“A healthy social life arises when the whole community finds its reflection in the mirror of each person’s soul, and when the virtue of each person lives in the whole community.”
~ Rudolf Steiner ~
Please visit the Current Parents page for important links for current parents.
Click on any of the links below to read about some of the exciting activities that have been happening at HVWS.
2020 News, Notes & Updates January
2019 News, Notes & Updates December
2019 News, Notes & Updates November
2019 News, Notes & Updates September
2019 News, Notes & Updates July
2019 News, Notes & Updates April
2019 News, Notes & Updates March
2019 News, Notes & Updates February
2019 News, Notes & Updates January
2018 News, Notes & Updates December
2018 News, Notes & Updates November
2018 News, Notes & Updates October
2018 News, Notes & Updates September
2018 News, Notes & Updates June
2018 News, Notes & Updates February
2017 News, Notes & Updates December
2017 News Notes and Updates November #2
2017 News, Notes & Updates November #1
2017 News Notes & Updates September
Rainbow Garden School Store
The Rainbow Garden School Store.
We are thrilled that the school store has relocated to our newly renovated Community House just beyond the Star Meadow Cottage at 40 Dodgingtown Rd. The volunteer-run store will reopen in the New Year! We carry a range of beautiful art supplies, games, books, Bolga baskets, and wooden toys, including new Ostheimer wooden animal figures, an expanded range of Grimm’s Spiel und Holz wooden toys, and birthday rings!
Please contact Natasha Daniels-Pearson with any questions regarding the store or to become a volunteer.
HVWS WELCOMES ITS NEWEST ALUMNI
NEWTOWN, CT – June 11, 2019
On Saturday, June 8, the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School welcomed its newest alumni in a ceremony filled with emotion and humor. Family, friends, alumni, students, teachers, and staff laughed and cried during the two hours of music, poetry, and reminiscences.Each year HVWS eighth and first graders are paired as buddies. To begin the graduation ceremony, the first graders presented their buddies with roses. This mirrored the first day of school’s Rose Ceremony, during which the eighth graders welcomed their first grade buddies to the grade school with roses.
Laura Wittmer has been the class of 2019 lead teacher since fourth grade. Ms. Wittmer and the students welcomed Lisa Levi, who was the class’s first grade teacher, and Melissa Merkling, who taught them in second grade. The class also recognized their third grade teacher, Lark Bergwin-Anderson, as well as the myriad specialty and other teachers and staff who have touched the lives of the students on their educational journey.
Graduating eighth graders Tristan Counter and Beckett Reynolds served as the Masters of Ceremonies. Daschel Knuff and Madeleine Abramson, who have been classmates since kindergarten, shared heartfelt stories of their classmates and years together. Parent speakers Bernardo and Natasha De Castro shared their perspectives both as HVWS parents and as a public school 8th grade teacher and Waldorf graduate, respectively. Melissa Merkling brought levity through reading her eerily accurate second grade year-end reports and Laura Wittmer had the audience rolling with her tale of a spelunking field trip, which she used as a metaphor to describe the journey of a Waldorf teacher, from shimmying through the dark on your elbows, to the beauty of singing in an underground cavern. Following the presentation of diplomas by Ms. Wittmer, guests were invited to view a display of student work spanning their first through eighth grade years.
The Class of 2019 is dispersing to many area high schools next year, but their deep bond will last a lifetime:
- Madeleine Abramson, Sacred Heart Academy
- Rose Bertram, High Mowing Waldorf School
- Alice Blyn, Shepaug High School
- Tristan Counter, Joel Barlow High School
- Helena de Castro, Nonnewaug High School
- Daschel Knuff, Wooster School
- Isabelle Redpath, Weston High School
- Beckett Reynolds, Canterbury School
- Esther Yu, Ridgefield High School
HVWS TURNS 30
NEWTOWN, CT – April 12, 2019
The seeds of Housatonic Valley Waldorf School were planted on April 12, 1989 when a small group of parents first met in New Milford, CT to discuss opening a Waldorf-based kindergarten. Now fully established in Newtown, we serve more than 125 students from parent-child classes through 8th grade. This Friday HVWS celebrates its 30th year as Waldorf Education worldwide is on the eve of celebrating its 100th next September. Our birthday serendipitously coincides with our 7th and 8th grade’s final performance of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Friday night.
