November 2015 SFF Newsletter

Director’s Report

RENOVATION/EXPANSION NEWS – During the month of October, our architect met with our Design Committee to talk over design and finishes.  We met with our project management team to talk over permitting for the use of the Fellowship Hall as swing space during construction in our wing.  We held an informational session on the 14th for parents having questions about the construction.  Only two parents attended!  The church has signed pre-construction documents so that permitting may

ANTI-BIAS EDUCATION – We have added a set of FAQ’s as a link on the “Diversity” page on our website.  Take a look.  Maybe they will raise more questions than provide answers!hr-gr


  • LaJuan Celey attended two trainings in October:  Behavior Management & Screen Time.
  • Makai Kellogg visited at a special ed classroom at Tyler Elementary PS on October 16
  • I attended the Annual Gathering of Heads of Friends Schools at Friends Central in Philadelphia on October 15-16.
  • I also attended Bank Street College’ Inaugural Symposium:  The Schools We Want:  Identity, Integrity, and Social Justice in NYC on October 17.  I attended two Breakout Sessions:  1) Creating Structures and Strategies for Supporting Teachers:  The Possibilities of Progressive Supervision and 2) Strength-Based Culturally Responsive Training to Reduce Racial Bias and Stereotypes in Schools.  It was an inspiring day.
  • October 21, Jemmie Joseph & Makai Kellog attended the Gathering for Teachers New to Quaker Schools at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland.
  • October 22, most of the teachers attended Pediatric CPR and First Aid classes.
  • October 23, Cyana Chamberlain & Elsy Blanco attended the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Schools Association Conference at Washington Episcopal School.

I visited at Sunshine Preschool in Southeast on October 26 – to see how they manage an open space (formerly a bowling alley) for five classrooms – since we will be in the Fellowship Hall during


  • Jeff Rowe, Alice Dei-Sheldon, Jess Adasi, & Christhy Vidal volunteered in the classroom while Jemmie & Makai went to the Gathering for Teachers New to Quaker Schools on October 21.
  • To all the parents who presented at After School for Friends on October 28:  Marlon Jones, Joe Thompson, Abe Newman, Alice Dei-Sheldon, Yvonne Onyike & Alice Wang


CLASSROOM CHANGES – Felix Goebes moved to the Rainbow Room to make room for a new student – Andre Barrios-Hilari to start in the Green Room.  Andre’s parents are Mary Cintya Hilari and Nelson Rodrigo

DC School Lottery 2016-17  A few short weeks ago, we welcomed a new, exciting school year. Can you believe that it is almost time to begin thinking about school options for next school year? On December 14th, the application for the 2016-2017 DC School Lottery will be available. The My School DC application is a single online application families must use to apply for participating public charter schools (PK3–12), DCPS out-of-boundary schools (K–12), all DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs). DC residents have many public school options and My School DC, in partnership with DCPS and almost all DC public charter schools, makes it easier for families to take advantage of these choices.


December 14, 2015 2016-2017 My School DC lottery application available on

March 2, 2016 PK3 – Grade 8 application deadline

April 1, 2016 Lottery results released Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year begins

May 2, 2016 Deadline to secure lottery seat

To view a list of participating schools or for more information, visit


Quaker House Newsletter

Hello Quaker House Families,

As the months have gone by the QH children have become more confident in exploring their new classroom environment and maintaining positive relationships with their peers and teachers. As they learn through play we provide opportunities for hands-on experiences where they can try out their ideas, and make mistakes in a safe environment. In positive relationships, teachers as well as parents can support them during their academic exploration.

To be able to take academic risks the children must feel safe emotionally. They must have a relationship with adults that is built on mutual trust and respect, and their ideas are shown to be valuable, interesting, worth pursuing while challenging at the same time. In the QH classroom, we strongly encourage the children to express their feelings.  We work together to find the cause, recall step by step what happened so we can immediately address the problem the next time it happens. There are so many ways that we can help children express their emotions including reading books, labeling and talking about their emotions and their causes. Research shows that children who regulate their emotions positively do better in school, and have an easier time getting along with peers

When encouraging children to take intellectual risks, it is important to not demand unrealistically high achievements (These unrealistic high achievements can set the child up for failure and can cause anxiety and discouragement). Always encourage them to do their best (the effort is more important than the outcome), be aware of your child’s unique needs and strengths, and give specific praises such as, “I like the way you made a straight line for your P.” When encouraging your child to finish a task or activity don’t force it, but don’t immediately give up; you can always take a break and come back to it later.

