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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL


educational program, governance, policies, personnel, and community have been considered, evaluated and documented in a report which will be used by our visiting AWSNA team. The team receives this report in advance, to familiarize its members with Mountain Laurel, and what we feel are our issues and challenges, as well as our many successes. According to AWSNA “The principal purpose of the visiting team is to review, assess, and validate or modify the school’s own findings as generated by the school’s self-study process.”

For the past three years Mountain Laurel has been participating in a process of self-study to become accredited by AWSNA, The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. AWSNA, as its name implies, is an organization comprised of many of the North American schools that teach according to Waldorf pedagogy. Each school is independent, but AWSNA is an extremely valuable resource for Waldorf schools, teachers, and parents to connect, exchange information and to share in the principles that make Waldorf a unique and effective approach to education.

The team, mostly comprised of teachers and administrators from other Waldorf schools, will visit in early April for three or four days. Soon after they arrive there will be an informal reception where members of the school community can meet them. In the following days they will observe school operations within and outside of the classrooms. They will set a schedule to speak with groups, teachers, administration and members of the community. During this time we will need to hold a balance between the schedule set by the AWSNA team to fulfill their agenda, while also adhering to our usual schedules as much as possible so that they can experience normal day-to-day Mountain Laurel functioning.

Why become accredited? As a developing school Mountain Laurel has enjoyed all of the membership benefits of being associated with AWSNA, yet we have not been a full member. AWSNA accreditation and membership is usually an eventual goal in an American Waldorf school’s development, and Mountain Laurel will be proud to become a member school. As with many accomplishments and goals, this one is more about the journey and the process of self-study. Every seven years an accredited school will repeat the process of self-examination, a visit by an AWSNA team of peers from other schools, and will receive the team’s recommendations and followup to re-accredit. A cycle of self-examination is established for the schools, to continually reappraise their commitment to Waldorf principles and effectiveness in carrying out their mission. For AWSNA the process helps to clarify and instill the shared principles that unify the diverse Waldorf movement.

The findings and final conclusions of the visiting team will not be given to the school until after the visit, when the team leader has had time to compile a report. It is important to know that the staff is not necessarily expecting to be accredited after this first visit. For many schools there is a period of follow-up, with accreditation being granted conditionally according to AWSNA recommendations. So far the school has found the accreditation process to be a valuable tool to help stimulate growth and renewal at Mountain Laurel. —Vicki Arbo, for the Board and Staff

To prepare for our AWSNA team visit the Mountain Laurel staff and Board have participated in a detailed self-study using AWSNA’s template, devoting many hours of staff meeting time to this work. All areas of the school, such as our mission,


“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

Purpose of the Parent Council In a Waldorf School there is an implicit understanding that the children and their education are supported by three pillars—the board; the 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! New This Year: Childcare So more parents can be present, we hope to offer on-campus childcare regularly during the meetings.

That it encourage and support parent understanding of Waldorf education by inspiring and facilitating learning opportunities. 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.

School Newsletter: Published 3-times this year. This is the first!

Find out about more initiatives you can help with!

Community Outreach: Bag Hunger: food pantry donations

Super-important things like:

Parent Education: Speakers, readings, resources, friendly connection

Fundraising, Community Outreach Please bring your ideas...

That it bridge communication among the faculty, administration, board and parent body.

Faculty Nourishment: Support for the faculty on Thursdays afternoons mountainlaurel.org

MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 3


A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living. ~Rudolph Steiner The kindergarten children enjoy weekly walks together, encountering many adventures on their way.

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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 5


The first semester for first grade began with a joyous time at our Rose Ceremony, where some children were reunited with old friends, and others met new companions that will share their school journey for the next eight years.

use new materials, how to follow a guided lesson, and how a story can make an abstract shape come to life. Consonants were introduced through fairy tales, and their accompanying chalk drawings were transformed by the children into their own artwork. These letters are being considered as a collection of shapes put together to form magical symbols. Watercolor painting has been a peaceful journey that the children have all enjoyed while hearing seasonal nature stories, and humorous anecdotes to celebrate the various temperaments at work within the classroom.

Stories abound in this very special semester, and year. Our days have been filled with tales of why we go to school, what miraculous tasks we --as humans-- are capable of, how straight and curved lines comprise our entire world, and how empathy goes a long distance. An initial form drawing block, taught the children how to


The second grade worked hard to prepare their production of Borodin the Blacksmith for Michaelmas!

“We went to the Ashokan Center on November 2 to do blacksmithing. We saw how the coals were lit, and soon the fire in the forge burned hot. The blacksmith placed iron rods for our projects into the fire. We hammered, twisted and bent the red-orange glowing iron rods to fashion fire pokers, trivets, or plant hangers. We especially liked it when the iron rods sparkled white hot. We are proud of our projects, and enjoyed the experience very much!” —The Second Grade Class

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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 7


The Third Graders have been hard at work this fall, deeply engaging themselves with the curriculum material, while gaining many new and useful skills! Musically, we have begun singing in rounds, and are learning to play our new soprano recorders and stringed instruments. We have learned several folk dances as well, dancing together as a class every morning.

