Friday, November 9, 2012

A Letter from Lisa

Dear New Amsterdam Community,

It has been wonderful to be back in the rhythm of our school life these last few days. The children seem settled and relieved to be back to what is familiar and a home for them.

We trust that life is settling for you also, but please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you in this transition time.

This week we have included a wonderful article by Susan Weber which we hope you will find supportive. Also, please note that we will be open for school on Monday November 12, 2012, that we are not closing for Veteran's Day, and that all of the events below have new dates due to Hurricane Sandy.

Much Love, Lisa

Announcements: Week of November 9, 2012

- Parent-Child Classes
- Friday, November 9th

Parent-Child classes will resume on Friday, November 9th. There will not be a class tomorrow November, 10th due to the school flood. For more information please contact Karen Talluto at

For the new schedule, see the post. >>more

- Holy Mama/Holy Papa

- Wednesday, November 14th

Holy Mama & Papa has been rescheduled to begin on Wednesday, November 14th. For more information on joining this group that supports, honors and inspires the inner life of mothers and fathers, see the post. >>more

- Lantern Walk

- Tuesday, November 20th 4:30-5:30PM
- Tompkins Square Park (entrance at Avenue B and 7th Street)

We understand some of you may be traveling to begin your Thanksgiving break but hope you will be able to join us before you begin your journeys. We will celebrate our first festival of the school year. In consideration of space limitations and safety, we are able to extend this invitation to only the New Amsterdam Community this year. Join us in the Garden for this year's Lantern Walk. Check out the official invitation letter.  >> more

- All-School Parent Evening

- Monday, December 3rd 6:30-8:00PM

Our next all-school Parent Evening will be held on December 3rd, 2012. One family member is expected to attend.  We will start at 6:30 with a short discussion with our mentor teacher Louise deForest on first grade readiness and then move into our classrooms with your teachers. >> more

- Save the Date: Holiday Auction and Cocktail Reception

- December 5th 6:00-8:00PM

In celebration of our winter season and in support of our annual school year fundraising campaign, on December 5th we will launch our Holiday Auction with a cocktail reception at Von on 3 Bleecker street, from 6:00 to 8:00PM, For more information see the post. >> more

- Weekly Article: How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children?

Be sure to check out the Weekly Article by Susan Weber, published by Sophia’s Hearth Family Center. >>more

Parent-Child Classes Resume November 9th

We are pleased to announce that Parent-Child classes will resume on Friday, November 9.  We will not be able to hold classes on Saturday, November 10th as we will have a crew continuing to work over the weekend to dry out the walls that were effected by the flood.

Classes will continue on the following dates:
  • Monday 3:30-5 PM ---11/19. 11/26, 12/3 & 12/10.  A make up class will be offered on 12/17. 
  • Wednesday 1:30-3 PM & 3:30-5 PM --- 11/28, 12/5 & 12/12.  A make up class will be offered on 12/19. 
  • Friday 9:30-10:30 & 2-3:30 PM --- 11/9, 11/30 & 12/7.  A make up class will be offered on 12/14. 
  • Saturday 9-10:30 AM ---  11/17, 12/1 & 12/8. A make up class will be offered on 12/15.
Please contact Karen at or 917-715-3554 if you have any questions.

Save the Date: First Annual Cocktail Reception to Launch our Holiday Auction on Wednesday, December 5th

Dear Families,
We are delighted to announce our first annual "Cocktail Reception" to launch our upcoming Holiday Auction! We are hoping you can save the date of Wednesday, December 5th, 6-8pm to come join us for this adults only event. It will be held at Von, a local night spot (owned by kindergarten parents, Kaarin & Arturo), and feature delicious catering by Murray's Cheese (courtesy of nursery parents, Nina & Rob). 

Please join us as we celebrate the holiday season. But more importantly, join us, be a part of this chance to reflect on the spirit of our community, how it comes together in times of need, how it swells with warmth in times of celebration, how it continues to grow and blossom with each passing season. Join us to give thanks for all that we are and all we have become together. And to start bidding on beautiful handmade gifts!!

