Week of March 30, 2020

We miss hanging out at recess! Some of the photos in this enews are from earlier weeks.
at Porcupine Rock in early March
From the Director 
We are exploring new territory
Week 3 at home begins.  When the school closed, the Village School was able to hit the ground running, because our classes are small and we can tailor the work to the students. This new territory is called Remote Learning.  Some classes send home a weekly packet of work, with instructions for parents for using it. Some classes send home daily lessons in math and language arts. 5th-6th graders have math lessons live on Zoom.  

We are heeding the fitting recommendation of the Mass.Dept of Education (DOE) Commissioner, to aim for a half-day of learning, because conditions at home are so different from those at school. Some students might resist their parents trying to teach them! 

DOE also recommends "reinforcing skills already taught this school year and applying and deepening those skills." And that remote learning includes "exploring the natural world, hands on projects and artistic creations that stem for the students' own passions and experiences."  That totally fits with the VS credo. 

Staying in touch is so important.  Some teachers have Zoom meetings with the students, some are writing letters back and forth, Some are calling. We aim to keep community strong.

It's very important to set up a daily routine that works for you.  Whether it's math at a set time, or the same hour every day on certain lessons, children thrive on routine and so do we.  Parents, please keep sending me photos of what your kids are doing at home, we'll post some in this newsletter.

Our sense of humor is essential, enjoy this link:  A Desperate Mother's Prayer 

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. Martin Luther King. Jr.  I will keep this newsletter going.   We are in this together.


P.S.    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      what's blooming?  what new buds are swelling on trees & shrubs?
Friday          take a hike    what do you hear?   what do you smell?   what's new?


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
preschooler starting snowman on the Snow Day last week   Yes, we had a Snow Day.
preschool pals


Greetings from our homes to yours. We miss all of the preschoolers and hope that everyone is well at your house.
Here's a suggestion from Trina for you to try at home.  This week you can make "goop," one of the children's favorites.  In a large bowl mix one box of corn starch with water until the corn starch is wet but still thick. Notice how if you squeeze a handful of “goop” it makes a hard ball but when you open your hand it slides off as if it is melting. So intriguing. Leave “goop” open to the air in between uses for it to dry out. Add more water if needed. It will last about four days before it starts to get a bit smelly.

Let's keep doing Story of the Week. If you google these stories you will find a video of the story being read aloud.  Last week's story would have been Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola. This week’s story is Charlie Needs a Cloak also by Tomie dePaola. Related to the story, the class always enjoys washing wool, carding it and dyeing it with packets of Koolaid.

We enjoyed speaking to each of you by phone or by text during the past week. This week the children will receive a card in the mail with some age appropriate "homework".  Each child is asked to draw a picture on the back of the enclosed SAS postcard and mail it back. Getting mail is so much fun for all ages. 
kindergarteners on hike at Porcupine Rock in late winter
exploring sound on rim of glass with Trina


For this week of home learning we’re continuing our theme of How I Help My Family.

We have heard from families that children have been helping around the house, and recording their experiences in their Theme books. We look forward to hearing more details of activities that children have been engaged with, so please email us and we can include a list of activities in next week’s news to inspire us all !

Home learning bags for Kindergarteners were left outside the school last Thursday afternoon for parents to pick up. The bags include a range of leveled readers for the children to work with, from easier to more challenging books. Parents can support their children’s reading experience by beginning with a ‘book walk’ and ‘book talk’.  You can find out about and discuss the book page by page, before beginning to decode the text. Remember reading is all about receiving the author’s message which is often communicated in a variety of ways. Once children begin to focus on the text, they can use some of the reading Super Powers we have been practicing. This week your children can demonstrate Pointer Power and Picture Power to you.

Enjoy taking time to share the books together. There are also some books included from the main classroom library. You’ll also find a Home Journal for your child to work in, with a series of writing prompts to get them going if needed.


The phonics booklets contain a series of activities for the coming weeks and a cover letter on the first page with more details. Similarly the math booklets have a cover letter, along with pages from our Investigations unit How Many Now?

Happy home learning, and please stay in touch by email with any questions or comments during the coming week.

