September 2017

News from the Head of School

As many of you may know, I joined in SfF Team in late July. Since then I have been quite busy. Meeting with families, welcoming families who are new to our school, giving tours to prospective families, meeting with each team member to get to know them a little better and to listen to their thoughts, needs and ideas about the work we do, about children and the new year ahead. In the meantime, I am working hard on getting to know and remember everyone’s name.

Thank you for all the welcome messages and for stopping by my office just to say hello. I appreciate your warm introductions. As summer comes to an end, I look forward to meeting many more families and excited about being part of School for Friends community.

After School for Friends: Want to know about what happens when you move on to the next step of your journey? Then, mark your calendars to hear about area schools, public, charter, & independent. There will be families and or school representatives sharing their experiences and answering your questions. Thursday, October 26, 2017 7:30pm.

What’s new?

Office mailboxes: Did you know that we have mailboxes for Berna and Edryce? Tuition, forms etc. can be dropped of in the mailboxes. Organized, easier for us to get to and no misplaced items.

Wall Calendar: It is hard to keep up with daily and weekly activities. So, we have the wall calendar to mark down dates for special events, important deadlines, due dates etc. A quick glance at this will keep us informed no matter how busy we are. Remember to check it out in the new school year.


Monarch Butterfly Newsletter
September 2017

The First Days of School: Dealing with Preschool Separation Anxiety! By Lisa Medoff from – I also added some comments and a few pictures from visits back in August.

Separation anxiety is a very common problem for preschool children, especially during the first few weeks of school. You may also see some separation anxiety in children after an illness, a vacation, or even a long weekend, where they have become accustomed to being at home for a long period of time.

A preschool child is at the age where he/she is learning to negotiate his/her independence, a concept that is both exciting and scary at the same time. With the realization that he/she is their own person, with wants and needs that are separate from yours, comes the realization that you may not always be by his/her side. Going to preschool can make this last point painfully clear, causing your child to become anxious about letting you out of his sight. Here are some tips for cutting down on separation anxiety during the preschool years:

• Remember that children do pick up on your mood, even if they cannot yet articulate their feelings, so try to remain calm and positive about your child going to school, especially if it is for the first time.

• Do not automatically assume that your child is worried about starting school or that she will have separation anxiety. Do not signal that she/ he should be nervous by asking leading questions, such as, “Are you worried about starting preschool and being away from mommy?” Instead, focus on the exciting aspects of starting school.

• Some families made a visit to the preschool back in August. It is a nice way to prepare them for the first day. We cannot wait to see everyone during our Back to School Night in September. If possible, spend time in the classroom and in the play areas. Make sure your child knows where the bathroom is located and any other orienting details that he/she needs. Prepare ahead of time for the first day of school, and make it a special event to look forward to. In the days leading up to the first day, talk to your child about what will happen that morning. Tell him how excited you are about all the fun he/she is going to have, and how you can’t wait to hear about everything he/she is going to do.

• Do not drag out the separation process, especially on the first day. Take your child to the classroom, hug her/he, tell her/he that you love her/he, tell her/he what time you will back to pick her up, and then leave. Do not stay or return if your child begins to cry. At School for Friends the teachers will know how to get your child involve and make her feel comfortable.

• Plan about how you will handle your own feelings about leaving your child so that she/he does not see you getting upset, and then get upset themselves. Think about what you will say when you leave your child and how you will keep from getting emotional in front of her/him.

• Always be there on time to pick up your child. Being on time is especially important during the first few days of school. If she/he believes that you will be there to pick her/him up when you said you would, then she/he will be more likely to separate easily.

Children may display anxiety about separation in different ways, not wanting to get dressed in the morning, refusing to make eye contact with or talk to the teacher, or being overly clingy. Understand that different children react to separations and new situations in different ways; some children adapt more easily (which does not mean that they don’t love you or miss you while you are gone!) and some are shyer and take longer to adjust. However, if you can manage to stay consistent with your routines, both at home and at school, your child should eventually become comfortable with the process of you leaving her/him at preschool.

Planning ahead can cut down on problems with separation, both for you and your child. Stay calm, be positive, and trust the teachers to handle the situation once you leave. Keep to a regular routine as much as possible, and keep any other major changes to a minimum.

Jackie & Jemmie



Red Panda Newsletter September 2017

Welcome to the Red Panda Room! We are very excited for the upcoming school year. We believe that it is important that your child feels welcomed and comfortable in their new environment. If there is anything in particular that we can do to help you or your child with the transition into school, let us know. We want to start off the year by letting you know a little about your child’s teachers.

