for lunch.


Fifth Grade – Harvesting Kale & Making Chips Friday, September 22, 2017

This week the children harvested kale from our school garden and made kale chips! They showed great responsibility and caring in their work and willingness to share with others.

Fifth Grade – Botany Friday, September 22, 2017

This week concluded fifth grade’s first block of the year—Botany! It was an exciting week filled with new ideas and some beautiful drawings. Through our explorations, we have discovered how intricate the world of plants is. Our block culminated in the introduction to the flowering plants- the monocotyledons and dicotyledons. 

Fourth Grade – Orchestra Friday, September 22, 2017

Fourth graders are beginning to take strings lessons in earnest this year.

Wonder Garden – Glimpses Friday, September 22, 2017

Punching the bread dough

A snippet of play time

Corner conversations

6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Roman Arches Thursday, September 21, 2017

This week we learned the ancient Romans were not the first people to create stone arches. However, they harnessed their potential more than ever before, arranging them at intervals that allowed them to create massive structures such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Working in two teams, the students created a series of clay blocks and tried their hands at making a single arch that utilized all their blocks. It was not as easy as they expected!

7th & 8th Grades – Sculpture Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last week, during our first sculpture class, the 7th and 8th graders were asked to gather materials from nature and assemble them into a fully three-dimensional sculpture. This week we worked with the idea of relief sculpture. Initially the students thought the term relief had to do with the stress relieving activity of playing in the sand. However, they soon discovered ways to work with this material from their childhood that reflected their growing understanding of the world.

Click any image to view larger and begin the slideshow.

First Grade – Form Movements & Form Drawings Thursday, September 21, 2017
Part of form drawing is to have students move the form before they bring it to their desks. Here students walked the spiral to the verse Curly House of Snail.
After working in movement and other senses, students practice the forms in the air and with chalk, and finally draw them in their lesson books.
4th Grade – Chalkboard Drawing Thursday, September 21, 2017

The beautiful chalkboard drawing that greeted the fourth graders for their first day of school!

Fifth Grade – Harvesting Plants to Dye Wool Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fifth graders carefully weigh leaves for dyeing.

Fifth Grade harvested Indigo leaves in order to prepare dye vats to color wool. The school has a dye garden next to the greenhouse where specific plants are grown to produce natural pigments for dyeing. Third grade students are preparing to dye yarn for their own use in crochet later this year, as well as for early childhood. The fifth graders lent a hand, and will later help harvest plants and dye yarn for their projects as well.

Apple Blossom Garden – Fall Nature Table Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The beautiful, seasonal nature table in Apple Blossom Garden.

First Grade – Apple Tree Care in our Farm Program Monday, September 18, 2017

First graders removed grass overgrowth from the base of the apple trees.

First graders planned their care of the apple trees with Mrs. Faden. Last year several dwarf apple trees were planted at the front of the property.

First Grade – Friday with Friends Feast Monday, September 18, 2017

First graders ironed the napkins, put away dishes, and tidied the classroom from their Friday Feast.

First graders celebrated their first Friday with Friends Feast. The students prepared a spinach and carrot salad with lemon vinaigrette, cornbread with honey butter, and enjoyed burritos brought in by the Eastridge family.


Apple Blossom Garden – First Weeks Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dear Families,

Thank you all for helping your children transition so smoothly to coming to school. As first weeks go in early childhood, it was smooth!!!! The children got along playing enthusiastically, and our circle time and story time was well attended by our young ones. I’m thankful to have seven Mighty Oaks (those children six or turning six this school year) who set such a good example, offered a friendly, helping hand, and were so eager to help.

These first two weeks at school we focused on holding a strong daily rhythm. This will be the focus of September as we learn what is expected and find our place in the culture of our classroom.

We had our first beeswax modeling, painting, and baking.

In story time, as Michaelmas time is approaching, I told the story of a boy whose father helped him make a kite. The kite traveled all the way to the stars and received Angel Michael’s blessing, eventually turning into the shining sword and helping the boy do good deeds in the world.

Last week I started doing some fine motor work with our “Mighty Oaks.” I am showing them how to tie a butterfly bow. They are learning to tie first knots and then working this into making a bow which will come in very handy on bread making day when we tie aprons on each other with butterfly bows in the back. Please encourage tying at home with your six-year-old and soon to be six year old children.

Mrs. Jen had brought to our classroom monarch chrysalis. We have seen about 5 butterflies emerge and fly away. What a beauty!

Ms. Jen and I thank you for your children. They are a book that has never been read and is continually being written, so we have much to learn from them!