1st-2nd graders sharing work (before school closed)
1st grader's home haircut experience

1st-2nd Grade 

With the extended closure of school, our focus is to offer meaningful activities that bring a sense of normalcy and routine to your children as well as give them the opportunity to deepen and apply skills they’ve learned throughout the year. As we plan ahead, we’ll be developing some open- ended projects for children to explore their interests. Some activities will be geared towards working together with an adult and some, the children can do independently. 
Continuing to read every day is of the utmost importance! Your children have worked so hard to grow as readers this year and we want to help them continue to gain stamina and fluency by practicing and being exposed to new texts. We’re happy to recommend books and leave them outside the school for you to pick up.
We encourage any kind of writing your children are interested in doing and we are exploring way for them to share their writing with each other. Whether they are using the journal prompts, writing All About books or crafting their own stories, we want them to practice their ability to plan and organize their ideas and put their thoughts on the page.
For theme this week we are embarking on a journey to a new land and imagining that we are settlers who need to build a shelter and look for food. For this project children use their imagination and materials found in nature or around the house to plan and build a shelter outside. Then they will draw a map of their new land showing where to find water, food and any other important resources.
First graders have math work that builds on their skip counting skills as well as working on early measurement strategies.  This week Lucy has provided the children with some activities to practice Spanish vocabulary.
We hope you are enjoying Trina’s home video science tutorials, including videos of science experiments to try at home. Looks like Trina is having lots of fun!
Most of all, we hope you are enjoying this special time you have together and that you guide your child’s learning at home in the way that feels best to you. Too much?  Too little?  That’s your call, and up to you to make adjustments that work.  Keep us informed about how it is going.
3rd grader with earthworm
3rd-4th Trojan horse made at home, out of cardboard and cans...  and a sense of humor!

3rd-4th Grade

Our highlight last week was our first Zoom video meeting.  Almost everybody joined in and it was great to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices.  We had a lot of laughs and were entertained by each other’s antics, which included wearing masks from costumes, stuffed animals and pets joining in the meeting.  We’ll meet weekly on Wednesday nights from now on. 
Last week, the children explored personification, alliteration, rhyme scheme and limericks when writing poetry.  After learning about these poetic devices and seeing how they are used in poems, they tried the craft in their own poems. 
Their week-long theme project revolved around reading and watching a short video about the Trojan War.  Then, they were encouraged to make their own Trojan horse.  Some of the children used Legos, cardboard and cans to create their own versions.  Some were complete with the soldiers.  An extension for the project was to create a comic featuring the soldiers as they waited inside of the horse.
The fourth graders are working on strategies to help them solve double-digit by double-digit multiplication. They are using arrays, place value, keeping one number whole and breaking the other one in parts, and the standard algorithm, to solve problems. 
Days when the sun is shining, the children are getting a lot of outdoors time—bike riding, hiking, playing, and exploring.  Last week, they were given a STEM challenge to build a bird’s nest.  Hopefully we get more sunshine this week, which means lots of fresh air and outdoor creativity!

5th-6th graders working with kindergarten buddies on poems
5th grader with first frog of the season

5th-6th Grade

We have now completed our second week of online classes, and all of us – students and teachers alike – are getting into the rhythm of the new medium.  For the record, online learning – particularly at this age – is not the future of education!  But it is a great deal better than nothing, and we have been having very constructive lessons in math and language arts.  Lessons move more slowly than they do in a classroom but, as we all get used to it, they are continuing to improve.

In fact, the children have asked for more online lessons, so this coming week we are adding further sessions.  We are all very happy to be including Spanish lessons with Lucy McCurn at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and there will be an art sharing session at 1:30 on Monday - combined with painting of the week - and ‘Questions’ on Friday, also at 1:30.  The questions format will be somewhat different than usual, and will give children a chance to discuss whatever interests them, including the current world situation.

Finally, we will have four small groups of three or four in which children will meet once a week to discuss their current reading, share impressions of their books, and check in with their teacher about further reading assignments.  Reading groups will be scheduled separately on Zoom.  When required, we will arrange to have books and other materials available for pick-up outside the school, as we did a week ago.

Play writing is proceeding, and we have two scenes completed.  The process depends on everyone completing the scene-writing assignments at home, and the goodwill of parents in forwarding these to George, either in typed form or as photographed documents, from which he can then assemble the composite script.  This is proving a much slower process than it is under normal circumstances, but we are continuing to work together, and hope to have a completed script in two or three weeks.
journaling at home
1st-2nd Native American symbol story
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