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And The Play Goes On As Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Marks 30th Anniversary



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On the day that marked the school’s 30th anniversary, students, faculty, and invited guests gathered to watch the annual seventh and eighth grade performance of a play by William Shakespeare at Housatonic Valley Waldorf School (HVWS), April 12.

Students smiled, teachers and parents made room for one another, and a school room was transformed by draping curtains for the event. Light filtered through garlands of flowers as the students performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was also performed later that evening for parents. Teacher Benedicta Bertau directed the play.

Just before the daytime performance, the school’s 30th anniversary was marked with a celebration. Cake was served, and attendees reminisced, sharing memories and looking at photographs.

According to a release from the school, the “seeds” for HVWS were planted on April 12, 1989, when a small group of parents met in New Milford to discuss opening a Waldorf-based kindergarten. The school, now fully established in Newtown, serves more than 125 students from parent-child classes through eighth grade.

Waldorf education worldwide will mark its 100th anniversary next September, and plans are being made at HVWS to mark that special occasion too, according to the school.

Ahead of the school’s 30th anniversary it announced in a release that its 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 fourth 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.”

HVWS is located at 40 Dodgingtown Road.

It also announced it will pioneer a new middle school structure. According to the release, “Our teachers are working on a three to five-year plan that will begin to incorporate more cross-grade integration in classes and activities among our [sixth to eighth 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.”

The school has announced it has engaged Charles Rose Architects to work on a Campus Master Plan “with an eye toward the future.” It sent its 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 first to eighth grade students on “various social skills development, such as inclusion, kindness, healthy communication, and empathy”; it is implementing the new Roadmap to Literacy reading curriculum, a workshop and training for which we are hosting over the summer for all interested educators, in its grade school; it is continuing a newly implemented and “very successful Cyber Civics curriculum” for its fifth to eighth grade students; and, the release shared, the school has its Diversity Committee working with teachers to examine the books they want represented in classrooms and libraries. A new collection of books, from Byrd’s Books in Bethel, is being purchased with grant money from the NoVo Foundation.

Meanwhile, the school has also had a mural in the works, under the guidance of visiting teacher Kim Murriera from Hawaii. Ms Murriera has been working with fifth to eighth grade students and parents while also teaching form drawing classes at the school. The mosaic mural will hang on an outside wall at the school when completed.

All of the school’s programs are listed on its website, waldorfct.org.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School seventh and eighth grade students perform a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream on April 12 for fellow students.  (Bee Photo, Hallabeck) 

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Communications Director and Office Manager Christina Dixcy cuts a cake on April 12 for the school’s 30th anniversary.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Educational Support Coordinator Melissa Markling holds an original sign for the school from 1989.
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