News, Notes & Updates 

January  2 0 1 4   V o l .  2

Imbue thyself

Housatonic Valley
Waldorf School
40 Dodgingtown Road
Newtown, CT 06470

In This Issue
Annual Appeal
Enrollment Reminders
Spring Benefit
Middle School Morning
Handwork Morning
Parent Enrichment Committee
Annual Appeal
Alumni Spotlight
Important Links


Seventh Grade Field Trip to Fairfield University

I hope you were one of the fortunate attendees crammed into the Connie Helms lecture last week. I am a parent of a Sunflower Kindergarten student and by complete coincidence our teachers had previously assigned a series of readings from blog entries by Ms. Helms regarding the "Foundational Senses." It was so helpful to hear her expand on these writings in person. If you were unable to make the lecture, follow this link (Connie Helms on the Foundational Senses) and take some time to read her blog entries. If you are anything like me, they will make you pause and rethink how you approach certain of your children's behaviors (and your own reaction to them). Thank you to the Parent Enrichment Committee and HEART program for bringing Ms. Helms to our community.

Stay warm (and keep your children in those layers!),

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. 
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.   
Enrollment Reminders

Open House



Second Parent-Child Session Begins


Re-enrollment Contracts Due 



First Grade Readiness Evening 

Annual Spring Benefit: Save the Date!
WHEN: May 17, 2014
Funds raised through our Spring Benefit are integral to balancing our budget and each year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.

This year we will be asking our school community to donate TIME, TALENT, or TREASURE to help ensure the success of the Spring Benefit. More details to follow!
All are welcome at planning meetings. For more information about the Benefit, please e-mail Marisa DelMonaco at, or visit our Spring Benefit homepage.
Upcoming Events

Handwork Morning

January 30th or 31st

8:30 to 11 am

Keep the Festive Feeling Going...
Create a simple and beautiful Gnome Celebration Ring.
This whimsical craft will delight your family during any occasion. Join Handwork Teacher and College Chair, Carol Reznikoff, for a morning of handwork and camaraderie.

Choose either Thursday, January 30th or Friday, January 31st from 8:30-11 am in the Handwork Room (lower level of Compass Hall, 1 Jacklin Road, Newtown).

Carol Reznikoff has taught handwork at HVWS for more than 12 years. She is a graduate of the Sunbridge Institute Applied Arts Program. Carol was one of the founding parents of our HVWS, and her three daughters are graduates.

Space is limited to the first 8 participants for each day--so register now.

Coffee and refreshments will be served
$10 supplies fee

Call 203-364-1113 x 102 with any questions.

This is an event for adults.

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



Faculty Capricorns 

Four of our seven class teachers have birthdays that fall within one week of
each other: Deborah (15th), Emily (18th), Leslie (11th), Janelle (13th).Such an
occasion warranted a birthday festival!


Third Grade: Shelters Block

As a fun part of their Shelters block, the Third Graders will be building an igloo on the playground and need your donations of empty cartons.

Please send in your empty half-gallon waxed paper milk/juice cartons to make and freeze ice blocks. The Third Graders need to collect the empty cartons as soon as possible.

Thank you!


Inside the Classroom


Sunflower Kindergarten
Circle time in the Sunflower class is about a poor little boy who wishes to have a drum and goes through different adventures before he gets it... Our story is the Legend of Babouschka from Russia - a beautiful tale of an old woman who in the end finds the Child of Light because of her generosity. On January 6th we celebrated Three Kings' Day with a special cake that had three stones hidden inside. The children that found the stones became the Three Kings and wore crowns.
Rose Kindergarten
The Rose Class enjoyed Three Kings' Day by eating a special treat and discovering three children who would wear the special Three Kings' crowns and capes. During circle time we have enjoyed Babouschka, a woman who sweeps and cleans all day.  When the Three Kings pay her a visit, she makes the mistake of sweeping and cleaning instead of going with these wise men. Later she regrets her decision and decides to search for the newborn king on her own... Story time has been about the TOMTEN. He is a dwarf that lives on a farm and has seen hundreds of winters, yet no one has seen him. People know he has been visiting because of his footprints in the snow. The TOMTEN speaks in a silent language that cows, horses, sheep, chickens, dogs, and cats understand. The TOMTEN says he wishes the children would wake up so he could speak to them in TOMTEN language. The TOMTEN knows children would understand his silent language too. 
First Grade
The First Grade students are working on their Math block, practicing addition and subtraction.
Second Grade
The Second Grade is learning place value through the exciting world of Greta, the warrior princess, and her dog, Hans. They are on a quest to bring peace to their war-torn land and find themselves in a magical village full of glowing seeds. Greta begins to learn the "way of the seed" under the guidance of the master gardener! We cannot wait to see what the seeds grow into come Spring.
Third Grade
We have been in a Money block these past two weeks, so on Friday we had our Trading & Bartering Fair. It was so much fun! Each child had to set up their own trading post and do so artistically, with marketing their wares in mind. The children brought in five items they had handmade, which ranged from Chinese dumplings to wooden staffs with crystals glued on the ends, to swords and black board shields, to sculpy, beeswax, shell and clay sculptures, to beeswax candles, hand-colored book marks and pictures, to a book of watercolor paintings, to small purses, bracelets, and bags (felted, leather & crocheted), to Brazilian fudge and delicious packages of cookies, popcorn, and brownies of various types. We had learned about family self-sustainability and how, as groups of people came into closer contact, that soon evolved into specialization and trading and bartering.
When we were discussing some problems inherent in direct trading, I had given an example of a fisherman who was cold and tried to trade a fishing net to a shepherd in exchange for a sheep - but the shepherd had no need for a fishing net, living high on a mountain with his sheep! In class the kids came up with creative solutions for the fisherman: looking in oysters for pearls (!), drying seawater to obtain salt, and finally, the fisherman trading fish to a blacksmith for an axe which the fisherman could then trade to the shepherd to use for cutting wood for fires, or building shelter and sheepfolds. That became the first third-party trading!  At our Fair, one child really wanted Brazilian fudge, another wanted a beeswax candle and the third wanted Chinese dumplings... so one traded the candle for the dumplings, then the recipient of the candle was able to trade the candle to get her desired Brazilian fudge: third party trading in practice!
Fourth Grade
The Fourth Grade just wrapped up their first Fractions block with a day of still-life drawing followed by dividing up exotic fruit into fractions. The best part was sampling the fruits of our labor when we were done! We will be working on our class play from now until our performance in February.
Fifth Grade
The vast terrain of North America's geography has become the intimate content for the Fifth Graders in this block, where drawing maps, as well as symbols to indicate mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and shading in the bordering oceans, seas and gulfs have inspired the students. Each student is excitedly working on their chosen state, finding out the state bird, flower, animal, and tree, as well as intriguing detail about the rivers, mountains, deserts and lakes.

