October 2020
News, Notes & Updates
Greetings!

Living during this pandemic has changed our relationship with time, which feels much more mutable. It seems as if we have been back at school for a lifetime, and also we are very aware that each moment is precious. Everyone is doing a tremendous job of carrying the students through the changes required to be together safely.

Not all of school is COVID-19, however!

Our faculty and staff recently completed the first of two trainings with the Center for Racial Justice in Education. This work is ongoing, and, critically, part of a larger discussion on racial justice and equity living in the Waldorf community worldwide, and in North America in particular. Self-study is difficult. It is also a regular part of the Waldorf educator's tool kit.

In our Early Childhood classes, students are still gleefully outside on the rainy days, taking full advantage of mud as a plaything, and our Early Childhood teachers are working on plans that *might* allow EC parents to partake in their child's Martinmas lantern walk next month. (Grades 1-4 will celebrate this festival in school.)

Last month the Fourth Grade presented a delightful outdoor class play, Loki and Sif's Golden Hair. What a group of thespians! We regularly ask ourselves: What are we learning from this year that we will bring with us into the future? Outdoor plays will definitely stay with us.

And earlier this month, our Fifth Grade held our grade school Michaelmas festival, building a challenging obstacle course, and allowing us to share a lovely day together, if not directly with our parents. Our Special Projects Coordinator, Maria Green, has put together another video for us, showcasing this year's festival, below.

In gratitude,

Christina Dixcy
Communications Director and Office Manager
View our COVID-19 Community Health & Campus Operations Plan on the Current Parents page of our website.
Calendar/News
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held virtually on Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6.
These days will be half days.

School will be closed on Wednesday, November 11, in observance of Veteran's Day.

We will have a half day on Wednesday, November 25, leading into Thanksgiving break.
Leadership Council Fall Schedule
Office Hours
At these recurring meetings, parents set the agenda with their questions and a conversation ensues.
  • Monday, November 16, 4:30 pm

RSVP to leadership@waldorfct.org by 3 pm the day-of for Zoom login info.


Town Hall (NEW TIME)
Relevant school topics and information will be shared by the Board of Trustees, College of Teachers, and the Leadership Council.
  • November 18, 7pm

Zoom login info will be sent to families in advance of the Town Hall.
Notes
Thank you, Fifth Grade, for organizing our Grade School Michaelmas Festival, and to Maria Green for creating this video.
Classroom Updates
Dandelion Kindergarten
Marcella Kapsaroff and Liz Koors

The Dandelion class enjoys each fall day in the dear fenced garden at the Community House. They begin each morning outdoors where they dig with shovels, crack rocks, and balance on stones, logs, and planks. The Dandelions have loved singing songs about all the woodland animals who are preparing for colder weather. The scurrying chipmunks, scampering squirrels, and slowly moving slugs and snails are the animals we see everyday in our garden! The children have been happily raking fallen leaves and jumping into the piles. After the leaves have been crushed sufficiently by boots and sneakers we move the leaf mulch to our garden beds using our big wheel barrow. The dandelion children often call on King Gnome to guard their earthly home. We are now listening to a fun Halloween story, the Hobgoblin. For our craft we are making little chipmunks from fallen pine cones and wool batting. On Fridays we meet Ms. Laetitia at the larger play yard for Eurhythmy and then the children enjoy swinging on the tire swing and balancing on the long fallen tree and then returning to our classroom to eat warm oatmeal. Our days are full and we are so happy and thankful to be together .
Rose Kindergarten
Carrie Reilly and Sandy Proksa

