Week of March 23, 2020

making fairy houses at recess     The photos in this enews are from a few weeks ago.
making a mountain in the sandbox
From the Director 
We are still learning
We've had only one week off from school and it feels like a month!  Week 2 begins.

‘Learning at home’ sounds doable on paper, but it's less fun and harder when you aren’t sharing it with each other in the same room.  But children have to learn at home right now.  So we are doing all we can to facilitate that. 

Some classes get a daily packet, some get a packet for the week, all sent by email. 5th and 6th grade math classes are happening live online.  As you scroll down, you'll see how each classroom is approaching learning at home.  We are mindful of not overloading parents, some of whom are working at home and at the same time, trying to do school work with their children.  Our aim is for 3rd-6th children to work independently.

Besides daily academics, it's a great time to get outside, enjoy the changes as spring slowly emerges.  What birds do you notice?  What trees and shrubs are budding?  What is blooming?  What insects do you see?  How long is day and night?  What time is sunset?  Look up!  The sky is always changing.

The staff is meeting weekly via Zoom, sharing what is working, what is challenging and supporting each other in this new territory. 

For all of us, even if we can't see each other in person, we can still stay in touch. Let's reach out to our friends and neighbors and keep our community strong.


P.S.  There may be a hiatus in this newsletter for a few weeks.   Friends and relatives can get this enews weekly too.  Click here to sign them up, or send this link to them.

This week at the closed Village School

Monday     Teachers are in touch about learning at home.
Tuesday     look for and listen to birds
Wednesday    look up!     Notice the sky     Look up at least 3 times today
Thursday      any swelling buds on trees or shrubs?
Friday          take a hike    what do you hear?   what do you smell?


Updates    see the monthly calendar for more

Sign up for Summer Programs    Brochure
More weeks are available this year.  Also, this year, Wednesdays will at Tully Lake. 

If you missed the Open House
Fret not, call anytime (once school resumes!) and set up a visit to observe a classroom (or classrooms) of your choice. That's the first step in figuring out if the school could be a good fit for your child.

Do you order on Amazon?  Use AmazonSmile to benefit the school.     Every time you order, Amazon donates to the school.  Use this link to make sure you are always ordering on AmazonSmile.  Its the same Amazon, no extra charge, all your settings stay the same. Click here to enroll, it takes 30 seconds.   Once you are set up, click here to put the button on your browser.  

Get the lowest electricity rates (and cable!) and the Village School benefits too!   With Autopilot
National Grid (or whoever you have) is still your company, but your new supplier changes to the one with the lowest rate, and can change monthly if needed, to keep your rate low.  You can also reduce your cable bill, phone bill and other bills. Questions?  or ready to sign up?  Call Matt at 413 834 8677  Click here for the video and more info     Works great for businesses too.

NEW!  February Photos on Photo Blog

belly sliding at recess

1st-2nd class singing and dancing

Friday sledding down the big hill

kids at recess, singing Shady Grove around a birch tree

Jeff Davis plays for the school

5th-6th making rhythms with found kitchen instruments 

Send this link to your friends and relatives, so they can get this enews too
preschool snack - by chance, it's a table of boys
sorting stones and buttons


It was so strange not to be at school last week. We missed setting up the room with activities and we missed seeing each of you arrive with your children.  We missed having snack together.

We planned on starting some grass seed in yogurt containers last week so that the grass would be long enough before Easter and Passover to make a nest for the eggs we always dye with the children. Consider growing wheat grass or other grass in a container, so you can get some fresh green life in your house..
As you look for activities do at home, here is a suggestion for natural egg dyeing. The next time you are at the store buy a purple cabbage and some turmeric. In one pot have the children rip the leaves of the purple cabbage. We always ask the children what color they think the eggs will turn out to be. It's fun to hear their guesses. Then the uncooked white eggs are hidden in the cabbage leaves. Put in one tablespoon of vinegar and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil for five minutes and put the cooled, covered pot outside over night. 

In the other pot mix a few tablespoons of turmeric with cold water. Add one tablespoon of vinegar and add the uncooked white eggs. Bring to a boil for five minutes and let the cooled pot sit outside overnight. 

The next morning, enjoy the beautiful colors from nature.  And eat the eggs too!
kindergarten making rhythms with newly made shakers
if there's a puddle, we'll find it


With the closing of the school, we started a new home learning theme – How I Help My Family. The theme is all about children engaged in jobs around the house, to help them recognize how they contribute, and that they are an important part of the family team - ‘Team work makes the dream work.’

 Parents and children can work together to discuss all the things that are needed to keep a household running smoothly and what part children can play, such as helping with chores. This is a chance for children to reflect on and feel proud of what they already do, for them to take on new challenges, and learn new skills along the way. Along with practical tasks such as setting the table and helping unload the car, this theme can also include contributions such as being grateful at family meal time, sharing favorite activities, remembering to smile, and using problem solving strategies with brothers and sisters.

