Hello MLWS Families…

We hope you are moving easefully through the last few days of school before the holidays! As we continue our descent into the darker months, there is so much to be grateful for: the quiet beauty of the Advent Spiral, the joyful hustle and bustle of the Winter Faire, the amazing musical feats of the Music Share. We hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter, 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 MLWS community.

Parent Council Update

Parent Council is delighted to share that we are once again meeting on a regular basis during the 2019-20 school year. Please join us at our next meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, January 21 at 1:30pm at the school. We will discuss our priority projects and form small working groups which will continue to meet as necessary to advance their efforts. These projects include Faculty Nourishment, Food Drives, a Welcome Committee for new families, a How-To Binder for school-related projects, and this newsletter. If you are interested in working on one of these priority project, or if you have an idea for another initiative you would like to work on through Parent Council, please send an email to us at parentcouncil@mountainlaurel.org. Please consider getting involved and offering some of your time to one of our projects. Many hands make light work!

A Peek Into the Classroom

From Mr. Lundin:

In December, the Third Grade will mark time from our Genesis recitation of “…the evening and the morning were the first day” to various cyclical experiences of time through the ages into the present. We will learn how to read the sundial, the hourglass, and the sweep hand clock. We will also begin with the human form as a fundamental element of linear measurement. We will be amazed In looking at how unique our own inches, cubits, spans, and feet are in contrast to how universal one’s bodily proportions are. We will build an empirical set of weight measurements. We will also look at the old English measurements for capacity and practice volume estimates.

From Ms. Gill:

The Eighth Grade is learning the art of short story writing as the students reach a level of maturity where they can begin to discover their own voices. Students at Waldorf schools consistently write stories, but this year, we seek to understand the journey of the craft and the art of thinking ahead. Reading contemporary and classic stories presents the students with examples of a wide range of writing styles. Our first week, we studied the character, setting, and plot development of stories by Jack London (nature), Kurt Vonnegut (human vs. society), Tobias Wolff (family relationships), Ben Loory (allegory), and W.W. Jacobs (greed).

Technically, this short story block challenges the students in many ways. They must follow all of the rules of grammar – tense agreement, punctuation within dialogue – while also playing with tone, theme, and point of view. In a short story, there is no fluff, so different from last year’s creative writing lessons when we could sink into long descriptions. Writing a story is a thoughtful and time-consuming project and fits perfectly with the demanding work expected of the students during their final year at Mountain Laurel.

So far, with support, the results have been satisfying and entertaining. Some recent stories were about a race car driver, a war veteran, a boat regatta, pushing through social difficulty, and an imaginary friend. We are looking forward to more in the upcoming days!

News & Happenings

At our annual Guessing the Weight of the Pumpkins Contest, general excitement grew as Mr. Lundin put the 17 pumpkins that graced our entry one by one on the scale. Each grade gave their most educated guess beforehand, hoping their class would win the surprise treat (scrumptious apple cider doughnuts) this year. Guesses ranged from 64lbs to 534lbs but the winning total was 278lbs … and the treat was deservedly enjoyed by the 8th grade class.

Continuing our participation in volunteer opportunities in the greater New Paltz community, Mountain Laurel alumni, students, teachers, parents and administration proudly wearing their colors at the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning. Currently in its 17th year, the annual Turkey Trot is organized by Family of New Paltz as a fundraiser for their food pantry. A wonderful tradition bringing all generations together!

Saint Nicholas, the children’s patron saint paid a very special visit to all of the good children in the Nursery, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade on December 6. During his tour of the classrooms, old Saint Nicholas found trusty helpers in the 2nd grade who gladly carried his heavy sack of clementines, his staff and big book where he keeps the names of the children and all their good deeds.

Our heartfelt gratitude to all of our wonderful community for making the Winter Faire such a success.

This year,we brought the Winter Faire back indoors in our beautiful Victorian building which made for a more intimate event. Everyone expressed how it felt happy and sweet and true. Patrons enjoyed the scrumptious offerings from the Snowflake Cafe, the 8th Grade Grill and 3rd Grade roasted chestnuts and apple cider donuts, gathering at the long cloister-style dining tables in Jaeckel Hall, while serenaded by a steady schedule of quality music by the 8th Grade string quartet, Rachel Loshak’s Kingston SIngers and Stacey Rosen on the piano. The 6th Grade Tiny Treasures Room was magical, with a long line of customers patiently waiting their turn and clutching their tickets to purchase a handmade treasure, crafted by diligent parents and staff. The serene and peaceful Candle Dipping Room saw a steady stream of customers, quietly and patiently building layers of sweet smelling hot beeswax. The early childhood teachers transformed the kindergarten and prepared dear craft activities staffed by Nursery and Kindergarten parents, who helped little hands make popcorn and cranberry garlands, felted wool mittens, candle holders and pomanders to take home. The fresh balsam pine scent wafted from the 5th Grade classroom where the wreath-decorating workshop had materials and examples for multiple variations on the theme. 7th Grade parents and students mastered the intricate fashioning of translucent stars that are now gracing the windows of many a home. Our student vendors sold out of their unique crafted items and outside vendors expressed how they enjoyed the general happy mood of the Faire and the friendliness of our community.

Much of the event is parent-run and we wish to thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to join together and make the event possible.

A well established tradition in the 5th Grade is to round off their 3-week block of the study of India, with an India Night for parents and students. A true immersion in Indian culture with a buffet of home made Indian cuisine and the performance of a traditional stick dance to the sound of the drum, choreographed by Bill and Livia Vanaver. Jaeckel Hall was transformed with silks and intimate lights to transport all attendees to the distant continent for a delightful evening.