The development of practical life skills is a major part of the third grade year. In our studies of Measurement and Shelter Building, the third grade built a structure around the time of the Jewish holiday, Succot. The children did all the work of planning for the site, measuring, sawing, digging, hammering, and harvesting materials for the roof. The class has also taken several trips to Phillies Bridge Farm this fall, learning and participating in the various activities of farming and gardening. In our studies of Hebrew myth and culture, the third grade has been learning the different letters of the Alef-Bet, various Hebrew songs and dances, and they can fully recite the first day of the Creation story in Hebrew. Bi-weekly trips to the Elting Memorial Library, and several Cooking classes have brought important skills, as well as a stronger sense of community within, and outside of our classroom. Currently, the third graders are learning new math skills: Multiplication with Multiple Digit Numbers, and Long Division. Each new day presents an opportunity for the deepening of what has been learned, while bringing along new information and new skills. There is a genuine love for learning in our classroom!


In Language Arts I am making a story about a cave. In the story Joey and Bob go to cave. Then Joey and Bob go into the cave. — Julian

In Orchestra I am working on two songs. They are Amazing Grace and Minuet. Amazing Grace is easier than Minuet. — Arianna

In Spanish I am doing lots of work. We are working on verbs. It is very easy. — Asher

In Language Arts I am working on a story. My story is about two people on a walk. I am almost done. — JP

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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 9


The Fifth Grade has been knitting socks, a complex handwork task. They are studying botany, and the life-cycle of plants: seed, leaf, flower, and fruit. They also built terrariums, watching the beauty of the plant world.


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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 11


Grade 7 - Mr. Neel

The 7th grade is focusing on the transition from the Roman Empire to Medieval times. The study of history concludes with the Renaissance and with an Astronomy block where such pivotal figures as Copernicus and Galileo will be introduced. The study of geography moves from the Americas to Europe and onto Africa. The sciences will include Anatomy, Chemistry, and Physics. New this year is the introduction of a circus class, taught by Mai Frank. All in all, the 7th grade is an exciting time, and we’re looking forward to a joyful year!


Grade 8 - Ms. McEnery

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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 13


Classroom Music with Mr. Steve Bernstein Mrs. Stanmeyer’s 5th grade class is now playing 4 part recorder music, using soprano, alto, tenor and bass recorders. They are currently working on Mr. Steve Bernstein’s arrangement of “Ye Banks and Braes.” Mr. Neel’s 7th grade is currently working on another arrangement by Steve of “Wild Mt. Thyme.” The class will be singing and playing the tune with violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, alto and soprano recorders and guitar. Ms. McEnery’s 8th grade is working on a very sad hymn called “Soldier’s Farewell.” The beautiful combination of 2 violins, viola, flute, and guitar will support the vocals in this tragic song, again arranged by Mr. Bernstein.

Recorder Ensemble with Mr. Steve Bernstein The 2012/2013 MLWS Recorder Ensemble has some new members from the 5th and 6th grade! We are currently working on “There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem” and “La Cumparsita,” despite the many Monday school closures, the measles, and Hurricane Sandy. 4th and 5th Grade Chorus with Mr. Steve Bernstein and Stacey Rosen Sing Out! This group is inspired! We’re having loads of fun and are looking forward to the December Music Share. Joyous!!


We are very pleased to announce that Mountain Laurel School now officially owns the property directly behind the school at 6 Elting Avenue…already being called the MLWS East Campus! The property was part of the original parcel owned by Elsie Hasbrouck when she purchased this land in 1886. Local lore tell us that years later it came to be known as the Sharpshooters’ Cottage after it was presented by the village as a gift to the best marksman during wartime. Some MLWS staff members have been coveting this property for a dozen years. Our surveyor, Patty Brooks of Brooks & Brooks called it a “little oasis in downtown New Paltz.” Two years ago, Kitty Brown, the owner of the property, let us know that she was finally thinking of selling the property and she knew how much we wanted it. We immediately began a very in-depth Phase One Environmental Study on the property with EcoSystem Strategies, Inc. The property is a little over 1/3 of an acre and is zoned as B-2 commercial. There is enough space to construct another building on the property. (Actually, the 3rd grade built a sukkah as

part of their building block in October - see photos on the www.mountainlaurel.org web site.) Mountain Laurel’s surveyor and lawyer secured the mixed use zoning which will allow the school to use the property for educational purposes while maintaining one of the apartments for rental income during the remodeling phase of the building for school use. The down payment was made by donations from alumni parents. Kitty Brown agreed to hold the mortgage for the school. The purchase price was $267,500 with an interest rate of 6%. We are applying for tax exempt real estate status for which we will qualify as of March 2013. We will continue to rent two of the three garage bays, 9 x 13 each, for additional rental income. The third is used by the school. We will retain for now the tenant in the second apartment. He teaches at Marist College and is quite an accordion player, a fact you may already have the pleasure of knowing! Clearing of the land and preparation for our own third grade garden site is already underway. Beginning with this school year, children can engage in gardening, a vital part of the third grade curriculum, right in their own back yard. We have been working with an arborist to assess and clear the land and choose the sunniest area for the garden. The beautiful wooded area will also provide outdoor play space for our kindergartens. The second floor has become Ms. Jensen’s handwork studio and she is currently holding class with the seventh and eighth grades there. We are also visioning a permanent school store with regular weekly hours, managed by our wonderful parent community. Rick Alfandre, our architect, has strongly suggested moving the sculpture studio to a ground floor location due to the weight of tools and materials involved. Our plans are to create a state of the art studio with a kiln in the garage bays located on the back of the building. We will continue to vision with MLWS faculty regarding the best use of this lovely new addition to our school. We will also continue to set our sights on the three acres adjacent to 6 Elting Avenue. We look forward to sharing this property with both the MLWS and the greater community! Sincerely, Judy Jaeckel and Carol Jordan

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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 15


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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 17


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MOUNTAIN LAUREL WALDORF SCHOOL 19



Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, November '12 Newsletter