December 21, 2017

As you might already know, every third grader at HVWS begins to study a stringed instrument, and from fourth grade on, all students perform in two school concerts each year. The first concert of this school year, the Holiday Concert, is tonight. My fourth grader has been very serious about her strings class this year in preparation for this event. She is very excited, and very nervous.

I love watching the school concerts. There are moments that are heartbreaking in their beauty. And there are moments that are not. It is for these other moments that I feel such warmth. In the moments when things don't *quite* come together I am reminded that EVERY student is up there performing. The choruses and ensembles aren't made up of the most musical students in the school, they are made up of everyone. This is such a gift.

Everything in a Waldorf school is taught in a specific manner for specific reasons, and music instruction combines much of what we aim to instill in our students. From an artistic standpoint they experience the sensation of creating something beautiful. From a practical view they learn to read music and hone their number sense through rhythm. Individually they build the strength of will to perform despite feeling nervous, working to overcome the fear of doing something at which they don't feel expert. And collectively they develop the ability to hear their classmates and respond to them, creating something with others.

A student interested in the school recently visited my fourth grader's class. After telling me what a nice visit it was, my daughter commented that it would be perfect if this student joined the class because she would add to their violin section (they are heavy on violas). Her first thought was how the individual would complement the whole, an impulse which feels increasingly rare and valuable today. This is such a gift.

I hope to see you at the concert tonight and have a lovely holiday break!


Christina Dixcy
Communications and Outreach Director

Submissions to News, Notes & Updates are due the 1st and the 15th of every month.
Important Links
Imbue thyself
Donate in 2017
Please consider HVWS when making year-end contributions. Our goal this year is to raise $45,000 through our Annual Fund campaign and this will not be possible without your donation. Thank you to all who have donated or pledged.

If you have made a pledge, please remember to send a check, payable to HVWS to:

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School
Attn: Annual Fund
40 Dodgingtown Rd.
Newtown, CT 06470

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School is a non-profit 501c3 (Tax ID #061310057) and your contribution is 100% tax-deductible.
Teacher Search Announcement
Have you heard the news?
The Teacher Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the College of Teachers are delighted to announce that Emily Remensperger will be teaching our incoming First Grade, the Class of 2026.
Emily began teaching at HVWS in 2013, taking her current class in Fourth Grade. She has shepherded them into Eighth Grade with strength and grace, and will graduate her first class this coming June. Emily has become a well-loved and actively involved part of our school community. In addition to teaching her class, she has also provided Art Enrichment classes after school, led our summer camp Arts program for the past three years, and taught art and watercolor painting to many grades. She has served on many committees, and is the Founding Chair of our Diversity Committee, as well as a member of the College of Teachers.
Emily holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts and Education from Pratt Institute. She is a K-12 graduate of the Green Meadow Waldorf School. Emily is certified to teach K-12 and holds additional certification for children with special needs. She has a strong background in the therapeutic arts and in teaching students with developmental disabilities. Her work experience ranges from the NYU Medical Center's Glass Garden, where she designed and implemented an arts and horticultural therapy program, to directing fashion trade events in New York, Los Angeles and Paris.
Emily's warmth, integrity, and dedication have made her a valued member of our community and she is eager to continue her journey with her new class. Please join us in welcoming Emily to her new position in the HVWS community.
Upcoming Events
Holiday Concert
Thursday, December 21, 6:30 PM
Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen St.

Join us for a Holiday Concert featuring performances by the 4th-8th grade choruses, strings classes, and orchestras. All are welcome!
The Steiner Seminar
Friday, January 12, 8:30-10:30 AM
Star Meadow Cottage, 40 Dodgingtown Rd.
Now accepting new members ...THE STEINER SEMINAR is a weekly class exploring Anthroposophy, the philosophy behind Waldorf education, with Melissa Merkling
10 Friday mornings, 8:30-10:30 AM
between January 12 and April 6, 2018
in the Star Meadow Early Childhood building
Tuition $180 ($18 per 2-hour class × 10 classes)
We invite you to join us at midyear! In September we started reading Rudolf Steiner’s  Founding a Science of the Spirit  (also published as  At the Gates of Spiritual Science ) and we’re now almost halfway through the book’s fourteen lectures. If you’re willing to buy a copy and catch up by reading the first six lectures over the holiday break, you’re welcome to join us. The chapters are relatively short, and the translation is easy to read. If you are considering joining the class, please commit to attending every time, and to reading in preparation for each class. Total tuition is payable in advance at the first session; no partial payments or refunds.  

