News, Notes & Updates 

November    2 0 1 3    V o l .  2 

Imbue thyself

Housatonic Valley
Waldorf School
40 Dodgingtown Road
Newtown, CT 06470

In This Issue
Food Drive
Parent-Child Classes
Annual Appeal
Waldorf Calendar and Notecard Orders
Uriel Pharmacy Orders Due
Fall Admissions Events
Study Group
Rainbow Garden Sale
A Christmas Carol
Spring Benefit Committee
Parent Enrichment Committee
Scrapbookers Needed
Did you know...?
Inside the Classroom
Important Links

7th Grade



















November provides an abundance of opportunities for us to gather as a community to share the gifts of Waldorf Education.  The lantern walks of Martinmas were magical.  Watching the lanterns, carried by young and old, symbolically representing the light of our humanity was just one small reminder about the uniqueness of this education.  It is an education concerned with the whole person, the whole family, the whole of humanity.  It is an education that takes the long view.

Please join us for our annual Walk Through the Grades on Tuesday, November 19th.  It is offered for parents to begin to comprehend the gift of a Waldorf Education for their child and for our world.  Come and witness firsthand the nourishing curriculum, and speak to current parents and alumni.

The Thanksgiving Assembly is another opportunity to share the gifts of Waldorf Education and community with friends and family.   On Wednesday, November 27th, students in the Grade School will offer excerpts of their main lesson work in the form of an assembly. Parents, grandparents and friends will get a glimpse of the progression of this progressive education.

We are delighted to invite our Early Childhood parents, from parent-child classes up through our mixed-age kindergartens, to the dress rehearsal on Monday, November 25th so they too can witness the fullness of the education and the artistic teaching that takes place daily at HVWS.

In gratitude for these gifts and the gift each child and family brings to our school: Happy Thanksgiving, 

Therese Lederer
Enrollment Director

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Submissions to News, Notes & Updates are due the 1st and the 15th of every month. 
Thanksgiving Food Drive

November 12-27th 

Please join the Third Grade class in their new HVWS food drive this Thanksgiving.

Non-perishables will be collected until the morning of 11/27/13, when they will be displayed for the Thanksgiving Assembly. Afterward, we will bring our HVWS offerings to the food pantry in Danbury. Children can bring their daily gifts to their classrooms; additionally for larger amounts, there will be a box located at the Administrative Cottage and at the Gate at Drop-off.
May your holiday season be blessed and bountiful.


I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to observe the early childhood environment today. It was a such a blessing for me...I will take away so much -- the prepared environment with all of the gorgeous natural materials and furnishings, the warm adult-child interactions, and the beautiful way in which movement was integrated into song and poetry...


-Achala Godino, a Harttford, CT public school teacher who recently spent a morning observing our Early Childhood classes  


Annual Appeal

Please consider a donation to Housatonic Valley Waldorf School's 2013-2014 Annual Appeal.  Please visit for details. 
Waldorf Calendar and Notecard Orders Due

Monday, November 18th

Each year, the Chicago Waldorf School gathers student artwork from grades K-12 from Waldorf Schools throughout North America. The 14-month wall calendar features engaging art by Waldorf students. We are thrilled that three of our HVWS students' paintings were selected in this year's calendar:

Madison Wittmer, Graduate: Michaelmas Dragon 
James Reilly, Fifth Grade: Elephant Cooling Off 
Maya Goode, Sixth Grade: Lonesome Fern

The Rainbow Garden School Store will be placing an order for the Waldorf calendars and notecards on November 18th. All orders will receive free shipping to the school. All proceeds go to HVWS's 2013-2014 operating budget. Help promote Waldorf education through your purchase.

Please visit our Rainbow Garden School Store web page for ordering information. Please feel free to email Jo Hurley at with any questions.
Uriel Pharmacy Orders Due

Wednesday, November 20th

Uriel Pharmacy creates natural, anthroposophic remedies for the body, soul, and spirit based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner. Uriel makes remedies in small batches, using ingredients from biodynamic gardens and the living, breathing forces of sunrise and sunset. Their remedies are closely aligned with the principles of Waldorf education. 

Our Rainbow Garden School Store will be placing an order with Uriel on Wednesday, November 20th. For this order, all customers will receive a 10% discount and free shipping to the school. All proceeds go to HVWS's 2013-2014 operating budget. Please stop by the store to check out Uriel's Home Remedy Guide and free samples!! 

Please visit our Rainbow Garden School Store web page for ordering information.  With any questions, please email Heather Reilly (
Upcoming Events
For a full calendar listing, please visit the Calendar page of our website.
Study Group: Study of Man

Monday, November 18th and December 2nd
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.

