July 2018

News from the Head of School

Thank you…
Matthew Levin, Lauren Sun, Merate Kibriye, Cary Lawrence, Neeti Nair, Kathryn Hohman, Ted Goldman, Ashley McCabe, Zaid Zaid, Mary Hilari, Jason Katz,Thalia Katz, Nancy Cook, Daniella Burrell, Lyle Morton , Jane Raso, Laure-Anne Courdesse, Liz Zipse, Amy Rice. Caroline Giffon Wee, Michael Engman, Daniel Gonen, Matt Dundas, Benedict Wagner-Rundell for an amazing Teacher Appreciation Picnic.

Some of our children left early. Ravi Parasharami Raoul Engman, Emerson Wee, Anton Wagner-Rundell. We will miss them and wish them the best.

Welcome back…
Aryo, Ella, Ferran, and Andre are returning for a part of the summer.



Monarch Butterfly Newsletter

Summer activity has begun. We started off with Messy Play & Picnic. The children loved making and delivering an invitation to their friends to join them at our summer picnic outside. We have been exploring all kinds of way to use water outside by using water balloon, water table, sprinkler, foam water squirt, beach ball sprinkler and fishing in the water table. You can see friends laying around on the playground drying off. We had a great time at the Mystic Game!!
Water Play: Wet and Wonderful

Puddles, spray bottles, garden sprinklers, and backyard wading pools bring back gleeful memories of my childhood. This summer the children will experience how fun it is to play in water outside.

Splish, splash, bubble, bubble, pop! Water play outdoors is a unique activity for children because it’s always available, open-ended, and provides opportunities for extended learning.

All They’re Doing Is Splashing, Right? Wrong! Water play fosters learning in all developmental areas. It provides opportunities for children to experiment with math and science concepts, strengthen their physical skills, advance their social and emotional skills, and enhance language development (Crosser, 1994; Hendrick, 1996).

Problem-Solving Skills. As children manipulate water play materials, they begin to understand why and how things happen. For example, given sinking and floating objects, a child will soon discover that just because something is large does not mean it will sink.

Math. Children begin to understand and experiment with concepts such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than, and counting (Crosser, 1994). Science.Water gives children an avenue to contemplate issues such as: What makes rain? Where does water come from? What makes mud? (James & Granovetter, 1987). Children also learn physics principles such as the effects of force (increasing the water flow through increased force); effects of gravity (water runs downhill); and change in state (solid, liquid, gas).

Physical Development. Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting. Children strengthen their gross motor skills by running, dodging water drops, and hopping through a sprinkler. They widen their sensory experiences as they put their hands in different textures (gritty, squishy, and slimy) and different temperatures (warm, cool, and cold) (Hendrick, 1998).

Social and Emotional Development. Water play is one of the most
relaxing activities children can experience. After all, many adults relax in a warm bubble bath or hot shower! Water play relieves tension by encouraging children to release their emotions by pouring, pounding, and swooshing. Also, social skills expand as children play cooperatively; negotiate; and share equipment, space, and materials.

Language Development. Children learn new vocabularies such as sieve, funnel, eggbeater, stream, bubbly, moisture, and evaporation. Water play is such a meaningful experience for young children that it can be extended to writing experiences as well. Children may draw pictures of sprinkler play, then dictate a description or story to the teacher. Another valuable writing experience involves the teacher writing down children’s predictions, such as how long it will take ice cubes to melt in the sandbox or how many babies one batch of soapy water will wash.

Creative Development. Water encourages children to use their imagination. As the children play, they may pretend that they work at a car wash or live in a castle. Water also encourages children to try out new ideas and solutions to problems in a safe environment.

Angie Dorrell, M.A., serves as a NAEYC accreditation validator and former commissioner. Website Earlychildhood NEWS!

