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Dear Parents, We are thrilled to support the return of the Mountain Laurel Newsletter! We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Parent Council for taking up this important work in the life of our school. Ongoing communication is the key to a healthy community. Mountain Laurel is such a beautiful place with so much good taking place each day. What a joy to share with each other glimpses of what is happening in all realms of the school. It is our pleasure to have this opportunity to share with you an update on projects currently in the works at Mountain Laurel. Sincerely, Judy Jaeckel and Carol Jordan

Important Dates To Remember MAY 25

School Closed/Fifth Grade Olympics

MAY 28

School Closed/Memorial Day


Last Day of School for Nursery & Kindergarten


Grades Work Sharing, 10:15 AM at St. Joseph’s


8th Grade Graduation, Rose Ceremony

JUNE 8 Last

Day of School for Grades

JUNE 12 Parent

Council Meeting, 6:15 PM

AWSNA Accreditation News Thank you to all of you who participated in the AWSNA Accreditation Parent Survey which was conducted from November through April. The school received responses from over 50 families. The results were compiled and reviewed in an accreditation meeting with the full staff in April. The results will be shared with the parent community following our AWSNA accreditation team visit scheduled for Spring of 2013. In order to continue preparing for this important event and to complete the Self-Study, the full staff has extended their regular business meetings on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30. Several Saturday meetings have been added as well. We will keep you updated regarding events that need to be planned around the team visit which will involve the whole school. 2

“The more we are able to integrate parents, inwardly and outwardly, into the life of our schools, the more our schools will have the warmth, life, and light, as well as the strength, to grow in vigorous and healthy ways.” —Robert Schiappacasse DIRECTOR, WALDORF SCHOOL OF LEXINGTON

In a Waldorf School there is an implicit understanding that the children and their education are supported by three pillars—the board; staff and faculty; and the parent body. The Parent Council at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School is a group of inspired parents who are interested in studying, growing and serving together in an effort to support the school community. We meet the second Tuesday of every month, and meetings are open to all. Please come and bring your questions, gifts, and energy! The mission of the Parent Council is three-fold in its intention: First That it bridge communication among the faculty, administration, board and parent body. Second That it encourage and support parent understanding of Waldorf education by inspiring and facilitating learning opportunities. Third That it organize and utilize the gifts and energies of the parent body to initiate and support events that enrich the life of the school community.

Join us on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:15 pm in the Community Room.

Bag Hunger: collection for food pantry

Find out about more initiatives you can help with!

All School Picnic: celebrate community

Things like:

Parent Education: speakers, readings, resources

Community Outreach Fundraising Bring your ideas...

Improve the Play Yard: sandbox, bunny hutch


During their Wednesday outing to Huguenot Street this Spring, Olivia happened upon a painted Easter egg marked with one of the children’s symbols. She ran to share her special gift with the other children and everyone immediately scattered to search for more eggs. The excitement and joy was contagious and the children screamed with delight upon each new finding. In the end, each discovered two colorful eggs painted with their symbols. Miss Liza then read a story called The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes about a little girl bunny with a dream to be one of the five Easter Bunnies who deliver eggs to the children of the world. It was amazing to watch the children listen so attentively -- especially since the book is quite long. It was inspiring to see the kids so engaged and beaming with delight. The children also enjoyed a puppet show and May Day dancing this season.


Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Nimble fingers have been hard at work as the six and seven year old children in Mrs. McLaughlin’s and Mrs. Shuhan’s kindergartens have come together to embark on a sewing adventure. The “first-grade ready” children are making their own table puppets for a puppet show they will perform at year’s end. Through practical work, games, and songs the older children in the kindergarten are being met with the challenges they crave at this time of year and having a great time to boot!


The first graders have celebrated the rebirth of Spring and the return of color in nature in their painting work.


What a wonderful year it has been for the second grade! Our studies of saints and animals have brought many thoughtful and contemplative moments in the classroom, along with fun projects, including the recent completion of an Animal Joke Book. In Language Arts, we have begun learning some basic parts of speech (Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives), and have had an introduction to cursive writing through Form Drawing. In Arithmetic this year, we worked with the processes of Carrying and Borrowing in equations up to the thousands, and we finished our times tables up to 12 x 12! Musically, this is a very exciting time for our class! After two years of singing and playing songs mostly in the pentatonic scale, the children will soon be singing in major and minor keys, as well as in rounds, and picking up two new instruments: the soprano recorder and a stringed instrument. In preparation for choosing their stringed instruments, the second graders recently had the honor of experiencing a private performance in our classroom, by three of our school’s music lesson teachers: Ling Kwan, Donna Kushner and Aaron Bernstein. It is hard to believe the school year is coming to an end, but when we reflect upon all that we have accomplished, we can see that it has been a very full and productive year. We hope you enjoy our selections at the Music Share! With Gratitude, Ms. Personius and the Second Grade