Rainbow Garden School Store Sale

Tuesday, December 3rd

The Rainbow Garden School Store will hold it's annual holiday sale on Wednesday, December 4th from 8:20 AM to 12:20 PM.  Receive 10% off your purchase while enjoying baked goods, coffee, and company! All proceeds support HVWS.  Rainbow Garden, located in the Community House on the North Campus, is briming with Waldorf-inspired toys and gifts.  Don't miss it!
A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, December 17th

Walking the Dog Theater presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, performed by David Anderson and directed by Ted Pugh, at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School.  (Appropriate for children 10 and older.)

Join the Spring Benefit Committee


The Spring Benefit, which will be held in May, is Housatonic Valley Waldorf School's most important fundraiser of the year.  But not only is the Spring Benefit important for our budget, it is a lot of FUN!!!  The Spring Benefit Committee is already forming and beginning to look for a venue and sponsorships.  If you would like to join this dynamic group of dedicated parents and help shape this year's event, please contact Christina Dixcy.  It doesn't matter whether you have been with the school for years or months--we can use your help!

Calling Members for the Parent Enrichment Committee!


Young in its development, the Parent Enrichment Committee brings evening speakers to the HVWS community.  Recent examples include a panel of HVWS's Educational Support Group; Kathleen Young speaking on "dystopia versus utopia" in her talk, U TXT ME; Douglas Gerwin's talk on the teenager, Walking the Tightrope; and a study group working on "Overcoming Nervousness," one of Rudolf Steiner's lectures.

The Parent Enrichment Committee seeks to foster an understanding of the roots of Waldorf education among the HVWS parent body.  The committee hopes to support and to communicate closely with the PTA to create forums, panels, dialogue, discussions, Coffee Klatches, lectures, presentations, study groups, resources of books and articles, artistic events, and speaking engagements.

If you have an interest in developing an understanding of Waldorf education, please contact Amalia Pretel-Gray at for further information on the Parent Enrichment Committee.



The Capital Asset Strategy Team (CAST) supports the short-term and long-term development of our infrastructure, including all physical properties of HVWS.  CAST is currently looking for new, energetic committee members!  If interested, please contact Jeff James at


Scrapbookers Needed


Do you like to scrapbook?

If so we could use your help preserving some HVWS history.  We have a collection of newspaper clippings from over the years that we would love to make beautifully presentable.


Please contact Therese Lederer if you would like to help.


Did you know...?  
For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving will coincide with the first day (and second night) of Hanukkah this year. This won't happen again for another 79,043 years!

Inside the Classroom 
Rose Kindergarten
During circle time the Rose children have been walking through the trees with the strong winds blowing. The winds make the poplars curtsy, the birch trees bend low, and the oak and beech trees fling their golden leaves down to make a carpet. We have also been with the Indian children harvesting corn, making corn cakes, walking softly as deer and riding in their canoes. Story time is about a little Indian girl named Little Deer who has lost her way in the forest and asks Father Sun for help. He will give her a spark if she makes a little home for it and promises to guard and protect it well. Father Sun tells her this light will light her way back home AND help her find the Great Light who will come in deep midwinter. This Light will be brighter and warmer than he is.

Sunflower Kindergarten
The Sunflower children are enjoying a new circle. They love to play a game while we sing "A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket." Then they all become Mother Earth's children who rise in the morn to gather some corn, put feathers in their hair and string beans to wear, they walked softly as the deer and go to the hearth with the golden ear. But of course the night is so dark that they need to polish their lantern bright. With their lanterns they can go singing through the land showing to all the light. They make a fire and bake some corn bread and sing to Mother Earth thanking her for bringing the golden harvest. At the end down to the Earth they creep and fall fast asleep.

First Grade
First Grade is doing amazing things! We just completed our first Letters block, and will be returning to Numbers. Right before Thanksgiving, Hanukkah celebrations will fill our time as we experience the Festival of Lights.

Second Grade

The Second Grade is studying Native American culture. We will construct Kachina Spirit dolls inspired by the Pueblo tribe and hear traditional Native American animal legends through November.

Third Grade
The Third Grade is in a Language Arts block studying the parts of speech and also has begun to learn Vimala, a new cursive handwriting. In our stories we have been learning the stories of Joseph, not only he of the multi-colored robe, but he who despite unjust accusations and continuously plummeting to the depths of human suffering, maintained gratitude and reverence for life and dedicated his life to the service of others.

Fourth Grade
The Fourth Grade is in their first "Local Geography" block. This introduction to the study of geography takes the class from their immediate surroundings of home and school and then radiates out into the larger community of Fairfield County and Connecticut. We are drawing maps, exploring the lives of Native Americans, and beginning to understand how the people, industry, and natural resources of the past come together to shape the land beneath our feet today.

