January 2021
News, Notes & Updates

At the close of every faculty meeting we recite a verse by Rudolf Steiner: "Imbue thyself with the power of imagination; have courage for the truth; sharpen thy feeling for responsibility of soul." As our students progress through the grades, our teachers work with these three virtues (among others) to teach their students about our world with a clear and critical eye while at the same time filling them with love for the world and the ability to see and cherish the beauty it contains. Doing both of these things at once is not always easy. In fact, I would say it is an art.

Perfecting an art takes more than raw talent, it requires dedication to your craft and lots of practice. Part of the teaching practice in a Waldorf school involves regular discussion among colleagues, curriculum re-evaluation, and continuing education. As part of this work, we recently completed the second of a two-part training with the Center for Racial Justice in Education, really only scratching the surface of how to approach dismantling racism through the lens of a school. This is challenging work and our faculty and staff are embracing it.

I've been struck twice recently with poems that filled me with the same inspiration that I receive through the work of our teachers, this twining of critical appraisal and profound optimism. The first, of course, was National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's glorious reading of her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb. The second caused me to pause during the flurry of weekday morning breakfast-making and lunch-packing. Kwame Alexander--whose book, The Undefeated, is featured below--is NPR's poet in residence and has been working on a project of crowd-sourced poems. This week he shared the poem, This Is Our Dream, which he crafted with the words of listeners who were likely also inspired by Ms. Gorman's poem (her words, too, are included in this quilt of a poem). You can read the poem in the link, but I recommend taking the time to listen to it.

Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to the Zoom video link shared below of HVWS class of 2009 alum Elisa Navarro presenting her Master's capstone project. We thank her proud mama, Isabel Gandara (our Sunflower Kindergarten teacher), for sharing the link!

May you feel inspired,


Christina Dixcy
Communications Director and Office Manager
View our COVID-19 Community Health & Campus Operations Plan on the Current Parents page of our website.
School will be closed for Winter Break February 15-19.
Summer Camp 2021
We are pleased to share that we are actively planning for our Summer Camp to return this summer!

Offering two groups—Explorers for 3- to 8-year-olds and Artists for 9- to 14-year-olds—HVWS Summer Camp is the perfect place for natural and exciting summer fun!

Our Explorers play with water and mud; participate in group games; enjoy organic gardening, cooking and snacks; and make arts and crafts related to the theme of the week using natural materials such as wool, beeswax, silk, wood, etc. We follow a simple daily rhythm that provides the campers with a sense of trust and ease while they explore nature, make new friends, and learn new skills.

  • WEEK 1: June 21-June 26, MUSIC & MERRIMENT
  • WEEK 2: June 28-July 2, CIRCUS & CLOWNS

Our Artists are more capable of challenging themselves physically and socially. Our goal is to provide opportunities that meet our older campers developmentally in a safe, natural environment. Our Artists learn specific skills such as theater improvisation, shelter and vehicle building, wilderness survival, musical instrument construction and playing, archery, and circus arts.

  • WEEK 1: June 21-June 26, CIRCUS ARTS
  • WEEK 2: June 28-July 2, CIRCUS ARTS

With questions about summer camp, please e-mail Camp Director, Marcela Perez, at mperez@waldorfct.org.
HVWS Stories: Teaching Outside
Our Spanish Teacher, Maestra Marcela, has eagerly taken on the challenge—and opportunity—of outdoor teaching this year. She writes beautifully about the experience in our most recent blog post, excerpted below.

“When my daughter was three years old, I visited the kindergarten at HVWS. It soon became clear, after having visited other schools, that I wanted her to attend a school where developing children’s imagination was one of the most important goals. The few toys in the classroom were objects that could be used in multiple ways to invent many different worlds and tell a variety of stories created by children at play. The kindergarten teachers also emphasized the importance of spending time in nature and being prepared to play outdoors under sunny skies as well as under rain or snow during the cold winter days….This year, the opportunity to have the whole Grades playground as the Spanish classroom has opened a new range of possibilities for my students and me to further explore the above two principles of Waldorf education…Creating a new curriculum for all the grades is necessarily a work in process, open to experimentation and co-creation with the students. The weather has been incredibly sunny so far this school year and has allowed us to do all sorts of outdoor activities. Below are some examples of what we did in the fall, and what we are doing this winter.”

