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Introducing the new AWS seasonal newsletter

A Window into Waldorf

Staying connected through the seasons!

Winter Solstice 2020

Our redesigned newsletter will now be sent
four times a year, updating you on the happenings
at Aurora Waldorf School each season.
We hope you enjoy your peek through the "Window."


Included in this edition:

To use these links as shortcuts to each article, click here to view this email in your browser

Highlights from our Classes


Willow Wood Pre-K

Where does bread come from? There are a story and process behind that loaf on the bakery shelf! 

Blow wind blow, and go mill go,
That the miller may grind his grain,
That the baker may take it, 
And into bread bake it,
And bring us a loaf in the morn, 
And bring us a loaf in the morn.

     ~Bread baking song

Ms. Janelle and Ms. Nadine guide our youngest students through the process of grinding whole grain into flour, mixing it into the dough, and kneading and shaping individual-sized loaves. Young children gain a deeper understanding of how the world works when they participate in the process of making something from start to finish. The Willow Wood students know firsthand where bread comes from and beam with pride when they present to their family a little loaf they created, fresh from the oven and ready to share.

Ash Grove Kindergarten


The sunny days of autumn brought forth bountiful collections of goldenrod for the kindergarten children at AWS. They transferred that beautiful bright color to silk and canvas squares in a natural dye bath they made under Mrs. Quinn's loving guidance. Nature offers many wonderful raw materials for young children to transform! The freshly-dyed canvas was carefully decorated with leaf relief prints to create fall flags, and the silks became part of each student’s puppetry kit. The Ash Grove children love to tell turtle tales with the sweet turtle puppets each received at the beginning of the year. Foundational literacy skills are practiced as they retell and create new stories with their puppets.

Grade 1


Under the fence
Catch the sheep,
Back we go
And off we leap!

First Graders learn how to knit after making their own knitting needles.  The fine-motor skill development required to master the interchange of right and left needles provides our First Graders with coordination and a strong sense of accomplishment and capacity.  The nourishing warmth of wool and wood working together in a child’s hands to create something of beauty is a perfect antidote to today’s virtual world that deprives us of so many tactile pleasures.  Knitting requires students to count and follow patterns of numbers and colors based on mathematical reasoning and number sense.  Knitting is also a practice in patience and the management of frustration, both keys to educational success.  Knitting, like learning to jump rope, is a foundational skill that supports all learning.

Grades 2 & 3


Pivotal changes transpire in children around their 9th birthday. Namely, a greater awareness of their own individualism leads to an increased curiosity of the world around them. The Waldorf school curriculum supports this transformational time by involving students in practical projects that grow their understanding of multiculturalism. Traditionally celebrated in autumn, the festival of Sukkot is a Jewish holiday that has a similar feeling to Thanksgiving. A simple structure called a sukkah is built and is often decorated with leafy branches and fruits and vegetables of the autumn harvest. The building of a sukkah re-enacts the experience of the early Jews who wandered in the desert after freedom from slavery and who needed temporary relief from the elements. The sukkah has become a symbol of thankfulness and a place to gather joyfully with friends and family to share conversations and meals. 

Mrs. Weston’s class worked collaboratively with Mr. Kershner, our practical arts teacher, to build a sukkah. The students decorated it with evergreen boughs, a dehydrated orange garland, pumpkins, flowers, and a hay bale. White curtains and a watercolor paper chain garland were also hung. When finished, the students could hardly wait to sit inside to enjoy a meal together. The experience was a delight for both teachers and students and memorable to all!  

Grades 4 & 5


This fall, Grade Four/Five students continued their local geography study, which they began last spring with stories of the Haudenosaunee (or “People of the Longhouse,” also known as the Iroquois), who are native to the land we now inhabit. September brought lessons on cartography and new understandings of the amazing geography across the New York State landscape. The mountain ranges, rivers, and unique lakes are home to a wide variety of fascinating animals and offer many useful resources! Through this study of geography, the children gained an understanding of the interaction between humans and the natural resources of the land they live on. The students each chose an aspect of New York State that they were interested in learning more about to research independently. They wrote compositions for their projects, created visual elements, and gave presentations to their classmates.