As we reach these anniversary milestones, we have exciting news to share. Our early childhood program has been full to capacity and in response to demand and our desire to provide a Waldorf education to more families, we are expanding our program and opening a 4th class in the fall. We will now offer one preschool class serving 3-to-4-year olds and three mixed age kindergartens serving 3-to-6-year olds. We will continue to offer parent-child classes for babies and toddlers and their caregivers which will move to our Community House, scheduled to be renovated over the summer.
At the same time we are pleased to announce the pioneering year of a new middle school structure. Our teachers are working on a 3-5 year plan that will begin to incorporate more cross-grade integration in classes and activities among our 6th-8th grade middle school. This team-teaching approach will maintain the strong bonds built between the students and their class teacher–who has traveled with them since the elementary grades–while also fostering greater social learning and cohesion across the grades. The new structure will take advantage of our teachers’ robust skill sets with specialized teaching in classes such as language arts, math, and movement. This new structure will also allow for the addition of more experiential classes which might range from biodynamic gardening to cooking to fiber arts. We believe taking a fresh look at the emerging adolescent and creating a new path that further meets their needs will not only better serve this age group, but also increase retention and ultimately attract new students.
We have many other exciting projects in the works across the school!
- With an eye toward the future we are in the beginning stages of a salary study and have recently engaged Charles Rose Architects (https://www.charlesrosearchitects.com) to work on a Campus Master Plan.
- We are sending our Early Childhood teachers to Dornach, Switzerland over April break to attend an international Waldorf Early Childhood conference.
- For the third year in a row HVWS is partnering with the Danbury Women’s Center to work with grades 1-8 on various social skills development such as inclusion, kindness, healthy communication, and empathy.
- In the grade school we are implementing the new Roadmap to Literacy reading curriculum, a workshop and training for which we are hosting over the summer for all interested educators.
- We are continuing a newly implemented and very successful Cyber Civics curriculum with our 5th-8th grade students.
- Our Diversity Committee has been working with our teachers to examine the books we want represented in our classrooms and libraries and purchasing a great new collection through Byrd’s Books in Bethel with grant money from the NoVo foundation. As an additional part of this grant, the Diversity Committee has kicked off our “Deepening the Dialogue” lecture series around topics of diversity and inclusion. The next presentation in this series will take place on April 26 with visiting author and educator Zetta Elliott, PhD discussing how inclusive books can foster cross-cultural understanding at an early age. This presentation is open to the public.
As one of our staff members noted: when his wife, an HVWS alumna, was attending our nascent school many years ago the students had to wear fingerless gloves because their classes were held on a family’s outdoor porch. We’ve come a long way.
Happy Birthday HVWS!
HVWS STUDENT RECEIVES MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
NEWTOWN, CT – MARCH 18, 2019
Congratulations to Rose Bertram of Newtown, CT, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Class of 2019. Rose was accepted to High Mowing School, a Waldorf high school in Wilton, NH, and awarded the Founders Merit Scholarship.
In 2012, HMS Board of Trustees created the Founders Merit Scholarship in honor of Mrs. Emmet and the people who supported her in establishing and growing High Mowing. The competitive Founders Merit Scholarship recognizes academically exceptional students with excellent character as demonstrated through their academic achievement, activities, and community service. Rose is the second HVWS graduate to earn this scholarship since its inception seven years ago.
2019-20 1st GRADE TEACHER ANNOUNCED
NEWTOWN, CT – MARCH 1, 2019
The Teacher Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the College of Teachers of Housatonic Valley Waldorf School are delighted to announce that Laura Wittmer has accepted the position of Class Teacher for our incoming First Grade, the Class of 2027. At HVWS, grade school teachers accept teaching positions with the goal of remaining with their class as they travel from 1st through 8th grade.
Ms. Wittmer has been a teacher at HVWS since 2008, both in our Early Childhood program and Grade School. As she has demonstrated repeatedly while working with our youngest and eldest students, Ms. Wittmer loves working with children. She sees the potential in each individual and strives to help them master the skills needed to achieve their goals. Ms. Wittmer surrounds her students with an extraordinary dedication to beauty and excellence, and is tenacious in fostering a love of learning in each of them. Ms. Wittmer’s dedication to Waldorf education and to her students will support the growth of this next generation with warmth and firm guidance. We are so grateful that Ms. Wittmer will be leading this new class on their journey of self-discovery and development into successful, capable human beings.
