May 5, 2021
Hello MLWS Families...

As we enter into the merry month of May, there is much to celebrate. We are greeted by the vibrancy of the natural world: lilacs blooming, foliage unfurling, hummingbirds flitting. Please read on to find out what is blossoming within our school community! We hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter, which includes a Parent Council update, highlights the activities of various classes and other school-related topics, offers Classified listings, and provides information about upcoming events in the MLWS community.

Parent Council has been holding monthly meetings via Zoom during the 2020-2021 school year. Please join us for our final meeting of the 2020-2021 school year on Friday, May 21, 12:30-1:30pm. Our priority projects for this year have included a monthly Brown Bag Lunch Series (via Zoom) featuring speakers from MLWS community, Food Drives, a Welcome Committee for New Families, “Art for the Elderly” Community Outreach, Basket Craft events (via Zoom) and this newsletter.

If you are interested in being involved in one of the working groups, or if you have an idea for another initiative you would like to work on through Parent Council, please send us an email at

We also have a MLWS Parent Council googlegroup that is open to all MLWS community members. If you are interested in joining, please send an email to as well.

Please consider getting involved and offering some of your time to one of our projects. Many hands make light work!

If your family is new to Mountain Laurel Waldorf School and you are looking for support as you find your way, please reach out to the parent rep for your child’s class (your child’s teacher can tell you who it is!) and/or contact MLWS Parent Council at and request to be paired with a mentor family. Our monthly Brown Bag Series, Basket Craft events and Parent Council meeting are all wonderful ways to strengthen your connection as well!
Calendar of School Events
Tuesday, May 11, 1:00-2:00 pm: MLWS “Brown Bag Lunch Series” via Zoom with Mark Bernstein, Preston Neel and Susan Ramaty, for a discussion about Governance and Structure at MLWS

Wednesday, May 19, 12:30-1:30 pm: MLWS Basket Craft via Zoom Make a beautiful flower crown! Scroll down to the “News and Happenings” section of the newsletter for all of the details.

Friday, May 21, 12:30-1:30pm: MLWS Parent Council meeting via Zoom. If you would like to request a topic be added to the agenda, please send an email to by Wednesday, May 19.

Wednesday, June 2 (Rain Date: Thursday, June 3): Outdoor, Socially Distanced Music Share @ Unison Arts Center. Stay tuned - details to follow.

Saturday, June 5th, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm MLWS Spring Soiree.
A Virtual Gathering and Fundraiser for Mountain Laurel. See details below.

Tuesday, June 8, 1:00-2:00 pm: MLWS “Brown Bag Lunch Series” via Zoom with Takken Wish, MLWS Eighth Grade teacher (and rising First Grade teacher), for a discussion “Celebrating the Journey: Reflections on the Year and the Class of 2021”
News & Happenings
Save The Date
Wednesday, June 2
(Rain Date: Thursday, June 3)

MLWS Grades Music Share
Outdoors @ Unison Arts Center

Stay tuned - more details to follow.
Very exciting!

Announcing May’s Brown Bag Lunch:

“The Governance and Structure at MLWS"

Please join us on Tuesday, May 11, 1:00-2:00 pm for a conversation about the Governance and Structure of Mountain Laurel Waldorf School with Mark Bernstein representing the Board of Trustees, Preston Neel representing the College, and Susan Ramaty representing the Administration.

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School has two main governing and decision-making bodies, the College, which is responsible for pedagogical issues, and the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for financial and legal issues. The administration, accountable to both College and Board, manages day-to-day school operations.

Through the Brown Bag Lunch Series, we are hoping to create a stronger and more connected parent body at our school by offering opportunities to connect socially while providing information about our school, Waldorf education and the broader community of like-minded organizations and individuals. We offer a special welcome to new families, as this is a great way to get to know our community and the educational model. Each meeting will feature a speaker on a given topic.

Please save these dates! Join us on the second Tuesday of each month, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, as follows:

June 8: "Celebrating the Journey: Reflections on the Year and the Class of 2021" with Takken Wish, MLWS Eighth Grade teacher (and rising First Grade teacher!)
Summary of April’s Brown Bag Lunch on Early Childhood and The Importance of the Lower Four Senses:
Our April Brown Bag Lunch was attended by grandparents, educators, and new and established MLWS families. After an introduction in which participants shared their earliest memories, Prim treated us to the Easter puppet show she was bringing to her class. She explained how storytelling in an early childhood classroom sets the stage for early literacy and provides fodder for rich creative and imaginative play. She emphasized the primacy of the first four senses (of the twelve total that Rudolph Steiner categorized) in early childhood (ages birth through 7) and how they are ‘will’ forces. The sense of touch is about where we end and the world begins; the sense of self movement is about our body in space, exemplified by pushing, digging, rolling; the sense of self balance is about our upright bodies in relation to earth; the sense of life is about well-being and regulation.