Magy is the lead teacher in the Red Panda classroom. Magy was born in Egypt and is half Ethiopian. This will be Magy’s 6th year at School for Friends. She finished college with a degree in Early Childhood Development. She enjoys exploring new ideas with the children and being a part of their growth. She loves the outdoors, going to museums, cooking, listening to music and swimming.

Wesley, the assistant teacher in our room, is from Alexandria, Virginia. She graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Psychology and immediately began working with preschool-aged children ever since! Working with children is a passion of hers, as well as doing yoga and spending time with her family. This is Wesley’s second year at School for Friends and she can’t wait to learn and explore with everyone!

As it is the beginning of the year, separation anxiety can be challenging for the children and families both. Jennifer Karnopp in Focus On Toddlers: How-tos and What-to-dos when Caring for Toddlers and Twos reflects on a few important things to remember or practice while separating from your child in the mornings. She articulates the following:

● Always say goodbye: Sneaking out on a child can cause them to be fearful and lose trust.

● Once a goodbye is said, the family member should depart immediately; A long goodbye process is fine, but lingering after the actual goodbye sends confusing mixed messages to the child.

● Allow your child to experience their feelings; Do not deny a child’s feelings by telling them not to cry. Instead, acknowledge their sadness and let them express it.

Wesley and I are always open to communication, so please feel free to talk to us about anything regarding your child. The best time to contact us is between 1pm and 3pm, which is nap time – unless there is an emergency. E-mail is also convenient.

Important reminders:
– Bring in labeled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play
– Two complete sets of seasonal extra clothes/ extra underwear and pull-ups are appreciated and    make sure to clearly label all items!!!
– Sheets and blankets come in on Mondays and go home for washing on Fridays. If your child    requires a pillow, please make sure it is a small size, and a soft naptime friend is welcome, but please limit it to one.
– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under accreditation requirements.

We are excited to get to know the children and families in the new school year!

Thanks and see you soon,
Red Panda Teachers


Leatherback Turtle Newsletter

On behalf of the staff at School for Friends, Marisa, Treasure, and I (Yasmine) are happy to welcome you to the Turtles classroom! We are very excited to meet you. During the month of September, we will spend a lot of time doing guided discoveries of the classroom areas. For many of our friends, this will be their first school experience so it will take some time learning about the various materials and tools and learning to care for our classroom things. We will work together to develop simple rules and to create classroom jobs. We also will spend a great deal of time engaging in buddy play. The Turtles will be paired at random and will engage in different activities together. Ultimately, one of our buddy play goals is to have the Turtles to take turns leading and following.

Transitioning to a school environment can be a tough transition. One thing that has helped tremendously is developing good-bye rituals with your children. According to Gillespie & Peterson (2012), “A ritual is a special practice that helps a child accept aspects of a routine, even an individualized routine, that are stressful.” At School for Friends, many children create a ritual where they wave at the “waving window.” You can read more about the importance of rituals below:

Our classroom will be your child’s second home, so we strive to provide an environment that is not only safe, but also an environment that encourages exploration and is comfortable. We value and appreciate any feedback you may have. We believe that communication is the key to your child’s success and to a great parent/teacher relationship. Please feel free to talk to us anytime.

• Please bring at least two sets of extra clothes (and please LABEL).
• We love rainy day play! Please bring in labeled rain boots and rain coats.
• Please bring in a family photo if you have not done so already.
• Please bring in their sheet and blanket for nap. Every Friday, they’ll go home for a wash.

Have a wonderful September! We look forward to growing together this year!
– The Turtle Team


EAGLE NEWSLETTER:  September 2017

Welcome to the first newsletter of the year. So far this month, the Eagles have been learning about the benefits of loving themselves, the communities where they live, who is part of their family as well as extended family, and who helps them in the community. The Eagles have enjoyed sharing about themselves and their families.

During this time, the​y​ have also spent time working on individual ​and group art projects together in order to assist with creating a strong​,​ safe environment and community. When engaging in art projects, the Eagles are using a plethora of mediums to encourage their creativity. The​y​ are playing quite well with one another. At this time, we, the teachers, are taking time to learn each Eagle’s method of play and how they respond/react to others. As this month progressed, ​children began to establish preferred playmates as well as increasing the size of their play group.

The Eagles are very excited about growing bigger and learning new skills (like using the potty!). They are (usually) glad to help out, and happy to show what they can do. This month, they have proven they’re ready to be with the “big kids” by climbing up and down the stairs safely, pouring their own water, and using their words to express their desires.

We had an excellent turnout at Back to School Night. Thanks to everyone who attended. We enjoyed having an opportunity to get to know the Eagles.

Happy Fall,
Patti, Darren, and Jazmin​​


Sea Lion September 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Sea Lion families to the new 2017-2018 school year! We understand that moving to a new classroom is a big change from the children’s previous classes, but LaJuan and I [Makai] are here to make that transition as smooth as possible. There will be a new schedule, routines, teachers, and classmates.

