Greetings MLWS Families…

Welcome to 2021! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are feeling refreshed and revitalized as we continue to find our way back into the rhythms of school life, complete with snow storms, snow days and all that winter has to offer. We hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter, which includes a Parent Council update, shares what is happening within the school and the school community, highlights the activities of some of our classes, offers classified listings, and provides information about upcoming events in the MLWS community.

Parent Council Update

Parent Council is holding our monthly meetings via Zoom during the 2020-21 school year. Please join us at our next meeting on Friday, February 19, 12:30-1:30pm. We may hold smaller working group meetings via Zoom as necessary as well, to work on our priority projects. These efforts include a monthly Brown Bag Lunch Series (via Zoom) featuring MLWS community speakers, Grounds Beautification Projects, Food Drives, a Welcome Committee for New Families, “Art for the Elderly” Community Outreach, 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 google group that is open to all MLWS community members. If you are interested in joining, please send an email as well.

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

Here is the Parent Council meeting schedule for the rest of the 2020-21 school year:

  • Friday, February 19, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Friday, March 19, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Friday, April 16, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Friday, May 21, 12:30-1:30pm

News & Happenings

Introducing MLWS Basket Craft Series!

Please join the MLWS Parent Council as we host a cozy home-based hour-long craft session. During this session, we will walk you through the steps involved in making a seasonal craft item, using a pre-assembled kit of beautiful Waldorf handwork supplies. We are excited for this fun way to bring new skills, crafts and color into our homes as well as the opportunity for casual time to be together as a community. Our first session will teach you how to make colorful paper stars to adorn our winter windows.


Announcing February’s Brown Bag Lunch: “Early Childhood and The Importance of the Lower Four Senses” with Kindergarten teacher Prim Ormanovich – Tuesday, February 9, 1:00PM -2:00PM

The first four senses are called physical senses because they are the senses used to perceive one’s own body. In nurturing these elements (touch, life, self-movement and balance), we endow our youngest ones with a sense of well-being, connection and strength as they find their place in the world. Please join Parent Council, as we talk about how Early Childhood Education in a Waldorf school emphasizes practical support for these senses and how they lay the foundation for healthy growth and learning in the grades.
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. 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:

  • March 9: “The Role of Music at MLWS and in Waldorf Education” with Mark and Steve Bernstein
  • April 13: “Chalk Board Art in the Waldorf Classroom”
  • May 11: The Governance and Structure at MLWS”
  • June 9: “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 December’s Brown Bag Lunch with Michele Turner

In a month rich with celebration, we explored “The Role of Festivals within a Waldorf Community” with MLWS Second Grade teacher, Michele Turner. Our conversation began with a check-in about memories and traditions that honor light in the darkest month of the year. Michele especially reflected on childhood memories which have a deep sense of “reverence and awe,” a theme which we continued to hold during our discussion.

Michele recommended that we think of festivals as a way of sequencing and marking time within the wheel of the calendar year. The festivals celebrated in the Waldorf tradition have a particular way of rooting us in the natural season and ties us to the rhythm of the earth. We begin the school year with the valiant message of Michaelmas, all adorned in red and gold in reflection of the trees. We then proceed to Martinmas and our lantern walk to reminds us to hold close the warmth and light as we enter into the darkness and cold of winter time. We celebrate generosity and cheer with the red clad St. Nicholas and the candlelight of Santa Lucia and then go reverently into a season of deep sleep with our Advent Spiral. In the beginning of February, we observe Candlemas to remind us of the coming light of Spring even as we sit in the midst of winter weather. In Spring we mark Easter, with flowers and eggs in homage to our waking and blooming world, and May Day, as we come together “dancing as we sing” to celebrate the ring of our community and the bright joy of the springtime.

Michelle also shared some wonderful books that offer suggestions of how to better understand and celebrate some of these beautiful festivals in your own home: All Year Round and Festivals Family and FoodFestivals Family and Food.

