November 2016 Newsletter

Director’s Report


  • Former student Allison Pierce volunteered in the school one afternoon helping to sort the books in the library.
  • TreasureBlakeney is now officially the second assistant teacher in the Red Panda classroom.  She served as substitute for a while, helping during Cyana’s maternity leave, but now that we realize that Cyana will not be returning this school year, we are making permanent assignments.
  • Incoming board president, Josh Gallu, and I attended a one-day training on how to facilitate Friends schools’ meetings for business – in Philadelphia at Friends Center on October 17.
  • All the teachers attended Pediatric First Aid and CPR training on October 20.
  • On October 21, three of our new teachers attended an all-day training at Friends School of Baltimore on “Teachers new to Quaker Schools” – attending were Radasha Hampton, Darren Allen, Marisa Goldberg, as well as Office Administrator Edryce Rogers.


  • To Alice Dei-Sheldon for finding volunteers to organize our library, for creating a list for the insurance company of property damaged during the September flood, for helping us re-locate our refrigerators, and for helping us to plan how to furnish the teachers room.
  • To Gregg Molander for ordering and purchasing furniture for our parent alcove, for ordering and installing shelving in the Butterfly storage room, and for ordering shades for the office and teachers room.
  • To all the parents who volunteered in the classrooms so teachers could go to Baltimore on the 21st of October – Janelle Moore, Megan Hustings, Marissa Yeakey, & Kathleen Liu.
  • To Andriana Gross & Hilary (Roy Parizat’s mother) for helping in the library.
  • To all the parents who presented on schools at the After School for Friends event – Janelle Moore & Charles Frazier, Alice Dei-Sheldon, ND Onyike, Emily Hershenson, Dorris Lin, Marissa Yeakey, & Christine LoCascio .

CONSTRUCTION & SMALL SCHOOL, BIG FUTURE FUND – As I write this, I never imagined that our building project, which began in March, would still be incomplete.

We have made substantial progress:  The school classrooms were complete (just) in time to open for the new school year after Labor Day.  We are almost finished with the installation of the new sprinkler system in the education building. The sprinklers are all in place, and soon they hope to have the new water pipe installed from the street, and the sprinkler operable

All this has been accomplished with several bumps in the road, some anticipated and many not, that have caused delays.

Then, to add insult to injury, we had a pipe break in a second floor bathroom (unrelated to the construction) that sent water cascading down the hallway, dripping through the two floors below. The damage was not catastrophic– mostly cosmetic– but nonetheless added at least another two weeks to finishing out the construction. (Fortunately, our insurance is covering the cost of replacement.)

With each new level of completion, we are delighted with the results. With each delay, we are fatigued that the construction has dragged on so long. I give special kudos to the teachers who have rolled with the punches this summer into the fall, putting up with dust, debris and disruptions that have made all of their jobs more difficult.

How can you be of support?  Be patient! Especially with school staff.

-with acknowledgement to Pastor Jeff Krehbiel, from whom I cribbed most of this report.


Tiger Newsletter

Hello Tiger Families,

DRAMATIC PLAY is central to children’s healthy development and learning during the preschool years. Our Dramatic Play area is extremely popular and we are able to observe the Tiger-children pretending to become someone or something different from themselves and make up situations and actions that go along with the role they choose on a daily basis. We can hear them negotiate roles, agree on a topic, and cooperate to portray different situations. Watching a child pretending to, for example, talk on the phone to the doctor about her/his sick child gives us a little glimpse into what amazing observers children are themselves. They are trying to make sense of their environment and find their place in the world. They do that by watching people around them at home, in school and their larger community and also through books and media. Often we can see them recreate life experiences, sometimes trying to cope with, for example, their fears by acting out roles and situations that worry them. For example; a child that anticipates going to his/her check-up at the doctor’s office can pretend to be the doctor. By assuming this role, the child can switch from feeling out of control to being in charge.