Prim went on to discuss how much young children live in imitation of those around them. We spoke about the rhythmic nature of childhood days, which fluctuate between in-breaths (activities which hold a child’s attention such as circle time and story) and out-breaths (such as free play). Ms. Nancy Hoose (a MLWS parent and former MLWS early childhood teacher) noted that older children are also held by a consistent rhythm (daily, weekly, seasonally). She talked about young children being wide open to the world and that we can build their resilience by offering a sense of safety in the world, which leads to a child’s trust in what comes next and in their own bodies.

For those who would like to read more about Early Childhood in a Waldorf Setting: The Waldorf Early Childhood Association is a great resource for child development and educator Kim John Payne was also mentioned over the course of our conversation. (This is a link to his lectures, which are wonderful!)
Please Join Us for our May MLWS Basket Craft Event:
Make a Flower Crown
Please join MLWS Parent Council on Wednesday, May 19, 12:30-1:30 pm via Zoom, for a Spring-inspired craft hour.

During a more typical school year, May Day is one of the most joyful festivals that we celebrate as a community. We come together to watch the children dance around the Maypole and to enjoy the beauty and vivacity of Spring. The children and teachers are adorned with crowns of fresh flowers. Parents are often asked to contribute flowers and to volunteer to help to create the wreaths.

Even though we will be celebrating in smaller, quieter ways this year, parents can still bring this tradition of blossoms and joy into our homes and join with the community in creating it. Please join Parent Council in creating our own floral crowns for our May Basket Craft workshop. During this session, we will walk you through how to make a beautiful flower crown. Grandparents, friends, etc. are welcome to join us as well!

Supply List:
Willow branches or grapevine (look outside - you just may have some in your yard!)
Assorted flowers, either wild or store-bought (10-30 blossoms depending on how full you’d like your crown)
Floral wire or tape
Ribbon or raffia
Strong scissors

Supply Kit:
$16, includes floral wire, willow branches, assorted flowers, and ribbon
$12 extra for additional materials (Crafting with your child(ren) can be a lovely, bonding opportunity to share your new skills with your child(ren) on a lazy weekend afternoon.)

You can purchase your supply kit through our MLWS store site at this link: MLWS School Store

An email will be sent out next week through which you will be able to reserve your spot. The deadline to sign-up will be Friday, May 14. Kits can be picked up after school on Monday, May 17.

A Zoom link will be provided to attendees prior to the event. This event will be recorded for those who would like to participate, but are unable to attend in “real-time.”

We are excited for this fun way to bring new skills, crafts, and color into our homes as well as the opportunity for a casual time to be together.

Please email with any questions.
MLWS Parent Council Food Drive
Mark your calendars! The 2021 Mountain Laurel Waldorf School Spring Food Drive will be held the week of May 24th. 

Our Fall Food Drive was such a success and was so appreciated by Family of New Paltz! We're now gearing up for our Spring Food & Necessities Drive. During this time of unpredictability and inequality, we are fortunate to have a warm community, in-person education for our children and resources to live in a beautiful and safe part of the world. We can be good neighbors by giving back wherever and however we can. We'll be collecting food, pantry items, hygiene products and supplies for women and babies. Please mark your calendars and keep an eye out for more info to follow about the logistics and details of this event.

If you would like to help with this important project, please send an email to
A Peek Into the Classroom
Offering a glimpse at the work of two of the classes in our school community…
Ms. Kahlia and the Mountain Rose Kindergarten class

The Mountain Rose children have fully embraced Spring and all of its beauty. We have been preparing our garden beds and planting seeds. The children have enjoyed observing and identifying the birds filling our play yard with their joyous Spring cheer. What a busy bee month has come and gone. We have made maple syrup, celebrated friends' birthdays, climbed trees, laughed, and we are finally able to shed all of our winter gear. Hooray for Spring, it is finally here!
Ms. Lawson and the Third Grade class

The Third Grade just finished a block on Native American shelters coupled with Native American creation stories. We learned how the native peoples of this continent used different materials to build their dwellings according to the geography and climate of the region they lived in. We heard how Skywoman fell through a hole from the world above and how muskrat and other creatures piled soil on turtle’s back to make the earth for her to walk on and how half moldy boy learned to revere and respect the salmon that fed his people. The highlight of this Spring for the Third Grade is the return of our bike rides to Red Barn Farm where the wheat, flowers, and vegetables that we planted in the Fall are growing strong in the warmth and light of the Spring sun!
Mountain Laurel Fundraising Initiatives
We are springing into Spring and are very excited to host:

Spring Soiree, a Virtual Gathering, and Online Auction to benefit MLWS.

