News, Notes & Updates 

O c t o b e r     2 0 1 3    V o l .  1

Imbue thyself

Housatonic Valley
Waldorf School
40 Dodgingtown Road
Newtown, CT 06470

In This Issue
Study Group
PTA Meeting
Faculty Concert
Fall Fair and Craft Market
Fall Admissions Events
Regional Alumni Event
Pocket Man
Parent-Child Classes
Woolies Orders
Dr. Hauschka Orders
Steiner Books Orders
Parking Changes
Articles of Interest
Important Links
Michaelmas Celebration






It is with great pleasure that we start off this issue of News, Notes & Updates announcing that we have launched our new website! The new platform has an easy-to-use content management system that will enable us to bring you the most current information and spread the word about Waldorf Education, the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, and all of our events, to a much broader audience.

Still to come are many "back of the house" functions that will enable the school to communicate directly with all currently enrolled families.  All current parents will receive secured passwords that will allow them to access even more information.

The project was a huge undertaking managed by Board Secretary, Laura Selleck, with consultation on content by many faculty, including but not limited to Amalia Pretel-Gray, former faculty Marleen De Grande and MaryBeth Thomas, and parents Rosemary Larkin and Carolyn Storrier, who were on the committee that designed our Upper Grades brochure, which eventually became the foundation of the website content. Melissa Merkling was the "go-to" faculty for pedagogical questions and editing, and I served more on the administrative and marketing side. But all of this could not have been completed without the hiring of our new Communications and Outreach Director, Christina Dixcy, who ultimately built the site along with our website designer, Magic Hour. We can't thank you all enough!

Now that the "front end" of the website is complete, making ongoing updates easier, Christina will take on more and more communications functions at the school beginning with this issue of News, Notes & Updates.  She has once again been at work behind the scenes learning the Constant Contact platform. We will collaborate together on several of our other publications, with Christina eventually taking on the lion's share, enabling me to focus more intensely on enrollment.

Please check out the new website at,and certainly encourage your friends and family to also take a look. You can do so on your computer or on your mobile device!

Warm regards,

Therese Lederer
Enrollment Director

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Submissions to News, Notes & Updates are due the 1st and the 15th of every month. 
Upcoming Events

Study Group: Study of Man

Monday, October 7th and  21st, 7 pm at the Community House

Meeting Mondays, every other week beginning in October, several teachers are studying Rudolf Steiner's Study of Man. These lectures were given to teachers of the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919.  Regarding the human being as 'a threefold being of body, soul and spirit', the lectures begin with a survey of the human being 'from the soul which stands between body and spirit.' If you are interested in Waldorf teaching anytime in the future, or are currently a Waldorf teacher, you will find these lectures enlightening. If you simply want to deepen your understanding of Waldorf education, you may find that this helps to shed light on this holistic education.
Please contact Amalia Pretel-Gray with any questions.

PTA Meeting

Friday, October 11th, 8:30 am in the Administrative Cottage

All parents and teachers are welcome! 
We are still searching for a 2013-2014 PTA Co-chair and First Grade PTA Liaison.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Christina Dixcy.  

Faculty Music Concert
Tuesday, October 15th, 7 pm in Compass Hall
The Sound of Music from many genres... On Tuesday evening, October 15, at 7:00 pm in the Atrium of Compass Hall, our music faculty, Diane Barnes, Dennis Hyde, and Mary Larson will present a fun and varied program of music from Bach to Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as ancient and contemporary lyre music. The music will sound forth from piano, euphonium, flute, voice, lyre, and the new metal instruments. Come and support the Music Department and enjoy this wonderful program. It will be an enjoyable evening for all.
Donations will be accepted at the door to aid the Music Department in purchasing a set of chime bars and orchestral music.
See you there!
The HVWS Music Department:
Dennis, Diane, and Mary

Please join us for Housatonic Valley Waldorf School's 

Fall Fair and Craft Market

Friday, November 1st from 6-9 pm 
Saturday, November 2nd from 10 am to 3 pm
Visit our Events page for updates!
Regional Alumni Event
Saturday, November 9th from 6-8 pm