Grades 6, 7 & 8


Waldorf school science is taught from a phenomenological approach, awakening the students' keen observational skills and clear thinking abilities. Acoustics is a fascinating topic where the students are asked to consider the quality of sound. Experiments include exploring the heaviness, thinness, lightness, or darkness of sounds made by wood, iron, silver, stone, or cork. In these pictures, a student has the opportunity to see the visual effects of sound. A double bass bow is pulled along the edge of a Chladni plate while students observe salt particles dancing into various geometric patterns. High tones make sixteen-pointed stars; low tones make four-pointed figures. An atmosphere of joyful wonder is palpable as Mrs. Naughton’s students observe phenomenologically how sound creates form.

Golden Thread Events

Keeping our community connected!

While safety restrictions prevent us from gathering in person, our need to connect, as a community, is as strong as ever. Please join us for the Golden Thread Events. These weekly virtual events are open to AWS community members of the past, present, and future. 

These past two months have been filled with crafts, stories, and games. In November, we created leaf pictures and leaf mandalas, alumna Maggie (Naughton) Warren shared a humorous story in American Sign Language, and we played the Salad Bowl game (a fun word guessing game). Earlier this month we made ice luminaries, and on the first day of Hanukkah, the Kershner family shared a story about the origins of the holiday along with their family’s traditions. We also enjoyed playing the Salad Bowl game again, this time with a winter theme. It has been so lovely to connect with one another and share time together. We hope to see you in the new year!

❤️ If you have a craft, story, or game to share with our community, please contact Jaime Thompson.

Additionally, in response to the new challenges parents are facing these days, we are offering a monthly parent discussion/article study group on the fourth Thursday of every month, as an opportunity for parents in the AWS community to connect and support one another.  

The events are free, with donations gratefully accepted to benefit our beloved school. To register, click below on the activities and dates you want to join. 


Craft Time, 4:30-5 pm, on the First Thursday of each month

Story Time, 4:30-5 pm, on the Second Thursday of each month

  • 1/14 - A Winter Tale told by Jaime Thompson

  • 2/11 - A Puppet Show (in German) by alumna, Drew Kemp

Game Time, 4:30-5 pm, on the Third Thursday of each month

  • 1/21 - led by Jaime Thompson

  • 2/18 - led by Jaime Thompson

Parent Time, 8:30-9:30 pm, on the Fourth Thursday of each month

  • 1/28 - facilitated by Libby Kershner

  • 2/25 - facilitated by Libby Kershner

Upcoming Admissions Event

In January, we will host a virtual event for current and prospective families. This event will answer questions about applying to AWS and the tuition adjustment application process. All are welcome; please share with your friends.

New Family 101: Applying to Aurora Waldorf School
and Accessible Tuition Information Session

Making the decision to apply or transfer to a new school is a very exciting and special time. Whether you are experienced or new to the application process, AWS is here to guide you through this journey to Waldorf Education. Join us on Thursday, January 14, 2021, as we go over the details of applying to Aurora Waldorf School. 

Enrollment Process: Starting at 6:00 pm, we will answer questions about our Early Childhood and Grades program application process, student/teacher meeting, and matriculation.

Accessible Tuition: At 6:30 pm, we will discuss our Tuition Adjustment Program and options that help make Waldorf Education affordable. We will discuss how to apply for a tuition adjustment, our partnership with the BISON fund, and answer questions you may have about this process.

Registration is required. You may attend both or just one part of the presentation. Please email or call 716-655-2029 x104 with any questions.

Lawn Transformed to Wildlife Meadow

The seeds are sown!


Students from all classes took part in carefully spreading native grass and wildflower seeds across part of the mowed front lawn in mid-November. The plot, approximately one-third of the entire area, had been plowed weeks before by local farmer Tom McCoy, and again by Bruce Carrow, parent of three AWS alumni (and spouse of Faculty Chair Lisa Carrow). AWS teachers, with support from Trustees Bill Michalek and Chris Naughton, have been exploring with their students the benefits of the gradual return of wildlife, especially pollinators like bees and butterflies, that these hardy plants will make possible. 

