October 2016 Newsletter

Director’s Report

FAREWELL & WELCOME – At the end of September/beginning of October we said a fond farewell to Clare Coppel who had been our office administrator for nearly seven years over an eight year period.  She has left to return to her native England to support her extended family.  We are lucky that she will continue to offer remotely administrative support to Edryce Rogers our new office administrator.  Edryce has had lots of administrative experience, even in network management!  She attended Howard University and lives in downtown Silver Spring with her family.  There is even a Friends school connection – her daughter attends Sandy Spring Friends School.  Please introduce yourself to her.

THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE – In addition to staffing changes, we have all experienced a lot of other changes in September.  Three moves, for instance.  Not only did we move into our classrooms, but we moved all our supplies from the Pod and transferred furniture into the teachers room and office as well.  Construction punchlist work is ongoing as well as furnishing the classrooms with curtains, bulletin boards, and soap dispensers!  We are in fact building it as we live in it.  And then there is the flooding.  Luckily we were not forced to close the school, though I don’t know what DCRA would have said about our open ceiling tiles if they’d seen them!  The children seem very resilient and we appreciate your tolerance for a less than settled environment.

THANKS – So many of our parents help in so many ways.

  • Yvonne Onyike trained our teachers on use of Epipens.
  • JR Rice ordered and had installed the new refrigerator in the Red Panda classroom.
  • Building and Grounds Committee – ordering our custom made rope climber for the playground.
  • Alice Dei-Sheldon volunteered in the office to support Clare as she processed all the paperwork that came in in the midst of our move back into our office.


  • Cyana Chamberlain decided to extend her maternity leave for up to a year, potentially returning at the end of the summer. Magy Youssef is now the lead teacher in the Red Panda Room for this school year.
  • Angel Richardson left abruptly on September 22nd (we understand, indirectly, to be a second grade teacher). This provided an opening to have Darren Allen (who has been on our staff parttime for a year) become the new assistant in the Eagle classroom.
  • DeRochelle Sheppard has joined our staff as an “after school” aide now in the Eagle Classroom. She also works at Wonders Children Learning Center.
  • Treasure Blakeney has joined our staff as an assistant teacher in the Red Panda classroom. She started out as a substitute during Cyana’s maternity leave.

OPENINGS – Parents, keep in mind that we still have openings in the Eagles and Tiger classrooms – we are looking for a three-year-old and a four-year-old.

ST ELIZABETH’S & CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL – We have long-standing relationships with these institutions.  Residents at St. Elizabeth’s and Fellows at Children’s come to School for Friends to observe children in order to see typically developing young folks.  It is an important and valuable part of their training.  You will see them here on occasion.

GLOBAL CITIZENS & ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION – This year our teachers have each selected as one of their goals some aspect of enhancing nature and nature experiences on our playground.  (This is in addition to their anti-bias goal and general teacher development goals.)  This is part of environmental education – which for young children is hands on.  We try to connect children to their environment through outdoor play and share the beauty and wonder of nature with them.   We also hope to teach children essential skills to become thoughtful stewards.

EQUITY & DIVERSITY COORDINATOR – This year, I have appointed Makai Kellogg to this new position in the school.  We have yet to define all that it entails but most definitely serving as a catalyst and liaison on the Diversity Committee and providing resources for all our diversity work.  We thank Makai for taking on this mainly volunteer effort, but feel that it provides real support and substance to our social justice work.  She has many ideas and resources to share with teachers and parents.


Tiger Newsletter

Children are naturally curious about all kinds of human differences from a very early age on. To make meaning of their world they learn to categorize. Pre-school children especially are developmentally beginning to sort and categorize things in their environment. This is also true about people’s visible traits.

Noticing differences is part of their normal development; our work is to help them avoid stereotypes and bias.

Pre-school children quickly assume that people who look like them also enjoy the same things they do, while people who look different are different in many ways.

“Children are very sensitive to adults actions and emotions and they sense our discomfort with differences. Meanwhile, they are constantly exposed to biased messages from the media and the conversations and behaviors of the adults around them. Young children are constantly taking in our society’s powerful messages about diversity: what group holds power, and wealth- and where they fit in. Children need us to talk to them about these differences directly, explicitly, and in language they can understand. Instead of giving abstract confusing messages like “everybody is equal” or “we are all the same”, we can teach from the perspective that everyone is important and every person experiences the world in different ways which gives each of us different ideas and viewpoints.”

There is nothing more important in the lives of children than their families.

What better way to see, understand and celebrate diversity first hand as by learning more about each family in the QH-classroom at our Friday morning circle times.

Over the next couple of weeks, we would like to invite each QH-family to be part of one of these circle times (11am).

Our Friday circle time is meant to help your child learn to value themselves, their families culture/heritage, develop an in-depth understanding of “you and me”, and very importantly to know that their own families are respected and supported, but also learn to understand and respect the families of others.