“Art For The Elderly”: Handmade Holiday Crafts For Woodland Pond

During a Parent Council meeting in the Fall, we were discussing ways to continue community service actions and maintain a connection with our community through the students’ artistic creations. The inspiration was motivated by the desire to bring the joy of children to isolated seniors who are really suffering during this pandemic.

Zan Ludlum, Parent Council member, coordinated with the College and handwork teacher, Donna Jensen, to come up with a plan. We reached out to Woodland Pond to discuss our desire to share our holiday crafts with them over the Winter Break. They were enthusiastic and decided to focus on distributing and displaying these crafts in their Health Center, where the residents are truly isolated from visitors.

A Peek Into the Classroom

Offering a glimpse at the work of two of the classes in our school community…

Mr. Lundin and the Fourth Grade class:

The Fourth Grade has been studying grammar. We reviewed parts of speech that we had already encountered in Second Grade and Third Grade and also explored some new ones. This study bore an emphasis on verb conjugation and tense. Here we went cross-curriculum and engaged the three Norns of our Norse mythology study. The Norns are not goddesses; in fact, they are not even Aesir. They are beings of time, personifications of the past, the present, and the future. According to the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, the names of this trio of Norns are Urðr, which means “what once was”, Verðandi “what is coming into being”, and Skuld “what shall be”. So Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld continually weave the thread of destiny for every living being. This imagery dovetailed perfectly iwith our study of past, present, and future tense of verbs.

Mr. Wish and the Eighth Grade class:

The Eighth Grade is currently in a short story block, and we’ve spent our last week discussing what makes a great first page to a story. We’ve read opening pagers from Kafka, Gogol, and Tolstoy, and all of the students also brought in a work of fiction from home that has a wonderful first page. We’ve read our pages aloud, and asked the question, “What is this writer promising to the reader? How is the reader being hooked?” Now, having done this work, the students have an assignment: write their own successful intro to a short story.

Why Waldorf? – A CNBC Feature

The Waldorf teaching philosophy is used at more than 1,000 institutions in 91 countries, including 136 schools in the U.S. In most public and private schools across the nation, Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices are everywhere. But things look very different at Waldorf Schools, where technology and screens aren’t used at all through 8th grade, and are scarce even in high school.

Watch THIS VIDEO to see what a Waldorf School is like, and why parents are seeking them out in places like Silicon Valley.

Health Corner

Although we are all, more than ever, feeling the weight of CoVid fatigue, now coupled with cabin fever as we barreled into February with a massive Nor’ Easter, we strongly urge our families and school staff to double down on CoVid vigilance. With the reality of new variant strains getting a hold in the US, it has been suggested by Dr. Fauci and others, to now double mask to reduce transmission!

The numbers are indeed going down nationwide. However, with an infection rate of 8%, Ulster County is currently still at a very high risk level for CoVid. Epidemiologists are also bracing for a third wave to likely arrive by the beginning of March, due to the spread of the more contagious variant strains and slow pace of vaccinations.

Here is an interactive article by the New York Times tracking the Coronavirus in our area and educating us on how to lower our personal risk of getting CoVid and protect our community.

Activities that are considered extremely dangerous at the current risk level.

  • indoor dining, bars, gyms, yoga studios, movie theaters, Super Bowl parties
  • nonessential shopping
  • having friends over to your home, including your class cohorts
  • events with more than a handful of people, even out of doors
  • playdates and birthday parties, consider postponing
  • extracurricular activities, hold off for now
  • taking a member from another household, including your cohort in your car. If you must, have all occupants wear masks, sit far away from others and open the windows.

Children tend to have less-severe symptoms but can still spread the coronavirus, so consider the health risks of everyone in your household when making decisions about your child’s activities.

The MLWS Covid-19 Task Force met again and discussed the current situation and CoVid prevention recommendations, as well as the protocols we need to maintain or change.

