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Around the School Newsletter
Week of November 27 - December 1
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” 
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Upcoming Events

Kindergarten & LS Early Dismissal
Friday, December 1st | 12:30 PM


Yuletide Fair and Gingerbread Auction
Saturday, December 2nd | 10 AM - 4 PM

Grade 1 Class Meeting
Thursday, December 7th | 7 PM


School Budget Meeting 
Sunday, December 10th | 1-3 PM

Winter Concert: Handle's Messiah
Thursday, December 14th | 7-9 PM

Fall Parent Child Thursday Classes end
Thursday, December 14th

Winter Concert: Handle's Messiah
Friday, December 15th | 7-9 PM

Fall Parent Child Friday Classes end
Friday, December 15th

Fall Parent Child Saturday Classes end
Saturday, December 16th
Dear Families,

The Advent Spiral on Monday was a truly beautiful event.  After a busy holiday weekend the quiet and peace of this shared experience was a balm.  The children were upright, focused and reverent as they carefully lit their apple candles and found just the right spot in the spiral to place their treasure, and make their mark.  Older siblings helped the younger ones.  No one was in a rush.  Beautiful harp music warmed our souls.  These little lights were joined together to create a golden glow that filled the room, and filled our hearts.  We are so grateful to all the participants who made this event so special.  Thank you harpists, kindergarten and class teachers, Advent angels, and, most of all, thank you, dear children.  May this glow continue to warm you—as it will me—through the cold nights ahead.
With deep gratitude,
Karin Almquist
Lower-School Co-Chair


Don't Forget to check out our Community News and Classifieds page!

Yuletide Fair - Shift Sign-Ups

Only a few days left! Please sign up for a shift in your Class Activity here! Just simply use the arrows at the top of the page to scroll through the tabs. If you have more volunteer time, please add more shifts. If you cannot sign up online, please contact your Yuletide Fair Class Champion
Look what’s NEW happening at this year’s Fair
Portrait Studio – This year the High School Eurythmy Room in the main school building will host a professional portrait studio where fair guests can have their portrait taken by world-renowned photographer-to-the-stars, Norman Jean Roy. A dedicated HVS parent, Roy will be donating his time and lending his talents by creating timeless black-and-white studio portraits for our local community.  Everyone receives an 8.5 x 11 print in exchange for an anonymous donation with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.
We need volunteers to help! 

HVS Online Silent Auction – The Silent Auction preview is now online LIVE. Here is the link to preview some of the selections from this year. 

Kindergarten - “Tiny Treasures” crafting kits should be finished and returned to Walli Zay, preferably before Thanksgiving. If you need extra time, contact Walli and let her know.

Community Craft Room – “Crafting Kits” are still available in the Main Lobby across from Emily Thorington’s office. Please pick one up, sign it out, make it and return it! Return kits to Emily in the Main Office. There is still time left to make crafts, so get busy! We need all the inventory we can get! Thank you.

Hand to Hand – We will be accepting donations for this room until Friday, December 1st. Please leave bagged or boxed items in the Main Lobby in the bins provided or in the Teaching Kitchen. If leaving boxes or bags of goods, please label with “Hand to Hand”.

Silent Auction - Please come visit us in the First Grade room for the Silent Auction!  We have many items to bid on such as a variety of services, Cocktail Parties, Entertainment, Theme baskets and beautiful Art!
For more information on the Yuletide Fair and Gingerbread Auction visit the Festival Planning & Volunteering Page.
The Magical Puppet Tree Presents:

Hawthorn of the Woods

~ A Wonder Tale ~

Saturday, December 2
11am, 12 noon, 1pm, and 2pm
at the Hawthorne Valley Yuletide Fair

With music composed and played by Melinda Gardiner, storytelling by Martin Ping, Puppeteers: Kelly Kristen, Linda Frosch, Nessa McAlice, Madison Shulkin, and Janene Ping.
Tickets are now on sale in TuRose, Admission $4.
Winter Farm Camp
Join the talented children’s program staff at Hawthorne Valley Place Based Learning Center for Winter Farm Camp! This residential program is for children ages 9 to 16, during Hawthorne Valley School’s President’s Week Break. 
Find out more information!
Waldorf 100

Celebrating 100 years of Waldorf Education around the world. A painted mural from our 8th Grade class portrays postcards from Waldorf Schools around the world.