Sixth Grade
The Sixth Graders are studying Geology, especially volcanoes and caves, and have painted, drawn, and modeled these amazing earth forms. We have practiced identifying sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks and have visited the Peabody Museum of Natural History to hear about Connecticut's unique geology. Did you know that an HVWS staff member lives near an old mine in which eight new minerals were discovered for the first time in world history? Yes! We live in an exciting place for geology. Just look at the rock outcroppings as you drive along our state highways.
Seventh Grade
The Seventh Grade has spent the last two weeks delving into the world of Algebra. As the students are on the precipice of early adolescence, this allows them to grasp and be aware of the abstract. They are developing the capability of working in this realm, where all of the pieces are not there to begin with (= Algebra!!). The students have been using algebra in their work with positive and negative numbers, formulas and word problems. This past Friday we went to Fairfield University for a rescheduled field trip. Thank you, Joe DeFeo, for your lesson on Saint Ignatius and for organizing a viewing of the university's handwritten, illuminated Bible - one of about 200 in the world. It was an amazing experience! Here is the link for this project-

Middle School Morning 


Parents became Sixth Grade students at a sample Upper Grades Main Lesson on Physics taught by Amalia Pretel-Gray, our Fifth Grade teacher, on January 14.


Just as Sixth Graders might, the parents moved together, imagined themselves playing their recorders as they listened to the Seventh Graders play for them, and recited tongue twisters and a poem on water and fire before the main lesson began.


During the main lesson, they experienced the relationship of hot and cold: touching various objects in the room, then comparing and ordering the objects from hot to cold; putting one hand into very cold and the other into very hot water simultaneously and then putting both hands into room-temperature water; and observing room-temperature ink dropped into recently-boiled water, iced water, and room-temperature water. After sharing and comparing their experiences and observations of these natural phenomena, the parent-students worked together on conclusions regarding warmth and cold. 


Snack and recess of a sort - questions and answers - concluded the morning. The morning was fun for all participants, including one who submitted her child's application for HVWS' Kindergarten next year!

Our Gratitude


Thank you to Amalia Pretel-Grey for teaching our Middle School Morning Physics lesson to parents, and to Deirdre McCann and ClareAnn James for baking for the morning.


Thank you to all our wonderful School Store volunteers and their coordinator, Jo Hurley. Special thanks to Rose Witte, who opened the store on a Sunday so HEART participants from out of town could shop there!


Thank you to Danielle Fascione for her beautiful piano accompaniment during the Shepherds' Play.


Many thanks to Jeff James for the very generous donation of safety gloves and leather aprons for the Woodworking classes.  



Thank you to Lark Bergwin-Anderson for making the many January teacher birthdays so special!


Thank you to the Sunflower class parents for the delicious faculty meal.  


"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!


Suggested Links:


New Waldorf school embraces nature, not STEM 

The Seattle Times


From Evaluation to Inspiration 

Scientific American


Why Is Narcissism Increasing Among Young Americans? 

Psychology Today


Children who watch too much TV may have 'damaged brain structures'  



Playing with children, adults and Michael Gove: An interview with Patrick Bateson 

King's Review 


A Time for Dreams, A Time for Plans 




Preparing for Life
Preparing for Life



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.