If you bring your child to school before 9am, he or she will start in the Tiger classroom (Sabina and Julie) until 9am during September and then switch with the Sea Lion classroom every other month. Lunch boxes can be placed in our own refrigerator in the utility room. Please remember to label lunches with your child’s name and the date. We also have a space specifically for hot lunches in the classroom.

LaJuan and I are looking forward to the children’s exploration of the classroom areas and materials through which they will build their own meaning and understanding.

LaJuan and I are always open to communication, so please feel free to talk to us about anything regarding your child. The best time to contact us is at 2:00pm, which is nap time – unless there is an emergency. E-mail is also convenient.

Important reminders:
– Bring in labelled rain jackets/boots that stay at school for rainy day play
– Two complete sets of seasonal extra clothes/ extra underwear and pull-ups are appreciated
– Make sure to clearly label all items!!!
– Sheets and blanket come in on Monday and go home for washing on Friday. If your child  requires a pillow, please make sure it is a small size, and a soft naptime friend is welcome, but please limit it to one.
– Parents and children are required to wash hands upon entering School for Friends under NAEYC accreditation requirements.

The Sea Lion team is looking forward to a great school year.
Thank you,
Makai, LaJuan, and Erika


Tiger Classroom

Welcome to the Tiger Classroom!!!

Julie and I are very excited, and looking forward to a great new school year.

The third school week is already coming to an end, and we all have had such a wonderful time. You would think the children have been in this class for months. Children coming from the Eagles, Sea Lions, Tigers classrooms, and are new to the school are playing together in different areas of the classroom. They are getting to know each other better as well as becoming familiar with new routines and rules.
We are observing your children closely and interacting with them to get to know them, and develop trusting relationships. At the same time we are paying careful attention to how children treat each other, as we want to reinforce respect and caring as the basis for the interactions in the classroom.
Developing basic classroom rules with the children empowers them and makes them more invested to follow the rules more consistently. A positive classroom climate makes children feel safe and increases risk taking when working on new skills.

The first weeks in the Tigers classroom will be filled with lots of activities enhancing all areas of your child’s developmental growth. We want to have fun together, foster active and engaged participation while building on old skills, becoming more competent in new ones as well as heighten the children’s sense of belonging.

The Learning areas are carefully set up and will be constantly adjusted to the needs of the children. We encourage the children to make independent choices while playing and learning by “doing”. Learning centers allow children to move at their own pace, and develop independence, as well as self-respect and respect for others. We are always there to support, comfort, and reassure, and continuously build confidence and independence.  Planning the curriculum based on the interest and abilities of the Tigers classroom children, and at the same time making it appropriately challenging, will support all of the children to be ready for Kindergarten next year.

Block Building:
Block building gives children a chance to think, to plan, and to solve problems while they move freely and work with their hands. It gives them the opportunity to use math and science concepts, e.g. shape, size, length, height, volume, area, ratio, balance, direction, and classification. Perceptual skills are developed through experiencing spatial relationships (under, over, on top of), patterns repeated, the relationship of parts to the whole, eye-hand coordination, as well as large and small motor coordination.

Through paints, crayons, clay, paper and paste, oil pastels and more children are able to creatively express their feelings, ideas, and view of their environment. Children refine large and small muscle skills, increase eye- hand coordination, and develop concepts of shape, line, line, space, texture, color, pattern, and form. Children make choices, judge outcomes and solve problems.

In dramatic play, children are able to bring together things they are learning and feeling about the world and themselves. It helps them to develop a better understanding of others and a clearer view of what they can do and where they fit in. It builds on prior experiences while allowing them to experiment with different roles and new concepts (flexibility). Dramatic play offers a time for imagination, group interaction and cooperation. At the same time is promotes early literacy and math skills.

Music Area:
Through music, children use their bodies and learn to express themselves. It gives children opportunities to experiment freely with tempo, volume, quality, and organization of sound. Listening skills and the ability to distinguish different patterns and sounds are developed.

Sand and Water Tables:
Play experience with sand/water and other sensory materials allows children to experiment with measurement, volume, shape, and quantity. It enhances children’s sense of touch. Sensory play is a pleasurable and calming activity and allows children to experiment without fear of making mistakes.

Science Table:
The science table stimulates children’s curiosity. It allows the children to touch, smell, feel, observe, and to make something happen. An experiment stimulates questions and allows children to learn and use scientific methods predicting, testing, observing, researching, and generalizing.

We are always open for questions, concerns, suggestions, as well as parent engagement, and are looking very much forward to a great school year.

The Tiger Classroom teachers