Children want to feel powerful and they create “powerful” situations for themselves where they can make up the rules. At the same time acting out “powerful roles” can be used as a representational way to question the concept of fairness, “goodness”, “badness” and even death. More boys than girls predominantly engage in superhero play, and vice versa more girls than boys engage in the princess play. “They are both a special type of fantasy play that often pretends to be “media characters” imbued with extraordinary beauty/abilities.” (Boyd 1997). The Tigers constantly act out stories around a variety of “powerful” themes.

We keep ongoing records of what actually goes on in these scenarios, and it is important to us to guide all the pretend princesses, monsters, moms, dads, sisters, babies, dogs and cats to expand their range of behavior and attitudes involved into their play and help them develop their own unique imagination further. Research shows that children who engage in dramatic play tend to demonstrate more empathy towards others because they have tried out being someone else for a while. They develop the skills to express feelings, cooperate with peers and control impulses. “Drama links “language in movement” with spoken language, creating a bridge between physical world and spoken word. Moreover, it introduces young minds to “as if”- symbolic thinking, the intellectual foundation for problem solving, social learning, and even reading.” (The Dramatic Difference, Victoria Brown and Sarah Pleydell).

During the school year we will offer lots of additional types of drama activities in the classroom – creative movement, puppetry, hand-play, pantomime, and improvisation, choosing roles and settings with props, as well as acting out the children’s own simple story plots.

What can you do at home to support your child’s development? You can encourage the same kind of pretend play at home that we do at school, simply by playing with your child and providing some simple props. A sheet over the table creates a house or a hideout or cave. A large empty cardboard box can become almost anything – a pirate ship, a doghouse, a castle or a train. The nice thing about dramatic play is that it requires only your imagination and some time. Additionally, you can read stories together and involve your child in acting out different parts of their favorite story. You can help to extend or change a known story or even create your own plot together. Set rules before the play starts. This is a great time to introduce taking turns with leading and following the story and learning how to take on different perspectives in the game. Introduce new ways of playing – because even monsters and bad guys have a home and a parent and have to eat…

The different areas in our classroom are the primary setting in which children learn. Each area is purposefully set up with educational objects, toys and supplies that we rotate on a regular basis. We welcome any donations like recycling materials to build with or props for playhouse, but ask you kindly to limit the toys your child brings to school each day.

Thanks for all your support!
The Tiger Teachers



Eagles Room November 2016 Newsletter

The Eagles spent the month of October primarily participating in sensory activities as we explored the theme of Fall. Fall is a very enriching time; there are many tasty items to eat, scents to smell, changes to view outdoors, etc. Sensory play is an important part of early brain development. It creates neural connections in the brain’s pathways that eventually helps a child’s ability to complete more complicated learning tasks. Additionally, it strengthens all domains of development (physical, problem solving, personal-social, language, and cognitive).

For the month of November, we will be focusing on learning about ourselves. We will spend time on self-care (how do we take care of ourselves), our five senses, our body parts, and ways to build our self-esteem. Developing self-esteem is critical in early childhood years. The best way adults can help build a child’s self-esteem is through encouragement instead of using praise.

 According to Suzanne Gainsley, praise can lead to negative results:

1. Children become addicted to praise.
2. Children learn that adult praise is insincere and is used to manipulate them.

3. Children learn to fear failure and avoid challenges.

Praise is an extrinsic motivator while encouragement teaches children to find motivation intrinsically. Encouragement can be used to acknowledge children’s initiatives, efforts, and accomplishments, and to help children recognize and evaluate their own actions (Gainsley, p. 9).

 You can find more information about praise vs. encouragement at


·         Please bring in appropriate seasonal attire (2-3 sets of clothes)

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


Monarch Butterfly Newsletter


In the next couple weeks we will be talking about “How To Share”.  We will act out sharing a toy and read books like It’s Mine, Rainbow Fish and Let’s Play in the Forest. Also we will play games and have activities that involve sharing.


To learn how to share, we start by learning how to take turns.  The children will learn to ask “How many minutes?” for a toy. 