— Please provide water bottles that have a straw and refrain from sending in sippy cups and label them


July 2018 Panda Newsletter

Summer is off to a great start in the Red Panda room! The school had their cooking week which lead to our summer picnic. The Pandas were in charge of making guacamole from scratch and enjoyed making and eating it! We also enjoyed all the different delicious foods that were at the picnic. The summer program is designed to have more of a fun summer camp ambience yet still have daily objectives with a developmentally appropriate approach.

The children were also thrilled to have messy play week. They used different materials/ways to make art such as their hands, feet, fly swatters, string, colorful bubbles, ice cubes and of course, mud! The special day for messy week was mud/ice day! Most of the children at least went into the mud pit with their feet. Some of the Red Pandas tried to feel the mud with just their toes. We also enjoyed making mud pies in the mud kitchen and creating art with mud mixed with different colored paint.

Our next theme we will be doing is; Sports week. We will explore sports such as soccer (since the world cup is happening) and basketball! The older children will be going to a basketball game but the Panda and Turtle room will have their own sports day filled with lots of fun! The Pandas will have a chance to watch various clips of different sports and a short movie about soccer and basketball. We have been loving our summer together in the Red Panda room—we will continue the summer with adventures at sea, beach week, camping/nature, and the arts!

We have also been discussing how some of our friends in the Red Panda room will be going on vacations, to a different school next year, or how they will be in different classrooms when summer is over. We will continue to enjoy every moment together in the summer!

Important reminders:

  • If you haven’t done so already, please bring sunscreen, bug spray, and extra clothes labeled as we will be outside more and doing different water activities.
  • Please continue to sign in and out on the paper that’s on our classroom door.

Important dates:

  • Thursday July 26, we will have a special pottery class at 9:30am (in art studio)
  • Magy is on vacation July 28- August 13

Thanks families for all of your support and input during our wonderful summer!
Red Panda Team



Summer is off to a wonderful start in the Turtle classroom! The Turtles have said their goodbyes to Anton as he and his family have moved to Germany. We also welcomed back Marisa from Mexico and have started our summer theme and water play on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We kicked off our summer with cooking week! The children made invitations for other classrooms to invite them to the summer picnic and also got to make yummy lemonade from scratch for the picnic. The children enjoyed food made by the other classrooms in the building. Although we had our picnic in the basement this year due to the rain, we still had a blast.

The Turtles had so much fun during messy play week! We did bubble wrap painting with our feet on butcher paper. The Turtles made shaving cream paint and had a chance to paint with it after making it. We also did splatter art with cotton rounds and rubber mallets and the children really loved to see the paint splatter everywhere! We wrapped up our messy play week with International Mud Day. We filled the mud put with dirt and water and let the children get as messy as they wanted.

We had our sports week where we learned about soccer and basketball! The children colored rice green so that it could be the color of a soccer field and put it into our sensory bin and played soccer. We also used shoe boxes to create a soccer field and used pompoms as balls and blew them back and forth using straws. The following week we learned about basketball and even made our own basketball jerseys! The turtles even played basketball with their own mini basketball court in the classroom. We will continue with beach/ adventures at sea, nature and carnival week.


  • Please continue to sign in and out on the sign in sheet on the classroom door
  • Please ensure that you have two sets of seasonal clothes in your child’s cubby
  • Please provide water bottles that have a straw and refrain from sending in sippy cups
  • Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under accreditation requirements

Thank you,

The Turtle Team


Happy Middle of the Summer, Eagle families!

This past month, the Eagles have been reveling in water play, sports, building, and playing with dinosaurs. In the coming month, they’ll continue to enjoy these pursuits, as well as learning about beaches, and ocean exploration and adventure.

Please remember to sunscreen your child each morning, and to send a water bottle. Every week, Eagles will need LABELED bathing suits as well as extra outfits.

Please do sign your child in and out daily.

This month, we’d like to address the difference between TANTRUMS and MELTDOWNS. Young children can exhibit both, and they can be hard to tell apart in the moment. However, they have different causes and different purposes, and so require different handling.