If you are interested in joining, or for more information, please email . You can also read more about the class here .
Early Childhood Book Group
Tuesday, January 30, 8:30 AM
Star Meadow Cottage, 40 Dodgingtown Rd.

An early childhood book group is forming. Please e-mail Sunflower parent Rebecca Page,, if you are interested in joining (all are welcome). The first book the group will read is Simplicity Parenting, using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids by Kim John Payne with Lisa Ross. The first meeting will take place on January 30 at 8:30 AM. Plan to read the book in advance and come with questions! 
When: Last Tuesday of each month, 8:30-9:30 AM
Where: Star Meadow Cottage
Handwork Group
Thursday Mornings
Star Meadow Cottage, 40 Dodgingtown Rd.

The group will continue to meet on Thursday mornings after drop-off in the Star Meadow Building. No experience necessary! With questions, e-mail Natasha de Castro:
Andes Manta Performance
Friday, January 12, 2-3 PM
Compass Hall
Parents, grandparents, alumni, and staff are invited to this in-school field trip. $15/person; seating is limited.
Andean music is one of the few authentic prehistoric culture forms to survive the five hundred years of European occupation of South America. Unlike gold and jewels, it could neither be melted nor stolen. Many indigenous South Americans believe that it is the music that preserves the heart and soul of the ancient ones. Far from being melancholy, the music of ANDES MANTA is a joyous celebration of daily life. Songs and festivals mark the blessing of a house, the birth of a child, and the cycles of planting and harvesting. Energetic music and dance animate religious festivals blending pre-Columbian and Catholic rituals. Playing more than 35 traditional instruments, ANDES MANTA brings the Andean universe to North American audiences.
The four Lopez brothers who make up ANDES MANTA, Fernando, Luis, Bolivar and Jorge, bring this unique art form to North America in its purest and most authentic form. Natives of the Ecuadorian Andes, the brothers learned their traditional folk music as it has been learned for thousands of years - passed from father to son, and brother to brother.
The music of ANDES MANTA is well known to presenters all over America for their virtuosity and extraordinary performances. From Carnegie Hall to the Discovery Channel, from the National Cathedral to Lincoln Center and in hundreds of schools and universities, their powerful and moving performance has played to standing ovation after standing ovation. To quote presenter Stephanie Korobov, SUNY New Paltz: "The crowd would not let them stop. These guys are magic."
Puppet Show and Tour
Puppet play
Akimba and the Magic Cow
Saturday, January 27, 10 AM
Lower Level, Compass Hall, 1 Jacklin Rd.
The puppet show in the Waldorf tradition features hand-sewn puppets, sumptuous plant-dyed silks, and a simple, age-appropriate performance style suited to young children's attention spans and level of awareness. A peaceful and enchanted mood prevails. Our puppet shows are appropriate for 3-8 year-olds.
All performances begin at 10 AM and are presented in the Lower Level of Compass Hall at 1 Jacklin Rd. in Newtown. Puppet shows are free, however The Puppetry Committee will happily accept a goodwill offering to support Women for Women International, an organization helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives:
Families interested in touring our Early Childhood campus immediately following the performance should register online or call Therese Lederer at 203-364-1113.
Foundations of Waldorf Education
Save the date!
Wednesday, February 28, 7:00-9:00 PM
Compass Hall, 1 Jacklin Rd.
Learn more about the foundations and fundamentals of Waldorf Education from early childhood through high school, with Sunbridge Institute Director of Education Anna Silber.

Open to all, but especially relevant for new and prospective Waldorf community members (teachers, parents, grandparents, staff, board members) and lovers of education, this talk is designed to provide a survey of the basis and the basics of Waldorf Education.