Join us for an evening of Waldorf Alums from 10 different schools!  If you graduated from The Waldorf School of Philadelphia, The Garden City Waldorf School, Waldorf School of Princeton, Kimberton Waldorf School, Hawthorne Valley School, Rudolf Steiner School of NYC, Green Meadow Waldorf School, Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, Washington Waldorf School, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, or any other Waldorf school, please join us at:



Pageant Soloveev
Bainbridge Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147 


The venue is an art gallery in the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia, and will host a national Waldorf art exhibit that will be on display from Nov. 9th through November 10th. This alumni event and art exhibit are all a part of The Waldorf School of Philadelphia's weekend event called the "Pop-Up Shop."  We can't wait to see a vibrant mix of alumni from our many schools to share stories, experiences, and memories.  This is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and network with new connections.  Food, drink, raffles, and great conversation are provided.  Hope to see you there!


HVWS is delighted to be a sponsor.

For a full calendar listing, please visit the Calendar page of our website.
Pocket Man Donations Needed!


Parents, please remember to submit your Pocket Man donations in the boxes located in Rose Garden and the Administrative Cottage no later than October 25th!
E-mail Christina Dixcy with questions.

Volunteers Needed


The Enrollment Office is looking for 2-4 volunteers to assemble Open House information packets. 
Can you spare 1 or 2 hours after drop-off on Tuesday, October 15th?
If so, please contact Therese.

One of the many tangible ways you can contribute to growing our enrollment.


Winter Woolies Order Deadline    
Friday, October 11th
The Rainbow Garden School Store will be placing an order for woolen clothing on Friday, 10/11. We will be ordering through Danish Woolen Delight, a business that offers children's and adults' items made from biodynamic (DEMETER) wool. For this order, all customers will receive a 15% discount and free shipping to the school. All proceeds go to HVWS's 2013-14 operating budget.


Families who have misplaced their order forms may download another on our website:


Dr. Hauschka Order Deadline


Wednesday, October 16th


The Rainbow Garden School Store will be placing an order with Dr. Hauschka on October 16th. For this order, all customers will receive a 10% discount (faculty receive 30%) and free shipping to the school. All proceeds go to HVWS's 2013-2014 operating budget. Please visit the Dr. Hauschka website (, complete your order sheet, and leave your order form and check (made out to HVWS) at the store or in the school store mailbox located in the Administrative Cottage by October 16th. With any questions, e-mail Jo Hurley (


Dr. Hauschka's natural skin care products will be welcomed by your skin as a relief from products that disrupt its natural processes and rhythms. Plan ahead...get your holiday gifts now!

Families who have misplaced their order forms may download another on our website:


Steiner Books Order Deadline


Monday, October 21st


The Rainbow Garden School Store will be placing an order for books from "Steiner Books - The Education Resource Catalog" on Monday, October 21st. Please look through the catalog included in your child's mail folder. Complete an order sheet and place your check, payable to HVWS, in the Rainbow Garden mailbox, located in the Administrative Cottage, by Monday, October 21st. You may also leave your completed order and check at the store. You will receive free shipping to the school and 10% off your order. Thank you for your support. All proceeds go to HVWS's 2013-2014 operating budget. Any questions please email January Cilento (

Families who have misplaced their order forms may download another on our website:


Welcome Nathalie Bennett and Jeff James to the HVWS Board of Trustees!  Nathalie is parent to recent HVWS graduate Elliott and has been instrumental in branding the school image through ad and flyer design.  Jeff is parent to current students:  Henry in the 5th grade and Zinnia in the 1st grade.  Jeff has been a steady leader on site projects at the school, most recent to note our newest building:  the early childhood cottage, now known as Star Meadow.


Our Gratitude
Mrs. Lew extends her thanks to the Seventh Grade parents and students for their delicious offerings at the Michaelmas Sweet & Savory Bake Sale. Thank you all for your hard work! Thanks to the HVWS community for supporting our fundraising efforts.