The Virtual Gathering will include a showcase of art and music from our student body and will bring us together in a way we did not think possible a year ago. We hope everyone will mark their calendars and plan to join us for this celebratory virtual event. By now you should have received a request for donations for the Online Auction and information about sponsorship opportunities. We hope everyone can participate in any way possible. If you did not receive the information or if you have any questions please contact Amy Solis at and she will gladly assist you. 

We look forward to a fun evening and a successful auction!

The Fund for Mountain Laurel

On the heels of our Spring Soiree announcement, we will be re-launching our Annual Giving campaign to address the greater needs of school funding post the initial expense of keeping MLWS open in 2020/21. Your kind attention and support to this important endeavor are deeply appreciated.
Details to follow..

Health Corner
In an effort to support our community in staying abreast of recent health-related announcements, we present to you the Health Corner.
Poison Ivy Identification

“Leaves of three, leave it be. Berries of white, best take flight.” This children’s rhyme is a helpful reminder as hiking season begins. The “leaves of three” is poison ivy, which can be found in wooded areas, on the roadside and even climbing up trees, and is poisonous to the touch! Poison ivy leaves are relatively smooth, with some possible jagged edges, sometimes shiny, with one leaf extending from the end of the stem and two radiating from the same point a little farther down the stem. The leaves can vary in size and during the Spring they are smaller and often reddish-green and shiny.
Poison ivy is found in two main varieties here in the Hudson Valley: climbing and non-climbing.

Climbing poison ivy climbs straight up a tree or the side of a building. The vines are woody and bark-like and can sometimes be covered in fine “hairs”.

Non-climbing poison ivy is often mixed in with other low-to-the-ground woodland plants and can be more difficult to spot.
There are also a few other non-harmful plants that have “leaves of three,” such as raspberry and blackberry plants, which have serrated edges and textured (veins and folds) leaves.

Virginia creeper is often mistaken as poison ivy and can be found in the same growing area.

Virginia creeper has five leaves radiating form the same stem when mature and is harmless, as you can see from the photo on the right.
Here are a few simple steps to avoid getting a poison ivy rash:

  • Stay on the path and avoid brushing up against any plants.
  • Wear long pants and boots. Once you are home, take off your pants, turn them inside out and immediately throw them in the washer. The toxic oils from the poison ivy plant can easily be transferred and need to be washed away to avoid a poison ivy rash. The oils can also transfer to your shoes/shoelaces, so try to avoid walking thru poison ivy or cover your laces with long pants. 
  • Take a cold shower and use plenty of soap or, if you aren’t able to wash right away, use rubbing alcohol and rinse thoroughly with cool water.
  • Animals can carry poison ivy on their fur and even though it is not harmful to them, once inside they can spread the oils to you. Try to keep your pet leashed in wooded areas or wash them thoroughly once back inside. 
  • The roots of poison ivy also contain rash-inducing toxins, so try avoid digging them up.
  • NEVER burn poison ivy, as the toxin can vaporize and can be very dangerous to inhale!
If you happen to get a poison ivy rash, continue to wash the area thoroughly and avoid scratching, as best as you can! It is best to keep the rash cool and dry; using calamine lotion may help. If you don’t have it on hand and you have jewelweed in your yard (a large bushy plant with yellow-orange flowers pictured below), the leaves and stems can be used to soothe a poison ivy rash. For immediate relief, bruise leaves and crush stems to release the juice and rub it on the rash or create a paste, apply and cover with a breathable bandage (gauze).

Can you spot the poison ivy below?
Be safe and remember: “Leaves of three, leave it be.”
We would love to hear your requests for future Health Corner recipes and topics. Please send them via email to
Around The Town: CSAs, Farm Stands, and Markets
One of the amazing things about our community is how many local farms there are, offering us abundant opportunities to eat fresh, local produce and value-added products. Here are a few we thought we would share with you:

In New Paltz:

Huguenot Street Farm - Huguenot Street, CSA with over 125 varieties of naturally grown vegetables, cut flowers and fruits.

New Paltz Open Air - Church Street, Sundays starting June 6th through December 12th (10 am - 3 pm).

Sugarshack Mushrooms - Plutarch Road, fresh mushrooms available, also offers classes and workshops.

Tweefontein Herb Farm - Jenkins Lane, herb farm and store, includes teas, tinctures, oils, elixir, etc.

In the Surrounding Area:

Clove Valley Community Farm - High Falls, NY, beyond-organic no-spray, no-till veggie farm & education center, items available through annual Plant Sale, CSA shares, and farm stand.

Damn Good Honey Farm - Kerhonkson, NY, provides a wide variety of products for pre-order, handcrafted beeswax and honey soap, and all-natural products from the hive.

