January 2017 Newsletter

Director’s Report


  • For your understanding on December 7 when the water main broke and flooded into our building, causing the water to be off for a day for repair. I guess it’s a dry run for snow days – usually we have at least one between Thanksgiving and winter break, but not this year.
  • To the team of parents on the Building and Grounds committee for putting together the Ikea furniture in the teachers room – Gregg Molander, Patrick Sheldon, Akin Adams, Andrew Felton, & Zack Beasley.
  • To all the parents who contributed to our holiday dinner and bonuses! We had fun.
  • To JR Rice for putting together the shelving in the 1st Floor storage room.

SALARIES – Each year at this time, when the board is considering the budget, we try to let parents know our base salaries for teachers.  This year the starting salary for assistants is $32,305 and for lead teachers is $42,040.  This puts us (in general) at about the 70 percentile in terms of competitiveness with other early childhood programs.

ACCREDITATION FAMILY SURVEY – Thanks to the 47 families who filled out this survey.  It’s great to see that we are doing many things right.  I’d like to address the items that folks had questions about:

  • The teacher asks about things that are important to our family and uses this information to help my child grow and learn. Four families felt this was not happening.  I will discuss with teachers about how the can do more of this.  We already learn a lot about what is important to families through the “Personal Information Form” and the “Diversity Survey.”  And, in at least the 27 parent/teacher conferences I sat in on, we started with questions parents had.
  • I know how the program makes sure that information about my child and his or her progress is kept confidential. A dozen or so folks felt this wasn’t happening or didn’t know if it was happening.  It probably wasn’t the most interesting reading, but this is covered in our Parent Handbook (available on our website) on page 13.
  • When program evaluations are complete, I receive information about the findings. This write up for the newsletter serves that purpose.
  • When I disagree with how a teacher works with my child, I feel comfortable letting the teacher know and working together to find a solution that works for both of us. A half dozen folks didn’t know.  But I think you can talk with the teacher, and if not, then you can speak to me and we can facilitate a conversation.
  • The program staff helps me learn about community events and resources that can help my child and family. A couple families didn’t think this was happening and a few others weren’t sure.  I sometimes pass along emails; we have copies of Washington Parent in the parents’ niche on the first floor; and Makai (who keeps up our Facebook page) posts articles.  Please friend us there.
  • The program helps me get to know other families in the program and encourages us to support each other. Again, a couple families said No, and a couple didn’t know.  Hopefully some of you visited with each other at the fall social in November.  I am also aware that some room parents arrange gatherings for families.  The roster helps us connect with one another.
  • I receive written reports about my child at least twice a year. A few families said they didn’t know, but hopefully all of you got written reports as a result of your parent/teacher conference in November or December.
  • The teacher often shares information about things happening in the program and wants to know about things my child is doing at home. All but one family felt this was happening.  Hopefully at drop off and pick up.
  • The program gives me information to help my child make a smooth transition to kindergarten or first grade. It is reasonable for families with younger children not to know about this.  But I offer to speak privately with any family going through this transition.  Plus it is discussed at both parent teacher conferences in the year before departure.  Many families take advantage of our “After School for Friends” evening in October.
  • I am told about my child’s progress in language I understand and in ways that are respectful to me and my family & I am provided a translator when needed. If your child’s teacher doesn’t ask if you need a translator, please let them know.
  • The teacher and program work with me to meet my child’s individual or special needs and help me get other resources within the community when needed. One parent wasn’t sure, but both the teachers and myself are happy to work with you on this, and we often take the initiative after children have been administered the Ages & Stages Questionnaire.  We have great resources through Child Development Consultants.


Hello Tiger Families,

Happy New Year and Welcome back! As we start the New Year, we will begin our focus on making friends, sustaining friendships and conflict resolution. We will continue to have buddy play that will start with two friends, continue on to three friends and finally four. This will help the Tigers practice to develop and maintain positive interactions in a one-on-one and small group dynamic.  Buddy play will extend through various times of the day including lunch time and part of outdoor play. In the afternoon, we will use board and table top games as a way to practice social skills, patience, taking turns, language skills and practice following rules.

