Creating a Community

by Margaret Staruszkiewicz (mother of phaedra + aldous)

bell hooks writes, “Progressive education, education as the practice of freedom, enables us to confront feelings of loss and restore our sense of connection. It teaches us how to create community.” Like a lot of New Yorkers, I left my family of origin to move here. Over the years, I moved through many groups at work, with friends, and at home throughout many different apartment buildings and living situations. How many of these really felt like a community? Not many.

For example, we now live in a small self-managed co-op in the East Village. The tenants range in age from our 2-year-old son Aldous to the 80-year-old woman on the first floor. There are only 13 apartments. The only times our building truly feels like a community are on two days: the day we get together for our garden clean-up day, and our annual co-op meeting. On those day, working together towards a common goal makes us feel close to one another, and strengthens us as a community.

When I had my children, I, like many women, experienced maternal isolation. Through lack of time and adjusting to the world of motherhood I lost some of my ability to move through the few social groups that gave me a sense of community. When our family joined New Amsterdam however, I found a connection with other like-minded parents. It was a growing school that I loved, and I wanted to help. And in helping I found purpose. I have spent time with many parents over our years at the school- making coffee after drop-off, lifting rocks and planting tulips at various garden work days, taking tickets and minding craft tables at Winter fairs- and have come to realize that it is through our service and love that community helps us move towards progressive change. Community takes work but the end result is connection to one another, and isn't that what we are all looking for?

This Saturday, I will join the other NAPA chairs, parent reps, teachers, and parents at the Whole School Community Meeting. I hope that you’ll join us too. I’ve learned that coming together, whether to take tickets at a fair, sew costumes for a play, or meet up with other parents on a Saturday morning, is not only how our school was founded, but how we will grow into all that we hope to become.

April Showers Bring May FLowers

The Humble Beginnings of Mother’s day

Mother’s Day in the United States was originally intended as a day of peace, brought about by social revolutionary, poet, and activist Julia Ward Howe. The suffering she witnessed during the civil war led her to envision a day when women from all over the world could join together and bring from within themselves the means to achieve world peace. 

In 1870- nearly 40 years before it became an official U.S. holiday- Ward Howe issued her inspired Mother’s Day Proclamation: “Women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror. That word should now be heard, and answered to as never before! Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Let us meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let us then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God!

As the call for a Mother’s Day carried on, it gained new momentum and finally became a national holiday in 1914 under the leadership of Anna Jarvis, who had been inspired by her mother, also named Anna Jarvis, who had worked with Julia Ward Howe in earlier efforts for a Mother’s Day. In the spirit of Ward Howe’s original intention, Anna Jarvis called for women everywhere to recognize their innate power in creating a non-violent world. She called for each woman to cultivate gratitude first from within, then in one’s own family, in order to contribute to a greater revolution of world peace. "For Jarvis, it was a day where you'd go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did," wrote Katharine Antolini in Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother's Day. "It wasn't to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you've ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter." It was a revolutionary approach to change: through dedicating a day to cultivating personal gratitude and appreciation, and honoring the individual women who gave us life, we could collectively bring forth a peace greater than ourselves. 

Wishing each of our families a beautiful Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Invite your friends and family to our annual

May Festival!

may festival poster 2019.jpg

Last Parent Evening of the Year!

Grades 1, 2, 3
Tuesday, May 28

Tuesday, May 28

Juniper, Willow
Wednesday, May 29


NAS Board Meeting
Wednesday, May 9

Whole School Community Meeting
Saturday, May 11

Eurythmy Mini-Session (for Parents)
Monday, May 13

A quick 15-minute eurythmy session with Brigida to start your week.

Monday Book Club
Book: Developing the Self Through the Inner Work Path in the Light of Anthroposophy by Lisa Romero
Monday, May 13

El Jardin Garden Meeting
Monday, May 13

Everyone is welcome to attend. See below for details.

Grandparents Day
Friday, May 17

May Festival
El Jardin Garden
Saturday, May 18

School Closed- Memorial Day
Monday, May 27

School Closed- Eid al-Fitr
Tuesday, June 4

School Closed- Teachers Clerical Day
Monday, June 10

Friday, June 21

Tomorrow, May 8, Helena (mother of Maya in the Willow class) will be taking class pictures of each group of children with their teacher. While this is not a formal “picture day,” please arrive on time so that your child is included in the class shot. Thank you!


We hope for all parents to attend our

New Amsterdam School Community Meeting

Saturday, May 11

10:00am - 12:00pm

Join fellow parents, teachers, and board members to learn about how New Amsterdam functions as a threefold organization, how decisions are made in different realms, what our specific priorities are in the next year for policy development, and how you can make a difference by participating in the life of the school. We hope to offer a garden tour at the close of the event. Bring your lunch and have a picnic! Childcare will be provided from 10am to 12pm. Childcare donations are welcome by not expected.

you can sign up for Free childcare when you rsvp to your paperless post invite

Monthly Garden Meeting

Monday, May 13 at 6:30pm

El Jardin Garden

Everyone is welcome to attend the upcoming El Jardin del Paraiso garden meeting. If you’ve been looking to get more involved at the garden, have an idea to pitch, or simply want to learn more about our partnership with El Jardin, please join us!

Grandparents Day

is next Friday

Grandparents Day is Friday, May 17. Grandparents listed in TADS have been mailed the following programs. Feel free to send these along to your guests, and direct RSVP’s to

Early Childhood

Grades 1-3

Enroll Now for Summer


With eight weeks of school left until the last day of school on June 21st, it’s time to enroll for our summer program. Our program this year will run from July 8 to August 23, and you can customize your child’s schedule by choosing your preferred pick-up time (1pm or 3pm), as well as enrolling for only the weeks you need. Click below to learn more.

Summer waldorf courses

for Teachers and Parents


Did you know that your Amazon purchases could be raising funds for our school? Shop through Amazon Smile to easily help our school:

1. Go to

2. Choose New Amsterdam School as your selected charity

3. Shop as normal and a percentage of what you spend is automatically donated to our school! 

Belle Savransky