“If children can grow up with a deep, deep knowing that our connection to others is the crux of who we are, that that’s where  we find ourselves, then this world will be okay.” ~Marianne Williamson

To learn more about Waldorf 100 click here to watch a short video!

HVS Girl Scout Troops

Girl Scouts began at Hawthorne Valley School in 2004. Since then the two troops at HVS have camped behind the school, in backyards, at State Parks, at Girl Scout Camps, and Internationally. The troops have had behind the scenes tours of bowling alleys, aquariums, banks, and other businesses. As the girls get older, the world opens up. Our troops have visited world centers in Switzerland, England, Mexico, and India. In addition, we have brought first aid supplies to Haiti and dolls to Ecuador and India.  

Girl Scouting can be open to Girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade. If your daughter is interested in Girl Scouts, please contact,
Molly or Caroline O'Neil 518-821-5778.


A unique shoppe located in the heart of Columbia County. We offer a delightful selection of high quality toys, gifts, games, books and art, craft, and school supplies which support Waldorf Education. 

Hudson Valley's source for all natural fiber and plant-dyed craft supplies.
Imagine ~ Create ~ Play 

Hot Lunch Program

Chef Mara Simons, of Simons Catering strives to prepare food that nourishes kids in both, body and spirit. The Hot Lunch program at Hawthorne Valley features meals that are made from scratch with high quality, local, organic ingredients.

Hot Lunch will be served Monday through *Friday* starting in January for Session II. Stay tuned for sign-up information!

To see November's Menu click here.
To see December's Menu click here.


With the holiday season approaching, remember to support Hawthorne Valley Association Inc. by using the Amazon Smile program when making purchases through Amazon.

Join us for Coffee Hour, each Wednesday from 8:15-9:30 stay a while or just drop in for a bite to eat and an espresso to start your day off!  We often ponder questions together, craft something or just socialize.  Theme discussions will be posted in the newsletter or on the sandwich boards.

Upcoming New Conversation:
December 13th, 8:30-9:30am in the Hall with Kevin Kilb, Matt Davis and other faculty join parents both current and prospective in a conversation on Curriculum and Pedagogy for grades 1-4.

Save The Date
Sunday, January 28th, 1-3pm "Community Gym Center Update"
This discussion will focus on Clarifying the Scope, timeline and resources required for this project.
High School sitters will be available for both event for children 5 years and up, the HS students will be fundraising for their classes. Suggested donation is $5/per child. Look for RSVP emails closer to the events.


There are still missing Cross Country and Volleyball uniforms. Please return them to Coach Race ASAP.

-Coach Race


Peach Blossom          Rose          Morning Star

1st Grade          2nd Grade          3rd Grade           4th Grade          5th Grade

6th Grade          7th Grade          8th Grade 

9th Grade          10th Grade          11th Grade          12th Grade

"Make your house fair as you are able-
trim the hearth and set the table..."

The Rose children are polishing and preparing the classroom for this holiday season.

Warm Blessings!

-Ms. Disbrow

Morning Star

The children and gnomes of the Morning Star Kindergarten are pleased to welcome Miss Erica Freed to our circle. Miss Erica has been farming in Hawthorne Valley for the last 10 months and is a fine cow herder with many a story to tell... she will be leading us on farm adventures in the weeks to come!

-Mrs. Ping

1st Grade

Our second language arts block begins this week with the story of The White Snake. The first graders are excited to continue discovering and practicing the letters of our alphabet! Can you guess which letter is revealed here?

-Ms. Conroe

2nd Grade

In second grade, the epic fable, 'The King of Ireland's Son', has us held tightly by its magic and depth. 

This ancient tale gives a picture of the human journey towards oneness and the consequences, both negative and positive of the choices one makes in life. It illustrates the potential for good and bad which is an integral part to being human and mirrors to the second grader that all people struggle with this.It is healing and nurturing for the child at this age to take in this kind of moral story that has been passed down through the ages.

-Ms. Stone

3rd Grade

This week the third graders will do some baking as a way to practically use measurement. We are also looking at linear measurement and the children are very excited (!!!) about their new rulers. Stories this week involve tales from the Northeastern Woodland tribes and the Israelites. 

-Ms. McKenna


4th Grade


After an extended Thanksgiving break, we are settling back into the rhythm of school. Following on the theme of Thanksgiving and the change of the seasons, the children heard the first part of a story about a pioneer family’s preparations for winter and their Thanksgiving feast, which included many pies. The pies were divided in many different ways depending on how many people were sharing them. Thus, we have begun our first Fractions block of the school year. 