The following suggestions may help you to initiate a conversation with your child when planning your circle time.

  • Who is in your family? (Siblings, grandparents, and other family members are welcome to participate in this circle time!)
  • What makes a family a family? What are things that define your family?
  • Where does your family (also extended family) live (heritage)?
  • Does everyone in your family like the same things?
  • How has/does your family change (moving, new baby…)?
  • What does you family enjoy doing together? Is there a way to enjoy that in the classroom? (Activities, foods, books, photographs…)
  • Think together; tell children briefly about celebrations or special events your family does together…
  • Share your own childhood stories with your child, or talk to them about their experiences so far.

From the past years we know how much the children look forward to this day and take pride in having their family be part of our school day.

So make sure to sign-up early on and please feel free to come to us with any questions you have.

We are looking forward to this special “Family-time” at Quaker House.

Thank You!
Sabina & Julie


Eagles Room October 2016 Newsletter

Hello Eagle Families,

In September, we spent a lot of time learning about one another and getting used to the routines of school. We developed classroom rules, created classroom jobs, and learned how to make choices in the different centers. As the weeks went on, many of our friends ended up feeling under the weather. This led to learning about the benefits of good hygiene and learning about germs. We spent the first week of October learning about germs so the Eagles will know how to make healthy choices to keep the germs away.

The Eagles will use what they learned about hand washing to remain healthy because Fall is here! And with Fall, there will be many sensory experiences within the classroom and outdoors, and we must be sure to wash our hands as we handle different materials and items. We will spend time learning about the different changes that take place in the environment. We will focus on the changing of the leaves and the changes they may feel with the weather. Our sensory experiences will include making an apple salad, smelling a variety of Fall scents, and exploring seasonal fruits such as pumpkins and butternut squash.

We will be reading several books about the Fall and we would love to have family members read with us. Ideal times are during morning circle (11:00am) or in the afternoon at 4:15pm. We have books available or you could share your favorite Fall book with us! Please e-mail us at eagle@schoolforfriends.org if you would like to volunteer to read with us.

Important reminders:

– If you arrive before 9:00am, please drop off your child downstairs in the Monarch Butterfly room

– Please ensure that you have seasonal clothes in your child’s cubby (two sets of clothing are requested)

– Please be sure to take your child’s water bottle/thermos home

– Please bring in labelled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play

– Make sure to clearly label all items!!!

– Please be sure to pick up your child by 6pm; if you are going to be late, please give us a call at 202-387-    6294.

– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under accreditation    requirements.


One month down, many more to go! We look forward to continuing this journey with you!

Thank you,

Yasmine and Darren


Monarch Butterfly Newsletter


A lot of learning can occur while children are doing what they do best: playing and exploring! Throughout the month of September, the Monarch Butterfly Room have engaged the students with sensory activities. Consider the following benefits of sensory play to children:

Cognitive development. Even before children can speak, they are developing an understanding of things in their environment by actively exploring them with all their senses. As they become more verbal, they are able to describe similarities and differences in what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. For example, each time a child explores sand, he is confirming his previous explorations and discoveries that sand is dry, gritty, and so forth, and he will eventually notice other materials that share those same characteristics.

Social skills. Children practice their social interactions as they work closely with one another at the sensory table (water, beans, rice etc.) they solve problems about how to share space and materials and work together (building relationships, cooperative play, conflict resolution). The open-endedness of the sensory table/bin provides children at all stages of development opportunities to try new things and be successful.

Sense of self. As they directly experience things themselves, children explore and communicate preferences, making sense of the world around them. For instance, they discover that they enjoy the feel of dry sand or that they have an aversion to slimy things. When caregivers acknowledge and accept their preferences, children learn that their feelings and decisions are valid.

Physical skills. Children develop and strengthen new motor skills through shaping, molding, scooping, dumping and splashing — these actions all support the development of small and large muscles. For instance, holding a scoop to fill and dump sensory materials works many muscles used in other parts of the children’s day, as when they hold a cup or spoon at mealtimes.

Emotional development. Sensory experiences can be very calming for many children and can help them work through troubling emotions, such as anxiety or frustration. For example, working with materials that require pressure and manipulation, such as play dough, can help children release physical energy or tension. Likewise, sensory materials lend to children’s expression of positive feelings, such as joy and excitement.

Communication skills. As children play together at the sensory station, they converse with one another about what they’re doing, talk about topics that interest them, and engage in pretend talk. They describe materials and processes and learn new words from others.


Snyder, C. and Arbor, A. Highscope Extensions: Providing Sensory Experiences That Meet the Needs of All Infants and Toddlers. Vol. 25, No 5 pg 8-9 accessed at http://www.highscope.org/file/NewsandInformation/Extensions/ExtVol25No5_low.pdfhr-gr

Turtle Room October 2016 Newsletter

 September has come and gone and we are looking forward to the coming months! All of the children are adjusting well to their school environment and as the weeks have passed, the transition from school to home has become a lot smoother. As the children are becoming more comfortable, they are starting to come out of their shells and are beginning to interact with their teachers as well as engage in parallel play with their peers.


