September 2016 Newsletter

Posted On Sep 14 2016 | BY School for Friends

Director’s Report

Welcome to a new school year!  After years of fundraising, planning, and construction, we are now able to occupy our newly renovated and expanded space!  Not everything is done, as you can see, but enough is done for us to hold classes.  Returning families will find many new features – running water in the classrooms, an HVAC system (that we are still learning to regulate), new classroom floors and walls, changing tables in the Turtle and Panda rooms, a conference/therapy room, new classroom names, more children!, and an art studio we hope to use soon.  Maybe you’ll notice some other new things as well.  We will be adding furnishings (curtains, shades, etc) as they arrive – never easy to coordinate orders, delivery, and installation.  If your child is in a classroom on the first floor, don’t miss the chance to go up the stairs to look at the truly amazing steam-punk gathering of pipes for our sprinkler system – yet to be fully functional.

While there are many new features, there is also a lot of the same old School for Friends we have known for 35 years:  warm and loving teachers, an engaging curriculum, our cozy playground (though we don’t yet have our annual delivery of sand and modified wood fiber [mulch]), and a committed board of trustees.

Thanks to all the returning families who lived through our two months of existence in the Fellowship Hall – not so bad after all?  We still haven’t completely moved out but hope to be by the end of the week.  And at some time in the not too distant future, perhaps we will lose the dumpster which has been on the parking lot (well, actually not the same one) since April.

In order for us to be operational without the sprinkler system, we have to employ two Fire Watch people to be in the building at all times that we occupy it.  So you will notice their presence.  Hopefully this phase will not last longer than a few weeks.

 STAFF DEVELOPMENT WEEK – Though much of the time last week was spent planning curriculum and setting up the new classrooms (on Friday many teachers after the evening move worked until midnight), we also spent time in training.  We spent a full day on team building and communication – necessary to add to many new and returning folks to our teams – we are growing by 50%!   Out of that training, led by our curriculum consultant Jacky Howell, our teachers became a more cohesive group and came up with some core principles to adhere to during the year.  Also, using a new book on natural playgrounds that the teachers read over the summer, each teacher spoke of a feature they would like to add to our playground during the course of the year.  Makai Kellogg, spearheading our diversity and equity work, took us through an exercise that kicks off a new year in our social justice curriculum – Anti-Bias Education (ABE).  ABE has three goals – helping children have a positive self identity, having children appreciate differences among us, and encouraging children (usually our older groups) to speak up when they see things that are un-fair.  The chairs of our newly formed Quaker Life Committee introduced themselves to the teachers and sought from them ideas for goals for the year.

STAFF CHANGES – If you are in the Panda room, you will notice that Cyana Chamberlain, the lead teacher, will be out until mid-October.  She gave birth to son Hunter in July.  Magy Youssef will be acting lead teacher until then.

Also, Clare Coppel, our Office Administrator for nearly seven years, will be leaving us at the end of the month.  She and her husband will be returning to the UK.  Circumstances in her extended family call her to be with her family at this time in her life.  We will greatly miss Clare and all she has given to the school.  But luckily she will be able to continue parttime and remotely some of the support of the school.  If you know of anyone who might be good for the fulltime position as Office Administrator and Data Manager, please let me know.

OTHER CONSULTANTS AND PARTTIME STAFF – In the October newsletter I will introduce to you other important people who come through the school to make your child’s learning and living experience richer.  If, in the meantime, you have any questions about folks, don’t hesitate to ask me.

OPENING – We have an opening in the Monarch Butterfly Room, so if you know of anyone who has a child born between 9/1/13 and 2/28/14 who is looking for a school, please let them know.  We also have a space in the Tiger classroom for a four year old.

Jim

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Tiger Classroom Newsletter

Dear Tiger Room Families, welcome to The Tiger Classroom!

We are very exited to spend a second year with our returning “Tiger” kids, and to get to know the children and families new to the Tiger Room and SfF. We are looking forward to a wonderful year together!
We are especially excited to move into a beautifully renovated new space in the building, and have  carefully set up the classroom so your child will feel comfortable and welcome to make the necessary transition easily. Even though most of the children already know each other, it will take time to get used to the new environment, routines, and practices.