The next phase is for children to practically engage in activities and record their contributions. This will be in the form of a book making project, with a picture and sentence on each page. An example could be ‘I help my family by storing my toys in the right place.’ With parent support and encouragement, children can record one or more activities a day. We hope parents can stay in touch via email to report back on some of the entries that children have made in their books, and look forward to sharing them with the rest of the group. We can share them in person when school resumes!

This week we are sending home some phonics, reading, and math activities for the children to work on. Happy home learning!
1st-2nd carding wool on farm visit
math morning- he's beating me!

1st-2nd Grade 

So much has changed in the last week! We are certainly missing the vibrancy of the classroom and the joyful noise of children talking and learning together.
We hope you have all settled into some kind of rhythm and flow with guiding your child’s learning at home. Children should be reading 15 minutes or more daily and practicing their ability to summarize what they have read through retelling. Please see the packet for some new reading response activities they can try.
This is a great time for your child to practice recorder. Five minutes a day will make a big difference in their playing.
For writing, children will begin writing All About books at home. Included in the packet are a planning sheet and reminders for editing. Our goal is for the kids to be as independent in the process as possible.
First graders have math work for a new unit in measurement that will have them learning to compare lengths of objects found at home or on pages in their packet. Second graders are getting their math assignments directly from Kayla.
For theme we are learning more about what life was like for the first settlers who traveled to Massachusetts from Europe. There are simple recipes and more games to try.
3rd-4th math morning
report sharing and tea

3rd-4th Grade

We have been trying to follow our daily schedule to keep some kind of school routine going at home.  Children are taking initiative to work on some individual projects and interests as well.  When necessary, videos and/or online sources are being used to help the children. 
For poetry, we are working on building our poet’s eye by making close observations of objects in our houses and in the natural world.  For this week, the children wrote an acrostic poem about a something they love, a free verse poem about an object they found in their house (with a focus on line breaks and adjectives), and an ode. 
Children are continuing to read daily and are keeping a reading log every day.  They have a prompt sheet to help them write.  The prompts tap into different ways we can engage with stories. 
The fourth graders are working on a multiplication unit.  To begin, they are working on estimation skills and multiplying two-digit by two-digit numbers.  They’ll work on strategies for solving these equations and figure out what works best for them. 
For theme, we will explore ‘invention of the week.’  This week it was maps, so after learning about them, the children were encouraged to draw maps of their house, their favorite spot outside or a map showing how to get to a place they visit frequently.  They also learned about Greek games that children played and were introduced to the Greek alphabet.

5th-6th learning gesture sequence to rhythm song with visiting music teacher, Erin
watercolor painting

5th-6th Grade

It may have been silent in the classroom last week, but online it was anything but.  Since the school was closed, the 5th-6th class has been having twice daily meetings on line.  Kayla and George have been running math classes for the 5th and 6th grades respectively at 9:00, and 11:00 a.m., and  the whole class has been meeting for wide-ranging language arts meetings.   We have tried two meeting platforms, Skype and Zoom, and Zoom has proved better for managing larger groups.  The 6th grade math meetings and the whole-class meetings now have standing invitations for their times, Monday to Friday.

On the last Friday before school closed, all the children went home with a packet of materials to support online lessons, and at the end of last week we set out a second packet for families to collect, including basic art materials, more math and spelling work, and plenty of writing paper.  The children will need the extra paper because we have decided to go ahead with writing the play, despite the additional difficulties of collaborating remotely. 

A vital ingredient for this to work is that parents have agreed to type or photograph the children’s individual hand-written manuscripts and email them to George, so he can – as usual - put them together as a single script.  If the closure is extended, we can perform the play in the last few days of the semester. 

As part of our language arts lessons, students have been asked to keep a daily journal as we all navigate this worldwide emergency.  We discussed how past events have been brought to life for historians by journals written at the time, and it has been gratifying to hear the children sharing entries which describe their own experiences, and what is going on in the wider world.  We ask parents to encourage the children to maintain their journaling.
making 'hot chocolate' at recess   all you need is water and dirt
watercolor scene
working on shading in watercolor painting
The Village School is an independent school serving children in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1-6, in north central Massachusetts, offering a unique curriculum based on challenging hands-on academics, direct contact with the natural world, and kindness.  For more information, or to set up a visit,
call our Director, Rise Richardson at 978 249 3505
or email her at
Thank you for giving to the Annual Fund 
Your Support Keeps the School Thriving
Copyright © 2020 The Village School, All rights reserved.

Call us at 978-249-3505

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp