Week of September 9, 2019

Welcome to the first day of school
We are all ready for school!
From the Director 
We start sounding a loud "Do" (as in Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do)
We begin a new octave now, sounding the 'DO' for the start of the year, knowing that what we do and teach now, will have huge repercussions all the way to finishing this octave together next June.

In the firsts six weeks of school, classrooms are building community, learning routines (how do we sit in circle? how do I work with a partner?  etc.)  and establishing norms together for work and play.  It's time well spent.

We welcome new staff members:  Sonya Wirtanen (not so new): 1st-2nd assistant teacher, Kayla Rains: 2nd, 3rd and 5th math teacher, Hannah Alicandro-Hall: art teacher and Josie Telepciak: Spanish teacher.  It’s great to have you on the team.

And it's great to know that you are on the team too, whether as a parent, a grandparent, a relative, or a are part of this welcoming community that holds the children warmly and safely.
Here's to a great start of the year.

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 Village School 

Monday      8:30 a.m.  All School Sing   
Tuesday         3rd-6th Science
Wednesday    Roots & Sprouts  Parent- Child Group   8:45-10:00   Parents and caretakers of children ages 0-3.5 are welcome to attend, in the preschool room.
Thursday      8:40 Preschool Reading Buddies with 3rd-4th
Friday       Coffee order due online 
                2:15  K-6th hiking- wear sneakers- parents are welcome too


Updates    see the monthly calendar for more

Roots & Sprouts, Parent-Child Group begins this Wednesday Sept. 11    
Parents and caretakers of children ages 0 to 4 are welcome to attend this weekly gathering from 8:45 to 10 a.m. in the preschool room. It's free, drop in!   See the flyer

Piano Lessons are available for 1st-6th (and older) students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school with music teacher Isaac Richardson.  Lessons start on Tuesday Sept. 17. For more info, and to sign up, email Isaac at

This Fall Curriculum Mornings for K-6th 
Learn about classroom practices, expectations and the curriculum for the year.
Kindergarten Curriculum Morning Thurs. Sept. 19 8:30
5th-6th Curriculum Morning  Thurs. Sept. 26  8:20 a.m.
1st-2nd Curriculum Morning  Wednesday Oct. 2  8:30 a.m.
3rd-4th Curriculum Morning Thursday Oct. 3  8:20 a.m.

About the Coffee Order  You can order fresh roasted coffee, ground or whole beans, once a month, through the Village School Parents Group.  Orders are placed online on the Village School website, and you pay with a credit card or Paypal.  Orders are due this Friday, and will come in the following Friday, delivered to the school hallway.

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 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.   Questions?  or ready to sign up?  Call Matt at 413 834 8677  Click here for the video and more info   It works well for businesses too.

The latest photos

Send this link to your friends and relatives, so they can get this enews too
Preschoolers learning the caterpillar finger play with Kim
New friends on the first day


On our first three days of school, we reconnected with old friends and got to know new names and faces. We have six new students and ten returning students. Everyone was introduced to our new clean up routine. We photographed eight areas of our classroom and each photo has a pair of children assigned to it for the week. The pairs work diligently to clean their area and then check to see if their area matches the photo.

We are observing two monarch caterpillars in our classroom and reading books about caterpillars and the metamorphosis to butterflies. The children were excited to see the caterpillars hanging in a "J" shape from the top of the aquarium and then finding them changed into chrysalises by the next day. Now we wait two weeks for them to emerge in their new form. Here is a finger play the class enjoyed this week: A fuzzy little caterpillar sat upon a leaf, he spun a little chrysalis and then fell fast asleep. While he was sleeping, he dreamed that he could fly and when he woke up, he was a butterfly!  Ask your child to show you the hand motions that go with the finger play.

We have a few food allergies in the class this year which everyone should keep in mind before sending snack into school for birthdays: no dairy including butter, no tree nuts (peanut butter is OK), no pineapple.

This week we'll tell the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

This Wednesday, and for the next six Wednesdays, we will be in our Outdoor Classroom - outside from 8:30-10:00 - so the children should come dressed with rain pants and puddle boots for the damp playground in the morning.
Kindergarten Orientation circle with parents, and Martin and Karen
First math lesson


We had an exciting first week of Kindergarten, greeting friends old and new. We began with Orientation - a chance for children and parents to meet and introduce our classroom routines of circle time, singing together, and sharing ideas. The children shared an animal they encountered over the summer and drew and wrote about it.

Our first theme of the year is Plants. We begin by investigating trees. Our book of the week is The Tree that Grew through the Roof, retold by Thomas Berger. In science we’re going on a tree walk and will be labeling different species of trees including oak, pine, and birch.

Last week we thought about Hopes and Dreams for the year, and wrote and drew about them. Most popular was ‘hoping to learn to read,’ fitting well with our first reading unit, We Are Readers!  We’re beginning with a walk around the school to look and think about the words we can read such as name labels on cubbies and classroom signs. In writing we’re making books about subjects we know well. 
We began phonics lessons last week with the letter c and the children drew five c words to start our alphabet books. This week we’re looking at the letters o and a.