The Rose class is enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather. Our "Sun children" were knighted after sawing, drilling and sanding beautiful black walnut branches that they turned into swords. The swords are used, "only for good deeds, never for some silly quarrel or fight, but to drive away evil...I will try and to protect others who are weaker than I" (that is the code of the knight). We are enjoying finding leaves on the ground with their colors of red, golden yellow, russet and brown. We have been happily rolling down our sledding hill as acorns falling from the oak tree. Now with harvest time almost over, we are the, "five little pumpkins rolling out of sight" all the way down the hill. We enjoyed a fabulous afternoon in the rain on Friday making soup out of mud and leaves in the garden. We are working on an Autumn craft, creating a pom-pom pumpkin. We are grateful to be together during this magical time of the year!
Sunflower Kindergarten
Isabel Gandara and Aliz Mihok

The Sunflower children are very happy to be together at school again. We have two new children in the class and they have already become a tight group. Sometimes they all play hide and seek together and some Fridays they play cooking games when we play at the Community house playground.

The Sunflower class recently finished our circle about Michaelmas. The children made beautiful wooden swords. But now all of our activities are related to Autumn. The children are making apples out of pompoms, pumpkins and leaves out of beeswax, and singing songs and playing games about leaves falling on the ground and pumpkins growing over a pumpkin patch. They also made beautiful paintings with leaves.

The "sun children" in the class are already experts in jumping rope, which has allowed them to enjoy jumping rope two at a time, which they love. They are also experts in finger knitting and almost all of them have finished making a beautiful belt. They have also been doing some woodworking projects such as making swords, spinning tops, and a round wooden piece that is used for making yarn bracelets.
First Grade (Class of 2028)
Jennifer Chapman

First Grade is incredibly busy learning their first consonants. We have learned about the B found in the bear, the M found in the mountains, and the C found in a cave filled with treasures galore, all through Grimm's tales. We are also learning the alphabet backwards, which is more of a struggle for me, than them! We have been busy outside every morning enjoying our circle time which has included being either a gallant galloping gelding or a terribly tired tortoise! We are gaining tons of ground practicing Melissa Merkling's "Pitter, Patter, Polt" and "Pease Porridge Hot" clapping games. Sometimes we are even crabs scuttling along the sandy beach on a hot day, singing "the wheels on the bus go round and round" (The crabs on the beach go 'round and 'round, 'round, and 'round...you get the idea.) We've also drawn some complicated form drawings with chalk tucked in our toes!
Second Grade (Class of 2027)
Laura Wittmer

The Second Graders are studying mathematics. We began our block with a review of our two, three, five, and ten times tables and used a 10 circle to draw the patterns found in each. Then we moved on to place value with Bill Yun's Bun Shop, where each student had fun ordering buns in boxes of 1000, bags of 100, trays of 10 or by individual buns. We have also enjoyed creating seasonal paintings with Autumn leaves and creating pumpkins and gourds during beeswax.
Third Grade (Class of 2026)
Emily Remensperger

The Third Graders have been studying the seasons, moths and lengths of each day. We are learning how ancient peoples measured the passing of time using sundials, water clocks, and candle clocks. We built our own sundials outside and are practicing with analog clocks in the classroom.
Fourth Grade (Class of 2025)
Janelle Beardsley

The Fourth Grade began the year with play practice! The twelve Fourth Graders rehearsed a story of one of the Norse Myths entitled Loki and Sif's Golden Hair. All play practices and the five performances on October 1st were held  outdoors. The students used the three field tents on the Compass Hall field as the scaffolding for three backdrops. Sometimes a colorful shower of fall leaves cascaded down on the Fourth Graders as they rehearsed! The students performed one of the most humorous tales about the trickster, Loki, and dwarves, giants, the god Odin and his court of dwellers in the kingdom of Asgard. Now the Fourth Grade is working on arithmetic with more outdoor activities. They will soon begin preparing for Martinmas, as the hosts of this year's lantern walk to be held on campus during the school day on November 10th for Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Fifth Grade (Class of 2024)
Allison Washington

