January 2018

News from the Head of School

Do you have a New Year resolution? For many years, I came up with a couple of them only to remember that it is hard to break old habits and develop new ones. This reality pushed me away from making resolutions for “new year” but reminded me to find ways to incorporate new habits throughout the year on any given day. As I was reading the words of Paul Lacey, Professor of Literature for 41 years at Earlham College, I reconfirmed that our lives today are very different than they were 10 years ago.

In his 1991 speech at the Friends Council on Education, Lacey talks about “Running on Empty”. He states that running on empty is no way to live. As I reflect on our lives today, young and old, working or not, we are forever busy. We communicate more often, most of us are plugged in every hour unless we are sleeping, we are trying to be the best parent, friend, employee and boss and to make this happen we find ourselves running from point A to point B and then to C and so forth… Constantly. Lacey highlights the need of a common understanding of taking care of self and others, creating boundaries and finding the place between zero and never filling up our tanks. Keep in mind that each one of us has a different size of tank and type of fuel need. He emphasizes that nourishing our inner lives is a necessity to be our best selves and to be the best to others at home, at work, and at all the other places. Lacey points out that renewing ourselves is not as simple as it sounds and it cannot be done by one person. William Oats, a well known Quaker educator, describes education in a way that is different than we often think. He states that the word comes from “educare” which means “to nurse” which means “to nourish or nurture someone”. This is what we do for our children. We teach them, support their growth and development in various areas and we nourish their sense of being through meaningful and well thought out experiences and opportunities. Following the Quaker education goals, as educators and human beings, we help our children and each other to develop good habits. As a community, we take care of each other. I believe that this approach will carry us further than we have come in life and we will not run on empty.

Upcoming events:

Open House Dates: January 24- February 7 and February 21 at 10 am.

Music Classes start in February. We are looking forward to working with Hope Greenleaf.

Clean Up Day: February 3

Thank you…

Matthew H. Levin is chairing the Clean Up Day in February.
Yared Taye provided guidance to resolve IT issues.




Monarch Butterfly Room Newsletter 


You Can’t Say “You Can’t Play”                

In the Butterfly Room we have heard children telling their friends “You Can’t Play”. Maybe because there are too many friends in that area or they don’t want to play with these particular friends at that time.  We have been giving the children different words to say to their friends and state how it makes them feel.  Here is what the teachers came up with.

We have collectively decided to include “You Can’t Say ‘You Can’t Play’” into our practice. We will introduce this approach to the children using various techniques such as role modeling, telling stories and using puppets. We will help facilitate the children’s negotiations, encourage them to find ways to successfully join into a group game and accept others into their games.

  • Rejection in play is the forerunner of all rejections to come. Tolerating it allows a group to be set up with “insiders” and “outsiders”. These outsiders are then set up to be rejected forever because they aren’t allowed the same experiences, and they don’t learn the same social skills as the “insiders”. This arbitrary choice of who is accepted and who is not, damages self-esteem in such a way that all future learning is inhibited. The more children feel rejected, the harder it is for them to display the characteristics that would make them socially acceptable. By allowing the powerful children to say who can’t play, we are encouraging a habit of exclusion that grows stronger, having little to do with the identities of the children being excluded. These “bosses” also miss the opportunity to develop skills in dealing with the variety of personalities and social styles that they will no doubt encounter later in life.

As teachers we have a responsibility to provide an environment in which all children have access to full and equal participation in the classroom. We  protect children from physical harm and to address unfriendliness to others. It’s also our responsibility to protect them from the more subtle social dangers of inclusion and exclusion.

It is important that all children feel welcome, not only by the teachers, but also by their peers. We give children as much choice and power as possible when choosing where to play, what they want to create and even when they want to clean-up. It is not a positive choice to tell another child that they cannot play because they don’t have on party shoes, for example. In some cases, children may choose to play alone and this is a valid choice. We work to establish a sense of consistency for the children in the way we deal with exclusion from play in all of our classrooms.



Red Panda Newsletter

Happy New Year, Red Panda families!

Wesley and I are amazed on how the new year has come so soon, and how fast the Red Pandas are growing! The children have gotten to know their peers on a greater level and have been assigned their buddies. The children will have their buddies for a while before we switch them. Although the Red Pandas may not stay with their buddy for a long time, it has been beneficial for them to play with a constant buddy and have the opportunity to help one another. We also have been inviting the older children from upstairs (Sea Lion and Tiger Rooms) to come down and play with the Red Pandas. This has been great because the older children model how to play with certain tools, construct with building blocks, etc.

We started showing the children who their buddies were by first giving them a matching sticker. They were able to recognize the matching sticker and make eye contact with one another. The next time we paired them up with the matching stickers, we gave them different tasks to play parallel to one another. We also sing at circle and encourage the two buddies to jump up and down together. Slowly, but surely they will begin to automatically know who their buddy is and choose a certain area to play together. Some of the activities we have set up for the buddies include painting at the easel, building, playing with any kind of sensory, drawing, dramatic play, reading, and dancing together.

Benefits for children in buddy systems include:
• Greater social integration
• Development of leadership skills
• Better classroom management, and
• Improved academic outcomes

The buddies have also been encouraged to take a picture together which we will have in the classroom as a visual for them to see and remember who their buddy is. We will continue to support, and encourage them to comfort one another when they are upset, assist one another with certain daily tasks such as; helping them get their jackets or read on their cots before naptime. We are looking forward to seeing more friendships develop and for the children to enjoy spending time, and learning something new from their buddy!