  • On the subject of double masking, it was agreed that children are not required to wear them at school.
  • It is still crucial to keep 6 ft distancing when eating inside the classroom.
  • Still no mixing of cohorts.
  • No field trips involving carpools.
  • Outdoor hand sanitizers have been removed due to freezing temperatures and relocated to the school lobby. Students need to use their personal hand sanitizer before leaving the bus or car & wash their hands with soap & water in the classroom sinks.

Decisions made today can help ensure the safe operation of our school. Some of these decisions may be difficult. Maintaining our commitment to policies that prevent CoVid transmission in our community and in our school will help ensure the future social and academic welfare of all students and their education.

Let’s work together to keep our school open!

A Healthy Recipe to Try at Home!

Note: The following recipe is shared for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical, health or nutritional advice, diagnosis or treatment.

“Tamer” Fire Cider

Fire cider is an infused herbal vinegar or master tonic that is believed to be an effective immune-booster. The traditional ingredients of a fire cider recipe are ginger, onion, horseradish, garlic, cayenne, apple cider vinegar and honey. Other ingredients can be added for additional health benefits and flavor, such as turmeric, lemons, oranges, herbs, cinnamon sticks, lemongrass, and dried fruits. This “tamer” fire cider recipe is not as hot as the traditional recipe and is an easy recipe to make at home together as a family. Fire cider can also be purchased in most health stores.

Yield: quart size jar
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 3 to 4 weeks

  • Wide-mouth glass quart jar
  • ½ medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped (sweet yellow or white)
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish root
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated turmeric rhizome
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger root
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice or slice and add whole
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice or slice and add whole
  • ½ grapefruit, zest and juice or slice and add whole *grapefruit rinds are extra bitter, keep that in mind before adding whole
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • sprig of each: oregano, rosemary and thyme
  • apple cider vinegar, raw unpasteurized
  • raw honey, local if possible (agave syrup for vegan)
  1. Chop, grate and prepare ingredients as described above.
  2. Combine the onion, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, ginger, oranges, lemon, grapefruit, cloves, cinnamon stick and herbs in a wide-mouth glass quart jar.
  3. Add warm apple cider vinegar to cover (warming allows the vinegar to draw properties out of the herbs), leave a few inches at the top.
  4. Cover with a BPA-free plastic mason jar lid, avoid using metal as it could rust.
  5. Store the infusion at room temperature, preferable in a warm spot and shake daily. Let it sit for 3 to 4 weeks.
  6. Separate and strain the liquid with a strainer or cheesecloth, be sure to squeeze all the liquid out!
  7. Add honey to taste (about ¼ cup).
  8. Place your fire cider in a flip-top bottle for easy use and store in the refrigerator.
  9. Enjoy and stay healthy! It is recommended to take 1 to 2 tablespoons of fire cider and repeat the dosage every 3 to 4 hours if you feeling unhealthy. It can be taken as a shot, added to herbal tea, water or juice, salad dressing, marinade, add to rice or stir fries. Be sure to shake the bottom before each use.

Please note that this recipe contains the following:

  • Horseradish — Substitute echinacea root or astragalus root for children under the age of four.
  • Honey – Substitute agave syrup for children under the age of one.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Should not be consumed by children under the age of two.

To learn more check out the book “Fire Cider!” by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.

Our December newsletter included an elderberry syrup recipe. For additional information about elderberry and COVID-19, please see the following articles:

Elderberry and COVID 19: Another Herbalist Weighs In

We would love to hear your stories about making sauerkraut, elderberry syrup or fire cider, and we would also love to hear your requests for future Health Corner recipes or topics. Please email us at

The Fund for Mountain Laurel

Looking for something new in the doldrums of winter?
Get yourself or a loved one a Mountain Laurel Waldorf School t-shirt, tote bag, or water bottle!
Order online and pick up by appointment at the school.
All merchandise is locally sourced, and all proceeds go to the school.