Announcing Our New Outdoor Education Program! OVWS Farm and Forest

Announcing Our New Outdoor Education Program! OVWS Farm and Forest

The orchards and forested landscape of our campus have been a source of inspiration, playful adventure, exploration, and learning for all of us since Orchard Valley began. Now we are proud to launch our first program dedicated to outdoor education, starting in June 2016.

There will be three sessions of theme-based summer camps for children ages 4-11 starting in June and ending in August. In the fall our outdoor program continues for young children ages 4-7 years.

An outdoor classroom during the school year allows children to move, play and discover core principles in science through “hands on” nature-based activities. Children can help build fires, prepare food, find wild edible plants and work in the school gardens as an integral part of the day. Traditional skills in social dynamics and language arts are developed through oral story telling, skits, role-play, puppet shows, games and songs. The themes for each week reflect the wonder of the changing seasons, woodland crafts, folk lore, Native American culture, and knowledge of our local natural environment.

Many Waldorf schools in North and South America have been exploring ways to integrate best practices in outdoor and environmental place-based education with traditional Waldorf Education. This impulse began decades ago with the European “Forest Kindergarten” model in Copenhagen, Denmark. Forest Kindergartens have recently opened at The Hartsbrook School in Massachucets, the Saratoga Springs Waldorf School in New York, and the Waldorf School in Carbondale, Denver.

Stay tuned for more details about these new programs in upcoming Apple Core issues. Registration information will also be available soon–contact Morgan Irons, Enrollment Director.

~ Linda Weyerts, Pedagogical Chair

Middle School Students Apply Academics through Hands-On Learning Experiences

Our Middle School students at OVWS are engaged in many new “hands-on” learning experiences that are innovative in Waldorf Education. As we continue to work on mastery of traditional academic skills like algebra and writing, the practical and socially relevant application of these new abilities is important for young people today. Through “place-based” learning, which focuses on local environmental resources and project-based learning which focuses on community problem solving for present needs, students can become naturally engaged and work with a sense of purpose that lays a foundation for service leadership and civic responsibility.

One example of this includes a revolutionary new “Math for Sustainability” workshop taught by Waldorf visiting teacher and math specialist Tracy Gillespie in the 8th grade main lesson for the month of January. The eighth graders are working on issues such as “peak oil,” energy consumption, alternative energy sources, and the  global economy through the lens of sustainability. These concepts and skills are applied in the outdoor classroom on the eighth grade class trip expedition and trips to sustainability homesteads in our area.

Then in English class the 7th and 8th graders will be working on the question of “Racisim in America.” Their study is driven by the 2016 Vermont Hildene Lincoln essay contest for 8th graders, in which students are asked to respond to the question, “Why do you think racism persists in America: what factors contribute to its persistence and how can these factors be addressed in order to move the country toward a more perfect union?” Guided by President Abraham Lincoln’s biography and values, the Hildene essay contest challenges young people to think creatively and communicate clearly and with persuasive argument about questions that can change the world. (The Hildene Lincoln Estate is a learning center for sustainability and cultural renewal in Manchester, VT.)

~ Pedagogical Chair Linda Weyerts

6th Graders Climb Outside Their Comfort Zones!

In the Waldorf curriculum, 6th graders work with balance, levity, and gravity in many ways throughout the year. This past week the class went on a very special field trip to Petra Cliffs in Burlington. Our sixth graders dove right into the many hands-on experiences in a high ropes course. Individually and as a group, each student learned how to step outside their own comfort zone and feel challenged, but safe, "flying" and climbing, binding on and releasing.

Heartfelt THANK YOU for Winter Fair!

We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the entire OVWS community for working together to create a magical and fun experience for the children and families who attended. The fair was child-centered and a great outreach event for the many people who came from outside the OVWS community. Thank you for getting the word out!