-Mr. Sansone

5th Grade

In Fifth grade this week we are reviewing our work with fractions. The children are also finishing a book report on The Iron Ring, by Lloyd Alexander.  We will head out to the woods again to collect items from nature for the crafting room at the Yuletide fair.
If you have any natural items to contribute to the craft room (such as pinecones, sticks, acorns, milkweed pods, dried sumac, etc.) please bring them to the 5th grade classroom.

-Ms. Almquist

6th Grade

The sixth graders have been enjoying some special projects! They are creating “cosmic yo-yos,” a craft based on a traditional Eskimo toy, for the Yuletide Fair - and decorating postcard after postcard for the worldwide Waldorf 100 celebration.
We’ll wrap up our Astronomy block this week as well, with studies and stories of the lovely and mysterious Moon. We’ve heard a myth of Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon, and her beloved shepherd Endymion.

-Ms. Lacey

7th Grade

The Seventh Grade is beginning their Renaissance block and the students are continuing to work on their Rube Goldberg machines for the upcoming Science Fair.
Basketball starts this week! Please encourage your children to give it a try. They are welcome to attend a few practices as a trial.
Please sign up for shifts in the Community Craft Room for Saturday and drop of donations for the Community Craft Room by Friday morning. Donations of baked goods for the Cozy Cafe are appreciated!

-Ms. Weimer

8th Grade

The eighth grade begins a Chemistry block with Ms. Christiansen today that goes for four weeks.  I am also casting our play this week; it is about the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War.  We are reading Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

-Mr. Kilb


Handwork class with Wizard!

-Mr. Summers

9th Grade


What makes us laugh and cry? The question is simple and the answer is initially masked by its normality. Yet, they are a refined and unique expression of who we are, and thus can serve as great educators. Likewise, tragedy and comedy, which portrays the human condition, can help us become more conscious of life, and how we interact with each other. During this block we will study the origins of drama and how it has evolved through the ages, accompanied by the reading of specific plays. In the words of the bard: “All the world’s a stage.”

-Mr. Muller

10th Grade

The Tenth Grade began their study of Ancient History on Monday.  For the next 18 days we will explore the shift from small wandering bands of people collecting from the world to meet their needs to settled farming communities to the rise of developed civilizations.  This period spans the gulf between people with no written records who left intriguing visual and physical remains (cave paintings and stone artifacts) and those who produced some of the world's great early literature and extensive cities (Gilgamesh and Babylon).  

-Ms. Kenyon

11th Grade

The 11th Grade has started their Electricity and Magnetism physics block this week. Earlier this year the Juniors had their chemistry main lesson in which, among other things, they explored the model of the atom.  During this block they will revisit the topic, only this time on the path of exploring the invisible forces of electricity and magnetism. Much of the work in this main lesson is through hands-on inquiry and experiment with observable phenomena. It is upon this foundation then which the concepts, laws and understanding of a reality that is largely beyond our sense experience is built.

-Mr. Madey

12th Grade

The interaction of light and our sense of sight provide us with important input to help us navigate the world we live in. In this main lesson we investigate how these two fascinating aspects of our environment work together. We study the anatomy of the eye, the sense of perception, and how these two aspects of sight work together to illuminate our world. We then study the laws of refraction and reflection and how light travels. The students are responsible for keeping a graphic journal. This document includes the class notes, descriptions and illustrations of class demonstrations and exercises, and the students’ reflections on each class.

-Mr. Cronin

We are grateful to Sara Parrilli for the watercolor images in this newsletter.
You can see more of her work by clicking here.

Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Annual Fund

Contributions to the Annual Fund help to continue our work to nurture and grow our students and school. Join with the many HVS parents, faculty, alumni, family, and friends who support the School's Annual Fund. Make your gift today to ensure a vibrant and successful future at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.

Thank you for your continued support.

Donate to the HVS Annual Fund
Hawthorne Valley is a diverse non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts. Initiatives include:

Waldorf School | Farm | Farmscape Ecology Program | Institute for Mindful Agriculture | Center for Social Research | Alkion Center | Adonis Press | Free Columbia | Walking the dog Theater

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Our mailing address is:
Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School
330 County Route 21C
Ghent, NY 12075

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