Ms. Wittmer is an alumna of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD, which she attended from 1st through 9th grade. She received her BS from Virginia Tech in 1993, majoring in Psychology and English and minoring in Sociology. After working for the Department of Rehabilitative Services for a year, she returned to school and graduated from Radford University with a Master’s in Social Work degree in 1996. She worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse services with adults and children for the next three years until the end of 1999 when she had her first child. Laura then became certified as a La Leche League leader, had a second child, and was active in the homeschooling community.
She discovered Housatonic Valley Waldorf School when she sent her daughters to the summer camp program. She worked at the camp and began subbing in the grade school in 2007. In 2008 she began working as an Assistant in the Early Childhood program and continued in that capacity for six years. In 2014, she began as a Grades Teacher with the class of 2019, then in 4th grade. She graduated from Sunbridge Institute with her Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education Certificate in March 2017. Laura lives in Sandy Hook with her husband, daughters—one of whom attends Virginia Tech—and dogs. Both daughters are HVWS graduates. Rising first grade parents are always eager to meet the incoming first grade teacher. Please consider coming to one (or more!) of our upcoming presentations by Ms. Wittmer’s current 8th grade class and witness the culmination of their Waldorf experience: Graduation Project Night, March 14, 6:30 PM; Shakespeare Play, April 11 & 12 (time TBD); Graduation, June 8, 10 AM
NEWTOWN, CT – DECEMBER 4, 2018
The Housatonic Valley Waldorf School (HVWS) is grateful for the generosity and commitment of the Waldorf Schools Fund, Inc. The Waldorf Schools Fund formally incorporated in 1948 with the aim of helping to rebuild the Waldorf Schools in Europe damaged by the Second World War. Today the Fund focuses on Waldorf Schools in North America. For the second year running, the Waldorf Schools Fund has awarded HVWS a grant.
Last school year HVWS received a $21,000 award for roof repairs on Compass Hall which houses grades 5-8. This year the Waldorf Schools Fund has awarded the school $5,700 to remodel the kitchen in Rose Garden which houses three early childhood classes, preschool through kindergarten.
In 2014 the Rose Garden building was beautifully renovated. The current kitchen update is necessitated by the significant increase in enrollment in the school’s early childhood programs. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, HVWS welcomed a total of 47 students into the preschool and mixed-age kindergarten classes. An integral piece of the Waldorf Early Childhood experience involves active participation in the preparation of meals to share and enjoy. A new full-size range, hood, and additional storage shelving will accommodate the expanded programs now and in the future.
NEWTOWN – October 23, 2018
The NoVo Foundation (New York, NY) has awarded the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School (Newtown, CT) a grant of $600,000 over three years.
From the foundation website:The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in global society, moving from a culture of domination to one of equality and partnership. The foundation supports the development of capacities in people — individually and collectively — to help create a caring and balanced world. They envision a world that operates on the principles of mutual respect, collaboration, and civic participation, thereby reversing the old paradigm predicated on hierarchy, violence, and the subordination of girls and women.
The grant will fund three primary areas: variable tuition (tuition assistance), diversity work, and teacher development with the goal of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the student body and school community.
The NoVo Foundation’s generous support will supplement the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School’s variable tuition model, now in its second year. The school is committed to economic diversity as a major goal and partners with families to make a Waldorf education accessible to those who seek it, while also working toward school and community sustainability.
Funds from the grant will be used to expand professional development for staff and faculty in areas related to diversity.
The first such opportunity is a training titled: Talking about Race in the Classroom: A Training for K-12 Educators Committed to Racial Justice. The goal is to gain strategies to support a schoolwide culture of respect, equity, and inclusivity and enhance teacher understanding of how racism affects children.
Additionally, a significant investment will be made in the school library and classroom readers to update and expand the school’s book collection to better represent underrepresented communities.
The Housatonic Valley Waldorf School is humbled and extremely grateful to receive this grant.
The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Created in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, the Foundation’s deeply interconnected work seeks to advance adolescent girls’ rights, end violence against girls and women, promote social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities and advance local living communities.
Interested in Becoming a Part of Our Community?
On our school calendar you’ll find many opportunities to visit from festivals to lectures to class performances. Complete the inquiry form by clicking the button below or contact our Enrollment Director, Therese Lederer, if you would like to learn more about HVWS.