Endings and Beginnings

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A Fond Farewell

As this transformational year comes to a close, we say goodbye to En Wong who pioneered our growing elementary program as the lead teacher of our oldest class. En has held her students in grace, joy, dedication, and love as they moved through first, second, and third grade, and her spirit will carry with them now as they move into higher grades, and always. With gratitude in our hearts, we wish her well as she moves into this new phase of her life.

Chieh DeJong, our handwork teacher and Juniper assistant, will be shifting to an expanded position in her daughter’s school, Green Meadow Waldorf School. Chieh's creativity, artistic sensibility, and steadfastness have graced all of the children through her work teaching knitting, sewing, and crocheting. 

Delia Rogers, our Robin’s Nest assistant teacher, will shift roles in the coming year to focus on her college studies. The Robin’s Nest children will certainly miss her warm heart, bright smile, and beautiful singing voice, but we’re all hopeful that her new schedule will allow her to continue on at New Amsterdam in some capacity. 

Brigitte Choura, our parent/child Seedlings teacher, will be transitioning from her role in the classroom to focus her love and care on her baby daughter and family. Brigitte’s kindness, good will, and love for New Amsterdam are deeply appreciated and she will be dearly missed. We hope to see her at a community meeting very soon.

Thank you to three outgoing board members, Cindy Chu, Maxwell Ryan, and Patricia Carlin. All have served on the board for many years. Both Cindy and Max helped grow New Amsterdam through many cycles, bringing their wisdom, expertise, and commitment to this school long after their children no longer attended. This speaks to their deep connection to our mission to offer Waldorf education in downtown NYC as well as the strengths they bring, which have been and will be hard to imagine our school without. Both have agreed to roles as honorary trustees and in that role to support us in spirit mostly, but also with advice when we ask. This summer we will honor their service with a planting in the community. Thankfully, Patricia will remain close at hand and will now be able to focus her energies more clearly on her class and the garden steering committee, a major commitment in its own. Her balanced and wise perspectives have helped the board move through some challenging moments, and we are so grateful to Patricia for her service.

Thank you to Wendy Kraus who will step down from her role as co-chair of NAPA. It’s difficult to imagine how we could have managed this year without Wendy’s wonderfully optimistic yet realistic attitude, her dedication to integrity and true care for all, and not least of all her drive to provide delicious staff potlucks once a month. (And thank you to all of the parents and caretakers who cooked! The staff felt very well nourished.)

To those staying with us next year, those stepping onto new paths, and those shifting roles to serve our school community in new ways, we thank you for a beautiful school year.

Thank you Helena Kubicka (Maya’s mom) for the photos!


“It’s something individuals can own. Accepting your own daydreaming state of mind is almost revolutionary.”

The longest day of the year is upon us, and within all of this fog, it’s a stretch to discern it, let alone appreciate it. However, the exhale is hard to miss. In this caesura, daydreaming is perhaps the most seasonally appropriate activity.

Humans have daydreamed for thousands of years, and yet, these days, spare moments are often filled with using our smartphones — scrolling through social media, listening to podcasts, responding to emails —leaving us little time to let our minds wander. This may seem a small change, but its effect on the way our minds work and on our collective creativity could be far-reaching. In fact, it could be hindering your ability to come up with fresh, innovative ideas.

In 2012, researchers found that letting your mind wander can lead to better creative problem solving. And anecdotal links between daydreaming and creativity abound. From Einstein to Nobel Prize-winning chemists to the inventor of the Post-it note, many of the world’s great thinkers have espoused the benefits of giving your mind a rest. And perhaps you too have noticed that your best ideas come in the shower or while out for a walk.

When your mind is able to wander, it is accessing memories, emotions and random bits of stored knowledge that may be more valuable for our overall wellbeing than we have yet to realize. “Daydreaming is how we access our big-picture state of mind,” says Amy Fries, author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers and a writer and editor for Psychology Today. “When you’re in a daydreaming state of mind, you can visualize or simulate your own version of events. This visualization can help us gain a new perspective on a problem or link two previously disjointed thoughts to come up with an original idea." This big-picture state of mind allows for a flow of creativity, new ideas, and innovative solutions. Paradoxically, the best way to access it seems to be by allowing yourself the time to do nothing at all.

“My most creative moments come when my brain is allowed to rest,” says Megan King, a graphic designer for the architecture and engineering firm Global Inc. As a designer, King is expected to come up with new, compelling ideas all the time. “Sometimes I’ll spend all day working on a project and I’ll feel that I never quite created something that I’m really happy with,” King says. “I’ll get a good night’s sleep and [the next day], get something done in 15 minutes that is more innovative.”

Through the slow months of summer, try noticing when you’re looking at your phone and how it makes you feel. If you’re tapped out for creativity, go for a walk or do some other activity that doesn’t require focused attention. Most importantly, give yourself the time and permission to daydream. It just might lead to something revolutionary.

-Adapted from BBC’s Why Idle Moments Are Crucial for Creativity

Campus Development Update

We are hopeful that we will have a signed lease soon. We don’t have a deadline, as having the space even if we need to finish some elements in September would be better than not having it at all. Jennifer will send an email to the whole community as soon as anything significant happens. We realize this waiting is a trial for everyone involved. If you have questions, reach out to Jennifer.


SAVE THE DATE - Fall 2019

First Day of School: Kindergarten and Grades 1,2,3,4
Wednesday, Sept 4

Back to School Evening for All Parents
Wednesday, Sept 4

Robin's Nest Begins (until as late as 6pm)
Monday, Sept 9

First Day of School: Silver Maples
Monday, Sept 9

Village Peeps Begin (until 5pm)
Monday, Sept 9

First Day of Sugar Maples
Thursday, Oct 10

2018/19 Yearbook

Our 2018/19 yearbook will be available to order online over the summer. Expect an email soon with the link to preview the book and order for direct shipping to your home. Stay tuned!

come garden with us!


Join our parents, faculty, and alumni at an upcoming garden workday or membership meeting. No gardening experience necessary!

Saturday, June 22
Hosted by steering committee member Bonnie

Membership meeting
Saturday, June 22

Become a member of the garden!

El Jardin Steering Committee Meetings

Garden Steering Committee Meetings take place the second Monday of each month at Casita at El Jardin, with heavy rain locations of either Learning Alliance (29 Ave D) or our school. If you are interested in joining, please contact Erin Bailey (Rodeo’s mom) at reacherin@me.com. Upcoming meetings:

Monday, July 7 at 6:30pm

Monday, August 12 at 6:30pm

Monday, September 9 at 6:30pm

 See the full calendar at https://eljardindelparaiso.org/CALENDAR

Summer Program

begins July 8


Our summer program runs 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 and enroll.

Area Summer Camps

Belle Savransky