To make the children feel successfully independent, we are “touring” the classroom, and talking about the different activity areas and possibilities. The different areas are purposely organized, and together we are exploring were to find and return materials, how to use and care for them, and how to make appropriate choices. We will practice to follow the daily routine and establish some signs (visual/auditory) to help us get each other’s attention and also to help us to communicate better with each other during the day.

To create a safe community we will ask the children to help develop and establish a few basic classroom rules, which we will post in the classroom and periodically review and update. In these first days we are especially focused on building the foundation for a classroom community in which everyone can feel safe, help one another and see themselves as part of a group. This requires first of all learning about each individual child and their unique qualities and helping children to understand how to treat people and how they want to be treated by others. We are working in small groups, as well as pairing children up, so they have the opportunity to work with a new friend or someone they normally wouldn’t choose, and establish new friendships.

The teachers are carefully observing and facilitating the “Tiger”-kid’s play, building trusting relationships and getting a sense of each child and their interest, in order to plan the curriculum according to the interests of the children in the classroom.

An essential part in building our “Tiger”- community is you, the parents. We are looking forward to get to know you, and see you at the “Back to school night” on Thursday, September 22 at 7:30-9:00pm, where you can learn more in detail about our classroom and curriculum, and meet other Tiger Room parents. We on the other hand are very interested to hear from you what you would like your child to experience/develop this year in the “Tiger”-classroom, and how you could imagine to be involved and contribute to our classroom. We welcome your questions, concerns, and suggestions throughout the year, and are looking forward to a wonderful year.

Thank You! The “Tiger” Teachers

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Sea Lion Classroom Newsletter

Welcome Sea Lion families to the new 2016-2017 school year! We understand that moving to a new classroom is a big change from the children’s previous classes, but LaJuan and I [Makai] are here to make that transition as smooth as possible. There will be a new schedule, routines, teachers, and classmates. 

If you bring your child to school before 9am, your child will start in the Tiger classroom (Sabina and Julie) until 9am during September and then switch with the Sea Lion classroom every other month. Lunchboxes can be placed in our own refrigerator in the utility room. Please remember to label lunches with your child’s name and the date. We also have a rack specifically for hot lunches in the classroom.

LaJuan and I are looking forward to the children’s exploration of the classroom areas and materials through which they will build their own meaning and understanding. 

LaJuan and I are always open to communication, so please feel free to talk to us about anything regarding your child. The best time to contact us is at 2:30pm which is nap time – unless there is an emergency. E-mail is also convenient. You will receive more information as well as have the opportunity to ask questions at the Back to School Night on Thursday September 22. 

Important reminders: 

– Bring in labelled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play 

– Two complete sets of seasonal extra clothes/ extra underwear and pull-ups are appreciated 

– Make sure to clearly label all items!!!

– Sheets and blanket come in on Monday and go home for washing on Friday. If your child requires a pillow, please make sure it is a small size, and a soft naptime friend is welcome, but please limit it to one. 

– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under NAEYC accreditation requirements. 

The Sea Lion team is looking forward to a great school year. 

Thank you, 

Makai and LaJuan

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Eagle Classroom Newsletter

On behalf of the staff at School for Friends, Angel and I (Yasmine) are happy to welcome you to the 2016-2017 school year in the Eagles classroom! We are very excited to meet you. We understand that moving to the Eagles Room is a big change from the children’s previous classes, but we are here to make that transition as smooth as possible. Our class will provide each child with a safe, fun, and loving environment that encourages children to learn through play.

For the month of September, if you bring your child to school before 9am, we will be in the Monarch Butterflies room (Jackie’s and Jemmie’s class) until 9am. At 9am, we will move upstairs to our classroom. Lunchboxes can be placed in the Eagles refrigerator in the utility room. Please remember to label lunches with your child’s name and the date. We also have space specifically for hot lunches. 

We believe that communication is the key to your child’s success and to a great parent/teacher relationship. Angel and I are always open to communication, so please feel free to talk to us about anything regarding your child. The best time to contact us is at 1:30pm which is during nap time – unless there is an emergency. E-mail is also convenient (eagle@schoolforfriends.org). You will receive more information as well as have your questions answered at Back to School Night on Thursday September 22. 

