News, Notes & Updates 

December   2 0 1 3    V o l .  2

Imbue thyself

Housatonic Valley
Waldorf School
40 Dodgingtown Road
Newtown, CT 06470

In This Issue
Newtown Documentation Project
Parent-Child Classes
Annual Appeal
25th Anniversary Committee
Middle School Morning
After-School Enrichment
Parent Enrichment Committee
Scrapbookers Needed
Spring Benefit
Inside the Classroom
Important Links

St. Nikolaus

Santa Lucia

Advent Spiral











  Holiday Concert



 Las Posadas












One of the things that drew me to a Waldorf School when my eldest was approaching school age was the rich festival life.  It seems something magical happens every week--and this time of year almost every day.

Early in December the children were treated to a visit from St. Nikolaus. Each child received the gift of a clementine and cookies left overnight in his or her shoe.  During the day, the Kindergarten children were thrilled to catch a glimpse of St. Nikolaus himself out the window!  He visited the Grade School children in person, reading to each a verse from The Golden Book--each verse specific to each child. St. Nikolaus rides a horse who is a bit of a mischief-maker and this year dragged hay all over the Second Grade Classroom, creating quite a mess!

This week our administrative team was fortunate enough to be a participant in the celebration of a festival new to HVWS this year, the Mexican Posada.  The Fifth Grade students (dressed as Mary, Joseph, and myriad animals) went from classroom to classroom singing a request for shelter in Spanish.  At each class they were refused entrance (also in song, in Spanish).  Finally they arrived at our offices where they sang to us and we in turn sang to them, welcoming them in, after which we shared cookies and hot chocolate.  It was a lovely start to the day after a snow-delayed morning.

While the winter solstice is not until Sunday, it already feels here in Connecticut as if we are in deep mid-winter.  To the delight and frustration of many, we have already experienced multiple snow days and delays.  I am not sure what this means for the rest of the winter, but as we head off on a two-week break, I do hope everyone out there encounters safe traveling conditions.
Warm wishes, 


Christina Dixcy
Communications and Outreach Director

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Submissions to News, Notes & Updates are due the 1st and the 15th of every month. 
HVWS parent Yolie Moreno has spent the past year working on a project to document the outpouring of condolences that flooded Newtown after December 14, 2012.
This archive is now available at
Click below to watch a video about the project.

Newtown Documentation Project
Newtown Documentation Project

Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the Spring Session of Parent-Child Classes.



Annual Appeal: Matching Gift 

We have received a generous, anonymous matching gift for our Annual Appeal!  HVWS can receive an additional $25,000 if we can raise $25,000--this is a one-for-one match.  Every dollar donated becomes $2 with the matching gift. 


Help us reach our goal of 100% school community participation by making a tax-deductible donation today!

Donate now or visit for details.   
Upcoming Events
25th Anniversary Planning Committee

Monday, January 13th, after drop-off


Please join us in the Administrative Cottage to begin planning how HVWS might best celebrate its 25th Anniversary next year.  If you cannot make the first meeting but would still like to be involved, please e-mail Christina Dixcy at
Middle School Morning

Tuesday, January 14th, 8:20 AM
Become a Waldorf upper grade student for a day and experience a typical main lesson taught by an experienced Waldorf teacher! Discover the relativity of warmth and cold, dark and light taught during a Physics block. Your teacher will be Amalia Pretel-Gray. Amalia graduated the Class of 2010 at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School before taking a class at HVWS, where she will graduate the Class of 2017. This glimpse into the Waldorf upper grades curriculum will challenge and inspire you. After class, you'll share refreshments and a question-and-answer session.
After-School Enrichment Program

Classes begin the week of January 15th.


Register online by January 6th for the Winter 2014 session.  Classes include Painting, Form Drawing and Drawing, and Woodwork Carving.
Students need not be enrolled in HVWS to register.
Parent Enrichment 
Friday, January 17th, 7:00 PM
For a full calendar listing, please visit the Calendar page of our website.
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.


Spring Benefit Update
Save the date for May 17th!
The Spring Benefit Committee is thrilled to announce that we will hold this year's event in the beautiful Parish Hall of St. Francis of Assisi in Weston.
While the planning is already underway, we can still use your help! If you would like to join the dynamic group of dedicated parents who are organizing this year's event please contact 
Marisa DelMonaco at
Inside the Classroom 
Rose Kindergarten
The Rose class is hearing a story about Rufuis Rynecker, a beautiful, clever
red fox who learns that though he is clever, he is not wise. The difference between being clever and being wise is that a wise creature knows to show and have gratitude and respect for himself, for others, and for all living things. 