Donations gratefully accepted; Snow Date, March 7
RSVP: 203-364-1113 x103 or

Anna joined Sunbridge Institute as Director of Education in 2012. Previously, she taught as a class teacher at Green Meadow Waldorf School for five years and served there as a mentor on the Teacher Development Committee; she also worked with that school’s administrator on curriculum-related projects and offered teacher support. A student of anthroposophy for many years, Anna lectures about Waldorf Education throughout the country and is the lead instructor for Sunbridge’s “Waldorf Weekend” workshops. Prior to her work in Waldorf Education, Anna had a career in commercial real estate finance at JP Morgan Investment Management. She has a bachelor’s degree in Geography from UC Berkeley and a master’s in Elementary Education from Sunbridge College. Anna and her husband are parents of two young daughters, both of whom are Waldorf school students.
Inside the Classroom
Sunflower Kindergarten
Isabel Gandara and Aliz Mihok
The month of December is a very special month for the Sunflower children. In class we experience different activities such as lighting the advent wreath and decorating a seasonal table representing the creation of earth. First we add stones and crystals, then plants, then animals, and on the last week human beings. In addition we enjoyed walking the Advent Spiral, a visit from St. Nicholas, a visit from the second graders and St. Lucia, the wonderful performance of the Nativity Play by the eighth graders, and a surprise visit from Maestra Marcela and the fifth graders who were celebrating Las Posadas. The children have deeply enjoyed all these celebrations. Our circle is about all the earthly creatures that need to go to sleep during wintertime, and the story of this week is The Gingerbread Man.
Rose Kindergarten
Carrie Reilly and Heather Hemphill
The Rose children have been busy building lots of structures: slides, bridges, forts, etc. It is always great to see their innovation and initiative in their play! As autumn leaves and we welcome winter, our moments of sharing our light are many. It may be tending to a hurt sheep in our flock or entering the midwinter garden and discovering a golden light to share with others. "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!"
First Grade (Class of 2025)
Chandrika Patalia
The first grade just finished their first Arithmetic block. The whole class worked on the magic tree while exploring and discovering the qualities of numbers. 
Second Grade (Class of 2024)
Allison Washington
The second grade has been full of activity in December. The children were excited to receive treats in their shoes from St. Nicholas earlier this month. After hearing many legends about him in our Saints block, they were delighted when he came for a visit to our classroom! Following St. Nicholas day, the second graders began preparing for Santa Lucia day. As tradition goes, the second graders (with much appreciated help from our dear parents) baked saffron buns and joyfully delivered them to each class. The oldest girl in class led the way donning a crown adorned with glowing candles. The procession carried their light throughout the school singing Santa Lucia. Meanwhile in the classroom, we continue in a Language Arts block. The children are very excited and eager to be reading! 
Third Grade (Class of 2023)
Leslie Lew
The third grade finished up a block on Shelters and Dwellings. This is always a beloved block for third graders, as it reflects their own need to feel at home within themselves, while learning about diverse cultures around the world. I find it fascinating to see which students connect with certain shelters. We learned about cliff dwellings, yurts, igloos, tipis, adobe dwellings, and rock homes in Cappadocia, Turkey. We also worked with Larry Washington (William's grandad) on sundials. This was a project that took patience and precision and the third graders thoroughly enjoyed it! We will continue our work next spring when we build a sundial for the garden.
Fourth Grade (Class of 2022)
Laura Hayes
The fourth graders have been working on their animal projects, researching and learning about their individual animals as well as crafting a diorama. These animal projects are a milestone in a Waldorf student’s life, and the fourth graders have been eagerly looking forward to this project. We have animal projects on the capybara, chicken, clouded leopard, fennec fox, manta ray, panda bear, and seahorse. The other grades are invited to view the work this Thursday.
Fifth Grade (Class of 2021)
Vincent Vojack-Weeks
The fifth grade is spending December studying North American Geography. From the icy tundra and frozen water of the Arctic to the tropical rain forests of Central America, we are learning about the varied and beautiful landscape that makes up the continent that we're all lucky enough to call our home. During this block, we are working on two projects: learning about different Native American cultures, and creating large freehand maps of North America, aided by drawing a grid for reference points.
Sixth Grade (Class of 2020)
Kenneth Friedman
Sixth grade is in an Astronomy block. We went from looking at the earth in our geology and mineralogy block last month to looking at the sky this month. We are keeping sky journals, perhaps just as ancient stargazers watched the sun, moon, and stars. It is surprisingly simple once you know how it all works and still it is amazing to go through the same steps followed by early astronomers.
Seventh Grade (Class of 2019)
Laura Wittmer
The seventh grade finished up a Physics block in which we were once again amazed by experiences in acoustics, optics, and heat. We had a wonderful trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see African art and the Michelangelo exhibit, which showed many of his preparatory sketches for well-known projects, such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We are now in a Creative Writing block, and write daily in our journals, hear a variety of poetry, and participate in writing circles in which we give peer feedback on our assignments. We are currently sharing our original fairy tales with each other, each story containing an element of wishing.
Eighth Grade (Class of 2018)
Emily Remensperger
The eighth grade is in the midst of an exciting Physics block. We have covered aerodynamics and hydraulics, and we are ending the week by looking at electromagnetism. We will be creating our own motors and designing switchboards in class this week!
Alumni Updates
Isabelle Abramson (HVWS Class of 2017)
Congratulations to Isabelle for her honorable mention in the Harvey School's annual Wells Speech Contest!