Donations will be available for submission and viewing throughout the auction at The online auction will continue through December 17th and will be updated as new items arrive.

More information is available on our Donation form and solicitation letter which are now available at the front desk. We would appreciate your participation and we hope that each family can solicit at least two donations for the auction by November 30th.

If you have time or energy to devote to this event, please email

Thank you kindly for your efforts.

With Warmest Wishes,
The Auction Committee

Holy Mama and Papa Group Continues This Wednesday

 Now is the time to Begin this wonderful work..
Wednesday November 14th, 2012
9:00am - 11:00 am
holy mama  -- holy papa:
a group to support, honor
and inspire the inner life of mothers and fathers

                    What is wisdom? Wisdom is seeing the whole in the parts, and in the whole seeing the holy. – sufi teaching.
What is the sacred wisdom that being a mother/father offers us?
What are the parts? --  the parts we can not see, the parts we do
not want to see, and the parts that are strong and reflect our deepest essence.
How do we develop the capacities to see and be our whole self,
our HOLY self.
A holy mama/papa is a aware that parenting is an initiation into wholeness.  Meeting,
accepting and learning to work with all the parts of our self we meet in being parents – we become healthy, whole, holy.
this group will meet bi-monthly on wednesday mornings 
from 9am - 11am @ the new amsterdam school.
the fee for each group is $65 and a commitment for
nov - june is required.  there is scholarship available --
please contact jeriyn brownstein directly to inquire about financial support for this program.
for further information about jerilyn brownstein msw and her work 
supporting mothers/fathers/couples please feel free to wander through her web-site
or contact her directly (sacred

Weekly Article: How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children? by Susan Weber

In difficult times such as these with environmental disaster of almost unprecedented
scale and concern about friends and others in Japan at the forefront of our thoughts, it is
not easy to feel the goodness in life.  In an external crisis, our urge is often to listen and
see the news and to share our feelings with other adults.  As a consequence, it is easy
for the children around us to be exposed to things that they cannot understand, to
become fearful about situations they will never see and cannot change even if we think
that the media or adult conversations are not attended to by the children.  Even preverbal children can sense profoundly the distress in our inner being. 

But nothing brings stamina for life and daily well being to our children more directly
and strongly than surrounding them and immersing them into an atmosphere of
goodness and joy.  For us as adults, the message they seek from us is this:  ―I am happy
to be alive, I am interested in the world around me and I want to find a place for myself
within it.‖  Children are born with an openness to meet what their lives will bring. 
Despite their individual destinies and challenges, this openness is present and as the
adults in the child’s world, we have tremendous potential to cultivate this openness.

For the child just beginning life, there is one single mantra that needs to guide those
early steps and years:  the world is good.  No other belief will carry him forward through
the tumbles and stumbles, through the mysteries of his encounters with confidence and
eagerness.  Without this overarching rainbow of trust in life around and above them,
children shrink back into themselves, lose the shine in their eyes, forgo the impulse to
experiment, to see things as the adults around them never have, to imagine new
solutions to the simplest experiments – piling blocks, washing a dish, dressing
themselves upside down.  The world is good – and therefore I enter into it, explore it,
wonder, stop and look, touch, encounter, meet what comes to me with interest and
growing confidence.

Fear paralyzes children — it reverses children’s natural gesture of trust, openness, and
interest in the world.  To develop in any way – cognitively, emotionally, physically –
children need to be able to enter easily into life around them.  They need to feel
welcome, and above all, safe.  For who of us is able to take risks, try new things, when
we have a question about the safety of our surroundings?

There are times when circumstances beyond our control create uncertainty or worse for
our families.  In addition, we could also say that our times are, in fact, uncertain times. 
At the same time, however, our children are just beginning their lives.  We owe to them
their birthright: the world is good and I am grateful and happy to be in it.  It is a safe
place for me to grow in.  And later, much later, I will be able to take on its pain and
burdens.  But give me time, peace, and space in which to discover the goodness in life
for myself, in which to grow strong, capable, brave, and enthusiastic for life.  Protect me
from the challenges of adulthood until I am ready.