During buddy play, we will focus on:

·         Having one or two children lead an activity and then following the ideas of the other child(ren)

·          Expressing emotions/feelings appropriately

·         Taking turns to share materials and tools

·         Taking turns to talk and listen

·         Using scripts to help problem solve

We will use puppets to create scenarios that allow the Tigers to engage in discussions about how the conflict can be solved while introducing more complex scripts. We will introduce new books that address different dynamics of friendships, accepting friends for who they are as well as revisit what it means to be a friend.

Also, we encourage families to set up one-on-one play dates on the weekends that allow for the children to create something for each other, whether it’s a cooking project or making a necklace. This permits the children to ask questions such as what do you want in your muffin, would you like rainbow sprinkles or vanilla and what colors would you like in your necklace?


Thank you,

The Tiger Teachers


Eagles Newsletter

Happy New Year!!

 We are very happy to be back at School for Friends and we are very excited about starting an integral part of our program: Family of the Week! Each week, a different family from the Eagle classroom will come and visit to share about their family, culture, and/or heritage starting Monday, January 23rd, 2017. How many days you would like to visit during that week is completely up to you; you could come once, twice, or more! We’d love to have you join us. Participating is beneficial to your child; research shows that meaningful family involvement supports school readiness and future academic success. Family of the Week is an enriching way to create a connection between home and school.

 Family of the Week is a time to share family photographs, traditions, and your child’s favorite books, games, music, foods, etc, and what makes your family unique. It is a wonderful opportunity to share about your cultural heritage and to really get to know you and your child better. You can join us for lunch or bring in a snack that you and your child have made; you could even lead a group activity such as an art project, a movement activity, or even a science experiment. You could even share any special talents you have with us. The possibilities are endless!

 We encourage you to discuss proposed activities with us so we can ensure that they are developmentally appropriate. Please refer to your e-mail about scheduling times to visit and do not forget to sign up for a week on the classroom door.

 Thank you for your continued support,

Eagles Team


Butterfly News Letter

January 2017


Cars, trucks, and buses – these are all transportation vehicles that your child sees, daily. Because the children have been gravitating towards vehicles, we are beginning a theme on “Cars, Trucks, and Buses. “ Though participating in the planned activities, the children will learn to take turns and work together with each other. Also learn there are many colors, sizes, and kinds of cars, trucks, and buses and in the end, create one or more transportation artifacts.

 Words they will hear:  water, air, land, boats, cars, automobiles, ships, sailing, walking, bicycle, sled, airplane, truck, school bus, skateboard, skates, airport, vehicles, driver, pilot, captain, traffic light, horn, windshield wipers, safety belts, steering wheel, trains, gas, tires, dump truck, pick-up truck, garage, tractors

At School 

Some of the activities planned for this theme include:

  • Trip: Ride Metro Bus to DuPont Circle
  • Painting with small cars at the table
  • Looking at and listening to many books and stories about trucks, buses, and cars
  • Setting up a gas station in the block play area
  • Visiting with Bus Driver Will (Jemmie’s husband), who will talk about driving a Metro Bus.
  • Fire Truck Tent
  • Sing together: “Wheel on the Bus”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
  • Game: Red Light, Green Light
  • Cooking: Traffic Light Cookies
  • Washing toy vehicles in the water table
  • Feely Box: Identify the type of vehicle
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Go outside to see Jemmie & Jackie’s cars

You can foster the concepts of this theme at home by taking your child with you the next time you need to buy gas for your vehicle. There are many different types of trucks and cars to observe at gas station

**During the month of January we will start our “Family of the Week”.  Happy New Year!!


Hello Leatherback Turtle families! This school year is going by so fast. The Turtles have now been in their classroom for a few months and the many changes that have been occurring, physically, socially, and cognitively, are amazing to witness. The children will continue to learn and grow as they engage in various activities and explore the world around them.

Beginning this month, we will be introducing a new and important part of our program called Family of the Week. Each family will be given a week to come in and share what makes them special.  Research demonstrates that when families become involved in their child’s education and school community, the more successful the child will be. Family of the Week is a great way to learn about classroom peers and celebrate how diverse our community is. From family structure, religion, languages, and more there is so much that make each family unique.