It has been wonderful being back together in the classroom! We have gotten used to our new rhythm and routine and are enjoying spending more time learning in the outside classrooms.The Fifth Graders kicked off the school year in a Botany block. Students have been studying the lower plant kingdom during this first block, through a picture of the plant world growing in complexity from the fungi and mosses through to the coniferous trees. The Fall weather has been just perfect for making observations and nature journaling outdoors. Moving forward, Fifth Graders will enter into a math block, in which their study of fractions from fourth grade will be reviewed and deepened. Additionally, the Fifth Graders delighted in setting up the Michaelmas day obstacle course for their peers. Thank you to everyone who supported us in making it a special festival!
Sixth Grade (Class of 2023)
Leslie Lew (Update by Marleen De Grande)

In Grade Six we are studying geometry. We started the block by exploring geometry in nature: the inside of an apple and a cucumber, many shells, a honey comb, and a snow crystal all carry samples of living geometry within them. We discovered that the circle can be considered the most perfect geometrical form. It is not easy to construct a perfect circle made up of Sixth Graders and it is rather difficult to create one using a string and pencil. The compass has come to the rescue! We are now concentrating on the 6-division of the circle and how the hexagon, hexagram, and other polygons will emerge from it. We will also learn how to use the protractor when studying angles in triangles, for example. All of this work will appear in an artistic way in our main lesson book and continue in main lesson blocks in Grades Seven and Eight.
Seventh Grade (Class of 2022)
Eighth Grade (Class of 2021)
Laura Hayes

In their history block, the Seventh and Eighth graders have embarked on exploring daring, courageous, and adventurous world travelers. The student chose two lesser known, often non-European explorers who lived between the 12th century to present times. For one, they are tasked to write a biography and for the other, to design postcards from their travels. We talk about the impact European explorers had on the people that they encountered, and address the genocides of indigenous nations and slavery that followed. Utilizing the historic atlas we also find out more about trade routes and how economies were interconnected.

Our classroom discussions on the explorers has opened the opportunity to learn about debating and how to develop arguments. The students are embracing our debating exercises with delight and many witty comments.
Dance News!
Patricia Campbell
with Fran Hendrickson, accompanist on accordion

Our Fall Traditional Dance session began on October 8th, and is in full swing. All dances were done outside with everyone wearing masks, but no hand-holding. Our concentration was on International Folk Dances because they lend themselves easily to doing "solo," staying safe distances apart from each other.

The 7th/8th Grades have been busy, creatively choreographing a dance for the Halloween Event. They had to first choose a formation (they chose a circle); then had to pick a tune by rhythm (either a reel or a jig - they chose a jig). Then they had to start suggesting traditional dance figures they've learned over the past years with me, and we had great input from multiple students. Each new figure was tried out against the music, and then some were tweaked a bit. Of course, added in were some flourishes created by the class. Lots of wonderful cooperation and fun!

The 4th Grade experienced dances from all over the world - Serbia, Turkey, Mexico, Romania - and they're still waiting to decide which dance they want to present at the Halloween Event.
The 5th/6th Grades traveled (in dance) to Catalan, Bolivia, and Russia, among other places. They began to choreograph their own dance.

And the 2nd/3rd Grades also traveled internationally - Serbia, Israel, Sweden, Occitane/France, as well as dancing some old favorites.
Spanish, Outside in all Weather...
Marcela Pérez

In Spanish class we got ready for the rain by making costumes with black plastic leaf bags. We played a game of hide-and-seek during which the children only showed their backs as they curled on the ground. Those trying to figure out who is who had to guess by asking questions while pointing at each hiding child: Quien es esta persona? The child answered: Esta persona es ....
Special Mentions
Gratitude
Thank you to HVWS parents Laura and Dave of Riverbank Farm (https://www.riverbankfarm.com) for the delicious greens! The HVWS faculty has enjoyed them and we are so grateful.

Thank you to HVWS parents Julie and Whitney of Farmers and Cooks (https://farmersandcooks.com) for the wonderful baked goods for the faculty. What a treat!