3rd Grade Play The Third Grade performed a play called Exodus, about the life of Moses. Many important inner characteristics of the developmental stage the Nine Year Change were firmly met in this great story! The narrative of the play was a vibrant experience to comrade the new relationship the third graders are making with their own destiny stream. In addition to learning a play with more individual line lines than we performed in our First or Second Grade plays, the students worked at composing melodies for our songs. The girls collaborated and each wrote a part of two songs they sang together as shepherdesses. A critical part of our play’s production was the time, talent, and support that several class parents provided as part of the community that holds these children. 3rd Grade Building Project In Third Grade we aim to have a meaningful experience of earthly life that builds a warm confidence and desire to be here through practical work in farming, shelter, and measurement. The Third Grade is building a farm tool shed at the Brownstein’s as a part of the year’s shelter and farming curriculum. The class practiced a lot of hammering large nails, measuring, and making square cuts with their own handsaws in the classroom before we ever started construction on the actual building. The building then commenced on a Saturday with a large group of “barn raising consciousness” parents to support the children in their endeavor. We are now going on school days to finish the job. The children have had a part of almost every step in the labor, and have found it all remarkably satisfying. They are gaining confidence in tangible skills with tools and now see part of a rough cut lumber structure as proof of their hard labor and learning. 8

Grade 4 - Mrs. Stanmyer

The fourth grade has had a very busy year. They started off the year by studying local history and going to visit many of the local historical sites they were studying about. They experienced an 1800’s school house and farmstead at the Ashokan Field Campus, took a walk through time on historical Huguenot Street and the D and H towpath n High Falls. They delved into the complicated world of fractions (creating their own fraction quilt),and studied the exciting world of the Vikings and their gods. They studied the world of man and animal and presented their independent animal projects to the entire school. Ending the block with a trip to the Bronx Zoo. And in between they read countless books, studied spelling, grammar, and music all while getting ready to perform their version of “James and the Giant Peach.”


Ancient Greece Our study of our ancient civilizations culminated with an exploration of the mythology of ancient Greece. The culture of ancient Greece represents a flowering of the human intellect and displays a deeper sense of individuality among the people of that land at that time. Through story and song, writing and reading drawing, sculpture and drama the fifth graders delved into the ethos and soul of the ancient Greek world. We concluded our study of Ancient Greece by performing a musical play titled Orpheus and Eurydice. The students worked diligently to bring this challenging play to life. Each actor took individual roles, some with solo singing parts and all helped to form and work in concert as the Greek chorus that formed the inner conscience of the characters and provided narration for the play. Our trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was the icing on the cake of our yearlong study of our ancient ancestors. Touring the ancient cultures exhibits the students were able to bear witness to the practical and artistic work of their ancient ancestors and see the changes that occurred in humanity through the ancient arts.


Beautiful drawings and paintings of ancient Rome, geometry and the Earth’s layers.


Creative Writing The seventh grade has been in a creative writing block for the month of April. We began the block by exploring our senses in nature, and moved to looking at the works of well–known poets and visionaries such as Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Leonardo da Vinci. Each day, we would work with a poem and then use that poem as a guide to writing our own poems. Below is an example of a collaborative statement. Each student wrote his or her own I Have a Dream speech based on the reverent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. Students chose a statement from their piece and we wove them together to create a class dream.

I Have a Dream I have a dream that one day our nation will rise up and confront ignorance, racism, homophobia, religious bias, and classism. I have a dream to cure starvation. To help the many people who may not know when they will get their next meal. I have a dream that one day people will realize that what’s on the inside of people is much more important than what’s on the outside. Everyone is a beautiful person on the inside, just as you are…with a dream, just as big as yours. I have a dream that the oppression of women will end in America. That all women and men will have equal paying jobs and there will be no discrimination against women in any professional fields. I have a dream that all over the world, men will be allowed to marry men, and women will be allowed to marry women. I have a dream that one-day gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual citizens won’t have to form little clubs to feel safe. I have a dream that someday I can teach others the joy of dance and they can teach the next generation so that dance will stay strong and never die out. I have a dream that one day we will encourage others to heal the earth, its animals, nature, and ourselves. I hope we will treat each other equally, regardless of what our race and/or religion is. I have a dream that one day all people that live on this earth will realize that each person belongs to the same family. It is a dream that we open our eyes to see that we share the same mother…mother earth.


Breakfast Run Early Sunday morning March 11. . . really early . . . 5:45am the 8th grade class from Mountain Laurel headed to Green Meadow Waldorf School to join the 8th graders of that school in a community service event named “breakfast run.” Both 8th grades had been collecting clothing from head to toe. Our class was very focused on shoes. The practical intention of the service project was to arrive in NYC at a little park on 54th Street and 11 Avenue. We were told ahead of time that we would be setting up bins of clothing that started at the head and ended at the feet. After the clothing line there was to be a warm breakfast to serve consisting of eggs, potatoes, muffins, and hot coffee. When we got to Green Meadow everyone from both schools worked hard to organize the clothing and food and pack it into the bus, van and cars. We were on the road by 7:30 am and set up on the side walk by 8:30 am. Our class had never participated in this event, we were not sure what to expect. When we pulled up at the park we were surprised to see a long line of people already waiting for food and clothing. The 8th graders quickly formed the line of clothing and those who were not on clothing quickly stepped into food preparation and serving. Having an encounter with the suffering of humanity appeared homeopathic for our young adolescents. They had an invitation to turn away from the focus on themselves and give their full attention to the homeless people in need of clothing, food, warmth, contact, and good conversation. As a parent chaperone I was deeply moved to watch the grace and ease the children had in caring for others. They were all quick to lend a hand, lend an ear, and open their hearts. As we headed back to New Paltz that afternoon, my car was filled with tired but very humble students. My son, Jeremy, shared as we walked into our home, “I feel like I really made a difference today.” —Jerilyn Brownstein