"The 15 finalists each delivered a powerful speech on a topic for which they felt 'passionate,' and the emerging winners' themes were filled with personal stories and a tremendous amount of heart....The judges awarded Honorable Mention to ninth-grader Isabelle Abramson for her personal and poignant speech entitled 'Organ Donation.' Isabelle was courageous to share her story as an organ donation recipient. 'In my case, someone--who didn’t know me, and who I will never be able to thank--had signed a piece of paper, making them an organ donor. That person gave me the gift of life. I am here today, to encourage all of you to give the gift of life, and consider becoming an organ donor.' Isabelle was happy with her performance, saying 'Being able to be in the finals, receiving honorable mention, is just huge.'"
Photo courtesy of the Harvey School.

Thank you to the community for all who contributed to the seventh grade drive to collect hurricane relief funds for Puerto Rico. We collected $631.11, which was donated to the Hispanic Federation in New York for use in hurricane relief.

Deepest thanks from the faculty and staff to all HVWS parents for your many generous holiday gifts!

Thank you, Dr. Larry (Washington) from the third grade for your time, patience, knowledge, and phenomenal banjo skills.

Thank you as always to David Unschuld for his very special annual visit.

Thank you to Lori and Bobby Hudak for organizing HVWS's participation in the Newtown Holiday Decorating Contest. Thank you to Ms. Isabel for meeting the Hudaks at the school on a Sunday so they could set up and to Ms. Carrie for collecting pine cones.
Thank you to Nigel Harrison for preparing another beautiful meal for the faculty and staff.

Thank you to Dylan Sears for fixing some of the toys of the Sunflower class and thank you to Christine Boston and Casey Kealey for helping to create a wonderful Advent Spiral.

Thank you to Dale Tucker for assisting the 7th graders on their tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thank you to the second grade parents for their help preparing for Santa Lucia, including baking the most delicious smelling saffron buns!

Thank you to Leslie Lew and the third graders for making and sharing latkes with the staff!
HVWS Founders...
Laura Selleck (of Warrup's Farm) stopped by for a visit and is pictured above alongside Melissa Merkling.
Wish List
Exhibitor Tent
Our main pop-up tent is showing its age and we would love to replace it with one that includes removable sides for outdoor outreach events. If you, or your company, have one you could donate or if you have a potential tent connection, please contact Therese at or 203-364-1113 x102.
Santa Lucia
The Little Play of the Nativity
4th Grade Animal Projects
5th Grade Maps
Support HVWS While You Shop
Amazon Smile
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Box Tops
Please clip and save your box tops and send them into the office so 4th Grader Oliver Exley-Seidel can process them for the school.
Articles & Videos
The mission of the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School is to develop each child's unique capacity to engage meaningfully in the world.

Guided by the principles of Waldorf education, the faculty inspires in our students creative thinking, moral sensibility, and a passion for learning.

We offer a classical education that integrates experiential and artistic learning, in an environment emphasizing academic excellence, respect for diversity, and reverence for the natural world.

Our faculty, board of trustees, and parents work together, with dedication and warmth, to support our school community.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School | 203-364-1113 ||