Link to Home Page
515 Cougar Ridge Drive S.W.   
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3H 5G9   
Phone: 403-287-1868  |  Fax: 403-287-3414   



Two hundred people participated in our Gateways Conference this year. Dr. Adam Blanning built a rich picture of children's being and becoming in the world through what he summarised as "self-soothing" and "engagement" activities. Adam is a medical doctor and GP who has also studied anthroposophical medicine. He also serves as a "school doctor" in Waldorf schools in Colorado, where he observes children in their classroom settings. When he meets with the faculty after making these observations, his therapeutic insights support deeper understanding of the children's ways of being, accompanied by possible strategies for working with the children.

Adam's keynote addresses were informative and reassuring and his suggestions for supporting children's well-being are manageable. He even talked about what he calls the WPGS - the Waldorf Parent Guilt Syndrome. Some of his points included:
  • Rhythm is your best friend.
  • Keeping your children warm is your responsibility. Children can't tell when they're cold.
  • Self-soothing and engagement are capacities that have to be consciously built; they don't just unfold and develop on their own.
  • Wrestling or its equivalent in touch can be helpful for children to make the transition into sleep.
  • Learning morality is not a given. It has to be learned through trial and error and through what we as adults model for children.
  • Children need to experience fever.
Adam offered reflections from his medical practice, from being a father himself, and from what he observes as the impacts of current culture on our lives and on our children's lives:
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Are we all getting a little more autistic?
  • One in nine children is diagnosed with ADHD. What does this mean? We have children struggling to connect with the world.
  • Team sports at an early age can make the children too self-conscious too soon.
The morning and afternoon Workshops on offer were diverse, very interesting, and well received. The many conversations, encounters, meetings, and connecting that happen between sessions and over snacks or lunch are more of the meaningful gifts participants receive which make the Gateways Conference so worthwhile for everyone there.

The Gateways Conference Planning Committee of Brenda Porter, Cathie Foote, MaryWyatt Sindlinger, and Sue Miller have to be recognised and applauded for making the organisation of this conference look so easy and like it is so much fun to do! Along with their team of volunteers from our parent body and from our faculty, and the nourishing food from our kitchen under the guidance of Chef Stephen Gilmour, we have much to be thankful for.

We can also look forward to next year's 5th Annual Gateways Conference when our Keynote Speaker will be the Calgary Waldorf School's long-time friend and associate and Waldorf master teacher, Jack Petrash from Washington, DC. See you there next April 11 and 12, 2014!

Kathy Brunetta, Pedagogical Administrator

The Gateways Conference Committee is most grateful for the generous outpouring of support from our School community members and local merchants. Their donations enable us to offer a multitude of wonderful draw prizes.

Blush Lane Organic Market (Aspen Woods)
Calgary Co-op (West Springs)
Calgary International Children's Festival
Carri Clark
Michelle Crawford
Curious Hair Skin & Body (Aspen Glen Landing)
Geri Dale-Greiner
Edible Rebellion
Belinda Fireman
Jenny Fulton
Malcolm Glover & Sophia Arts
Good Earth Café (Aspen Glen Landing)
Lisa Hildebrandt (Piper's World)
Moksha Yoga
MonkeyShines Children's Books
My Favourite Ice Cream (West Springs)
Nielsen Integrative Health and Wellness Clinic
Jennifer Palmer
Matt Palmer
Pure Yoga
Safeway (Aspen Glen Landing)
Cheechum Soby
Marie Snippa
Splurge Flowers & Gifts in Strathcona
Vin Room (West Spring)
Westside Recreation Centre
Cindy Winther
Samantha Whalen & Storyfair Productions
Shelley Wright
Hurray! Our Fourth Annual Gateways Conference is completed and successful.

Our conference, with Keynote Speaker Dr. Adam Blanning, achieved all our goals in a joyful coming together of school community members, Waldorf friends from near and far, and new friends who came to learn about Waldorf. Each year our number of paid attendees has increased, and we succeeded again this year, growing from 126 paid registrants in 2012 to 140 in 2013. We sold out one week ahead of the Conference, and actually squeezed in 5 more happy attendees! If you find numbers interesting, here are a few more:
  • 36 joined us for their first Gateways.
  • More than half have attended at least two of our Gateways Conferences.
  • About 80 attendees are connected with the school (past or present families/staff).
  • 96 registered from Calgary.
  • 27 registered from Edmonton.
  • We had visitors from as far north as Jasper, as far east as North York, ON, as far west as Squamish, BC, and as far south as Millarville, AB. The little hamlet of Goodsoil, SK has been represented at the last two Conferences.
We are delighted that the word is spreading! We are very grateful to Doug Ward for his fine work in preparing our brochure, poster and new car window decal design, as well as giving website coverage. Special thanks as well to Blake Munroe who gave several extra hours of expert, volunteer time to work on improving our sound system in the Assembly Room. And thank you, Marie Snippa, for once again being our official Gateways photographer; your wonderful photos will grace our website in the coming year as we head into planning for 2014. Mia Curley was our "flower power" again – thank you, Mia, for your beautiful array of tons of tulips. We also want to acknowledge Susie Dunn's dedication in leading the way again this year on securing generous donors and fantastic draw prizes. Kerry Porter is our stalwart helper every year, just pitching in and doing whatever needs to be done, especially during the conference itself, when there is so much set-up and take-down to do – before, during, and after the event.

