January 2016 SFF Newsletter

Director’s Report

THANKS – To parents who came in to clean out our old storage room – Patrick Sheldon, Katya Semyanova, Emilie Cassou, Mark Treskon, & Jennifer Adams.

STAFF NEWS – There is a new 4-6 aide for the Green Room.  Her name is Christina Sherwood.  She is in the process of earning her Child Development Associate credential for toddlers through coursework.  She has worked as a nanny and has a Registered Medical Assistant Certification.  Her first day was December 21.  Please welcome her.

NEW STUDENT – We welcome Nazzareno Rauch Bauer to the Quaker House classroom in January.  He and his parents, Lucina DiMeco & Martin Rauch Bauer, are moving to DC from Vienna, Austria.

CONSTRUCTION/EXPANSION NEWS – During the month of December, we have been negotiating our long-term lease with the church for after the construction is complete.  Permitting is taking place.  Drawings for the swing space (Fellowship Hall) have been submitted.  HVAC equipment has been ordered.  Construction is still scheduled to begin in February.

ANTI-BIAS EDUCATION – At a staff meeting in late December, Blue Room teachers shared documentation of their classroom’s anti-bias work.  You can find it in their newsletter


Quaker House Newsletter

Hello Quaker House Families,

It’s amazing how quickly the school year is going by! The QH children have now been in their classroom for several months and everyone has adjusted wonderfully. We are excited to welcome Nazzareno into our class and the QH children are enjoying helping him with the rules, schedule and transitions.

One of the areas that we continue to observe that can be challenging is at drop-off. At drop off, it is very important to maintain a consistent routine that will make departures easier. Routines help whether it’s saying goodbye at the window, reading a short book or using a transitional object such as the family photo to help comfort your child. Also, keep in mind that the children do well once their parents leave.

As much as we know that parents are trying to be helpful, we encourage the children to be independent and take care of their own needs.  They are expected to hang up their own coats, take care of their own toileting needs, wash their hands, pour from a pitcher, dress and undress themselves, and put objects back in their correct places. To help strengthen the fingers and hands, the children engage in a variety of  fine motor activities such as using scissors, eye droppers, tearing paper and using play-dough and tools.

Throughout the school year, the QH teachers pay attention to the children’s interests and develop studies and projects in which the children can expand their knowledge and skills in various areas. The activities encourage the children to practice all the areas of learning including social development (buddy play/free-choice time), physical development (outdoor games & obstacle courses), cognitive development (extending the play/recognizing and recalling), and language development (through daily conversations with peers and teachers).

At pickup, the teachers encourage the children/parents to have a consistent routine as well. The children are asked to greet their parents and then ask how many minutes following through with the correct timer if allowed. Once the timer is up, the parents are encouraged to follow through with the next step that was given. Staying with a consistent routine allows the children to follow step-by step instructions and plan ahead as well as practice being flexible when things don’t go exactly the way they want it to. We look forward to the next wonderful months up ahead!


Thank you,
The QH Teachers

Rainbow Room Newsletter

The Rainbow Room is looking forward to growth, learning and fun as we embark on a new year.  One of the most exciting aspects of curriculum planning and experiences for the children are field trips.  Field trips are essential to learning. Firsthand experience provides children with information that adds to their play, enriches vocabulary and enhances their overall learning.  Facilitating field trips involves considering safety, interests of the children, parental involvement and access to the community at large.  Salvatore Vascellaro, author of Out of the Classroom and into the World, states “we must continually ask ourselves not what is the shortest route to knowing, but what is the richest route.”  When children engage all of their senses, they are better equipped to remember information, make connections, and reflect.  Field trips offer children a chance to communicate with experts, touch objects, listen to their environment, and observe the world around them. 

Before venturing out, the children review safety rules that they have decided on as a group.  We practice taking walks in the neighborhood before taking longer and more strenuous trips that require public transportation.  When walking, a teacher leads the group and is also in the rear while the chaperones walk in the middle.  The experience during the walk or bus ride tends to be the most stimulating since it is the time the children are making great observations, asking questions, and enjoy nature.  To assist the children in maintaining focus during a walk, sometimes we provide a picture to each child of a place or thing in the area for them to look for like a scavenger hunt.  After the trip, the children are able to reflect on their experience by looking at photos and drawings of what they saw or did.  Vascellaro says that “through the externalizing of one’s experience, it is made public, shared with others, and enlarges everyone’s concept of the experience conveyed.”

The Rainbow Room children show great enthusiasm for learning new things and engaging in teacher directed activities.  They also continually ask questions to further their understanding of topics they have already been exposed to.  We are very excited to plan many outings both in our school community and throughout D.C. LaJuan and I hope to see you on these trips as chaperones!



-Check your child’s cubby for two sets of seasonal clothing (underwear, pants, shirt, socks)

-Clearly label all items!

-Sign up to bring in fruits and veggies for snack

Rainbow Room Team


Green Room Newsletter

In the upcoming months in the Green Room we are expecting three new siblings.  We will start off the New Year by studying babies. This article provides information that supports growing families.

Helping your 2-year-old adjust to a new sibling

How is my child likely to react to a new baby in the house?

