Visions Past and Present


onion river

by Nathan Laffin (father of Lisette in 3rd grade)

I remember the smell vividly. A mixture of vegetables and old wood floors. We played in the aisles of the Onion River food co-op while the adults divided up the produce and bulk items into boxes. When I close my eyes I can still see the hand painted sign that signaled the co-op’s graduation from our kitchen to a permanent space, with wide-planked floors we loved to sweep.

We played with produce flats at the co-op and with the stethoscopes at the People’s Free Clinic. We hid from each other under the tables at the Church Street Farmer’s Market. This was the background for my growing up in the early 70s in Vermont, surrounded by a group of people convinced that there was a better way. I didn’t realize until much later the power of the lessons we were learning, at the time they weren’t lessons, it was just life. No one was explaining. They just did. No one was teaching. We just saw.

Almost every day I have the experience of wishing I could do-over some small act of parenting - bring more patience, adjust a tone of voice, better prepare lunches, get ahead of laundry. I take some comfort in knowing Lisette won’t remember these small stumbles, but will, like me, be left with a larger picture of her childhood, and that this picture will be full of New Amsterdam. That she’ll remember festivals and board meetings, sweeping the courtyard, scouring the woods in New Hampshire for the Winter Fair forest, addressing the thank you letters for annual fund donations. For now this is just what is for her, but there will be a time when she’ll realize that all of this was a choice—that Howard and Frank and I all choose it, because we believe it’s necessary, not a luxury. Because we believe it is worthy of working for. Because the world needs healing, and we need humans who will heal it. Because this is the greatest gift we can give her, the best model. It may take her years to understand it, the same way it took me years to understand what I was given by the model of the adults in my life—but I know she will. And I know your children will. And the children who follow them through New Amsterdam, streaming out into the world undaunted, confident, with clear moral vision and an understanding of what’s possible when we work together.


When I began writing this I decided to look and see what had happened to Onion River Food Co op. It’s now two locations, over 16,000 square feet, operated on land leased from the city of Burlington. And the sign is exactly like I remember it.

May Festival

Our dedicated community came together again this year to cook, bake, weave, sing, dance, and play at our annual May Festival. Thank you to Ms. Kaori for building our Maypole, to our teachers and students for rehearsing and performing the festival songs, to our parents for donating food to the International Food Fair, to Anna Fawcus (mother of Teagan in Maples) and Belle for taking photographs, to Idan Cohen (father of Ellie in Willow) for mowing the lawn, to all faculty for running the festival stations and puppet show, to El Jardin for sharing the space, and to every adult and child who attended to weave flower crowns, make lemonade, and celebrate the season!

Campus Development Update

Our attorneys have given us their first draft of comments on the lease for 41 Ave B. We hope to hear a response from the landlord soon. Jennifer is working on scheduling the lazure painting of the interior over the summer. Check in for weekly updates here.

Last Parent Evening of the Year!

Grades 1, 2, 3
Tuesday, May 28

Juniper, Willow
New Date!
Wednesday, June 12

New Date!
Thursday, June 6

*Maples moving on to mixed-age Kindergarten next year are encouraged to also join the June 12 meeting.


Monday Book Club
Book: Developing the Self Through the Inner Work Path in the Light of Anthroposophy by Lisa Romero
Monday, May 20

School Closed- Memorial Day
Monday, May 27

School Closed- Eid al-Fitr
Tuesday, June 4

Free NAS Simplicity Parenting Workshop
Wednesday, June 5

Led by Raina Blyer, a Brooklyn mom and Simplicity Parenting Coach.

School Closed- Teachers Clerical Day
Monday, June 10

Friday, June 21

Summer Program Begins
Monday, July 8


Wednesday, June 5th at 8:45 am

New Amsterdam School

Please RSVP to


Enroll Now for Summer


With four 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.


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! 

Grandparents + Special friends Day

Belle Savransky