First Day School Annual report June 12, 2016
Third Haven First Day School completed another year of offering weekly religious education for the Meetings' children and youth visitors. FDS followed three main curricula for the year. Teachers often used these lessons as guidelines as well as inspirations for them to teach from their heart. In the Fall, we taught the curriculum from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting entitled, "As the Way Opens" which has 5 lengthy chapters. Chapter 1 is called, "Hearing the Call" and a later chapter is headed, "Journeys." During the winter months, FDS followed the curriculum called, "Peaceable Kingdom" using examples from our Peace Testimony. Finally, FDS finished up the year with lesson plans from a curriculum, "What is God?" The children were able to look for God in nature, in others and in their selves. FDS also held monthly Godly Play or Faith and Play storytelling. Most of these stories were told by FDS committee member, Cathy Thompson. Some of the titles of these unique stories told this year were "The Mary Fisher Story" , "Living the Wonderful Ways of Love" and "Living the Ways of the Spirit." The FDS also created the holiday wreaths that adorn our Meeting House doors during the holiday months. Finally, as a way to get our message out, FDS would like to thank the Communications committee for diligently sending out timely messages all year to the wider Meeting from our committee.
First Day School holds three large family gatherings every year where the children are present and active. These events are the annual Christmas program held this year on Dec. 20. During this program this year, FDS welcomed new baby Riley Jane Ewing, born in Nov to Amy Owsley and Ryan Ewing. The second larger gathering of the year is our annual Easter Egg hunt on the Meeting grounds. This year held in March. And finally, FDS continues its tradition of honoring graduates in our FD School during a ceremony called "Moving Up." This year's ceremony will be held on June 26 at the rise of Meeting. Four young graduates will be honored. They are Nathan Mullen, graduating from Westtown. Lucy Bond graduating from Easton High School. And two Neil children, Juliette, graduating from St Andrews School and heading to Yale. And Nora Neil who graduated from Georgetown University and is working in Venice this summer. During this special Moving Up celebration, the Meeting members often get to hear from the graduates themselves as they are honored and given a small gift from First Day School.
Back to the children currently present in FDS. First Day School has seven committed families that attend Meeting. Attendance does vary week to week with some Sundays having 2 or 3 children followed by the next week with 5 or 6 children. These families are committed to Quaker values. The current FDS children include Riley, Finley and Liam Ewing, Ember and Finn Theeke, Maeve Mufson, Giuseppe Colburn, Beck and Anya Eshram, Serena Claggett and one of our newest and youngest attenders, Annabelle Lane. The parents care very deeply about FDS and often help with the Sunday lessons. Most of the work and organization that keeps FDS going all year long is done by the terrific FDS committee members. These committee members are: Cathy Thompson, Amy Owsley, Katie Theeke, Mark Beck, Beth Mufson, Sally Claggett, Dawn Atwater, Catherine Cripps and Clerk, Susan Claggett. Third Haven FDS also hosts a variety of youth visitors through out the year, whether they are grandchildren or relatives of a Meeting member or friends of the FDS children, our First Day School is always a welcoming and warm, safe space to learn a little about our Quaker spirit.