Sunflower Kindergarten
The Sunflower children are listening to the Grimm's fairy tale, "Star Money," about a poor girl who shares with others everything she has. At the end of the story, stars fall down from heaven but in reality they are hard, smooth pieces of money, and the little girl becomes rich for the rest of her life. During this month, the children have been very excited making gifts for the holidays to give to their parents. At playtime they have been busy playing with all the toys in the classroom. Instead of playing house where the house is set up in the classroom, they move everything around and build new houses, bakeries, and stores. Of course at cleanup time we are very busy.
First Grade

First Grade has just completed a beautiful beeswax advent wreath with four candles.  Our wonderful class parent and crafty mama, Marlies Redpath, has just created these amazing Math Processes figures:

King Peter Plus, Queen Minnie Minus,
Multi The Magician, Divi the Divider
Food Drive Donation from a First Grader
Second Grade
Second Grade is in a Seasonal Crafts and Stories block. We have been busy making surprises to bring to our families, learning holiday songs, and hearing stories about this magical time of year. Santa Lucia Day was great fun for us. We enjoyed making and delivering treats to the whole school.  


Third Grade
The Third Grade is studying Language Arts, focusing on Moses and the parts of speech.  We just finished a combination Farming Block, studying the Seven Holy Grains along with Bible stories. We delivered the food we collected from our Thanksgiving Food Drive to the Daily Bread Food Pantry in Danbury, where the director met us, showed us where to stock the food offerings, and told us about the services she offers those less fortunate with her free pantry.
Chalkboard drawing from the Third Grade classroom: Moses
Fourth Grade
The Fourth Grade is in their frst Zoology block, in which they have already learned about rodents, reptiles, and ruminants. Through creative writing, drawing, and the observation of animals in their natural habitats, we compare the unique human being with the fascinatingly varied animal kingdom. We will end the block by welcoming two of the Lifgren family's chickens to our classroom as we learn about feathered creatures!
Chalkboard drawing from the Fourth Grade classroom
Fifth Grade 
Moving from India to Persia, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and finally arriving on the Nile in Egypt, the Fifth Graders dabbled in cuneiform and hieroglyphics, learned how the gods and goddesses worshiped by these ancient civilizations brought agriculture, husbandry, and architecture to each, and will end their study with making a sphinx out of clay. On to the Geography of North America, the Fifth Graders will expand their knowledge of last year's local geography of Connecticut to the New England region, exploring major rivers and mountains along the way.
Chalkboard drawing from the Fifth Grade classroom: Isis and Osiris

Sixth Grade
The Sixth Grade has been studying Mathematics: fractions to decimals to percentages with word problems. But the history of money, from bartering to coins to paper money, has revealed some surprises. Did you know that there is a Star of David, composed of 13 stars, on the U.S. one-dollar bill? Ask a Sixth Grader about the fascinating story behind this, an incident from the Revolutionary War. Besides the anatomy of the dollar bill we have been graphing how we spend our time after school. Sleep is the largest component! By the time you read this we will have had a surprise visitor from the world of finance to describe the mysteries of banking and how the stock market works. We hope Tulipmania of 1637 never happens again!
Chalkboard Drawing from the Sixth Grade classroom
Seventh Grade

The Seventh Grade has been studying the Renaissance. We learned about scholars such as Dante and Petrarch, who changed the face of poetic writing at the time. We studied the city-states of Italy and how people lived. Through discussing the Medici family, we learned how the middle class became powerful and wealthy, and supported the artists of the Renaissance. We will end our block with the life of Martin Luther and how he changed the perception of faith, redemption, and religion.


Our Gratitude


A huge thank you to Jo Hurley, the head, heart, and hands of the Rainbow Garden School Store. Our Holiday Open House and Sale was a great success. Thank you also to school store volunteers Amy Abramson, Allison Washington, Allison Valentino, Rose Witte, Gwynneth Sobejko, Denise Pedane, Christina Dixcy, Laura McKinney, January Cilento, and Heather Hiemstra for baking, brewing, and staffing the store during the sale. Rainbow Garden is not only an important fundraiser for our school, it is an amazing resource and it would not exist without our dedicated volunteers.

Thank you to David Blyn for cleaning all the gutters earlier this month.

Thank you to Saba and Nacim Quraishi for welcoming the Fifth Graders and their families into their home for an incredibly delicious meal celebrating the festival of lights, Divali, in November, and to the Fifth Grade parents whose pot luck dishes highly contributed to the evening's success!

Thank you to Third Grade teacher Ms. Bergwin-Anderson from the Seventh Grade for coming into the classroom to present the lives of some of the artists of the Renaissance.

The Early Childhood teachers are very grateful to Connie Greguski and Mary Larson for helping us to create a very special Advent for the young children.

Thank you to the First Grade parents who helped create a beautiful Advent Spiral for the children, and especially Lisa Richter and Marlies Simfeld-Redpath, who helped out the whole morning.

Thank you, Third Grade parents, for preparing an amazing meal for our faculty meeting! 


"Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages

 in the biography of souls." 

~David Thomas





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Aeon Magazine


Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature

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.