When we challenge the children academically, we do so in an age appropriate and playful way, as we follow their interests, it is in a form of play. We use observations that allow us to see where every child is their development. We use the developmental tools along with scaffolding to create activities to help each child practice a specific skill to reach their goal.

Thank You!
The Quaker House Teachers

Rainbow Room Newsletter

Choosing books to include in the Rainbow Room curriculum is both rewarding and challenging.  While I [Makai] can find books that will work well with the topic at hand, I notice the lack of children of color in these childhood treasures.  Last Spring, there was an article published in the New York Times titled “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” by Christopher Meyers. The article states that “of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people.” This troubling statistic is a reminder that even though it seems progress has been made regarding the inclusion of people of color in the media, there is a long way to go. Meyers calls it apartheid of literature because “characters of color are limited to the townships of occasional historical books that concern themselves with the legacies of civil rights and slavery but are never given a pass card to traverse the lands of adventure, curiosity, imagination or personal growth.”  Books serve as mirrors for children to see their reflection not only physically but also as a way to show the possibilities of what one may accomplish in reality or fantasy.  Images in books and other media can be identity affirming tools but as Meyers states “children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination.” The main point of the article is that it is up to the adults to advocate for, write, illustrate, and put in the hands of children more books depicting diverse children in a variety of roles. Even though there is a plethora of children’s literature including works that include diverse children, it is important to notice the ways in which roles are given to characters.
The Council on Interracial Books for Children published “10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism.”   Here is a brief summary of the ten things to look for when screening a children’s book.
1. Check the illustrations. Look for stereotypes, tokenism, and who is doing what.
2. Check the story line. What are the standards for success, how are problems resolved, and what is the role of women?
3. Look at the lifestyles. Do illustrations offer genuine insight into another lifestyle?
4. Weigh the relationships between people. Who has the power? How are family relationships depicted?
5. Note the heroes. Whose interest is a particular hero really serving?
6. Consider the effect on a child’s self-image. Are norms established which limit any child’s aspirations and self-concept?
7. Consider the author’s or illustrator’s background. What qualifies the author or illustrators to deal with the subject?
8. Check out the author’s perspective. Is the perspective patriarchal, feminist, Eurocentric, etc?
9. Watch for loaded words. Are there insulting undertones and sexist language?
10. Look at the copyright date. The date can be a clue as to how likely a book is to be overtly racist or sexist.

Please let me know if you’d like a copy of the complete “10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism.”

Rainbow Room Reminders:
-Please provide two sets of seasonal extra clothes 
-As the weather changes, snow pants can come in and hang on the hooks until needed


Green Room Newsletter

This past month, we had a great time learning about fall and experiencing all the changes that come with it. We also enjoyed trick-or-treating on Halloween, and learning about our friends families during their family weeks. We carved two pumpkins and baked apple pie and pumpkin pie. We explored different kinds of apples when we had an apples tasting party. The children collected a lot of really beautiful leaves and acorns for our sensory bin. This is an article I [Jackie] read from Child Care Resources.

Stages of Play

Children learn about themselves and the world through play. As caregivers and educators we know the importance of providing many play opportunities for children. But it is also important to remember that not all children play in the same way. According to the categories of play developed by M.B. Parten in the 1930’s, children go through distinct stages of play as they grow and develop. At each stage, how a child interacts with toys and other children directly corresponds to his developmental skills and needs. When planning experiences and activities for children, and when observing groups of children play, consider how their development affects the way they play. While all children develop at their own pace, most will progress through the following four stages of play.