Blooming Hill Farm - Blooming Grove, NY, farmers market open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, also enjoy a delicious brunch or dinner, check online for days and reservations requirements.

Ever Growing Family Farm - Ulster Park, NY, rice grown by Gambian native Nfamara Badjie using centuries-old, West African techniques of the Jola people.

Four Wind Farms - Gardiner, NY, certified organic seedlings and no-till vegetables.

Seed Song Farm – Kingston, NY, produces sustainably-grown vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers, and forest products, available through CSA shares, local farmers' markets, and on-site farm stand.

Click HERE to check out an article with more information about CSAs in the Hudson Valley.

ISO June Child Care We are seeking childcare during the last two weeks of June for our three girls (3yo, 6yo, and 8yo), June 21-25, and June 28-July 2. This person will assist family members, with a focus on keeping the kids busy and having fun. Hours and days are flexible. Please email for more details.

ISO Summer Child Care We are looking for a part-time sitter for our daughter Emma, who is 4 years old, from June 20 through August 10. Days would be random due to our random work schedule. If you are interested and would like more information, please contact Mia Hindrell at 917-741-4850 via email or text.

ISO Long-term Housing Michele Turner, MLWS Second Grade teacher seeks long-term housing in the area. She says: I would appreciate a home that includes two bedrooms, a porch/outdoor space, parking, and a wood-burning stove. I welcome creativity in finding my ideal space. Please contact Michele at 603-543-7045 or with suggestions, leads and offers.

STUFF (For Rent, For Sale, For Free, ISO…)

Summer sublet One-bedroom New Paltz apartment sublet available for the month of July. Will only sublet to friends and relatives. $1300 includes everything. Please contact Michele Turner at 603-543-7045 or if interested.

Office Space available to friends and family of Mountain Laurel Waldorf School at 7 Innis Avenue, located opposite the school. The office is 338 sq ft. Separate entrance/shared kitchen & bathroom. Wifi and utilities included. Parking. Sweeping mountain views! Contact us Here for more information.

Vacation Rental Serene, lush and newly-renovated 3-bedroom vacation rental with pool, outdoor shower, near five beaches on Gold Coast of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Kaethe Fine, 4th grade parent is offering MLWS families and administration a 20% discount on her new home! Prices vary seasonally. If interested, call or text 917-916-9065 or email Request to book and say who you are to receive this special rate! Last two weeks of July currently open, as well as December, most of January and much of next year!

Pine Chest of Drawers for sale
For details contact

Pine Corner Wall Cabinet for sale
For details contact


Sojourner Truth Self-Guided Tour In 2018, Frank Waters of Black History Month Kingston and Kimberly Kae, an MLWS 5th grade parent, started the Sojourner Truth Life Walk, which now takes place annually in February during Black History Month. The 4.5-mile walk, from Port Ewen to uptown Kingston, makes seven stops commemorating events in Sojourner Truth’s life in our area. (She lived within what is now the Esopus town limits until she was 29 years old.) Because of the pandemic, the walk did not happen this year and so we created a self-guided driving tour. The tour takes travelers to all of the visible (and some not-so-visible) locations, from which Sojourner was enslaved as a young girl to the road she traveled when she freed herself by leaving her last enslaver. The tour is narrated by Evelyn Clarke, Esopus resident and Town Council member, and the information can be read at the website. Please access the tour via the Black History Month Kingston website at: Please contact Kimberly Kae at if you have questions about the route or Sojourner Truth's life in Esopus, as she would be happy to try to answer them for you!

Spring Dance Series with Vanaver Caravan Keep active and hone your dance skills with The Vanaver Caravan's SpringDance series. We offer diverse classes for kids ages 4 through teen. For more information and to register:

Drum lessons with a professional Drummer with 15+ years of experience teaching all ages and levels. Learn rudiments, any style, world rhythms, and reading music. Available for virtual or in-person lessons (socially distanced, masks worn and windows open). Contact Andrew Greeney, MLWS parent: 845-430-4773,

Guitar and mandolin lessons with Mr. Steve Bernstein at his home in Gardiner, NY. Children, teens and adults are all welcome. Please call: 845-255-0822 or drop a note in his mailbox (2nd floor) at school.


Moolah Doula Financial counseling sessions for couples. Six-session course offers an opportunity to learn how to navigate money conflicts with greater ease. Free half-hour consultation. For more information, email or click HERE to read a brief article.

Residential Design and Architecture - Blejer Architecture With all of us spending more time at home, working, cooking, and being with family, many are looking to improve, expand or build new homes. I am happy to discuss all types of projects. Contact Justin Blejer at, or call 917.637.0341.

Valentine and Wilder's Pet-Sitting Service Serving the greater New Paltz area. Experience with cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, turtles, fish, chickens and cows. Email, text or call Seana at 917-309-7790 or