Angel and I are looking forward to the children’s exploration of the classroom areas and materials; this will give them the opportunity to challenge themselves as they learn about their new surroundings. We are also looking forward to getting to know you and your child as we grow together this year.

Important reminders: 

– Please bring in a family photo and a photo of your child

– Please bring in the forest animal shape that was mailed with the welcome letter

– Please Bring in labelled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play 

– Two complete sets of seasonal extra clothes/ extra underwear and pull-ups are appreciated 

– Make sure to clearly label all items!!!

– Sheets and blanket come in on Monday and go home for washing on Friday. If your child requires a pillow, please make sure it is a small size, and a soft naptime friend is welcome, but please limit it to one. 

– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under accreditation requirements. 

The Eagles Room is ready to soar into a wonderful school year!

Thank you, 

Yasmine and Angel

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Butterfly Classroom Newsletter

Welcome to the Monarch Butterfly Room. The Monarch Butterfly is on the endangered list because loss of overwintering habitat. Adult monarchs possess two pair of brilliant orange – reddish wings with a wingspan of about four inches, and they weigh than half an ounce. They eat nectar from flowers and can be found in North and Central America. In efforts to protect natural environments and the Monarch Butterfly species, we have adopted three Monarch Butterflies.

The First Days of School: Dealing with Preschool Separation Anxiety! By Lisa Medoff from education.com  – I also added some comments from visits back in August. 

Separation anxiety is a very common problem for preschool children, especially during the first few weeks of school. You may also see some separation anxiety in children after an illness, a vacation, or even a long weekend, where they have become accustomed to being at home for a long period of time. 

A preschool child is at the age where he/she is learning to negotiate his/her independence, a concept that is both exciting and scary at the same time. With the realization that he/she is their own person, with wants and needs that are separate from yours, comes the realization that you may not always be by his/her side. Going to preschool can make this last point painfully clear, causing your child to become anxious about letting you out of his sight. Here are some tips for cutting down on separation anxiety during the preschool years: 

  • Remember that children do pick up on your mood, even if they cannot yet articulate their feelings, so try to remain calm and positive about your child going to school, especially if it is for the first time. 
  • Do not automatically assume that your child is worried about starting school or that she will have separation anxiety. Do not signal that she/ he should be nervous by asking leading questions, such as, “Are you worried about starting preschool and being away from mommy?” Instead, focus on the exciting aspects of starting school. 
  • Some families made a visit to the preschool back in August. It is a nice away preparing them for the first day. We cannot wait to see everyone during our Back to School Night in September. If possible, spend time in the classroom and in the play areas. Make sure your child knows where the bathroom is located and any other orienting details that he/she needs. Prepare ahead of time for the first day of school, and make it a special event to look forward to.

In the days leading up to the first day, talk to your child about what will happen that morning. Tell him how excited you are about all the fun he/she is going to have, and how you can’t wait to hear about everything he/she is going to do. 

  • Do not drag out the separation process, especially on the first day. Take your child to the classroom, hug her/he, tell her/he that you love her/he, tell her/he what time you will back to pick her up, and then leave. Do not stay or return if your child begins to cry. At School for Friends the teachers will know how to get your child involve and make her feel comfortable. 
  • Plan ahead about how you will handle your own feelings about leaving your child so that she/he does not see you getting upset, and then get upset them. Think about what you will say when you leave your child and how you will keep from getting emotional in front of her/him.
  • Always be there on time to pick up your child. Being on time is especially important during the first few days of school. If she/he believes that you will be there to pick her/him up when you said you would, then she/he will be more likely to separate easily. 

Children may display anxiety about separation in different ways, not wanting to get dressed in the morning, refusing to make eye contact with or talk to the teacher, or being overly clingy. Understand that different children react to separations and new situations in different ways; some children adapt more easily (which does not mean that they don’t love you or miss you while you are gone!) and some are shyer and take longer to adjust. However, if you can manage to stay consistent with your routines, both at home and at school, your child should eventually become comfortable with the process of you leaving her/him at preschool. 