Sometimes called a “temper tantrum,” tantrums occur when a child loses their temper. When a child is upset/disappointed/angry due to not getting what they want, they may “throw a fit.” According to the Mayo Clinic, tantrums “frequently occur because young children are not equipped to express frustration in other ways.”

Although the child may be experiencing strong emotions during the tantrum, they are still (at least partly) in control of their behavior. “Putting on” a tantrum is a choice—a tactic used with the goal of getting what the child wants. “The behavior typically subsides once the child gets enough attention or has his or her wants met.” https://blog.brainbalancecenters.com/2014/11/sensory-meltdown-vs-temper-tantrum

On the other hand, a meltdown (or “sensory meltdown”) is not manipulative or intentional. The child is overwhelmed to the point of “falling apart.” A meltdown is more like an anxiety attack than the “bargaining tactic” of a tantrum. Brain Balance Centers advise on their blog:

Sensory meltdowns are not social interactions like tantrums. The child rarely cares whether anyone pays him or her attention. The meltdown is also unlikely to disappear as soon as the want is met. Instead, it will abate slowly after the offensive stimulus has been removed. https://blog.brainbalancecenters.com/2014/11/sensory-meltdown-vs-temper-tantrum

A child who continues to cry/scream/throw things, etc. after they have been offered what would usually make them very happy is having a meltdown. The child is not being stubborn or spoiled; they are literally out of (self) control, and will need time and (probably) assistance to regain balance.

Although tantrums are often associated with “The Terrible Twos,” they can happen in preschoolers and older children. Although meltdowns are common in children with sensory processing issues, they too can occur in any child.

Prevention is the first line of defense for both tantrums and meltdowns. Continuity and clear expectations are invaluable for managing behavior. A child who has been told beforehand “You may choose one treat at the grocery store, when we get to the register,” is less likely to tantrum, so is a child who knows “We are leaving our playdate after lunch.”

Telling a child who is sensitive to crowds and noise “We only have to stay in the mall until Papa picks up his order, and I will carry you piggyback if you want,” may forestall a meltdown. It is not “spoiling” to help a child manage their needs.

Giving children strategies to use in place of tantruming can be effective. A child who knows that asking politely may get them some of what they want—while pitching a fit earns them no attention—will eventually learn to try negotiation first.

Strategies help prevent meltdowns as well. Children can learn self-calming techniques such as breathing exercises, wrapping their own body in a hug, or stroking/squeezing a toy. They can be taught to recognize when they are getting close to a meltdown, given vocabulary to label their emotions, and encouraged to request help from an adult. A child who feels empowered to say “I’m getting too mad; I need to leave the room,” is less likely to boil over.

Of course, avoiding situations that trigger tantrums and meltdowns is a very useful technique!

What should you do if your child is having a tantrum or meltdown? For either, ensuring your child is safe is necessary. A tantruming child often has the awareness to keep themselves safe. Throwing their bodies around may be more theatrical than actual. A child having a meltdown, conversely, may intentionally or accidentally hurt themselves or others. Make sure “the scene” is free of hazards. If your child needs to be corralled or restrained in any way (for their safety of others’), try to be as calm, gentle, and dispassionate as possible. Your own frustration or anger can feed into the child’s own, and many children do not like to be touched when they are overwhelmed.

Try to remain calm during a tantrum, as well. A child may look for a reaction to see if their tantrum is “working.” Also, even a child who is hoping to make a parent “lose it” and give in may become frightened and overwhelmed seeing a trusted adult have their own meltdown!

Though they can be embarrassing and inconvenient, it is not a good idea to give in to a tantrum. That teaches the child that throwing a fit works. Ignoring the tantrum and/or removing the child from the triggering environment are a better choice. When the child is calm again, that is the time to discuss your expectations for the next time.

In the middle of a meltdown, your job may be just to stand guard. If you can, try to minimize whatever might be contributing to sensory overload (turning off lights and music, for instance). Your child will probably need time to calm down. Your child may not be ready to be touched or spoken to, even though you are ready for the situation to be over! Don’t try to reason with, or lecture a child in the middle of a meltdown. It is a waste of breath.