Solitary Play occurs when a child is around other children but is playing alone, not paying attention to others. At this stage, infants and young toddlers learn about the world around them through their senses and explore toys, objects and people by looking, touching, grasping and tasting. They discover relationships between their bodies and the environment (“I can make this rattle move!”) and begin to learn about cause and effect (“Look what happens when I drop the rattle!”). They also begin to participate in and control interactions with caregivers, and enjoy games such as peek-a-boo.

As young children become more aware of others in their world, they begin to engage in Parallel Play. Toddlers explore their environment with newly discovered physical skills and enjoy playing independently with toys. They begin to see themselves as part of a social group, but are still egocentric, or self-centered in their thinking. At this stage children play next to each other with the same game or activity, but do not necessarily interact or play together. For example, you may see two young children playing with blocks, but you will notice that they are not building together or talking to each other about what they are doing.

As children develop more interest in their peers and more skills to interact with others, they enter the Associative Play stage. At this stage, children may play the same game with one another, but are not necessarily working together. They enjoy watching their peers and imitating others, but have limited interaction while playing together. For example, two children playing dress up may each be using the same materials and talking to each other about what they are doing, but they are not playing together to create one game or narrative. You may hear each child talking about what he is doing(“I have the blue one”; “I am wearing the big hat”), but the words tend to be monologue in nature, rather than conversational.

As children develop more advanced social skills and begin to learn to navigate friendships, they enter the stage of Cooperative Play. At this stage, two or more children talk to each other and work together to play a game. For example, you may see older preschool age children working together to build a large block tower or acting out a dramatic play story. Children at this stage are learning how to compromise, seek adult help in resolving conflicts, practice alternatives to aggression, and better manage their emotions. These newly developed social and emotional skills enable and encourage children to play in groups for longer periods of time. As children enter the school age years, they are able to play more elaborate games with formal rules, such as sports and board games. The following sites have more information about the stages of child development and ways to support play:


Blue Room Newsletter

Raising a toddler is not always easy. As toddlers grow up, they are gaining independence, learning about what they want and how to express it and they are also learning different emotions. Through these stages of development, a toddler will test their parents’ patience. Sometimes it will feel as if they are doing it all on purpose and/or they are trying to manipulate the adult. While this can be very frustrating, it is best to look at irrational behaviors as teaching moments. These moments that drive parents crazy are opportunities for the toddler to learn how to manage emotions, deal with disappointment, and how to feel in control in acceptable ways. When the adult looks at such behaviors as stages of development, they are more likely to remain calm and respond to the toddler in a way that will teach them good coping skills.

When dealing with challenging behaviors, there are some important things to keep in mind.

  • Young children are driven by emotions, not logic. Toddlers don’t have an understanding of time and have little self-control. They act in the moment and they want what they want when they want it.
  • Toddlers have strong feelings but few tools to manage them.
  • Toddlers are becoming aware that they can have different thoughts and feelings than those of others. This means that they will want something and they may know that it is not what you want. They will try what they can in order to get the result that they want. Some of these tactics can be very frustrating to parents and tend to be looked at as manipulation. This is a cognitive milestone for children as they become creative to see how they can get what they want.

What can a parent do?

  • Stay in control as your child is spiraling out of control. It is important to manage your own emotions so you don’t escalate the emotions of the child which can turn into a power struggle. When a child is losing control, they need someone who is rational and calm to help them to calm down.
  • Keep in mind that you can’t make your child do anything. You have control over how you respond to your child’s actions. How you respond is what will guide and shape their behavior. A child is trying to figure out successful ways to get what they want, it is the parents’ job to teach which strategies are effective and which ones aren’t.
  • Show empathy and validate the feelings that the toddler is experiencing. The more validation of feelings, the less likely children are to have to act on them.
  • Set limits and provide acceptable choices. Provide the child with a few choices and if they don’t like the ones that are given, let them know that you will choose for them. If you end up having to choose for them, be sure to follow through. The child may become upset and throw a tantrum but stay strong and stick with it! After time they will learn how to make good decisions by assessing the outcomes which will get them what they want and the outcomes that don’t get them what they want.

Information for this was used from the article titled I Said I Want the Red Bowl! Responding to Toddlers’ Irrational Behavior By: Claire Lerner, L.C.S.W.-C. Click here for the full article. It can also be found on the SfF facebook page.