Teaching Children to Share
By Sue Grossman, Ph.D.
“Miss Harper! Miss Harper! Willard won’t share the blocks! He has them all!” Emily cries.

Every early childhood teacher or parent has heard similar complaints from young children. Many of us move in quickly to insist that the “greedy, selfish” child share some of the coveted item with the newcomer. Refusing to share is often treated as a crime in the eyes of adults. While our intention is good, we may be teaching children that others’ rights are more important than their own and that problems should be resolved by adults rather than between the children themselves. We want children to be generous, kind, and cooperative, so we demand that they share.

Demanding that children share ignores their feelings and does not truly teach them to share. It more likely teaches children to feel angry and resentful toward adults and to believe that sharing is always accompanied by emotional pain. The irony of sharing is that when children know that they are not required to share, they are most likely to do so!

What Is sharing? Sharing is agreeably giving one’s possessions to others. However, when a child is forced to give up his or her possession, it is not true sharing but rather surrender of property. When Miss Harper uses the office copy machine she is not required to interrupt her task and relinquish the copier to a coworker just because she has had it long enough. She may finish her task, even though the copier belongs to everyone in the building. Yet when Willard is using all of the blocks, engrossed in building a small city, some teachers and parents believe it is their responsibility to make him relinquish what is at that time his property, because it belongs to everyone in the class.

Rather than label Willard as “selfish” or “greedy,” the teacher should see his refusal as assertive self-protection. Forcing him to give us the blocks will only make him want to protect future possessions more energetically. Too often we take the side of the newcomer. Instead, we should give children choices. Miss Harper should give Willard the choice to share or not. There are many other activity options for Emily in a well-equipped early childhood classroom.

A Better Way to Respond Miss Harper can encourage Emily to solve her own problem by responding, “Emily, you’d like some blocks. Ask Willard to please give you some as soon as he can.” If Emily resists this suggestion, Miss Harper can go with her and give the message to Willard herself on Emily’s behalf, thereby modeling one method of problem solving. Both children benefit from this approach. Willard learns that he has authority and control over the blocks, because he was playing with them first, and that his rights will be protected. He can be the one to decide when he is finished and ready to give up some blocks. When Emily must wait, she learns to deal with disappointment and frustration, two of life’s realities.

Miss Harper might also say, “Emily, you want the blocks right now, but Willard is not ready to share them. I’ll help you find something else to do while you wait.” Such a statement makes Emily feel supported and understood by the teacher, not abandoned. When this strategy is used, children often do not have to wait long. Willard, given the power of authority, is eager to exercise his right to decide who gets some of the blocks and when. Soon Emily will hear him say, “Hey, Emily! You can have some blocks. I don’t need them all.”

Sue Grossman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of early childhood teacher education at Eastern Michigan University.


Turtle Room November 2016 Newsletter

 Happy November, turtle room families!

 We’ve had a busy October! We spent a good amount of time exploring autumn. From fall walks outside and painting with pinecones to opening a pumpkin, there was so much about this season to discover! And we can’t leave out our week dedicated to taking care of Frank the fish. Seeing and interacting with living things teaches children about science and nature. So spending a whole week participating in the feeding, cleaning, and general caring for Frank helped to reinforce that knowledge.

 Now that we’re into the month November (and in the coming months), many of you may have plans to travel. Whether you’re flying or driving, traveling with toddlers and young children can be daunting. Here are some common challenges and ideas to help manage them!

  • If you’re flying: “Leading up to the day of departure, build positive anticipation for the journey by pointing out planes flying by in the sky… When you pack for the flight, be sure to include both old and new toys for the trip… At the airport, let your kid burn energy before you board… Once you’re up in the air, narrate everything.”
  • If you’re driving: “Think up plenty of interactive play ideas in advance, like a simple game of “ I spy” or telling stories – and bring books and playthings that your little one can use on her own… Once you pull out of your driveway, engage your toddler immediately. This way she won’t mind taking a break and quietly looking at some books on her own after a while. It’s wise to plan the trip so part of it takes place during naptime… Keep in mind that if you have a very active or needy toddler, one of you may have to sit with her from the start [if traveling with a spouse].”

