Our HOLIDAY MARKET is This Saturday! (November 7th)

Join us at Fresh Tracks Farm Tasting Room from 2pm to 4:30pm (4373 VT Rt. 12, Berlin) for our first HOLIDAY MARKET!

It’s sure to be an enjoyable community event, with wonderful items to fill your holiday gift lists! Dr. Hauschka skin care products, honey, pottery, arts and crafts materials, wool felt toys and treasures, calendars, wool and silk clothing for all ages, candles, and so much more! Bear Pond Books and Steiner book collections for all ages will also be available, along with wonderful handmade items from the OVWS community.

Sponsored by Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard and Winery. Hosted by OVWS.

Field Trips to Nourish the Awakening of the Third Grade Child

One of the themes of the third grade in a Waldorf school is the awakening of the child’s experience to the feeling of being separate from the world in which they live, a realization that he or she is becoming his or her own person. It is a profound change in the way they view and interact with the world and others. It is often termed “the nine year change.”

However, with this positive realization of self identity comes the challenge of potentially feeling isolated and alone in the world, even helpless. To help counteract this, the third grade curriculum mirrors and anticipates these inner changes of the child through offering as part of the curriculum various practical arts and the story of the Hebrew People. The story of the Hebrew people is one of a people searching and struggling to fulfill their destiny in the world, not unlike these newly awakening third graders. The confidence gained by learning how food is grown, shelters are made, and clothing is woven serve to aid the children in their feeling ready to meet and explore the world in a new way.

Recently, this year’s third grade went on a series of field trips. We visited a glassblower’s studio in Waterbury, a blacksmith in Plainfield, and a pottery shop in Wolcott. We also toured a house under construction and the seed saving warehouse of High Mowing Seeds. Each of these field trips displayed to the children not only a trade, craft and occupation, displaying how things are made in the world, but individuals who have become their own bosses and transformed their passions into jobs that make the world a better and more beautiful place.

Upon returning to the classroom, the third grade had much to discuss. We transformed these discussions about the crafts and craftspeople that we visited into written words; we learned to craft paragraphs. We also drew pictures and wrote thank you cards to all of our hosts. It was a wonderful experience that I hope none of them will too soon forget! Please see our work on the bulletin board in the grades building.

~ Third Grade Teacher Rob Brown

Thank you, Eighth Graders, for the Magical Halloween Walk!

The steady beat of a drum and the floating notes of a flute guided a gaggle of twenty children up the meadow path and into the woods of the Child’s Garden. Big and bold, tender and wondering, all followed, each in their own time. The angelic voice of the sunshine fairy greeted them in the woods so familiar and yet now so mysterious. Each child received a glittery trace of the summer sun upon their cheek or hand. A cloaked pair of gnomes held them in quiet and wondering rapture while opening up a bag to reveal bejeweled treasures from nature. They were listening and curious sitting before Prince Autumn who gave both poetry and golden oak leaves, and enchanted by the sylvan beauty of fairies who spoke of waning autumn and looming winter. This special Halloween walk in the woods brought by the eighth grade at Orchard Valley concluded with story-telling witches nourishing body, soul, and imaginations with muffins and apple cider.

As many parents shared during conferences, “I only know that something special happened in the woods. It was such an enveloping magical experience that my child doesn’t have the words for it.”
And, isn’t that right? Thank you to each and every member of the eighth grade class and to their teacher, Sarah Galper, for bringing your love, imagination, and magic to the children of the Child’s Garden. ~ Child’s Garden Teacher Stephanie Hoelscher

And Thank You from the children in the Apple Tree and Maple Tree Kindergartens, too!

NEW: Orchard Valley Holiday Market! (Saturday, November 7th)

Saturday, November 7, 2pm – 4:30pm

Treat yourself to this fun holiday shopping event, featuring body care products, local honey and yummy foods, pottery, children’s clothing, danish woolens, and art!

Hosted by Orchard Valley Waldorf School and sponsored by Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery.

Location: Fresh Tracks Farm, 4373 VT Rt. 12, Berlin 05602

Questions? 802-456-7400

The Spirit of Michaelmas Can Be Found in the 8th Grade Pewter Guild

In the spirit of Michaelmas, our inspired handwork and practical arts teacher Kate Camiletti guided the 8th grade students through a process that transforms soapstone to pewter. The students learned to gauge concave forms that will hold the liquified pewter, which cools to form mirror convex formsin the molds created by hand.

The students have studied Medieval and Renaissance guilds and their craftsmanship in grades six and seven, where the use of pewter was common on farms and in great houses. The students enjoyed this hands-on, multi-sensory workshop where traditional artisan techniques awaken the capacity for three-dimensional thinking. read more (more photos, too!)

The spirit of Michaelmas in the Waldorf school is often represented by the blacksmith transforming stiff, cold iron to molten, curving, flowing forms in the traditions of Medieval craftsmanship. As we move from the glories of golden summer toward the harvesting of summer's fruit, our traditional festival of Michaelmas celebrates this very process. Here we see the forging, transformative power of imagination and inspired learning that is possible in a community of artisan-teachers, students and parents re-inventing a new art of learning.

~ Linda Weyerts, Pedagogical Chair

Join Us for Michaelmas, Our Fall Festival

On Saturday, October 3, the Orchard Valley Main Campus will be filled with the wonderful fall spirit of our Michaelmas festival. All families and friends of the Child’s Garden and Main Campus programs are warmly invited to attend. This year’s event will be held from 1 to 3pm.

Michaelmas is an ancient festival that dates back to the sixth century and approximates the autumnal equinox. Legends describe St. Michael facing and taming a dragon. The motif of a conqueror of the dragon is also echoed in stories of Apollo and the serpent, Krishna and thedemons, and St. George and the dragon. It is a festival that celebrates deeds of strength and courage, of facing “dragons” both external and internal. Waldorf schools celebrate Michaelmas as a harvest festival: a time of celebration, a time of seeking balance within oneself, between light and darkness, and a time to embrace the challenges which we meet in life.

This year’s festival will include a pageant by the grade school children, singing, games, challenges, and seasonal craft activities. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch!

Rose Ceremony: Reflections from a New First Grade Parent

When love comes to me and says
What do you know, I say this girl, this boy.
-Sharon Olds

The Rose Ceremony was a grand celebration of the first day of school and the welcoming of the new first grade class. As the Orchard Valley community came together in love and kinship, we reveled in the remarkability of each new milestone, of each shining face. As the first graders were gathered by their teacher, the circle swelled, parents collectively exhaled, shed tears, and smiled as the children took that first step from their days of early childhood onto the next big leg of their journey. I am most struck by how cyclical our paths are, how each year we will gather back here like a cadence. Each child having once been ushered into the school community in just this same way, will move along the circle to one day, too, hand out a rose, poised and confident. Among the dew and goldenrod we all felt this. We will feel it again.

It is impossible to not be sentimental on days like this. Braiding my daughter's hair before her first school day in the grades building like so many mothers (and fathers!) before me, I couldn't help but think how lucky we all are to be mired in goodness. As parents we are constantly in awe of our children's capacity for growth. We watch them walk away from us, sifting through the early morning fog with ever-lengthening limbs, able and ready for this and all the rest to come. 

~ Aja Jennings, mother of Miette in 1st grade, Atlas in Kindergarten, and baby Tillie