With everyone starting to understand our daily routine, we are going to start giving the children more responsibility in the classroom, starting with classroom jobs that will rotate on a weekly basis. The jobs that we will be starting with are a fish feeder where a child will be responsible for feeding the fish each morning with the help from a teacher. Two other jobs will take place at circle time, one is a shape (symbol) caller and the other is the moment of silence timer. All of the children know their own shapes and most of their peers’ shapes so they will start to call them at circle time instead of a teacher. Also for our one-minute moment of silence a child will be responsible for turning the sand timer over. It has become very apparent that each Turtle Room friend loves to be a helper, whether it is sweeping the floor, passing out coats, or giving someone their framed family photo. Expanding on this and giving children jobs in the classroom gives them a sense of belonging as well as responsibility. As the year goes on and the children become more independent we will incorporate more jobs into the classroom.


  Important Dates

October 26th – After School for Friends


Panda Newsletter

The school year is off to a great start in the Red Panda Room!  This past month we have been getting to know each other and are continuing to get more comfortable with your classroom and Cupcake.  The children are experts at adjusting to the school environment and are coming out of their comfort zones!  They are interacting with their peers as well as with their teachers and are very engaged during circle time.   We have already recognized that the children love to dance and sing!

This past month in September we learned about our school environment, each other and our families.  In October we will be learning about how to be a good friend, emotions and how to help each other when we see that someone needs help.  We have already noticed that the children are starting to use words to check up on them such as “Are you okay?” “What do you need to feel better?”  Using more words and visuals will help guide children through this process of checking on a friend when they need help.

We also will be talking about taking care of our classroom and school better such as picking up trash and keeping our school safe and clearn.  The children have already showed us that they can be great helpers especially during circle time, helping out with the shapes, symbols and with the timer for moment of silence.  This is great independence for them and this will grow as the children develop over the course of the school year.  We plan to start incorporating classroom jobs such as feeding Cupcake, passing out shapes during circle time and using the sand timer and chime for our moment of silence.  As we talk about our classroom and school community, we will be taking a tour of the school so the children know where the rest of the classrooms are located.  This is also for safety so the children know that they are safe and know who and what are in the building.




*Please sign in and ojut when you drop your child off


*Make sure your child has the appropriate clothing for the weather in his/her cubby


*Please label all items


*Please sign up to bring in fruits and vegetables to supplement snack




Red Panda Teachers


Sea Lion October 2016 Newsletter

When entering or leaving the school building with your child, do you:

A: open the door manually?

B: let your child push the blue button?

If you answered B, please think about why.  Does it help get your child in the door easier? Does your child feel like a helper? Has it become a habit? Have they seen you push the button?

Accessibility is not an immediate concern to people who are able bodied.  The blue button is meant for persons who need assistance reaching, pushing, pulling, and getting through the door.  During the transitions to and from the playground, the teachers remind the children not to push the button.  Not only is it a safety issue in that the children can run out or into the building without an adult, but also constant pushing has caused the button to break many times.  If the button is broken, it causes a huge inconvenience to those who actually need to use it.  I ask the children to check their bodies and determine if their arms and legs are working and able to get them through the door.  There are books in the school depicting people with different needs and abilities that are woven in the curriculum and discussions about ability during the school day. Recognizing the symbol of a wheelchair on signage helps the children remember who is or isn’t in need of a bathroom stall, button, or parking space, etc.  Instead of rushing in and out of the building or just reminding your child about not pushing the button, take the time to engage in a teachable moment about accessibility and able bodied privilege.

“Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves” by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen     Edwards  provides these goals for children related to different abilities and fairness:

-All children will develop autonomy and independence (as they are able), as well as confidence and pride in their competence.

-All children will learn accurate information, appropriate to their developmental stage, about disabilities and special needs.

-All children will gain understanding about how their own abilities are the same as and different from others’.

-All children will learn to interact knowledgably, comfortably, and fairly with each other, whatever their abilities.

-All children will learn how to challenge name-calling and stereotyping with respect to their own or others’ abilities and will share ideas about accessibility in order to promote interaction and independence.

School for Friends is an inclusive community and to celebrate this, the Sea Lion class is focusing on different abilities as our anti-bias goal.  The blue button is just one example of how to engage children in a conversation about different abilities and to help the children recognize their own privilege so that they can contribute to a more equitable society.  Please e-mail mkellogg@schoolforfriends.org with questions related to Anti-Bias Education.


-Please provide two sets of seasonal extra clothes
-Label all items
-Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies to supplement snack


Sea Lion Team