 Information from this letter was gathered from the article titled “Away We Go: Tips for Traveling with Toddlers,” found via this link:


Red Panda Newsletter

We’re already in November, and the children have grasped so much of their daily routines and teachable opportunities and are feeling more comfortable in the Red Panda classroom. We have taken a tour of the school to help the children feel safe in their environment. The children are adjusting during drop off in the mornings, using their words more, and developing more parallel play with their friends. We have also been working on taking care of each other, classroom, ourselves and of course, Cupcake!

            At circle time we have modeling examples of how we can use our words to express what we want/need. We also just introduced our classroom job chart.  According to Becky Baily’s Conscious Discipline approach, she explains the importance of having “school family jobs.” Becky Baily explains that every student in a classroom has a job that helps contribute to the greater good of the class. “These Classroom School Family Jobs help children experience responsibility, self-worth, inclusion, accomplishment, unity and school spirit. The same holds true for Faculty and Staff School Family Jobs.”

            Our current jobs in the Red Panda classroom are:

-Plant Helper

-Door Holder

-Clean up Inspectors

-Weather Reporters

-Pet Helpers

-Snack/Lunch Helpers

-Feel Better Person

This will tremendously help the children feel more confident in knowing that their input matters throughout each day. It will also create a safe and encouraging environment for the children to connect with their friends while sharing some of the jobs. Finally, it will provide teachable opportunities for the children to socially interact and trust one another. The children are excited to practice their jobs, and depending how interested each child feels with their jobs, they can be switched around every so often. If a child begins to really take ownership of their job, they may have it for a longer period of time. The teachers are excited to practice and guide the children and show how important everyone’s input will be in our Red Panda class-family.

We will also be spending a week learning about Cupcake! We will be sharing with the children more details about what she can and cannot eat, why it’s important to approach her as calmly as possible, and how to be nurturing towards her as our classroom pet. Thanks to all the families that have been so involved –from making play-dough, and bringing weekly snack to volunteering in the classroom!

Magy, Marisa, and Treasure

                                              Works Cited
School Family Jobs. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from


Red Panda Teachers


Sea Lion November 2016 Newsletter

Self-help skills are important for children to develop independence and self-esteem. By the age of four, children are expected to be able to be able to care for their own toileting needs, use eating utensils appropriately, dress and undress without assistance, brush teeth, clean up spills, put away items, and pour from a pitcher.  These are just some milestones that the Rainbows are working toward.

In the Sea Lion classroom, we provide opportunities for the children to practice and develop these skills.  Without developed fine motor skills, completing many of the self-care skills can be more difficult.  Providing opportunities to engage with materials that strengthen fingers and hands such as theraputty and playdough as well as practice using items such as scissors, short crayons and pencils, and tongs assists in building the muscles needed to complete self-help tasks.  Breaking down tasks into smaller steps is helpful. By providing visuals of each step, children can follow along until they have mastered it.  Sequencing games as well as songs help children remember to break tasks down into steps.  They are also expected to take care of their personal items such as clothing or toys from home by hanging them on hooks or putting them away in their cubbies. Taking responsibility for the classroom is expected as well but only after making sure the children know where classroom items belong.  The children learned the proper way to blow and wipe their noses, cover coughs and sneezes, as well as washing hands during our hygiene unit. We encourage the children to dress by themselves with little adult assistance until it is clear that the child is not yet able to complete the task alone. The children practice using buttons, snaps, and zippers on their own clothing but we also have self-help boards that the children can work on as well.  Talking children through tasks by using “first, second, last” helps them organize their actions. In the classroom, the children are responsible for setting the table.  We will continue to encourage the children’s self-care skills to support their independence.  


-Please provide two sets of seasonal extra clothes

-As the weather changes, snow pants can come in and hang on the hooks until needed

-Label all items

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


Sea Lion Team