We began exploring math materials such as the pattern blocks, geo-blocks, and connecting cubes. This week we’re practicing reading and using our calendar and will be working on a range of counting activities.  

On Wednesday September 18th we are kayaking at Tully Lake. Parents are encouraged to join us to accompany the children. Please sign and return the permission slip.

Please join us for Curriculum Morning on Thursday Sept. 19 at 8:30 a.m. - you’ll learn about classroom practices, expectations and the curriculum for the year.
1st and 2nd discussion with Myra
Our Lego challenge with Sonya

1st-2nd Grade 

We had a great start to the new school year. We’re practicing learning each other’s names, moving around the classroom safely and coming to the rug for meeting. We played a version of Four Corners, in which each corner of the classroom represented a feeling. The children went to the corner that matched how they felt about the first day of school: Happy, OK, nervous or not happy. This activity gave the class the opportunity to see how the rest of the group was feeling. Later the children were paired up and interviewed their partner to learn a little about each other. Then we regrouped and the pairs introduced each other to the whole class and told one new thing they learned about their partner.

In the afternoon the children were challenged to work together to create the longest paper chain they could make from one sheet of construction paper. It was great to see how they worked together and the different strategies they came up with.

On Thursday we had a whole group math class. We talked about how we each learn and think differently and how we can learn from each other by sharing our ideas. We looked at series of quick images, pictures that had a group of large black dots arranged in different ways. Each image was shown for 3 seconds. Then the children were asked to share how they remembered the image. Some saw groups of two while others saw rows and columns. These mental math exercises are often used during math class.

Friday was our first choice time as well as our first hike of the year. The weather was perfect and the children enjoyed exploring.
3rd-4th  challenge: to make the longest chain possible from only 1 piece of paper
Making a collage cover for our new journals

3rd-4th Grade

It’s wonderful to be back in school and getting to know each other.  We’ve are working on building our classroom community by getting to know each other, working on group challenges and sharing our ideas. 

On the first day, we split into three groups and the children were challenged to create the longest paper chain they could, using only one piece of construction paper.  They were surprised by how long (one was 153 inches!) the chains were.  We discussed how to work in a group and afterward talked about how the activity went.  All the groups were pleased with how they worked together.  They problem-solved, made sure everyone had a job and listened to each other’s ideas.  We’ll incorporate more group challenges and team-building into our days throughout the year.

As we gather together in whole group situations, we are working on what active listening is and what it looks like.  We are also working on how to move in small ways when needed that can help everyone concentrate.  A lot of the movements we are working on involve crossing or being at the midline which is calming and helps focus.  After learning different strategies, it’s up to the children to figure out what works best for them when they are tired, distracted, or energetic. 

Our first writing unit is Memoir.  We are going to write memoirs about experiences that we have had with animals.  This week we are looking at mentor texts and learning about ways to brainstorm our ideas.  In reading, we are working on how we think about books and paying attention to our thinking. 

The children have homework folders.  Reading and math homework begin this week.  Children should bring their book to and from school each day and are expected to read for 20 minutes a night.  

5th-6th math lesson
5th-6th art

5th-6th Grade

We’re happy to welcome Max Beard, who has joined the school as a 5thgrader, with his brother William in 3rd grade.  As always, the  class has been very welcoming and inclusive, and it’s a pleasure to see Max already fitting in as a member of our class community, which this year numbers thirteen students.

Our theme this year is The American West.  As we begin the year, we’re looking at how the U.S. Constitution provided for westward expansion, and we’ll be looking at how and why new states joined the Union.  The ‘West’ as a fact and a myth has affected so much of U.S. history, and has, in turn, been shaped by a whole range of influences, as we’ll examine during the year.

Among these is the geography of the whole country, the legacy and tragedy of Native Americans in the face of westward expansion, immigration, conquest, land purchase and slavery.  This year we’ll also be looking at images of the West, and the evolution of western mythology in books, paintings and movies.  We’ll try to separate myth from fact, bearing in mind the famous line near the end of the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: ‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend’, a sentiment with echoes in modern political discourse.

In the coming weeks we’ll learn about the Louisiana Purchase, and the Lewis and Clark expedition, and we’ve been discussing where the ‘West’ actually is. The class was surprised to discover that, in the early 17th century, Deerfield and western Massachusetts were considered ‘the frontier’ by those easterners on the coast.

We are enjoying our new class projector, which was largely paid for by generous contributions to our ‘wish list’ fund at last summer’s Pancake Breakfast.  It has already allowed us to expand our Painting of the Week discussions by projecting multiple on-line examples of the work of any particular artist.  Many thanks to all who contributed.
thank you Camp Caravan folks, we love the new swings
Camp Caravan swing builders, trying them out
on the rocks!
More rocks on the Friday afternoon hike
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 © 2019 The Village School, All rights reserved.

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