Take a look at these sites for more suggestions on reacting to a child’s meltdown or tantrum:





Sea Lion July 2018 Newsletter

Summer is flying by and the Sea Lions are having a blast! The children enjoyed exploring the messy art and play, celebrating Mud Day, and sports. The children are especially excited when we fill the sensory table on the playground and use sprinklers for water play. There is joy on their faces as they splash the water with their hands and use toys.

Throughout the year, we expose children to water play at the water tables, but having the opportunity to splash and put their whole body in water provides more chances to discover the wonders of water. Young children explore the world through all of their senses. They feel, taste, smell, hear and see the water as it splashes on their face and body. The children question the movement of water and experiment with various ways of engaging with it. They wonder why it leaves their hands pruny or makes them cold after stepping out. Water play provides opportunities for solving social problems such as use of space and whether or not someone wants to be splashed. Conversations arise about personal experiences with water at a pool, beach, or in the bathtub. Some friends may engage in dramatic play and pretend to be on the high seas or in a kitchen. Water play provides so many benefits for development of young children. Summer is great time for the children to engage with water outdoors and give them the opportunities to have this sensory experience often.

The mud pit is another popular area on the playground where children cook, experiment and dig. Playing in the mud offers unique tactile sensory experiences that are vital to brain development. Children from different aged classrooms come together to work on worm finding expeditions and cooking projects while displaying creativity, empathy, language and social skills.

Reminder: Please make sure there are at least two full sets of clothing including underclothes in your child’s cubby, so that they can engage in both water and mud play often.
Please sign in and out daily.

Sea Lion Team


Tiger Classroom Newsletter

Throughout the month of June, the Tigers gained much maturity and independence.

In the block area we have seen a big change as the majority of the children are building with considerable independence. They have gone from solitary to collaborative building, having developed the necessary flexibility and negotiation skills to work in groups. They have developed their ability to focus for longer periods of time, and utilize the saving shelf in order to return to their constructions over a period of days.

Blocks are a great learning tool from a very young age to the primary grades. They promote problem solving, persistence, imagination, self-expression, mathematics, spatial awareness, creativity, science, self- esteem, social and emotional growth, fine motor skills and much more.

“The children’s engagement, persistence, and creativity in building remarkable structures often surprise the adults. Through the year, the children move from placing one block at a time using trial and error to choosing specific materials to meet their own building plans, envisioning alternative orientations of the blocks (mental rotation), and planning for the placement of units of blocks (composition and decomposition). By now most children are creating complex symmetries and patterning in their buildings.”
(“Developmental Look at a Rigorous Block Play Program”, by Diane Hobenshield Tepylo, Joan Moss, & Carol Stephenson)

As children transition to Elementary school the time they spend building with blocks, Lego, or other construction materials is more and more limited. Providing the opportunity for your child to engage with these kinds of educationally rich materials can enhance and balance the academic work they are doing at school.

Here are the trajectories for children age 4-8 in one glance. They might help you to foster your child’s play at home. Keeping these trajectories in mind can make play more purposeful and productive.

Patterning and Symmetry:

  • Children build with balance, symmetry, and attention to decorative elements
  • Children decide what the building represents during or after building it
  • Children decide their building plan in advance for dramatic play

Symbolism and Spatial Relations:

  • Children begin to symbolically represent objects and spatial relationships
  • Children begin to represent interior space and separate objects within a construction

Architectural Features:

  • Children create interior space blocks in a third dimension
  • Children build one layer with (partial) enclosure and ceiling
  • Children create 3-D enclosures with two or more layers

Composition and Decompositions:

  • Children build with anticipation, using multiple 3-D shapes, including arches, corners, enclosures, and crosses
  • Children repeat simple structures as units, such as multiple arches with ramps or stairs
  • Children build complex structures (towers, buildings, with multiple levels and ceilings)

Happy Building!
The Tiger Teachers