Purple coneflowers, butterfly milkweed, and wild bergamot are among the dozens of species planted; native shrubs and established plants from local nurseries will be added in the spring. Eurythmy teacher Maria Ebersole noted, “Seeing children pouring their attention and love toward the earth is so inspiring; this is about creating for the future….Our stewardship of the earth, which is one of the pillars of our school, is in action right here.” 

Gardening, farming, and environmental responsibility are important parts of the Waldorf curriculum, and students will continue to tend the meadow, growing seeds in milk jugs to transplant in the spring. For the past year, the school has also been looking for ways to “green” the campus, and reduced mowing and increased native plant species and pollinators made this a fitting project. 

Planners sought input from the Western New York Land Conservancy’s Nancy Smith, and from Kevin McNallie of NYS Parks and Recreation, whose expert advice was invaluable. The Land Conservancy’s informative and inspiring newsletter, “The Resource,” will be sent to each AWS family, along with a letter from Nancy, also a parent of three Waldorf alums and a long-time supporter of AWS.

Future plans for the meadow and lawn area include connecting with local beekeepers, building bluebird boxes, creation of outdoor learning space and paths winding through the meadow, and expanding the meadow over the entire two acres of lawn. Want to learn more? Contact Bill Michalek.

New Outdoor Shelter...

coming soon

With our classes spending more time than ever outdoors, the faculty requested a shelter for outdoor classroom space. Through the generous donations of time, resources, and expertise from dedicated AWS parents Jim Anderson, Ed Watts, and Peter Meyer, a new shelter is being erected in the field to the left of the school. Despite setbacks due to lumber shortages, the project is moving forward. Please contact Janelle Anderson if you are interested in getting involved in the next steps of this project. Additional volunteers will be needed in January (date TBD, depending on weather); anyone with construction experience would be very much welcomed!

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

new Board committee formed

At its most recent meeting, the AWS Board of Trustees enthusiastically approved the formation of the “DEI Committee” to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at AWS. Trustee Dana Kemp and staffers Amy Torres-Watts and Vicky Lucca will direct this committee; other members include teacher Maria Ebersole and Trustees Terry Robinson, Tricia Furnari, and Jane Ried.

This new committee’s mission is to research and recommend strategies to ensure that all aspects of the school (curriculum, policies, etc.) are evaluated regarding cultural sensitivity. Many resources, particularly those offered by our accrediting bodies, AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) and NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools), are available and being accessed for support in this work.

Increasing diversity in our student body, faculty, and Board of Trustees is a primary goal, along with encouraging active reflection and self-evaluation of culturally-responsive speech, action, and intention within the AWS community. The committee will look for resources to implement regular DEI professional development, training, and workshops for faculty, staff, and the broader school community. Interested in learning more or joining the committee? Contact Dana Kemp.

Fundraising Corner

Deep Gratitude for Our Community's Support!

Double the fun to sled together, and double the impact to donate with others through the rest of December!


Annual Fund

The AWS Annual Fund is currently underway! Donations support the AWS operating budget, enabling the school to recruit and retain talented, dedicated teachers; offer experiential learning opportunities for our students; provide tuition assistance, and maintain and enhance our campus. This year’s campaign is off to a great start. We are proud to report that we have 100% participation by the Board of Trustees, and our Giving Tuesday campaign was a huge success, raising $4,745 in just 24 hours. Two generous donors have recently presented us with a challenge to match their pledges totaling $4,000 by the end of 2020. Please help us meet this goal by making a donation on or before December 31! A gift of any amount is greatly appreciated!


We are also excited to announce that the 2021 AWS Raffle drawing will be held on March 16, and tickets are on sale now. The grand prize is your choice of $4,000 cash or a trip to Ireland or Belize! In addition to the Grand Prize winner, fourteen more names will be drawn for additional cash and gift card prizes! Each AWS family has a fundraising goal - please consider helping an AWS family you know reach their goal by purchasing a $20 raffle ticket! Tickets can also be purchased directly through the school.