Click below for the full post and more photos!
From the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Looking to expand your child’s library?
The HVWS DEI Committee has begun gathering recommendations from teachers and parents to share on Instagram.

If you have a suggestion to share, DM us on Instagram or email cdixcy@waldorfct.org.

The Undefeated
Written by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

“The Undefeated” is a poem, a love letter, an homage, and a celebration of Black American heroes, famous or not. It can be read just like a poem, taking in the gorgeous pictures, or with a deeper look into the history of the people we see and hear on the pages. Geared toward grade 3 and up. Purchase your copy at our local independent bookseller, Byrd's Books.

Looking for a podcast?
With recommendations from the HVWS DEI Committee, The Invention of Race traces the development of racial and racist ideas in a short one-hour special. This introductory overview from The Center for Documentary Studies is adapted from the (also recommended) 14-part series, Seeing White.
Alumni Updates
Elisa Navarro, HVWS Class of 2009, presented her thesis for her Masters degree from Georgetown University last month over Zoom. You can watch her presentation here. She begins at 1:46:56 and ends at 2:09:06 (followed by questions). Her Masters is in Emergency and Disaster Management, and she did her thesis on the impact of the politicization of humanitarian aid on the current crisis in Venezuela.

Thank you, Alex Campbell, HVWS Class of 2007, third-year medical student studying at the New York Institute of Technology College of Medicine! ‘Every Step Forward’: The Role of Med Students in the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Classroom Updates
Dandelion Kindergarten
Marcella Kapsaroff and Liz Koors

The Dandelion Kindergarten has excitedly welcomed King Winter and Jack Frost to our dear little play yard. We know that all of the little animals are sleeping in the leaf litter and that Mother Earth keeps the seeds and animals warm during the cold winter until springtime brings new birth. The Dandelion children have loved the circle movements of sawing wood and then chopping it into firewood with their axes. These cross-lateral movements are embedded in the story as the children pretend to be woodcutters walking through the forest. After collecting their firewood, the children notice King Winter walking through the forest and then they are snowflakes summoned by their king to fall to earth and bring beauty to the bare branches of a lonely tree. The children love to pretend to be snowflakes and "kiss" each branch of the one child standing tall like a tree. This beautiful circle comes to life outside in our play yard as we have many bare trees and a little chickadee bird that chirps at us as the children play. Indoors the children are wearing their masks as they paint, draw, model with beeswax and make bread. Sun Children, those children who will move to 1st Grade next fall, are working on their finger knitting and will soon begin work on their wooden sailboats. All the children have worked hard sawing a real log into disks, and they feel that they are truly woodcutters, sawing the wood to use in their play in our little play yard.
Rose Kindergarten
Carrie Reilly and Sandy Proksa

The Rose Class did not miss a beat after their holiday break! They have been making lovely winter soups in the sandbox, sledding at the first sight of a snowflake, and enjoying all the imaginative ideas they share with each other during inside play. The Sun Children (who turn six years old this school year) are starting to work on some special projects. They would like their current project to remain a surprise, so keep your eyes open for a picture in the next classroom update!

