Hello MLWS Families!
We hope you are finding an easeful rhythm as the new year picks up its pace. Notwithstanding the current warm spell, winter is certainly upon us, complete with ice skating, skiing and, inevitably, school delays and closings! Parent Council is pleased to share this issue of the newsletter with the community, which includes a Parent Council update, highlights activities of various classes and other school-related topics, offers Classified listings and provides information about upcoming events in the community. Be sure to check out our new Q&A section entitled “Mountain Laurel Demystified”!
PARENT COUNCIL UPDATE
Highlights of topics discussed during the January Parent Council meeting are as follows:
- A Welcome Committee for new families is in development, which will work towards better orienting these families during their first year at the MLWS;
- A workshop for parents on the topic of the Four Temperaments is coming soon;
- The idea of a parent-led “Fix It” day was proposed and is in development, with the goal of coming together to give a little extra TLC to various areas throughout the school buildings.
Parent Council will hold our February meeting on Wednesday, February 14, 3:15-4:15pm*. Please consider attending the February meeting to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns, and to learn more about the various Parent Council initiatives in the works. Help our community thrive. Many hands make light work!
* Please note that contrary to the schedule announced at the start of the school year (which indicated meetings would alternate between 3:15pm and 5:15pm start times), for the rest of the 2017/2018 school year, Parent Council meetings will be held from 3:15pm until 4:15pm, based on attendance during the first four meetings. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Mountain Laurel Demystified
QUESTION: What sort of continuing education do the teachers at MLWS receive? How often? From whom?
ANSWER: Each teacher has annual budgeted funds available for continuing education, and teachers choose where and when they will pursue continuing education. There are several programs available, typically over the summer. Courses are also available online. These courses are offered by the Waldorf teacher training centers, other anthroposophical and pedagogical institutions and “master” teachers who offer their own programs. MLWS covers the cost of tuition as well as lodging and food. Staff development days are also scheduled once or twice per year, so teachers may visit other schools. If a teacher requests to visit another school outside of that schedule, MLWS provides classroom coverage so that may happen. MLWS also provides mentoring and assessment, both in-house (weekly) and out-of-house (per the mentoring and assessment policy/schedule which is maintained by the Personnel Group).
One question and the corresponding answer will be featured in each issue of the newsletter. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be patient if your question is not responded to immediately. Thank you!
Calendar of School Events
Thursday and Friday, January 25 & 26, 9:00am
A Norse Medley
These two performances of the Fourth Grade play are primarily for the children, but there may be seating for community members who cannot make the evening performance.
Friday, January 26, 6:00pm
A Norse Medley
Come out and see the Fourth Grade perform in the MLWS Community Room!
Wednesday, January 31, 8:30-10:30am
Community Craft Circle
Beginning January 31, 2018, MLWS is introducing a weekly Craft Circle for parents interested in sharing handwork skills, ideas and projects. Whether you are new to handwork or you are an experienced pro, please join us every Wednesday from 8:30am to 10:30am in the Handwork classroom as we create in community. For more information, please contact Amy at email@example.com.
Monday, February 5, 3:00-4:15pm
Steiner Study Group
Led by Theo Lundin, meeting in the First Grade classroom.
Tuesday, February 6, 1:00-2:30pm
Free Marionette Workshop
Join Rosana Workman and learn how to make marionettes like those used in our beautiful Kindergarten puppet shows. This is a gift from Mrs. Workman to the parent body, as a thank you for all of the handwork help offered in preparation for the Winter Faire. Mrs. Workman is also hoping to find new talent and interested participants for the school’s puppetry group.
Wednesday, February 7, 8:30-9:30am
MLWS Coffee Hour
Come join us in the Handwork Room in the main school building! Please bring your own cup, and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can bake something to share.
Wednesday, February 7, 8:30-10:30am
Community Craft Circle
(overlapping with MLWS Coffee Hour!) Led by Amy DeLeon, meeting in the Handwork classroom. For more information, please contact Amy at email@example.com.
Friday February 9, 6:00pm
Parent-sponsored screening of “Take Back Your Power”
MLWS Community Room. This award-winning documentary investigates so-called “smart” utility meters, uncovering shocking evidence of in-home privacy invasions, increased utility bills, health & environmental harm and more. These meters are all over New Paltz, including at MLWS. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, February 14, 8:30-10:30am
Community Craft Circle
Led by Amy DeLeon, meeting in the Handwork classroom. For more information, please contact Amy at email@example.com.
Wednesday, February 14, 3:15-4:15pm
Parent Council monthly meeting
A Peek Into the Classroom
From Mr. Neel
The Fourth Grade is in its play block, which gives the children a chance to live into the characters of the gods and goddesses of the Norse Myths. This builds in the students deeper and more personal relationships with the mythological subject matter that stands as archetypes and guideposts in their later lives. The play is a Norse medley as told by Tom Bombadil, who is a mysterious character from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The class learned Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil poem in First Grade; bringing Bombadil back reinforces something that works deeper in the children than a cursory memorization of the poem. For me, bringing Bombadil back will strengthen a sense of awe for the sheer mystery of life in the adults our children will become. In a sense, Bombadil is the guardian of mystery—reserving a place in our hearts where we don’t strive for answers and facts but allow a sense of reverence to take hold for the unknown. The play will be performed on January 25 & 26 at 9:00 AM. These performances are generally for the school, but there may be seating for those who cannot make the evening performance at 6:00 PM, Friday, January 26.
On a lighter note, the Fourth Grade has been spending time working with fractions and a complex Celtic knot drawing. Both of these activities are a continuance of long term projects we’ve begun this year. Celtic knots develop a sense that sticking to the path, or formula, or algorithm, will lead you to the completion of something true and beautiful. As with fractions, this activity develops the will to see a given project through to its completion and an understanding that anything worth anything requires patience and perseverance to create.
Classroom Music Updates from Mr. Steve Bernstein:
5th Grade: The Fifth Grade is now playing in two parts on their recorders, alto and soprano. We’re focusing on intonation, new note fingering, and playing together. Songs include Branle de Champagne, Ye Banks and Braes, and The Potter.
6th Grade: After finishing “Bonnie at Morn” in 3 parts (Soprano/Alto/Alto) from last year, the Sixth Grade is mightily forging ahead into four-part recorder playing (soprano, alto, tenor and bass). With the addition of tenor and bass recorders, the class has learned to play a Gregorian Chant, “Salve Regina,” the Christmas carol, “Carol of the Bells,” and is presently absorbing the mysterious Egyptian melody, “Misirlou.”
7th Grade: The Seventh Grade is playing music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Playing in four parts (SATB), the class performed Royal Wind Music at the work share in November, and two Baroque selections: Badine and a Bach Canon. The class is now delving into a Mozart Fugue.