Red Panda Buddies:
Brenda and Kareem
Julian and Amrit
Rami and Kuba
Mina and Viggo


January 2018 Leatherback Turtle Newsletter

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that we are in 2018 already. We hope you all had a great break and are rested. We can’t wait for the new school year to begin. Before we left for winter break, we finished our study of Fall. The children enjoyed learning about Fall and experiencing different materials related to Fall such as leaves, acorns, and sticks.

This month we will be learning about friendships. The children will learn more about how to be kind to one another. We will also introduce buddy play. The children will be paired into groups and will do different activities together in these groups. This will help the children learn how to interact with others in a pro-social way.

Some of our friends are already potty trained or are in the process of being potty trained. We have been seeing more children wanting to go to the potty. We thought it might be a good idea to share this article on potty training for some tips and ideas. Here are some potty training tips from the linked article.

Your child is ready to learn to use the toilet when he or she:
• Stays dry for at least 2 hours at a time, or during naps
• Recognizes she is urinating or having a bowel movement. For example, your child might go into another room or under the table when she has a bowel movement. This is important- if your child does not realize she is having a bowel movement, she won’t be successful at potty training.
• Copies a parent’s toileting behavior.
• Most importantly, your child wants to use the potty. He may tell you that he wants to wear “big boy” underpants or learn to go potty “like Daddy does.” He may feel uncomfortable in a soiled diaper and ask to be changed or ask to use the toilet himself.

You can find more at: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/266-potty-training-learning-to-the-use-the-toilet

Notes and reminders:
• Please ensure that your child has at least two seasonally appropriate sets of change of clothes (socks included).
• As the weather begins to get colder, snow pants can come in handy and be hung up on the cubbies until needed.
• Please provide water bottles that have a straw.
• Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies to supplement snack.
• Please remember to sign in and out when dropping off and picking up your child/children.

Marisa, Yasmine, and Treasure


Greetings, Eagle Families,

In December, the Eagles were eager to talk about the holidays, discussing who they would celebrate with and what places they would travel to, and speculating on what gifts they might get. They spent a lot of time dressing up and playing “party,” as well as creating and wrapping artwork for gifts.

As enthusiastic as the Eagles were about winter break, they were just as keen to share their experiences with monsters and ghosts! Their fascination with fantastic creatures is quite developmentally appropriate. Being preoccupied with (and even worried about) monsters is actually a good sign. Being scared of something that isn’t really there to be seen or heard is evidence of abstract thinking!

It can be stressful for children (and their parents) when this new, more sophisticated thinking brings new fears. At this age, children’s understanding of real and imaginary is fluid. They may say firmly “Monsters are not real,” but in the next breath insist there is a monster in their house. Even if they are pretty sure monsters are pretend, they want to hedge their bets and prepare! It is comforting to plan out loud: “If I saw a monster, my parents would catch it, and I would put it in jail forever!” How children react to the idea of monsters has a lot to do with their individual personalities. This means that parents and teachers might need to tailor their approaches to different children.

There are some ideas for dealing with these fears at these sites:

We read a variety of stories about monsters. Some were realistic, illustrating that what seemed to be monsters were really something else. Some presented monsters as silly, loveable, and harmless. Some portrayed them as “real,” but able to be defeated by intelligence and bravery. The Eagles aren’t burned out on the topic, so we will continue with monster tales in January. If you would like to enjoy some at home, here is a good list:


Recently, the Eagles have also been interested in discussing the weather. For three year olds, this is not small talk, but an exciting new discovery. They are pleased to be able to use their growing abstract thinking abilities to predict the next day’s weather—and thrilled when their guesses are right! We have added a display with weather related words to Circle Time, and have been using terms such as “fog,” “hail,” and “frost.” We’ll continue to talk about weather, temperature, and seasons (especially winter) during January.

A few reminders:
Please check to ensure your child has labeled outdoor gear (snowpants, hat, mittens, boots), and extra outfits.

Please use the attendance log on the classroom door to sign your child in and out daily.

Family of the Week will be starting soon! An email explanation and sign-up times will be coming shortly.

Welcome back, and Happy New Year!
Patti and Darren


Sea Lion January 2018 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 str   ess levels, and demonstrate greater respect for themselves and others.” (Fjørtoft 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


Tiger Classroom

Hello Tiger Families,

We are starting the year off with familiar activities while incorporating new ideas and activities that allow the Tiger children to explore, discover and practice familiar/new skills on their own and encourage them to be creative and flexible.
After the holiday break, we revisited the classroom rules, and have jumped right back into buddy-play that helps the Tigers practice what it means to be a friend and how to enter into play as well as how to positively sustain it. Rather than change buddies every week, the teachers have decided to keep the same buddies for two weeks or longer.

During buddy-play, we have introduced more scripts that help the Tigers conclude verbal disagreements. The Tigers have been practicing to say, “I Agree to Disagree.” This saying is usually needed when the discussion of beliefs and traditions come up and it neither side is going to budge. This has happened with superheroes, holiday or fantasy characters such as Santa and the tooth fairy. We have explained as friends, you both can still believe what you want to believe, yet must be respectful of each other’s ideas.

In the afternoon, we have been practicing taking turns and by playing board games such as matching, slamwich, connect 4 and Jr. Monopoly. These games have great benefits such as:
· Number and shape recognition, grouping, and counting
· Letter recognition and reading
· Visual perception and color recognition
· Eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity

Thank you,
The Tiger Teachers