Michaelmas would not be what it was this year without the outstanding support of the Fifth Grade Parents -- Class of 2017.  Mrs. Pretel-Gray extends a special note of thanks to Rose Witte and Jeff James for coordinating the parents who volunteered to assist, including the designing and building of the obstacle course: James Baldwin, Rick and Sarah Mikita, Scott Mikita, and Lisa Richter. Heartfelt thanks to Jeppe Christiansen who dragged and shaped the logs that were used for the balance beam. Muchisimas gracias to Carrie Reilly for the Dragon Bread and to Karen Beckman for the Vegan Dragon Muffins. Merci to Patrick Cushing who also took photographs, in addition to building the hay tunnel obstacle. Thank you to chaperones Patrick Cushing, Jo Hurley, and Jeppe Christiansen for our trip to the butterfly museum in Deerfield, MA, as well as our hike up and down Mt. Monadnock, NH the following day.

We would like to thank our Newtown Arts Festival Volunteers: Alex Exley (who helped promote playgroup along with her sons Oliver and August), Nancy Disbrow (who with her spinning wheel became a magnet for our table), and the Stringer Family (who helped both staff the table and bail us out as we were inundated with rain)! We would also like to thank all friends and family who stopped by to say hello. We'll hope for sunny skies next year!

Thank you to Mark Buckley for bringing mulch to the grades and Yolie Moreno for bring all the mums, which the Third Grade distributed around the grades. Thank you also to Lisa Richter, Pierce, Tristan, and Liam Counter, and James Reilly for mulching!

Thank you to Patricia Campbell for donating books and DVDs to the Educational Support Program.

The Early Childhood teachers and children are very grateful to Chris Washington for fixing the playhouse in our playground!

Thank you to all our families who provide delicious meals for faculty meetings, and to everyone who brought a dish to our State of the School Potluck.

"Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls." 

~David Thomas

Parent Enrichment Lecture

Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D. gave a talk for adults, Walking the Tightrope: Adolescents on the Path to Freedom, on September 12 at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School. Dr. Gerwin used the tightrope metaphor to call forth the image of adolescents who must balance the polarities of feelings they encounter during this formative developmental stage.

Dr. Gerwin is editor of the Research Bulletin: a Journal of Waldorf Education; Director of the Center for Anthroposophy; and Coordinator of the Waldorf High School Teacher Training program in Wilton, NH, where he trains high school teachers. Close to 60 members of the HVWS community came through rain, lightning, and thunder to listen to him speak on the subtleties of adolescent development. Drawing on his personal experience as a Waldorf high school teacher, he enthusiastically underscored the importance of parental presence and guidance, which adolescents crave amidst their attempt to balance the polarities in their feeling life.

Asking the audience to share with each other their experiences as adolescents, Dr. Gerwin elicited many long-forgotten feelings. He highlighted the difficulty that can ensue when parents do not allow teenagers to experience the stress of tumultuous emotions, wanting instead to fix or smooth over these feelings while also "being there" for their child. Based on his research and experience, Dr. Gerwin assured us that adolescents do in fact desire adult presence and love in their lives, despite all behaviors exhibiting an opposing force. Sound familiar? Many in the audience were inspired to speak individually with Dr. Gerwin and ask a trail of questions after the talk ended at 9 pm. Thank you to everyone who came.
Fifth Grade Climbs Mt. Monadnock, NH
The Fifth Grade class hiked the Dublin Trail to Mount Monadnock on September 5th, with chaperones Patrick Cushing, Jeppe Christiansen, and Jo Hurley. Behind them is the view of the Monadnock region.
Parking Changes
HVWS has a new rental agreement with the Dodgingtown Fire House for parking. If you must park in the Fire House lot, please only park in the spaces in the back facing Jacklin Road. We will not be parking in front of the Fire House, or on the far side of the back lot.



There is never any parking in front of the bay doors or along the back of the building.


Dismissal time can be very busy. Please consider not parking your car and just driving through to pick up your child. If you have school business, please park in the Taunton Hill Road lot and use our crosswalk to access the South (Grades) Campus.


This parking agreement is in place for evening events as well.


When we have special events that require use of all the Fire House's parking spaces, we need to ask them beforehand to make sure they're available, and pay an additional fee.


Thank you for your cooperation!


Articles of Interest


Here are the most recent articles posted on the HVWS Facebook page. If you haven't already, Like us on Facebook you'll never have to wait to read the articles we post!


HVWS in the News

Michaelmas Festival At The Housatonic Valley Waldorf School

Newtown Bee


Suggested Links

Waldorf Today


Goodbye screen time, hello awesome kid

Offbeat Families


TED Talk--Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of Ignorance



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.