The following ideas may help you when planning before coming in:

  • Share who makes up your family. Siblings, grandparents, and other family members are welcome to participate.
  • Bring in different types of music that your family enjoys dancing/listening to.
  • Bring in a favorite book that you all read together.
  • Share pictures, videos, stories, etc. that help illustrate your family history.
  • Bring in a game that your family enjoys playing together.

There will be more information to come, but feel free to ask if you have any question. We are looking forward to this special family time in the Turtle Room.


Red Pandas Newsletter

 Red Panda families! The New Year is here already! As the children are getting more knowledgeable in the classroom, they are continuing to practice their jobs and know who their buddies are. The children enjoy spending time with their buddies; they also understand and practice their jobs daily. The children maintained a positive approach to practicing self-help skills as we introduced the importance of staying healthy and discussed the different ways to do so.

According to Karen Stephens in “Self Help Skills and Chores Build Children’s Identity and Confidence,” children need small manageable tasks to learn “to be cooperative, able member(s) of the family and community.” The children can recall how to wash their hands step by step and why it is important. We reflected on how to stay healthy and keep the germs away. Some of the children responded and said “use a tissue.” We also asked and practiced how to cough or sneeze without spreading our germs. We asked the children: “what are the steps for washing hands?” They responded saying;

Step 1: “Get soap”

Step 2: Rub hands”

 Step 3:”Wash your hands with water”

 Step 4: “Get a paper towel”

Step 5: “Put the paper towel in trash”

We took pictures of the children doing each step to have as a visual by the sink as a reminder while washing their hands. Having the visuals of the steps also completes the idea for the children and they can refer to images when needed.  Stephens also articulates that the process of learning these self-help skills “might be messy at times,” and will require more time and scaffolding from adults. It is important to use those teachable moments with the children while practicing self-help skills. This would help build the children’s confidence and reinforce responsibility.

Thanks for all your support!

Red Panda Teachers

Article Source: S., At Birth Each Of Us Is Completely Dependent On Others. Childhood Is Then An, Apprenticeship That Gradually Prepares Us To Handle Adulthood — Its Freedoms,, and Pleasures, And Responsibilities. From Infancy, Children Naturally Reach Out To The. Self Help Skills and Chores Build Children’s Identity and Confidence (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Url: http://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/self-help-skills-chores.pdf


Sea Lion January 2017 Newsletter

Happy New Year! The Sea Lions are growing fast and one way adults can support this growth is by providing opportunities for outdoor play. 

“Children who regularly play outdoors tend to be fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems, play more creatively, have more active imaginations, report lower stress levels, and demonstrate greater respect for themselves and others.” (Quality Outdoor Play Spaces for Young Children” Young Children November 2014. MakaiFjørtoft 2004; Burdette & Whitaker 2005)

While unstructured outdoor play such as running around requires physical endurance, children tend to be more physically engaged when the space is intentionally designed to be inviting, address different skills, have natural components, and encourage risk taking.  Here are ten ways NAEYC suggests you and your child can explore the outdoors.

1.      Go on a nature scavenger hunt by finding natural objects such as plants or by providing descriptors such as “something that crawls.”

2.      Put a twist on your scavenger hunt by finding things in categories such as size.

3.      Observe and sketch what you see.

4.      Follow an ant trail.

5.      Observe a tree throughout the seasons.

6.      Find nature in surprising spaces near you such as in the cracks of the sidewalk.

7.      Press flowers and leaves.

8.      Explore holes and mud.

9.      Collect conservatively, for example, take only one or two items and make sure to release any live creatures.

10.  Explore seeds and how they spread.

At School for Friends, we spend two hours outdoors each day, weather permitting.  Winter weather can put a hold on outdoor play for some, but there are still ways to enjoy and explore in the cold and snow. Making snow angels and snow people, building snow forts, looking for tracks, using binoculars, making ice art, and sledding are fun ways to engage in outdoor play. 


-Please check extra clothes cubbies and bring in two sets of LABELED seasonal clothing

-Family of the Week sign-up sheet is on the classroom door

-Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies to supplement snack


Sea Lion Team