First Day School Annual Report 2014:
Third Haven First Day School counts 17 families comprised of 25 children under the age of 17 who have attended this past year. The largest attendance falls on the holidays, especially at Christmas and Easter. There was a formal Christmas program last December and a large Easter egg hunt on the Meeting grounds in April. This Easter, we had 18 children representing 10 families. On a weekly basis, attendance is sparse, with an average of 3-5 attending. The clerk continues to send out regular e-mails to all families and to post upcoming FDS activities and class schedule on the weekly Third Haven announcements.
This year, the First Day School has been blessed with many Meeting member volunteer teachers. These members who have shared their gifts with our young people during FDS are: Leigh Anne Dodge—Testimony and Concerns, Mary Cotton—birds, Amy Owsley—Growing up Quaker, Cindy Browne—yoga, Lorraine Claggett—T & C, and Marsie Hawkinson—terrariums. With the help of Testimony and Concerns, the children decided on supporting the organization, World Vision, and adopted a Guatemalan boy who exchanged letters with the kids.
On June 1st, First Day School held the annual Moving Up ceremony where we honored 3 young people with their graduations. Sarah Thompson and Jacob Mullen, who both spent many years growing up in TH FDS, both received honors. Maggie Neil was present and spoke about her graduation from Yale and her Quaker influences, thanking the Meeting for their support. All recipients received a book entitled "Blessed are the Peacemakers".
The FDS committee has decided to hold 4 summer classes, scheduled for July 13 & 27 and Aug 10 & 24. On July 13, following worship, there will a be a swim/beach party for families on the farm of Lorraine Claggett located outside Easton.
The First Day School is run on the backbone of the First Day School committee, who dutifully shows up for committee meetings, offers ideas for teaching and often becomes teachers themselves if lead to do so. Dawn Atwater led a spirited Bunny cake-making lesson to about 10 kids around Easter and Catherine Cripps volunteered to make Mother's Day cards on that Sunday. Sally Claggett and Cathy Thompson have been sharing Godly Play stories with the children every 2nd Sunday of every month. Amy Owsley taught a lesson from PYM curriculum "Growing in the Light" and "Obadiah". The FDS committee members, of whom I am so very grateful to serve with, are Mark Beck, Catherine Cripps, Beth Mufson, Cathy Thompson, Sally Claggett, Dawn Atwater, Jeffery Rank, and Amy Owsley.
In conclusion, having the Meeting members come forward in sharing their talents and gifts with the children has made a big difference. There is excellent material about teaching Quakerism in our upstairs library which we use and is available to anyone. However, the personal connection that the kids make when a member shares their special gifts with them makes FDS magical.
Next week, Clay Owens will be teaching the kids a little spirituality through his love of guitars. As Clerk, I wish to Thank all who support our First Day School. We can't do it without your help.