"Many hands make light work," and the work of our intrepid Gateways Planning Committee (comprised of Cathie Foote, MaryWyatt Sindlinger, Sue Miller, and Brenda Porter) was supported by numerous volunteers.

Behind the scenes volunteers worked on a variety of projects to help our Conference come together. We are most grateful for the support that included stuffing the registrants' information folders, soliciting donations for our door prizes (and picking them up), helping with set-up and take-down, setting-up and manning the Pixie Hut school store, and supporting Stephen and Luka in the kitchen. Our many volunteers included: Karen Wilson, Lianne Clark, Susie Dunn, Adrianna Ki-Michaels, Holly James, Bianca Koebel, Erin Ryan Walsh, Kelly Bakhtiar, Cheryl Kroeker Shields, Heidi Gedlaman, Jennifer Doedel, Michelle MacEwen, Fiona Fulton-Bowles, Carmen McDonald, Blake and Janson Munroe, Shannon Rizzuto, Gerry Schlosser, Marie Snippa, Chris Moffat, Terry Stasiuk, Kam Yospanya, Mia Curley, Derek Desrochers, Peter Rehak, Vivian Schweitzer, Melissa Tonge, Colin Stephen, Brandie Cormier, Avril Wright, Kathy Wise, Glynnis Baker, and Kerry Porter.

Our ever helpful Early Childhood faculty also helped with preparation for the Friday evening and Saturday morning snacks, and with registration and take-down. Thank you to EC faculty Vivian Milaney, Rose Maynard, Karen Fjestad, Alison Smoole, Miriam Bezeau, Pat Cook, Mary Lou Sindlinger, and Arwen Cruse for warmly welcoming our guests.

Early Friday evening, the parent members of our Board generously served their homemade and delicious soups, salads and desserts to workshop presenters and faculty who were part of the behind-the-scenes activities. Our sense of community was nourished during this time of breaking bread together just before the Conference officially began.

We are filled with gratitude to the following for their workshop contributions: Dr. Adam Blanning, Dr. Allissa Gaul, Hema Venkateswaran, Miriam Bezeau, Malcolm Glover, Kathy Brunetta, Sandy Ockenden, Christina Wallace-Ockenden, Laureen Loree, Dean Carter, Rose Maynard, Greg Nybo, Michelle Malmberg, Jack Searchfield, Patrick Knoll, and Marie Snippa.

Without conference attendees, it would be a rather small party, so we are also most grateful to those who attended the conference and embraced the event with enthusiasm and appreciation.

A well-fed crowd is also a happy crowd. Stephen Gilmour and his kitchen team's snack and luncheon were crowd-pleasers! Good Earth (Aspen Landing) provided us with delicious coffee to keep us going throughout the day.

The MC has the important role of keeping things flowing smoothly and on time. MaryWyatt Sindlinger again filled the job perfectly with her warmth and humour.

We also had wonderful behind the scenes support from CWS staff Shannon Parry, Dinah Clark, Sandra Langlois, and William Hayes, for which we are most grateful. Leabeth Quinn is very generous in moving and putting away all her Band equipment so that we can set-up and use the Assembly Room. Our faculty was extremely supportive in preparing the school for this event. The hallway display tables were a delight and the bulletin boards looked lovely. We appreciate the efforts teachers made to prepare their rooms for our workshop use.

School and Community members munificently supported the conference with donations which are used as door prizes. We had more than 40 happy prize winners! The donor list is worth a read.

If you attended the conference, please share your experiences with others – we are sure they will be quick to sign up for next year's conference! Our Planning Committee is very excited to announce that Jack Petrash will be our keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Gateways Conference on April 11 and 12, 2014. Make a note to mark it on your calendar now! If you've already had the good fortune to hear Jack speak, then you know that next year's Gateways will sell out quickly.

Special thanks to the Planning Committee members MaryWyatt Sindlinger, Sue Miller, and Cathie Foote (and behind the scenes member, Karen Wilson) for supporting this initiative with enthusiasm, energy, and dedication.

My sincere apologies if I missed someone's name in all the thank you's mentioned above!

Brenda Porter
Chair of the Gateways Conference Planning Committee