"Snow, snow, snow, from heaven snows the snow..." enjoy your winter everyone!
Sunflower Kindergarten
Isabel Gandara and Aliz Mihok

Our circle for the month of January had many nursery rhymes that included mouse and cat poems. While reciting or singing the rhymes the children became cats and mice which involved a lot of movement. Our story was about Babouska. Babouska is a Russian tale about an old woman who was visited by the Three Kings. The children loved the story with all of its songs. On the first week of January we had our own Three Kings celebration. The Three Kings and their gifts symbolize wisdom. The celebration was wonderful. At snack time the children ate a delicious zucchini bread with three gems hidden inside: one red, one blue, and one green. The children who found the gems got to wear a crown and a cape with the respective colors. They were all very excited about finding the gems. (Some of them came to school wearing clothes the color of the king they hoped to be!) Even though only three children found the gems, it was very special to see how the rest of the children were happy for them. The children are also having a lot of fun outside, especially when there is snow on the playground! Many of them made little snowmen...
First Grade (Class of 2028)
Jennifer Chapman

The 1st Graders have completed the entire alphabet and have learned the short vowel sounds and started reading sight words! They are learning to decode consonant-vowel-consonant words and have started "kid writing" in which the children write their own sentences using the skills they are learning; it's quite phenomenal. Their phonemic awareness is developing in such a beautiful and natural way for each of the students.
Second Grade (Class of 2027)
Laura Wittmer

The 2nd Graders have been working hard in Mathematics. They are well on their way to showing mastery of the 2, 3, 5, 10, and 11 times tables and have earned many gems reciting these up and back, with equations, and randomly. We have been working with place value up to 1,000 and can now add and subtract 1, 10, 100, or 1,000 from a given number. We have also learned to write the names of the numbers up to twenty in our morning dictation and are working on division as both sharing and grouping. We have been hearing the story of Tal: His Marvelous Adventures with Noom-Zor-Noom by Paul Fenimore Cooper and had fun making the donkey Millitinkle in beeswax and creating free drawings from our favorite scenes. In Phonics, we each wrote our own ck sentence and illustrated it for our books. We are looking forward to beginning our Fables block next week.
Third Grade (Class of 2026)
Emily Remensperger

The 3rd Grade has been busy in our Grammar block. We learned about and practiced crafting imperative sentences, sorted through action, helping and being verbs, and we will end our week with possessive pronouns. Throughout the block there have been lots of games, silly sentence writing, and fun ways to enliven the challenging yet rewarding subject of grammar.
Fourth Grade (Class of 2025)
Janelle Beardsley

The 4th Grade has enjoyed the Human and Animal main lesson with a special focus on owls. We are reading a memoir by Farley Mowat called Owls in the Family. We are choosing which animals we would like for our animal projects. There are so many wonderful possibilities! Right now we are in a Math block, focusing on fractions. Spelling and Grammar class sees us exploring the parts of speech and writing dictations.
Fifth Grade (Class of 2024)
Allison Washington

The 5th Graders have been in a Math block, learning to express fractions as decimals, making conversions between the two, and comparing and ordering them. Additionally, in our Language Arts skills classes this month, the students have enjoyed reading the book How I Became a Ghost, as an extension of our North American Geography block. This historical fiction account is about a young boy in the Choctaw nation and his death on the tragic Trail of Tears. It has been enlightening for students to gain a deeper understanding of Choctaw culture and custom, as well as an awareness of a dark spot in our nation's history. Next, we look forward to continuing to explore the history of human consciousness through the ancient myths from Egypt and Mesopotamia!
Sixth Grade (Class of 2023)
Leslie Lew

The 6th Grade studied Ancient Rome this past month. As our country was rocked by the events of January 6 at the U.S Capitol Building, we discussed the governing bodies in Ancient Rome and how some of what was created is still used today. As we discussed current events, we also reflected on how the Roman kings, emperors and Caesars each contributed to Roman society and to history. As 6th Graders, on the precipice of early adolescence, these discussions respect their budding development while remaining connected to the curriculum. The drawings are of the class system and the elephants used in attacking Rome by the General Hannibal during one of the Punic Wars.
Seventh Grade (Class of 2022)
Eighth Grade (Class of 2021)
Laura Hayes

For the past three weeks Grades 7 and 8 have worked on Geometry and its 2-D and 3-D shapes. The students built on their knowledge and skills from the past years and reconnected with compass, protractor, and straightedge in no time. There was also time during main lesson to talk about current events, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and of course the inauguration. We cherished the poem The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman, the National Youth Poet Laureate who spoke at the inauguration.

