June 2015 SFF Newsletter

Director’s Report

Despite the fact that our fire engine showed up and hour early then again for only 15 minutes at the end, we had a wonderful fair on May 9. I think we had the best attendance ever for current families – 45 out of 47 families. Plus returning children and incoming families. For once the weather was cooperative. And people worked together so well. I hope you have looked at the photos. Thanks to fair chairs – Liz Newman, Stacey Bosshardt, and Alyssa Johl.

  • To all the parents who worked during the clean-up day on May 2 – Ann-Marie Mason, Thia Joseph, Joel Millar (chair), Chip Yeakey, Matt Graves, Sky Sitney, Patrick Sheldon, Emilie Cassou, Jean-Louis Racine, & Francesco Valentini. Parents also helped organize the playground shed and put the awning over the sandbox.
  • To all of you for being so patient regarding the necessity to close the school on the 19 because of the lack of water. Every now and then these things happen.


  • May 6 through 8, Makai Kellogg & Sabina Zeffler completed their two-year course of SPARC (Sustained Practice and Renewed Courage) through the Friends Council on Education. I think they found it a rewarding experience. They graduated!
  • May 6 – I hosted a luncheon for the local heads of Friends schools – Friends School of Baltimore, Sandy Spring Friends School, Friends Meeting School, and Friends Community School.
  • I attended a day-long retreat of local preschool directors. Part of the training was on faculty evaluation, and we also discussed the role of the director in creating school culture.

GOOD-BYES – At the end of the month Amara Onyike will be leaving to spend the summer with her family. Her little brother will be here next year! Also Aidan Harris will leave at the end of the month for the summer before going to Sidwell. We will miss them both and wish them well.
TEACHER VACATIONS – Over the summer, most of the teachers take most of their much deserved annual vacation plan. Here’s the schedule to help you prepare your children:
Julie – 6/25-29; 7/13, 7/17-22, & 8/13-17
Staci – 6/26 & 7/27-8/10
Elsy – 8/3-21
LaJuan – 6/26-29, 7/13-14, 8/6-10, & 8/24-28
Cyana – 6/29-13 & 8/20-24
Jim – 7/13-27
Clare – 8/3-7 & 8/18-24
Margaret – 7/20-24 & 8/18-19
Makai – 7/2-10, 7/23-28, 8/14-17, & 8/19-21
Elizabeth – 7/10 & 8/17-28
Jackie – 6/22, 6/26-29, 7/1-7, 8/10-14
Sabina – 7/23-8/7

Quaker House Newsletter

As we approach the month of June, the QH-children have 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, imagination, self-expression, mathematics, continuity and permanence, creativity, science, self- esteem, social and emotion 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
  • Early representational: Children decide what the building represents during or after building
  • Late representational: Children decide their building plan in advance for dramatic play

Symbolism and Spatial Relations:

  • Children begin to symbolically represent objects and spatial relationship
  •  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 Decomposition’s:

  • Shape composer 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
  • Units of units Children build complex structures (towers, buildings, with multiple levels and ceilings)

Happy Building!
The QH-teachers

Rainbow Room Newsletter

Summer is here! Thanks for making the Parent/Teacher Conferences a success. The children have closed out the regular school year and will begin the summer program on June 22. Teachers will be responsible for the activities for only their class. There will also be opportunities for collaboration with the other classrooms. All of the teachers came together to choose various topics that would serve as themes for a two week period. During those two weeks, activities and special days will be planned by each class that relate to the theme across content areas. The themes this summer are The Great Outdoors, Under the Sea, Sports, Books, and Messy Play. We hope to plan fun activities that are engaging, exciting, and hands on. We also have planned a celebration of the beginning of summer program for the children, a trip to a Mystics game at the Verizon Center, water play in the pools on the playground, and an end of summer fair that parents are invited to as well as other special days.

For water play and the mud pit, it is very helpful to have at least two sets of extra seasonal clothing including underclothes. Also, every Monday please bring in a bathing suit and towel for your child (for water play and splashing in the pools) that will be sent home on Friday. Sunscreen is important during this time, so please bring in a labeled bottle of sunscreen. Both LaJuan and I will be on vacation at different times throughout the summer and will keep you posted so that the children can predict who will be substituting in the classroom on those days.

-Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies for snack.

Rainbow Room Team

Green Room Newsletter

In the month of May we focused on the Life Cycles of plants and Butterflies. We planted pumpkin, carrot and flower seeds and watched them grow. We also grew butterflies from caterpillars and released them.

The Summer is almost here and Summer’s fun activities are about to begin. An article titled ‘Fun Summer Science Project’ by Courtney Corda and Amy Cowen from the organization Science Buddies, presents several science projects that “balance summer fun with activities that have an educational twist.” The writers presented a quote from Dr. Sandra Slutz, Lead Staff Scientist at Science Buddies, “summer is the perfect time to encourage kids to ask ‘why’ as they explore science – not on the text books terms … “ ‘why’ is the foundation of science, but even more important, asking ‘why’ builds critical and creative thinking skills.” Kristi Calcago director of Open Gate Cooperative Nursery School agrees with Dr. Slutz and encourages parents to explore hand-on science with their children on a daily basic, “The most important thing that children gain from hand-on science curriculum is support for their natural curiosity … They explore, question and wonder, and by doing so they learn!” The following are some of the areas in which parents can explore summer fun science activities: Explore the outdoor, nature has endless possibilities to explore. Explore the Kitchen with edible as well as inedible projects. Grow something, flowers herbs ,vegetables. Build something, such as Legos home made marble-run. Enjoy the night study the stars and constellations. Put science on the calendar, so you can keep track of your plans. Think Outside the Box, innovative ideas might turn out to be the most memorable and rewarding.


Blue Room Newsletter

It’s seems like only months ago that the school year started and now here it is June and the school year is coming to an end. Every year during this time we (teachers) sit back and reflect on the beginning of the year- where we were, as well as where the children were and how far we both have come. Amazing would be an understatement to describe the level of growth and maturity we have seen in our children this year. It has been wonderful watching each of them grow into talkative, active, and curious three year olds.

It’s so easy for the children (and us) to get attached and comfortable with each other but the fact is, they are starting to outgrow us and the classroom. With summer right around the corner, it will be only be several months before the new school year starts, with the children in a new environment and new teachers. These transitions can sometimes be difficult for adults to handle so imagine how the transition can affect children. In their little minds, all they know is the blue room so it’s hard for them to imagine that next year they will be anywhere else other than with the blue room teachers and the blue room friends.

To help prepare them for this transition, throughout the summer we will talk to the children about going to a different class next year. It’s important to remember no matter how much we talk about it, it will not seem real until the first day of school.

Thank you very much for an amazing school year and we look forward to having a fun filled summer!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when transitioning your child into their new classroom:

-Know your child and remember all children respond to transitions differently depending on their age, temperament, and experience in school. Some children are slow to warm up to new environments and if you know this is your child, make a special effort to help them feel comfortable with the transition ( something a simple as visiting the new classroom with your child during drop offs or pickups this summer)

-Try to be positive about the transition even if you are unsure what to expect. Children have good intuitions and can normally sense when adults are anxious or hesitant. Talk about the transition and address any fears or concerns that your child may have. Continue to remind them of all the new and fun experiences they will have in a new room. I always helps to point out to the child that they are getting bigger and need to go to a bigger classroom.

-By now most children are totally comfortable in their classroom so consistent drop off routines may no longer be as necessary for your child, but starting next year it will start all over again. Remember to maintain a consistent drop off routine with your child and don’t automatically expect it will be as easy as it currently is.