Planning ahead can cut down on problems with separation, both for you and your child. Stay calm, be positive, and trust the teachers to handle the situation once you leave. Keep to a regular routine as much as possible, and keep any other major changes to a minimum.

Jackie and Jemmie

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Leatherback Turtle Classroom Newsletter

Welcome to the Turtle Room! We are excited for the upcoming school year and expanding the School for Friends community. It is very important to us for your child to feel welcomed and comfortable in their new environment. If there is anything in particular that we can do to help you or your child with the transition into school, let us know. We want to start off the year by letting you know a little about your child’s teachers.

Elizabeth is the lead teacher and has been at School for Friends for five years. She grew up just outside D.C. in Alexandria , Virginia. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology. Post-graduation she worked and traveled the East Coast of Australia for a year, working at a primary school and ski resort. Upon returning to the Washington area she joined the School for Friends family as a substitute in a 2s classroom before joining full time as an assistant teacher. During her time here Elizabeth has obtained her Childhood Development Associate credential. Elizabeth enjoys traveling, sports, and making new friends!

Wesley, one of two assistant teachers in our room, is also from Alexandria, Virginia. She graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Psychology and immediately began working at a preschool in Alexandria. Working with children is a passion of hers, as well as doing yoga and spending time with her family. This is Wesley’s first year at School for Friends and she can’t wait to learn and explore with everyone!

Radasha grew up in Washington, D.C. She studied at PGCC for two years focusing on sports medicine. She has been involved with School for Friends as a regular substitute since 2014, and is excited to be joining as a full time assistant teacher. She is working on obtaining her CDA. Radasha enjoys singing dancing, and spending time with her daughter.

We will be starting out the school year by becoming comfortable in the Turtle Room and engaging a lot of sensory activities. Don’t forget about back to school night on September 22nd. We look forward to getting to know you and your child throughout the year!

Important Dates:

–  September 22nd: Back to School Night

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Red Panda Classroom Newsletter

Welcome to the Red Panda Room! We are very excited for the upcoming school year. We believe that it is important that your child feels welcomed and comfortable in their new environment. If there is anything in particular that we can do to help you or your child with the transition into school, let us know. We want to start off the year by letting you know a little about your child’s teachers.

This is Cyana’s sixth year working full time at School for Friends and her first year as a lead teacher. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., attended George Washington University where she received a B.A. in Sociology and has a Child Development Associate credential. During this time, she worked at School for Friends as a part time aide. Cyana has worked with children for over ten years. Prior to her employment at School for Friends, she has worked at several centers in the Washington area. She enjoys traveling, writing, sewing, and being a new mom.

We look forward to her return in October, while she is away, Brittany will be subbing in the classroom. Brittany has consistently been subbing for School for Friends.. She is excited to be part of the team for the time being.

Magy is the Assistant Teacher in the Red Panda classroom. She will be Acting Lead Teacher until Cyana’s return from maternity leave. Magy was born in Egypt and is Half Ethiopian. Magy has been working part time and subbing at School for Friends for five years. She finished college with a degree in Early Childhood Development. She enjoys exploring new ideas with the children and being a part of their growth. She loves the outdoors, going to museums, cooking, and swimming. She is looking forward to working full time in the Red Panda classroom.

Marisa is also an Assistant Teacher in our classroom. Marisa was born in Washington D.C. She has been working with children for over ten years and has worked in numerous preschools around the area. Marisa studied Early Childhood Education at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys creating ideas with the children as well as seeing the children learn and grow. When Marisa is not on the job, she loves hiking with her dogs, traveling, spending time outdoors, kayaking, and exploring new places. This is Marisa’s first year at School for Friends and she is very excited to be part of a great school community.

Important reminders: 

– Bring in labeled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play 

– Two complete sets of seasonal extra clothes/ extra underwear and pull-ups are appreciated also, make sure to clearly label all items!!!

– Sheets and blanket come in on Monday and go home for washing on Friday. If your child requires a pillow, please make sure it is a small size, and a soft naptime friend is welcome, but please limit it to one. 

– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under accreditation requirements. 

We are excited to get to know the children and families in the new school year!

Cyana, Magy, and Marisa

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