"The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it"
(from The Hill We Climb)

When your light shines brightly, what are you brave enough to see? What are you brave enough to be?
Audio: A Christmas Carol
If you haven't already, take some time to enjoy our 7th and 8th graders' delightful radio production of A Christmas Carol!
Special Mentions
In Memoriam
We send our deepest sympathy and love to Aliz Mihok and the Mihok family on the passing of Aliz's mother and to Jennifer Shortell and the Shortell/Burnop family on the passing of Jennifer's mother.
We are sad to announce the passing of Ann Pratt on New Year’s Day 2021. Ann worked at HVWS as Administrator in 2007-08. She served as a mentor to many of us, oversaw the founding of our College of Teachers, and brought us her deep love and understanding of Waldorf ideals and principles. She had a bright and sparkling wit and was not afraid to tell the truth.

Ann was born into an anthroposophical family, the Courtneys, who co-founded the Threefold Community in Spring Valley, NY. She attended High Mowing, the Waldorf high school in New Hampshire, graduating in 1950. She became a Waldorf teacher and remained a pioneer and champion of Waldorf education over the course of her long life. Among her many achievements, she founded the Pine Hill Waldorf School, worked as facilitator at the Milwaukee Urban Waldorf School, and co-founded the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Antioch University New England. (She was also Melissa Merkling’s kindergarten teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City.)

We will remember Ann and her husband Swain with love and gratitude. In her memory, HVWS has made a donation to the Fellowship Community, her home for the past few years.
Support HVWS
2020-2021 Annual Fund
Help us reach 100% community participation!

The Annual Fund helps us keep our commitment to our community by allowing us to provide a rich Waldorf curriculum supported by talented and experienced teachers. It allows us to strive to keep tuition affordable with the goal of providing this education to as many children as possible.

Thank you for your support!
Click to view our 2019-2020 Annual Report
(Best viewed in Google Chrome)
Dutch Mills Bulb Fundraiser
Order your spring bulbs online through Dutch Mills and HVWS will receive 50% of the proceeds!

Available items include:
  • Elf Lilies
  • Spectacular Gladiolus
  • Hanging Strawberry Garden
  • Peacock Orchids
  • Bleeding Hearts
...and more!

Orders may be placed through June 1, 2021. Bulbs will begin shipping to CT after April 1, 2021.
School Store Now Online!
We are selling all the items that you know and love: modeling beeswax, crayons, color pencils. Plus new toys, homeware, and books. New items are being added daily!

If you don't see something that you know we stock, please email: hvwsstore@gmail.com.

The Rainbow Garden School Store is volunteer-run. All proceeds support the HVWS operating budget.
Summerfield Waldorf Calendar
After such a difficult year, it is hoped that this beautiful Waldorf Wall Calendar will provide artistic inspiration and hope moving into 2021 for families in Waldorf communities around the country.

Sample pages can be seen here in low-resolution PDF form: Front and Back cover | Monthly Pages | Intro Pages 

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

"In 2020, with the pandemic and myriad weather-related events, we are finding new daily rhythms, new ways of encountering the earth and each other. When the world has changed so much that we cannot count on seasonal events to occur 'on schedule'—we can appreciate anew the orienting influence of a calendar, especially one highlighting the sensitivity and appreciation for beauty, truth and goodness fostered by Waldorf education."

If you ever needed a concise illustration of what is so special about a Waldorf education, here it is! These are the 'pictures worth a thousand words' to show friends, work colleagues, or curious grandparents—a gorgeous calendar that will adorn the wall of any kitchen, home office or workspace.
Or if you just appreciate beautiful art, this calendar delivers intriguing surprises with each monthly cycle. Even those families that are wedded to their digital device for scheduling, need beauty in their lives: this publication is like a personal Waldorf art gallery that changes every month.