Dear Mountain Laurel Community, Here is an update on what’s been going on in grades 4-8 music classes: 4th grade: We’ve been playing two part recorder music this year. Mrs. Stanmeyer has chosen to play the soprano by the way. Both the altos and sopranos keep sounding better as the year rolls on. About a month ago we performed at a Monday morning assembly to the delight of the entire school. We played “Slavonic Tune” at 3 different tempos starting slowly and getting progressively faster. Really fun! 5th Grade: Mr. Evan’s class is making the transition from 2 part recorder playing to 4 part. We’ve learned some nice 4 part tunes including the Radhe Bolo Partner Dance. Currently, they are putting together a song playing recorders for May Day. 6th grade: After working with a rather large ensemble playing my arrangement of “El Condor Pasa,” we’ve taken a break to work on their play, “Excalibur.” We will hopefully have the South American folk song 14

ready for the spring workshare in June. The song includes violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, percussion, recorders, and vocals. 7th grade: The 7th grade is ready to unveil “Bouree” written by Renaissance composer Michael Praetorius. I have arranged it for 4 part recorder, viola, flute and percussion. The 7th grade has been working on this very challenging piece since November and will be performing it next Monday at assembly. 8th grade: For their last work sharing, the 8th grade chose to perform a song by U2 called “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” This rock number will be played using cello, guitar, percussion, violin, viola, flute, and vocals. I hope they will remember how it goes when they get home from their class trip to Cape May. All for now. It continues to be a privilege teaching your children. Thank you. Sincerely, Mr. Steve Bernstein

Site Maintenance & Expansion With input from the faculty, the Board of Trustees has decided to pursue acquisition of an adjacent property at 6 Elting Avenue. Located between the school and Village Hall, potential uses for the property include outdoor kindergarten space, third grade farming endeavors, a sculpture studio, and space for the parent child program. The property is one-third of an acre, zoned commercial, and has enough space upon which to build a cultural center that could include a community room and stage. The environmental assessment is complete, and the next step is Village Planning Board approval. The property owner will hold the mortgage, and we have been meeting with parents who are considering support for this project through donations and low-interest loans. Financial Well-Being The Finance Group and the Administration continue to work with Cliff Keyes, CPA, our financial consultant and the finance director at the Hawthorne Valley Association. Cash flow is stable at this time and we are underway with the budget process for 2012-2013. The line of credit is in an appropriate position for this time of the fiscal year as well. The Board and the Finance Group are especially pleased that, unlike many other Waldorf schools, in spite of budgetary constraints, we have been able to retain all staff, and to maintain our continuing education stipend, employer contribution to health insurance, and the 90% tuition remission benefit for full-time teachers. We are extremely grateful to our dedicated and talented staff. In a world of compromises, they do not compromise, and they give of themselves each day to support the school community. It is the utmost priority of the Finance Group and the Board of Trustees to ensure a salary increase for all staff in the 2012-2013 school year.

The closing on our refinanced mortgage and lineof-credit is imminent. We are happy to be working with an extremely community-minded, local bank that offered very attractive terms. Representatives of the bank have visited and toured the school on several occasions, and have witnessed Waldorf education first-hand through observing students at work on lessons, orchestra, handwork, and seeing, in their words, “the sunlight and joy in the building”.

Revenue Enrollment $40,000 We are grateful that there are so many families who wish to provide their children with a Waldorf education, and that our families have weathered the financial storms of the last few years. There has been a Tuition healthy interest in new enrollment--next year we have the potential for one of the largest first-grade Fundraising classes in the school’s history. The Administration looks forward to continuing to serve our glorious parent community and the beautiful children they entrust into our care each day. $1,611,500


$20,000 $46,500


Expenses $19,000


Personnel Wages Personnel Benefits


Tuition assistance




Operating Expenses Mortgage & Interest



Classroom supplies Prof Development


$20,000 $46,500 $122,700

Expenses $19,000



Carrying Staff Nourishment Every week on Thursday, the faculty and administration break halfway through a long afternoon of meetings to share a meal lovingly prepared by the Mountain Laurel parent body. This generous gesture brings with it a breath of relaxation for everyone. To all of the parents, thank you so very much for the time you have spent nourishing this grateful bunch! —MLWS Faculty & Administration


Mountain Laurel Waldorf School Newsletter, May '12  

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School's May 2012 school newsletter, representing work of grades Nursery thruogh 8.