If you have any questions about the classroom or your child’s experience, please don’t hesitate to check in with me. Thanks so much.



2nd & 3rd Grades Friday, September 15, 2017
2nd and 3rd grades, working together to solve math riddles and problems
6th, 7th & 8th Grades – Rome Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last week we explored the founding of Rome and how history grows from myth. This week we have followed the development of Rome from a kingdom, to a republic, and finally to an empire.

First Grade – Foot Drawing Thursday, September 14, 2017
Students practiced straight and curved lines using foot drawing. Incorporating movement of the limbs with form drawing strengthens student awareness of space and direction.
First Grade – Straight Lines Thursday, September 14, 2017
First grade continued its experience of straight lines during the form drawing block.
First Grade – Painting Lesson Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Last week’s painting lesson explored the combinations of yellow with green and blue.  We imagined the sun in the sky and green fields. In the end we all agreed that yellow is better with blue than with green.
First Grade – Games Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First graders enjoy indoor games class. This is a great opportunity for practicing skills and cooperation. One student is hoping for a lucky roll!

First Grade – Recess Fun Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sand is one of the very best nature-made toys. Sand can become anything—from a massive planetscape on Mars to a birthday cupcake. Imagination digs deep as the sandbox becomes a world unto itself.

Wonder Garden – Stepping Up and Down Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Stepping up and down on a movement journey—a wonderful example of strengthening the sense of balance!


Sunflower Garden – Welcome Sunday, September 10, 2017

“The earth is firm beneath my feet,
the sun shines bright above;
And here stand I so straight and strong,
all things to know and love.

Kind hearts are gardens>
Kind thoughts are roots
Kind words are flowers
Kind deeds are fruits”

What a sweet class of children! They have made a very good start to our school year. Thank-you all so much for your patience with misplaced jackets (we found them both!), helping us get used to picking up children from the bus, bringing food for our bounteous school picnic, and for all your parental care and guidance this past week!

The children are getting to know a new classroom, and are falling easily into new and old routines. They are also getting to know new classmates, and greeting old classmates anew. I can see the beginnings of some firm friendships as the children feel what they share in common, and what excites them about each other. They are wonderful story-listeners, and such quick, agile and musical circle-time learners!

Our circle time imagination has been a story of Honey-bee, who visits three very different flowers, and tells each one a secret — which fruit each will become, with help from the bee, and the sun’s magic power.

“Inside the hive a treasure is made
Inside the honeycomb, honey is laid.
Inside the hive it is dark as night
Where bees make honey
From sun’s golden light.”

The children are playing with great verve and enthusiasm, both indoors and out. We had our first beeswax modeling and woodworking days, and this coming week we will begin painting, baking, and more… They seem to be enjoying their snacks (I only heard one “I don’t like it”!), and our transition times are very smooth considering it’s our first week.

Elizabeth Kelly

First Grade – Observation, Movement, and Form Drawing Thursday, September 7, 2017

After hunting the great outdoors for tall trees and bending blades of grass, and moving their bodies in lines that go up and down and all around, first graders drew straight and curved lines in their lesson books. These activities of observation, movement, and form drawing are the foundation for letter formation, illustration, and a strong sense of spatial dimension.

5th Grade – Botany Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ms. DuRocher’s beautiful chalkboard drawing awaited them on their first day.

The fifth grade’s first block of the year is botany. They will be exploring the plant kingdoms and how different plants grow and flourish.

Below you will see various drawings of what students imagined when they were asked to picture a scene in nature.

1st Grade & 8th Grade – Rose Ceremony Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Rose Ceremony was a beautiful beginning to the first day of school and a warm welcoming of our new first grade class. As we came together as a community to share and honor this milestone, excitement was shining from each new face. The first graders were gathered by their teacher as the spectator circle swelled. Parents held their breaths, laughed, shed tears, and smiled as the children of the new first grade class took the first steps of their new journey as grade-schoolers. Our oldest, eight-grade student welcomed each of them with a smile, a handshake and a rose.  During Graduation in June this welcome will be reciprocated with a send-off  in another Rose Ceremony.

I’m struck by the cycle at work, and the intricate ways in which our paths are interwoven. Each young child is ushered into the school community, and will someday complete the circle – and begin it anew – as they hand out a rose as an eighth grader to begin the next cycle.

“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments.”
― Sarah Ban Breathnach

In the Classroom Monday, September 4, 2017

In the Classroom

Follow each class through the school year. Visit often to enjoy photos and information about curriculum, field trips, exciting happenings, special moments, celebrations and more.

Stay tuned—this year’s  journey begins September 5th!