An enormous thank you to HVWS alumni parents Sarah Pfisterer and Rick Hilsabeck of WireMill Academy for the donation of beautiful costumes to HVWS. We are very, very blessed and look forward to using these in our plays. Thank you also to the quiet but diligent costume gnome (HVWS parent Jodi Knuff) who picked up the donated costumes and has been going through them to see what will be useful to us.

Thank you, thank you!
Alumni
Alumni Updates
Class of 2020
Marleen De Grande

Earlier this month, the Class of 2020 and their parents enjoyed the traditional graduation brunch that I have offered all of the classes that I have graduated at HVWS. This year's celebration had to be postponed but not canceled. It was great to see each other in person after almost seven months. There was a lot of catching up to do and of course the diplomas had to be presented.

Congratulations Class of 2020: Áine Ancona, Jackson DellaCamera, Sophia Merkulov and Alexis Steger. We miss you!

Áine Ancona is attending Staples High School, Westport
Jackson DellaCamera is attending Avon Old Farms School, Avon
Sophia Merkulov is attending Pomperaug High School, Southbury
Alexis Steger is attending Amity Regional High School, Bethany
Class of 2016
Janelle Beardsley

Forrest Anderson deferred acceptance to Pacific University in Hawaii where he plans to major in Entrepreneurship/Business. He is traveling this year as a videographer and marketer for professional snow boarders and surfers.

Pauline Fernandez deferred acceptance to Connecticut College where she plans to study Architecture and Environmental Design.

Ryan Greguski deferred acceptance to Middlebury College where he plans to study Physics. He has taken a gap year and started an online tutoring business and plans to pursue many of his interests: photography, woodworking, and videography.

Maya Goode is attending Fairfield University to study History and Art.

Brady Knuff is attending University of Denver and majoring in Business.

Conor McCann is attending Drexel University majoring in Mechanical Engineering

Ellery McFarland is attending University of New Haven studying Fire Science & Administration. Rather than living on campus, he is residing in a live-in firehouse with other University of New Haven students, in Trumbull, CT. Enabling him to continue going on fire calls with the department and having boots on the ground experience.

Monika Mihok is attending the University of Connecticut.

Timothy Redpath is attending St Andrews University in Scotland and studying Biochemistry.

Kira Schoenberg is attending Mount Holyoke College and planning to major in Psychology or Neuroscience.

Danny Schum is attending the University in Colorado and majoring in Business.

Quinn Siddiqui deferred acceptance to Washington and Lee University where he will study Economics and is taking a gap year to travel and participate in 3-month NOLS trip in the Colorado Rockies.

Emily Stringer is attending the College of the Atlantic majoring in Marine Biology.

Aidan Usher is attending Naugatuck Community College to study Horticulture.
Waldorf Alum Networking Platform
Calling all HVWS alums! A few of the opportunities that await you at Alums.WaldorfEducation.org:
  • be a part of a continental network and community
  • mentor younger alums in your field
  • seek out work or internships with a Waldorf alum
  • hire other Waldorf alums to work with you on a project or within a company or organization
  • attend a regional Waldorf alum event or party
  • find "long-lost" friends and reconnect
  • meet new Waldorf alums in your area
  • follow the Waldorf alum news and be inspired by what your fellow Waldorf alums are doing in the world!
Seeking Submissions from Alumni!
HVWS alumni are amazing people doing amazing things!

Please consider a submission.

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) launched its Waldorf Alum Connect Spotlight campaign last January and is seeking published news about alums. The aim of this campaign is to spread the word about the amazing work that our Waldorf alums are undertaking as scientists, artists, teachers, engineers, musicians, advisors, entrepreneurs and more.

We are seeking published news articles, personal websites and published research about what our alums are doing out in the wide world.

Please consider nominating yourself or someone you know here!
Spiritwear
Order your HVWS fleece jacket!
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YS  6-8
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Mission
To provide a lasting education that cultivates resilient and creative human beings who are capable of free thinking, confident action, and deep connections with others and the world.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School | 203-364-1113 | office@waldorfct.org| waldorfct.org