Artisan Auction

Planning begins soon for the 2021 AWS Artisan Auction, which will likely be scheduled for May.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles! If you are interested in getting involved, please sign up here.

Holiday Fundraiser


A special thanks to the Parent Council and volunteers for organizing the recent Holiday Tree, Wreath, and Poinsettia Sale! It certainly brought a great deal of cheer to many homes in our community and raised $1,520 for AWS in the process!


Amazon Smile

If your household orders from Amazon, consider supporting AWS by shopping at You’ll find the exact same prices, selection, and shopping experience as Amazon, with the bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of your purchases to AWS!  

Thank You!

❤️Thank you to everyone who has supported AWS’s fundraising efforts, both financially and through volunteering. 

Grant Received from Waldorf Schools Fund

AWS was honored to receive its first grant recently from the Waldorf Schools Fund, a non-profit organization formed in 1948 to support European Waldorf teachers arriving in America during the Second World War. (An interesting local side note: this Fund was increased significantly in 1973 by Nancy Laughlin, an Olean, NY philanthropist. Read more about its history and projects funded.) Currently, the WSF provides millions of dollars of support to Waldorf schools in scholarships for teacher training, contributions to capital improvements, special projects, and emergency aid. 

The grant of nearly $10,000 is to upgrade AWS technology, particularly updating internet and wifi cabling, and to purchase laptops and carts for student and family use during periods of remote or hybrid learning. Although many of our technology needs existed before the pandemic, we will benefit from these upgrades long after the pandemic is resolved. The equipment and building technology upgrades will allow all community members, whether students or adults, to participate fully in the life of the school. 

New AWS Blog

coming soon

Aurora Waldorf School is excited to announce the launch of our monthly blog in the new year!  Each blog will focus on a unique aspect of Waldorf Education, digging a little deeper into the philosophy and practices.

Like the garden that Aurora Waldorf School students planted to support pollinators' health and vitality, our hope for AWS’s blog is that it informs and inspires readers to spread the news of all that a Waldorf Education offers students and their families.

Our first blog will explore ways in which a Waldorf Education supports the development of strong immune systems. Stay tuned!

Holiday Granola- Two Variations

from the kitchen of Jaime Thompson

Cranberry-Orange Almond Granola 

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Optional: 2 tablespoons chia seeds and/or flax meal
1 cup slivered almonds
½ teaspoons cinnamon 
Zest of one orange
⅓ cup lightly flavored oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
¼ cup maple syrup 
¾ cup dried sweetened cranberries (“craisins”)

Gingerbread Granola 

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup seeds/nuts (choose any combination of the following to add up to 1c.- sunflower seeds, chia seeds (up to 2 tablespoons), flax meal (up to 2 tablespoons), sliced almonds, pecans, etc.)
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
Optional: zest of one lemon
⅓ cup lightly flavored oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon molasses 
¼ cup honey

Combine oats, coconut flakes, seeds/nuts, spices, and citrus zest. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vanilla, and sweetener (molasses & honey or maple syrup, depending on which variation you are making), then drizzle over the oat mixture and stir well coat.

Press into a 9x13” cake pan, and bake at 250 degrees F for 2 hours without stirring.

If making the cranberry orange almond variety, stir the dried cranberries into the granola when it first comes out of the oven. If you like your granola chunky, let it cool before you break it apart with a spatula. It turns crispy as it cools.

Once completely cool, store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a healthy holiday season filled with love and light!

Additional Ways to Support AWS

If you're ordering groceries online, you can now simply forward your e-mail receipt from stores like Target or Wegmans to get your box tops credited to our school. No clipping or scanning required!

Please visit for a list of participating retailers and email forwarding instructions. Thank you!


Providing a place where children love to learn,
educating children for all aspects of life, and
fostering capacities within to become successful,
self-assured adults who contribute to a better world.
Find Out More
Copyright © 2020 Aurora Waldorf School, All rights reserved.

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525 West Falls Road
West Falls, NY 14170

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Aurora Waldorf School · 525 W Falls Rd · West Falls, NY 14170 · USA

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