We want to especially thank the following coordinators for the time and energy they put into preparing for the fair and managing their area on fair day. To the dozens of parents who worked in these areas during setup, on fair day, during cleanup, who baked cakes and cookies and donated ingredients, we thank you, too. It was a delicious feast!

Planning for Winter Fair takes countless hours and many hands on deck are required to run the event – close to 100 volunteers! We are grateful to you all.

Main Parent Coordinators – Erica Hare & Aja Jennings

Advertising layout – Joanne Garton
Bath Salts – Natalia Lyubimova
Book Sale – Yarrow Fought, Julie Brown, Aja Jennings and Madelief Becherer
Cake Game – Rachel and Duane Natvig
Candle Dipping – Tara Carpenter
Clay Object Painting – Heather Stearns
Early Childhood Craft Activities – Debbie Goodwin
Crystal Cave of the Snow Queen – Jesse Conn
Face Painting – Bonne Dunham
Fair Finances – Emily Padberg
Fair Laundry – Robbin Towns
Food Booth – Jim Veneziano and Marcus Becherer
Food Prep – Jason Lemieux (beef chili); Paule Bezaire (vegetarian chili); Sian Foulkes (enchiladas)
Food Shopping – Jennifer Stella
Fair Publicity – Cathy Donohue
French Cafe – Magali Harper
Gift Wrapping – Aja Jennings
Grades Decorations – Kate Burnim
Graphic Design – Kate Burnim
Music Coordination – Josh and Rachel Wykle
Parking – Matthew Sellers
Sponsorship solicitations – Erica Hare
Stained Glass Buntings – Denise D’Abramo
Welcome Booth – Sarah Rothammer
Wet Felting – Kate Camilletti
King Winter, our herald – Jon Scherbatskoy
Pocket Lady – Angie Barger
Puppeteers – Early Education Team
Storytellers – Andi Sutherland and Jacqueline Gabe

We would also like to thank local businesses for donating food and other supplies for the fair:

Champlain Valley Orchards – Cider
Chelsea Animal Hospital/Veneziano Family – Fair Food & Booth Setup
Hunger Mountain Coop – $150 gift card
Red Hen Bakery – Bread
Patchwork Bakery – Bread

And last but not least, thank you to our Fair Sponsors
~ National Life Group
~ Vermont College of Fine Arts

A Beautiful Evening for Our Lantern Walks

Just as fell on Tuesday, November 10, the Kindergarten, grade 1 and 2 classes as well as the Child’s Garden class began their Lantern Walks. The classes and parents gathered around  a bonfire to sing their special lantern songs and enjoy a cup of warm cider. Slowly the lanterns were lit and each class walked through the fields and woods while softly singing our lantern songs.

The history of Martinmas/Lantern Walk comes from the French legend of Saint Martin of Tours. Martin was a Roman solider in the 4th Century and legend says that one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half naked and freezing. He removed his cloak, cut it in two, and gave half to the beggar. Martin represents a devotion to humankind, a caring of the other, and the ability to bring warmth and light. According to old European customs, as the days become shorter and the stars appear earlier, children would walk with lanterns through the streets singing. Many countries today still celebrate with a lantern walk, candy, and songs.
Our lantern walk is a simple, short, beautiful experience for the children. We work with the idea of creating an inner and outer light to help guide us through the upcoming cold, dark time of the year. We create lanterns in our classrooms. We sing our lantern songs in our circle. And we help the gnomes carry their sacks of treasures deep down into the earth for the long, cold winter!

Our FALL INTO WINTER FAIR is just days away! (November 14th)

Join us on Saturday, November 14, 10am to 3pm, for our 12th Annual Fall Into Winter Fair.

It’s so much fun for all ages!

  • Hands-on crafts, wet felting & candle dipping – perfect for holiday giving!
  • Puppet Shows, storytelling, face painting, and Musical Cake Game
  • Waldorf-inspired store with local crafts and products, and books galore.
  • Wonderful food, live music, community merriment

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