How can we do this for them? 
  • We can protect them from information that they cannot comprehend or digest -saving our adult conversations for later, turning off televisions and radios in their presence.

  • Give them the strength building elements of rhythm, form in daily life, predictability, that reassure them of the goodness and security of each day.

I was once told that young children are very good observers, but poor interpreters.  I,
and many parents as well, have found this to be true.

Whether it be the large world and its sphere of difficulties, political situations near and
far, our professional work and its daily challenges, our own personal frustrations,
angers and fears – young children are not able to interpret any of these. None of these
are a suitable menu for young children who cannot digest it.  It all then goes inside of
them to then be expressed in ways that we ourselves may not correlate with what they
might have heard, for information about these realms of life will often bring anxiety,
nervousness, fear, withdrawal, sleepless nights, or aggressive behavior.

As the adults in their lives, we have the possibility to stand there beside the children
with confidence for life offering them a model for imitation.  We lead them out into our
world: we walk alongside them.  We have seen much, experienced much.  It is an
amalgam of joy, of pain, suffering, discovery, celebration, disappointment – and at
times of fear, questioning.  All these experiences and feelings will have come to us by
the time we reach parenthood.  As adults, we have tremendous freedom to explore
these feelings, to reflect upon our own experiences.

If we as adults listen to the outer world as it often presents itself, how do we then find
our own paths to believing confidently in the goodness of the world?  It is of utmost
significance that we strive toward this belief, for our children look to us for signals, for
images of where to begin seeking their places in the world.  They imitate our deepest
inmost feelings and beliefs, and these carry them far as pillars of strength when they
require it.

Take a walk, find your way into nature, hold deep in memory the most recent good
thing we have encountered.  Begin and end your day with gratitude for the good in our
lives – however challenging this may feel at moments.  Pick a tiny bouquet of
wildflowers or seasonal things from the nature just outside our doors – the wonder of
one snowdrop or crocus in spring bloom emerging through the receding snow, a single
acorn, one brightly polished apple – each of these can remind us of the wonder and
miracles of the universe.  Look up at the stars in the heavens, and ponder the miracle
that all over the earth human beings are united by experiencing the same starry heavens
above them.  Find a poem, even if you have never thought of poetry as your interest –
just a few lines – copy it onto a piece of paper and put it on your refrigerator.  Recall a human relationship that has helped you along your way.  And see if, step by tiny step,
you can rediscover, in difficult times, that the world truly is good.

Rudolf Steiner offers us a verse that can bring us strength in difficult times:

Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking.
These five lead me to my goal
These five give me my existence.

© Susan Weber   Sophia’s Hearth Family Center  March 2011

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

School Will Re-open Thursday November 8, 2012

Dear New Amsterdam Community,
We are happy to say that school will re-open tomorrow, Thursday November 8, 2012. We look forward to seeing everyone.  We thank everyone for their patience in this challenging time. New Amsterdam is recovering from it's flood and ready to open.

We are rescheduling the Lantern Walk. The new date for the Lantern Walk will be November 20th from 4:30- 5:30.  We understand some of you may be traveling to begin your Thanksgiving break but hope you will be able to join us before you begin your journeys.

We are available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Best wishes to all for the coming days.

Anne Elliott
917-885-6313 cell

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Dear New Amsterdam Community,


On Friday evening the school was flooded from an apartment above us.  We were alerted by the building and have a professional team working to dry out the school.  They will need to continue the drying process through at least Wednesday to prevent worse damage.  Along with our Bridge, Nursery and Kindergarten classes we are also cancelling the Parent Evening scheduled for Monday, November 5th.  Our Parent-Child classes on Monday, November 5th and Wednesday, November 7th are cancelled as well.

We are saddened to have to keep the school closed but know it is necessary.

We will contact you on Wednesday, November 7th to update you on the progress and let you know if classes will resume on Thursday, November 8th.

The Lantern Walk will take place as planned on Friday, November 9th from 5:30-6:30 PM in the El Jardin del Paraiso Garden.

Our thoughts are with all of you and your children. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please call me at the school or on my cell phone.


Anne Elliott
Anne's Cell 1-917-885-6313