Saturday, October 6, 2012

Great Community Meeting Last Wednesday!

Thanks to all the parents who filled the kindergarden room last Wednesday for our first community meeting of the school year. It was the most packed meeting we've ever had and the energy in the room was palpable and good as we shared the state of the school, got you all to sign up for committees, and answered questions. As a board, we feel really good about where we're at coming into this year and look forward to growing parent involvement and improving all of our communication back and forth.

We'll be in touch with you on a weekly basis through our email newsletter, will be inviting you to more meetings in the future and welcome you all to send  us emails when you have questions and even to give us your comments right here.

Best, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan and the board

Friday, October 5, 2012

Announcements: Week of October 5, 2012

-Reminder: School Closed for Columbus Day
Monday, October 8th
We hope everyone enjoys this autumn weekend.  We'll be back at school on Tuesday. 

-Holy Mamas/Holy Papas--Free Introductory Session
Wednesday, October 10th 9:00 AM
Join us as we welcome Jerilyn Brownstein back to New Amsterdam for a free session and discussion. 

-Parent Lecture

Monday, October 15th 7:00PM
Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Building an Environment for the Young Child

Please join us in an an evening of discussion and exploration as we look into how these concepts affect our daily lives and the environment of our young children. We will also look into how to support our individual journeys and these life questions.

Our parent lectures are open to everyone so please invite your friends to join you!

-Parent Study
Wednesday, October 17th 9:00AM

-Open House
Thursday, October 18th 7:00-8:30PM
The Open House is for parents only and is a time to tour our classrooms, meet our teachers and participate in an in depth discussion about our programs and Waldorf early childhood education.

Parent volunteers are so helpful at these events.  Please let me know if you would like to help at one of our upcoming events. 


-Changes to Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Beginning Monday, October 1st
We will have a new and required sign in/sign out sheet for every child and every day.  When you arrive on Monday there will be a clip board for your class.  The parent or caregiver bringing your child will need to sign them in. At pick up every child will need to be signed out.  Each person picking up or dropping off your child will need to be listed and authorized by you. We will have extra authorization forms for you on Monday.  We hope to make this as easy as possible. Many thanks in advance for these extra steps.

-Weekly Article: Sweet Dreams
by Susan Weber
"We have all heard it said that the morning is wiser than the evening; and certainly have been advised to sleep on a question, or dilemma, or a challenging life decision. But in truth. sleep in our time is an elusive gift. " Be sure to read the full article on the blog,

For Last Week's Announcements,

Parent Study - October 17th

Dear Parents,

Our next parent study morning will begin this Wed. Oct 17th in the parent lounge - 9:00AM.

For those of you who are new to New Amsterdam, this is a time when parents come together with a faculty member to take up reading articles, books and discussing Waldorf Early Childhood Education.  
There is also a space made for questions in regards to child development, home life, rhythm etc..

For those returning families I look very forward to sharing this time with you again.  I find the work we do together to be a strong aspect of our community life and our growing together.

See you soon.


Parent Lecture Monday, October 15th at 7 PM

Parent Lectures are open to everyone so please invite your friends to attend!

A Generous Gift

New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center received a generous gift this week from Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. We now have two new laptops and three new printers. They will help the school tremendously. We appreciate the help and support we have been given by Maxwell in this gift.

Weekly Article: Sweet Dreams by Susan Gray Weber

Susan Gray Weber
We have all heard it said that the morning is wiser than the evening; and certainly have been advised to sleep on a question, or dilemma, or a challenging life decision. But in truth. sleep in our time is an elusive gift. We are a culture of the sleep deprived, the sleep obsessed, often drugging ourselves into sleep and again, in the morning, drugging ourselves to conscious awakening. We live in a timeless time in which one can live daily life all through the night: working, shopping, exercising at the gym, communicating via fax or e-mail. Night and day are intertwined and confused; the traditional picture of the rhythms of the cosmos - the rooster rousing us with his cock-a-doodle-do, the farmer at work with the rhythms of the suns rising and setting are unfamiliar to most of us. And we, on the other hand, are pummeled with the model of technology - the machine that needs no rest, the pressure that if we only tried harder, we human could successfully mimic the machine and work ceaselessly.

And so we are confused, and our children are confused, and we are all tired! We learn early on, as new parents, what a large task it is for our children to learn to wake and sleep in an earthly, fulfilling and restorative rhythm. We gently cradle the baby in our arms, rocking or singing a lullaby, trying to guide her into sleep, but this is no easy task. How confusing todays world must be to the little one: darkness is not quite complete, with electric light shining brightly; activity rarely ceases in our homes; we adults may work at night or at day, or even a little of both. And so, the child is offered so few natural cues, and imitation of us as adults in our daily rhythms is not a natural support, either.

At the same time, sleep is crucial for the infant and young child, a time during which it is developing its body with all its might. If day time is over filled with sense impressions, the child will be affected not only in the effort of going to sleep, but throughout the entire night, and we know well how greatly the night itself affects the day to follow.

So - what can we do for our children, to offer sleep as a gift to receive comfortably? Our first task is to examine our own relationship to sleep. How do we feel about it? Do we feel guilty for sleeping, or anxious about the effort of falling asleep, or do we carry a confidence in the goodness and healing of sleep, happy and relaxed as we approach our own bed times? Do we have a sense for the transition between day and night, for the qualities of the evening, that special transition time? Perhaps the first step will be to develop a fresh relationship to sleep and the night within ourselves, one that is confident and positive, recognizing that we must not feel sorry for our children that they must let go of the day and sleep, but rather, feel grateful for the day that has passed. Then our children can feel this as well.

Secondly, we can create a picture of the environment of sleep. To sleep well, we all need quiet, warmth, and a feeling of protection. For the child, this might mean a special soothing canopy or veil over cradle, crib, or bed; a wool or quilted sleeping sack, or a cozy hot water bottle. For the infant, or in some cases even an older child, swaddling creates this sense of protection. Eating also relates to sleep, as the liver takes up its restorative work in preparation for the day to come, and wants to rest from the act of digesting heavy foods. Thus, a heavy meal in the evening can disrupt our sleep.

For our children, a living, dependable ritual for bedtime that is unwavering creates this sense of warmth and protection as well. First, we put all in order by tidying away the playthings of the day: now it is time for the dollies to be tucked in, the cows to go into the barn, the toy train to park at the station. We can prepare for the morning by laying out the clothes. Then perhaps comes the bath, then the lighting of a candle and a story, finally concluding the day with a poem or prayer and a kiss. Our calm, centeredness as parents can work miracles at this moment! This is not the time for recorded lullabies or stories or songs, but rather the moment to send our children to sleep with the loving human voice of those who love the child most dearly as the last sound.

It may be helpful to observe as carefully as possible: how many impressions can this child tolerate during a day in a satisfying way? How can we arrange the childs day to limit the impressions to this manageable quantity, being ever mindful of the quality of the impressions? For it is the rhythm of the day that creates the support for the nights sleep. It is often observed that an overtired child will have difficulty sleeping, but that the more a child sleeps, the more he will sleep! Sweet dreams!

SUSAN WEBER is the Director of Sophia's Hearth Family Center. She brings many years as a Waldorf early childhood teacher, public school teacher and administrator, Waldorf early childhood training coordinator at Antioch University New England, and adult educator. She has completed advanced training at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary. 

Holy Mama Holy Papa Free Session & Discussion

This Wednesday Oct. 10th at 9:00 am we welcome Jerilyn Brownstein back to New Amsterdam - Please join us for a free session and discussion. Thanks, Lisa