Even if he was excited about having a new sibling before the birth, your toddler may change his mind once the baby comes home. How your child behaves will depend partially on his temperament. Children who are more flexible and self-contained may adjust more easily. Those who are highly sensitive, need more time with transitions, and like routines may take longer to adjust.

Your firstborn may react to the addition of a new family member by testing you or [temporarily] regressing (sitting in the baby’s seat, wanting a diaper, or asking to drink from a bottle). He’s likely to want your attention most when you’re nursing or changing a diaper.

He may even try to express his feelings by yanking the baby’s arm or snatching her toys. You can respond by saying something like, “I want you to be gentle with the baby. It can hurt her to pull on her arm. If you need to pull on something, you can pull your wagon.” Show your toddler how to touch his sister gently. 

Most likely your child will also be eager to show his new sibling affection and connect with her. Read on for tips on how to help your toddler accept and even enjoy the new baby in your lives.

What can I do to help my child accept a new sibling?

Give him special jobs. Let your firstborn help out — he may surprise you with how much he can do. When you bathe the baby, he can help soap her legs.

He will probably be happy to fetch diapers or a new set of clothes. When the baby cries, ask him to gently pat her back or talk softly to her. If he wants to hold his new sibling, set him up next to you and share the baby across your laps. Or have him sit in a chair with pillows on either side of him, then prop the baby in his lap. Stay nearby and be alert. He may be done after a few seconds and try to dump her off his lap. (He isn’t trying to hurt her. He may just think of her as a toy.)

Ask his advice. Ask your toddler: “Do you think the baby would like to wear the blue shirt or the yellow shirt?” or “Do you want to help me tell a story?” Toddlers often have a natural flair for entertainment — singing, dancing, or just making faces — and a baby is an appreciative audience. Not only will your child enjoy the attention, he’s likely to take pride in bringing a smile to his sibling’s face.

Watch the baby together. Invite your child to observe the baby with you. Hold him close and ask him to describe what he sees. “Look at her hands. They’re so little. Can you see her kicking her feet? Can you kick your feet like that?”

Read stories about his new role. Reading stories about babies or about new siblings can help your toddler adjust to his new situation. Stories that show children enjoying and taking pride in their little sibs present positive role models for your child. Joanna Cole’s gender-specific I’m a Big Sister and I’m a Big Brother are good places to start.

Let him tell the story. Make a simple picture book of your family. Ask your toddler what pictures he would like to have in the book or include some of your favorites together. Once the pictures are in the book, you can ask him what words he’d like on each page or add a simple text yourself.

Acknowledge his feelings. It’s normal for your toddler to feel a range of feelings about this new change in his family. After all, he suddenly has to share you with someone who requires an extraordinary amount of your time and attention. Rather than scolding him, acknowledge his feelings: “It seems like you’re feeling sad right now. Do you want a hug or a story?” Or “It’s hard when you want me to do something and I need to help the baby.” He may just need to know you understand his feelings and that you can take a minute to listen to and hold him.

Spend a little time alone with him. Spend some time each day with just your toddler, even if it’s only a few minutes of drawing or building with blocks. This time makes him feel special and reminds him that you’re his mommy [or daddy] as well as the baby’s.

Let him do his own thing. If your toddler doesn’t want to be involved with the new baby, don’t push it. A lot of kids cope with the change by “ignoring” their tiny siblings — at least for a while. So you don’t need to expect him to play a greater role than he wants to. He’ll come around in time.

NOTE: This piece was reviewed by Janis Keyser, parenting educator, co-author of Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and a member of the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board.


Blue Room Newsletter

It is always a goal of Staci, Cyana, and mine (Elizabeth) to create a safe, exciting, and creative learning environment. Class after class we are given the chance to care for a diverse and unique group of friends; this year is no exception. However in addition to the normal day-to-day responsibilities and activities comes an opportunity to embrace and respect each child’s diversity. From gender, race, ethnicity, family structure, religion, spoken language and beyond we aim to create and inclusive and respectful environment.

Back in September we took it one step further by creating goals specifically tailored towards creating an anti-bias learning environment. These goals include:

– Learn about the unique dynamics of this year’s group

– Be alert for questions, comments, and interests

– Consistently have relatable pictures of children/family structures in the classroom so children can have a positive and window/mirrored experience.

This is what we have done so far:

– Added a “welcome” sign on the front door written in a variety of languages including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Italian, and German.

– Labeled items around the classroom with the same language variety (i.e. table, chair, baby doll, window)

– Purchased toys that include a large assortment of gender and racial diversity (i.e. baby dolls, people figurines, and building blocks with different occupations)

– Created opportunities for use of different food and utensils in playhouse (i.e. sushi and chopsticks)

As always we encourage any parent feedback and participation.  Already we have received some feedback from parents that notice the labels around the classroom in different languages. In addition, multiple families have come in to share their holiday traditions. THANK YOU!

As the year continues friends are not only learning more about themselves, but about the others around them. The Blue Room teachers will continue to build on what we have accomplished so far – creating a great foundation for each child to be accepting, respectful, and aware of the differences in our community. 


Important Dates:

January 18th – School Closed: MLK Holiday