This 2021-22 Wall Calendar spans 15 months from Jan 2021-Mar 2022. Calendars are $18 each, and $15 each for orders of 10 or more.

A Chance to Help HVWS!
Recognizing that Waldorf schools around the country haven’t had the opportunity to host Winter Fairs and other events where these calendars have sold as fundraisers in years past, Summerfield is offering a new way to support our school.

When you order, include the name Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in the Note Field, and Summerfield will credit that school with funds at the end of the sales period.

Summerfield will tally the number of times that Code appears in their orders, and send $4/copy to the school if 10 or more are sold; $5/copy for 25+; and $6/copy for 40+.
The New York Times (February 28, 2018)

The Washington Post (January 26, 2021)


Edutopia (January 25, 2021)

Waldorf Education/AWSNA (January 14, 2021)

Edutopia (January 7, 2021)

Useable Knowledge/Harvard Graduate School of Education (January 8, 2021)

Edutopia (January 5, 2021)

Waldorf Education/AWSNA (December 17, 2020)

Children/Nature Network (December 2020)

The New York Times (December 17, 2020)

The Newtown Bee (December 23, 2020)
Bookmarks and Resources
Waldorf Alum Networking Platform
Last year AWSNA member schools joined together to support the launch of Waldorf Alum Connect, a North American Waldorf Alumni Networking Platform. Today, there are approximately 1,300 registered Waldorf alums on the site. The intention of this platform is to support our alums to find employment, internships, mentoring, and work opportunities. We wish for our alums to thrive in today’s world, and what better way to support them in doing so than through a network of like-minded individuals.

To further this mission, AWSNA is now extending the invitation to alumni parents to join this networking platform with the hopes that you as an alum parent community can be of service in offering employment and internship opportunities, volunteer positions, and mentoring to young Waldorf alums.

This site is much like LinkedIn in that you create a profile and share as much information as you wish to. Other users are not able to view your contact information, but are only able to connect with you through the site via email to your inbox. Neither we nor AWSNA are sharing your information in any way, nor will we, AWSNA, or any member schools be reaching out to you or your alum/s for development or fundraising purposes through the platform. The intent and purpose of this site is truly to further support our alums to shine and thrive in the world beyond our community. To that end, we invite you, as a parent, to use this platform solely for the purpose of supporting Waldorf alums as a mentor, employer, or internship provider.

We warmly invite you to create a profile on Waldorf Alum Connect today. You can do so by simply clicking here. It is easy to join and fun to explore.
Seeking Submissions from Alumni!
HVWS alumni are amazing people doing amazing things!

Please consider a submission.

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) launched its Waldorf Alum Connect Spotlight campaign last January and is seeking published news about alums. The aim of this campaign is to spread the word about the amazing work that our Waldorf alums are undertaking as scientists, artists, teachers, engineers, musicians, advisors, entrepreneurs and more.

We are seeking published news articles, personal websites and published research about what our alums are doing out in the wide world.

Please consider nominating yourself or someone you know here!
HVWS Fleece Jackets
Orders may be shipped to your home.

Sizing guidelines for youth sizes:
YS 6-8
YM 10-12
YL 14-16
YXL 18-20
Reima (https://us.reima.com/) is offering a discount to many Waldorf and forest schools across the country and they are extending a 30% discount to our community through the Spring.

Enter the code HOUSATONIC30 at checkout to receive the discount.

"Reima is a world-leading kids’ activewear brand from Finland. With over 75 years of experience, we know it’s the small details that make the biggest difference. That’s why our award-winning products are safe, innovative and sustainable - and stand the test of time. We make clothes that are designed specifically for kids, not just miniature versions of adults. With our gear kids can explore outdoors for hours and stay dry, warm and comfortable whatever the weather."
To provide a lasting education that cultivates resilient and creative human beings who are capable of free thinking, confident action, and deep connections with others and the world.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School | 203-364-1113 | office@waldorfct.org| waldorfct.org