Fifth Grade
The sounds of Gopala and the holy Veda can be heard from the Fifth Grade classroom as the students engage in the study of Ancient Civilizations -- beginning with India. We will celebrate Divali, another festival of lights; enjoy an Indian pot luck; and go to the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven to further enhance this curriculum block. Thank you to the Fifth Grade parents for all the planning, setting up and taking down of the school store for the Fall Fair -- you will have to find apprentices soon!!

Sixth Grade
The Sixth Grade has been studying Astronomy and enjoyed a night field trip for star-watching last week. With two large telescopes from James Stringer and Ed Wittkofski we studied the waxing crescent moon, also Venus and the constellations Orion, Cassiopeia, the Pleiades, the Leonid and Taurid meteor showers, and, at the end, even Neptune! We found the North Star, Polaris, in the Little Dipper constellation. Did you know that many astronomers have added a 13th constellation, Ophiucus, the Serpent Bearer, to the traditional twelve of the zodiac?! Now we are sharing reports and projects in class before coming back to Earth for our next main lesson block, Business Math.

Seventh Grade
The HVWS Faculty has decided that the lead class will now take on the responsibility of raising and lowering the flag each day. On that note, the Seventh Grade had an informative and inspirational morning with Lang Reese, father of Dempsey and Steven. Lang, a retired US Navy Captain, came to the class to talk about the history of the American flag and its meaning. It was quite moving to hear that the stripes on the flag symbolize the rays of the sun, spreading out and shining upon the country! He then gave the class a lesson on folding the flag, raising it and lowering it. The Seventh Graders will take on this duty this year and next, and will pass it down to Ms. Beardsley's class.  
Additionally, the Seventh Grade has spent the past three weeks studying Creative Writing. Here are a few samples from their work:

I am..
by Lena DeFeo

I am the fire that fuels the fight
I am the stars burning bright
I am the reason for your plight
I am not your beacon of light
I am the creature that you smite
I am the red on the snow so white
I am the incident that makes time tight
I am the poem that you write
I am the reason you can do no right
I am a vampire bite
I am the storm that delays your flight
I am not a pretty sight.

The Basketball
by Jeremy Larkin

I sit on a deserted court
Waiting for the night to pass.
It's been so long since they left me
I can't wait until daytime.
I know when they come to play with me
The lights above me turn on.
It is oh, so lonely
Waiting for the children to come.
Finally, the lights turn on!
The kids come spilling in
Hands reach out for me.
I'm soaring towards the hoop!

by Maeve Rooney

I wish no one would chop me down.
Don't make me fall to the ground.
I wish I could stay here forever
That fate, my life, would never sever.
I wish my leaves could always stay
Instead, when winter comes I must pay.
I wish that birds would never bore holes in me
Instead they choose a different tree.
I wish that instead of being blind, I could see
And look out at the world around me.
I wish they would mark the place where I stood
When I no longer could.

Our Gratitude
A belated thank you to Jacinta Ancona for purchasing snacks on behalf of the Second Grade for the Eurythmy Spring Valley performers!

Thank you to all the Sixth Grade parents who prepared a delicious feast for the faculty and staff on November 7th. Thank you to James Stringer and Edward Wittkofski for sharing your telescopes and star wisdom with the Sixth Grade.

Thank you to Laura Wittmer, Sally Schwager and the other Fourth Grade parents for producing the lovely Grades Martinmas celebration. Thank you to Laura Selleck and Bill Hill of Warrup's Farm for once again allowing us to use their beautiful setting for the lantern walk.

Thank you to Peggy McFarland for all her work in the children's and adult libraries.

Thank you to Lang and Kara Reese for coming in to talk to the Seventh Grade about the American flag. Thanks to Janelle Beardsley for purchasing a new flag.

Thank you to ClareAnn James for donating a digital photo frame to be used for displays and events. Thank you to Wei Bertram for donating wonderful teas from Arogya for our admissions events.

The Seventh Grade would like to thank the HVWS community for supporting our fundraising efforts by using our babysitting services during Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Mrs. Lew would like to extend a personal thank you to the Seventh Grade parents, who supervised the childcare. Thank you for your time and support!

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

~David Thomas




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!


New on our Blog:

Acknowledgement, Gratitude, and a Moral Education 


Suggested Links:

Killing Cursive is Killing History

Huffington Post


Social Communication Distorder and Technology



Cultivating Imagination



Harvard Students Learn in the Waldorf Method in Lexington

Lexington Minuteman


The Passion of Parenting

The New York Times



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.